Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday delivered a damning verdict on the performance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, describing it as “below average”.
Speaking at the ongoing Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo also said security remains the greatest danger Nigeria is currently facing.
“I rate this current administration below average,” Obasanjo said in response to a question about Jonathan’s performance.
The former president also said he deserved credit for helping an individual from a minority tribe become Nigeria’s President, stressing that “Rather than take blame for bringing Jonathan to power, I should be taking credit,” he added.
The book chat session of the Festival, which ends on Saturday, was titled ‘Defining a legacy,’ and Obasanjo used the opportunity to note some of the highlights of his eight-year presidency.
He lamented that Nigeria has had a problem of leadership right from Independence in 1960. “The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is that we have regional leaders, but no national leader. I have always believed that our problem as a country is that at independence we did not have a true leader.”
The former President denied speculations that he deliberately foisted a successor he knew was sick on the country, stressing that “Yar’Adua gave me concrete evidence that he was healthy.”
On why he did not field a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, as Vice President in 2007, the former President said, “You know Donald Duke is my boy. In my own life, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket.
“Donald Duke needs to tone down and have his feet on ground, now he is having his feet on the ground…”
Despite being instrumental to Jonathan becoming president in 2010, Obasanjo has continued to be one of his fiercest critics.
Last December, the former President wrote a strongly worded letter to President Jonathan expressing dissatisfaction with the administration and warning him about the “danger that may be lurking in the corner”.
“Move away from culture of denials, cover-ups and proxies and deal honestly, sincerely and transparently with Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote in the 18-page letter.
In the letter, Obasanjo also frowned at President Jonathan’s “deceit and deception” by stating that he had promised not to run for president in 2015, whereas his body language was showing a different stance.
“Although you have not formally informed me one way or the other, it will be necessary to refresh your memory of what transpired in 2011.
“I had gone to Benue State for the marriage of one of my staff, Vitalis Ortese, in the state. Governor Suswam was my hospitable host. He told me that you had accepted a one-term presidency to allow for ease of getting support across the board in the North.
“I decided to cross check with you. You did not hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one term of six years for the President and that by the time you have used the unexpired time of your predecessor and the four years of your first term, you would have almost used up six years and you would not need any more term or time.
“As a leader, two things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character.”
However, on November 11, Jonathan officially declared his intention to contest for president next year.