A former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is taking Nigerians for fools while “reveling in an unrepentant misgoverning of Nigeria.”
This is coming as the former president and conveyer of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) also disclosed that the movement had adopted the African Democratic Congress as a political platform to actualise its dream for a new Nigeria.
Obasanjo said this on Thursday evening while briefing journalists at his presidential library home in Abeokuta.
While lashing out at the ruling party, the former President said most Nigerians today were poorer than when the APC came in adding that the country had been further impoverished with foreign loan jumping from $3.6bn to over $18bn.
He said, “The APC, as a political party, is still gloating and revelling in its unrepentant misgovernance of Nigeria and taking Nigerians for fools.
“There is neither remorse nor appreciation of what they are doing wrong. It is all arrant arrogance and insult upon injury for Nigerians.
“Whatever the leadership may personally claim, most Nigerians know that they are poorer today than when the APC came in and Nigeria is more impoverished with our foreign loan jumping from $3.6bn to over $18bn to be paid by the present and future generations of Nigerians.
“The country is more divided than ever before because the leadership is playing the ethnic and religious game which is very unfortunate.”
He added, “And the country is more insecure and unsafe for everybody. It is a political party with two classes of membership.”
Obasanjo, who might have quit the CNM, said since the movement adopted the African Democratic Congress, he had completed the first phase of his assignment.
In the speech he titled, ‘My treatise for future of democracy and development in Nigeria’, the former President said, “Let me start by welcoming and commending the emergence of a renewed and reinvigorated African Democratic Congress, as a political party.
“Since the inception of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, many of the 68 registered political parties have contacted and consulted with the movement on coming together and working together.
“The leadership of the movement, after detailed examination, wide consultation and bearing in mind the orientation, policies and direction of the movement, had agreed to adopt ADC as its platform to work with others for bringing about desirable change in the Nigeria polity and governance.”
He, however, said the emergence of ADC was the beginning of hard work to continue to consolidate the nation’s democracy and ‘to make development in all its ramifications real, relevant, accessible, popular and reaching out to all Nigerians wherever they may be.”
While he thanked Nigerians who hearkened to his scathing open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated January 23, “which catalogued the incompetence, nepotism, a lack of performance, among others, of the administration,” he noted that their concerted efforts had made the adoption of ADC possible.
He said the ADC would accommodate youths, women and others and would sanitise the system.
Obasanjo said he would not advise anyone to join the Peoples Democratic Party or the APC, “no matter what window-dressing reformation they may claim.”
He said the PDP offered an apology without disciplining those who set Nigeria on a course of ruin and some of them are still holding leadership roles in the party.
He said, “Nigerians may forgive, but Nigerians should never forget; otherwise they will be suffering from amnesia and the same ugliness may raise its head again.”
Meanwhile, a former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has described Nigeria as a killing field under the leadership of Buhari.
Oyinlola, who is the National Coordinator of the CNM, said this at the formal merger of the movement with the African Democratic Congress in Abuja on Thursday.
The press conference was held moments after Oyinlola resigned as the Chairman of the National Identity Management Commission.
The former governor said, “Now, the situation we have found ourselves calls for the need to invent another means of directing the political structure of the country. I am sure that you will admit that this is not the kind of change that we wanted when we voted in 2015 if you are to be sincere with yourself.
“We are not at war but everywhere you go, the country has been turned into a killing field. We cannot just sit down and fold our arms. If it means like-minded people will need to ensure that things are run properly, we will do that.”
He admitted that the talks between his group and the Nigerian Intervention Movement led by Dr Olisa Agbakoba and Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa-Balewa, had collapsed due to differences in strategy.
Oyinlola, however, said there was room for the NIM and other like-minded groups to join the ADC.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, the Co-Chairman of the NIM, Tafawa-Balewa, said, “We felt it was better to work with a coalition of parties to form an alliance instead of picking just one party.
“We just didn’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. We want others to know that they are all welcome in our house. The NIM is a much larger coalition than the CNM and that is well known. We are large because we are open-hearted and there is room for everybody.
“The CNM insisted on the ADC for reasons best known to them.”
The ADC was formed in 2006 and adopted a renowned political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, as its presidential candidate in 2007.
However, the APC in Osun State said the party had no ill feelings towards the former governor for leaving the ruling party.
The Director of Publicity and Strategy of the APC in Osun State/Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, said, “There are no ill-feelings about his resignation. We believe he thought it very well before he took the decision and we wish him luck.
“He stated his reasons for resigning and we wish him well.”
The national leadership of the PDP also said that it would work together with the ADC and other opposition political parties to vote President Buhari out of office in 2019.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “We are all going to work together to remove President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Whether the group joins ADC or another party, we all have one thing in common, and that is the sacking of the President.
“We will all work together to remove President Buhari. So, Nigerians and members of our party should not worry about what happened to the group.”
But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, while welcoming news of the fusion of the CNM and the ADC, said Nigerians still believed in the party.
He said, “We are in a multi-party democracy and the coming together by political parties should not be considered a threat. In fact, the more the merrier, we do not see this as a threat at all.
“We are confident that Nigerians still believe in our party they are seeing the changes we are bringing on board. The Nigerian people will decide which party among the very many they will give their mandate to when the time comes.”