The Presidency on Wednesday berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo for allegedly leaking to the press, a letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, stated that such action was provocative.
Abati acknowledged the receipt of the Obasanjo’s letter by President Jonathan but condemned its “deliberate leakage” to the mass media.
He said the leakage was a deplorable effort to “impugn the integrity of President Jonathan and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership”.
“Many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land,” he said.
Abati said that the President had directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Obasanjo over it.
He said the president himself would, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the charges levelled against him and his administration by the former president.
In the controversial letter, Obasanjo had said in the 18-page letter obtained by an online publication that “Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped.”
The former president said that Jonathan has failed to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people, stem corruption, promote national unity and strengthen national security.
In the letter titled “Before it is too late,” Obasanjo said that rather than take steps to advance Nigeria’s interest and up the standards of living of Nigerians, Jonathan had betrayed God and the Nigerian people that brought him to power, and has been pursuing selfish personal and political interests based on advice he receives from “self-centred aides”.
Obasanjo lamented that Jonathan had become terribly divisive and clannish, destroying his own party, polarizing the country along regional and religious lines and ridiculing Nigeria in the comity of nations.
He blamed President Jonathan for the crises tearing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, apart, adding that apart from using party chairman Bamanga Tukur to cause multiple crises and divide the ranks of the party, the president’s failure to keep a promise he made not to seek a second term is also generating tension within the ruling party.
“It would be unfair to continue to level full blames on the Chairman (Tukur) for all that goes wrong with the party,” Obasanjo said, noting that “The chairman is playing the tune dictated by the paymaster (Jonathan). But the paymaster is acting for a definitive purpose for which deceit and deception seem to be the major ingredients.
“Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with your statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say it is not ingenious. You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honorable path,” Obasanjo had said.
The former President said Jonathan told him before the 2011 election that he would not seek a second term, and made the same promise to governors, party stakeholders and Nigerians, insisting that “the president’s refusal to keep that promise cast him as a man without honour.”
Obasanjo said that it would be “fatally morally flawed” for Jonathan to contest in 2015, adding that “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. I will want to see anyone in the Office of the Presidency of Nigeria as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character.”
Obasanjo also accused the President for failing to address the underlying causes of the Boko Haram menace and urged him to adopt a carrot and stick approach in dealing with the insurgency explaining that “conventional military actions based on standard phases of military operations alone will not permanently and effectively deal with the issue of Boko Haram”. esidency.