A former governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Friday took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo for advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
Oshiomhole said Obasanjo was not in the right position to give such advice because the former President was not a known adviser to Buhari.
The former governor spoke with State House correspondents shortly after meeting the President behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Obasanjo had in a special press statement titled, ‘The Way Out: A clarion call for a Coalition for Nigeria Movement,” last week questioned Buhari’s competence to rule Nigeria further, advising him to forget his second term bid.
The former President told Buhari not to test the patience of Nigerians, advising him to consider a deserved rest after the completion of his first term.
But Oshiomhole said Obasanjo had no such power to advise the President.
He said, “I’m not sure when I see the list of the (President’s) advisers, that President Obasanjo is one of the advisers.
“I also recall with respect that the day President Obasanjo was inaugurating in some of his advisers, he did say that anybody who is his adviser can advise him, he will make his own decisions. I think that principle still stands.”
The former governor said, as a loyal party man, he was in the Presidential Villa to reassure Buhari of his government and also for 2019 election.
He said it was important for Buhari to know that at this trying times, he has men and women who have huge confidence in his leadership ability.
He said Nigerians could not but to appreciate the President and all that has been done under his leadership in the past two years and some months, especially in the fight against corruption.
He said those who are conversant with the nation’s history would admit that its problems did not start with the present administration.
He said although many people had advised against blame game, there was no way the country could move forward without accessing the past.
Oshiomhole said those who understood the dynamics of governance knew that the rot of 16 years could not be cleared in two years.
He said, “Nigeria was below ground level and from what you guys report that I read, we have always had challenges but never in terms of this scale and magnitude.
“What President Buhari inherited is difficult to describe. I have said so before that when you meet such a situation, your first task is to halt the drift. When you halt the drift, then you stabilise before you begin to go. There is no miracle about it.
“I don’t think that anybody who understands the challenge of nation building, of national economic management and so on will expect that in two years, you can fix in a sustainable manner all of the things that have been destroyed over 16 years before this party came into office.
“Yes, there are challenges; there are a couple of things we need to begin to do and re-enforce but there is no question that a lot has begun and a lot is being done.”
Oshiomhole lauded the present administration for its Social Investment Programme that seeks to among other things pay the poor under the Conditional Cash Transfer component of the scheme.
He, however, admitted that paucity of data is a major challenge to the plan.
“For me, there is a commitment. I can see a heart that cares for the poor.
“But that doesn’t mean caring for the poor will make the poverty disappear overnight but that is a starting point.
“If you don’t recognise that we have these people amongst us and they are in millions, then you are not even likely to reflect on how to deal with their problems.
“For me, in terms of values, I can see a lot,” the former governor concluded.