The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of sabotage and envy for urging President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
Addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Shittu said, “Obasanjo as a Nigerian has the right to hold an opinion. If Obasanjo holds an opinion that Mr. President has performed less than it should be, those of us who are in the position to know better has a right to also state the other side which perhaps Obasanjo is ignorant of.
He said “You see, they are some people who enjoy engaging in sensationalism. With due respect to General Obasanjo, if you take his history over the last 30 years, there is hardly any regime other than his own that he did not criticize except Sani Abacha, who didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticize him before he was sent to the gulag”.
“So many Nigerians know that Obasanjo enjoys this type of sensationalisation. In any case, no matter what impression you have of me, do you have a right to tell me not to contest an election? I mean we should talk like people who are educated, who know our left from the right,” the minister said.
The angry Shittu stated furthet that “There are procedures for elections. President Buhari is a member of the APC and the APC has its rules and regulations as to how candidates will emerge, if members of the party feel that the president has not performed well enough, it is for them to show that during the primary election. Is not for anybody to short change Nigerians and prevent people from offering themselves for an election”.
“In any case, since Obasanjo is no more a member of our party, with due respect to him it doesn’t lie in his mouth to tell us who among our party members or leaders to contest or not to contest. I think Nigerians should concede this privilege to we the members of APC to decide the fate of Mr. President when the next round of primaries come,” he said.
He accused those who have lost out from the power game in the South West as those behind the pull down syndrome of the Buhari government.
“As somebody who has been in this government for almost two years, I believe am in a position to know what the achievements of this government are. Ironically it looks like we have not been talking becuse we believe in modesty, we do not believe in propergander. Unfortunately enemies of this government, particularly people who perhapse feel they have lost out in the new dispensation have been churning out false information, blackmail and all kinds of baseless accusations, particularly of non-performance of the government”.
Shittu said he was not defending the Buhari government as its spokesman “but as an individual, a leader of All Progressive Congress (APC) from Oyo State, who also is a member of this government, haven been minister of communications. I believe as an active participant in political and governmental affairs, I have a duty to the government and to myself and I believe to all Nigerians that we have to correct a lot of misinformation and blackmail that is out there by people who ordinarily deserve respect but who for reason of clanishness, for reason of tribalism, for reasons of religious bigotry and intolerance have decided to see and not to ask questions about what is going on in the country”.
He maintained that the performance of the APC government in 31 months dwarfed the16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I have always challenged everybody who cares to listen that what this government has done in a number of areas, particularly in the agricultural sector, in works, housing and power sectors, the PDP government never achieved that in the 16 years of their reign,” he said.