After months of berating the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has declared his support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Obasanjo, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, made his opinion known during an interview with the Financial Times at the launch of his controversial autobiography titled, ‘My Watch’, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Obasanjo said Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between December 1983 and August 1985, was aware of the challenges of Nigeria today and was qualified to rule the country.
He said, “The circumstances he (Buhari) will be working under if he wins the elections are different from the one he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature – he knows that. He is smart enough. He is educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”
Obasanjo said he was confident that Buhari would be able to effectively tackle corruption and insecurity.
The former President said Buhari would restore the morale of the military which, he said, was needed in the fight against terrorism. He said President Goodluck Jonathan betrayed the armed forces by allowing corruption to undermine their operations.
He said, “It is a question of leadership – political and military. I think you need to ask Jonathan how he let the army go to this extent. Many things went wrong: recruitment went wrong; training went wrong; morale went down; motivation was not there; corruption was deeply ingrained; andwelfare was bad.”
Obasanjo added that he was saddened by the rate at which the nation’s resources were dwindling, adding that when he left office, Nigeria had $45bn in its reserve but the resources had been depleted by more than half despite the increase in oil prices.
Reacting to the postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission for security reasons and a better distribution of Permanent Voter Cards, Obasanjo said he hoped the Federal Government was being truthful.
He urged Jonathan to put the interest of the nation ahead of his own ambition. He said warned that manipulating the electoral process could lead to a coup d’etat, adding that the May 29 handover date remained sacrosanct.
“I sincerely hope that the President is not going for broke and saying ‘look dammit, it’s either I have it or nobody has it’. I hope that we will not have a coup. I hope we can avoid it,” he said.