Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) chairman Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) last night said it was insulting for former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ask President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for second term.
Sagay urged Obasanjo, who he said sought third term, to show Buhari some “respect”.
He said: “I saw Obasanjo’s comments and I could not believe my eyes, that a man who tried to get a third term is discouraging someone else from getting a second term. It doesn’t make sense.
“I think Obasanjo should try and respect other people. He has achieved a lot. He is a great man and I respect him. But he should learn to respect other people and think of them as being, at least, as good as himself.
“I think it is insulting for a man who wanted third term to tell somebody else not to want second term. It is most inappropriate, and for a former head of state to say so is most improper.”
But, a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and leader of the National Intervention Movement (NIM) Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) said President Buhari has nothing more to offer.
He described Obasanjo’s suggestion for Buhari not to run for second term as “great”.
Agbakoba said: “It (Obasanjo’s call) is a great idea as Buhari hasn’t anything left to offer. We at the Third Force will build a new coalition to take power.”
Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) described Obasanjo’s statement as a wake-up call for President Buhari. He advised the President to shed himself of the influence of “an incompetent and corrupt cabal”.
Falana said: “President Olusegun Obasanjo’s intervention is a vivid expression of the frustration of the Nigerian people with the Buhari administration.
“The statement is a clarion call on President Buhari to remove the incompetent and corrupt cabal of power mongers that has hijacked political power from him. Through sheer nepotism and cronism, the regime has lost the massive goodwill that heralded it to power.
“The success recorded in the fight against insurgency in the northeast zone has been eroded in the wave of kidnapping and reckless killing of unarmed Nigerians by AK47-bearing herdsmen.
“The success of the fight against corruption and impunity has been rubished by the inability of the regime to remove corrupt public officers.
“President Obasanjo’s challenge has been taken up by many Nigerians who have already formed a coalition of genuine progressive forces to liberate Nigeria from internal colonialism and imperialist control.”
Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), declined to comment on the contents of ex-President Obasanjo’s letter because he considered it a purely political matter, not a legal one.
He, however, observed that “there’s nothing one can say that will determine whether the President should run or should not run; it is his constitutional right to do so. I don’t want to join in any controversy.”
Although Vice President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Monday Ubani felt Obasanjo’s letter was long overdue, he warned that Obasanjo should not see himself as the determiner of Nigerians’ fate.
He said only Nigerians could choose who they would vote for.
Ubani said: “Former President Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari was long expected and, for coming now, I will say it is even belated.
“Recall that former President Obasanjo has written such letters to virtually everyone that took over from him and if you will remember such letters were even written to former military leaders like IBB and Abacha.
“Such scathing and virulent attacks on leaders before and after him are therefore not novel. What is novel is that he did not initiate the attack on President Buhari timeously, due to some personal reasons known to him.
“However, former president Obasanjo should not allow this idea to get into his head that he has become the ‘power and principality’ that will always determine the political direction of Nigeria. “Nigerians should always know when they are tired of any government and should determine the fate of their leaders, including President Buhari if at all he decides to contest in 2019, and when they so decide it is not because former President Obasanjo instructed them but because they are tired of the ‘Change.’
“My humble take about Nigeria is that the destiny of Nigeria should not be seen to be in the hands of these supposed ‘powers and principalities’ of Nigerian politics but in the hands of the majority of Nigerians who must always have their way. That is the way for us to go and it is my dream for my dear country.
“Nigerians will not reject President Buhari in 2019 because former President Obasanjo said so but because President Buhari may have wittingly or unwittingly rejected Nigerians. He alone by now should know his status with Nigerians. A word is enough for the wise.”
Former member, Ogun State Judicial Service Commission, Abayomi Omoyinmi described the letter as one-sided.
Omoyinmi said: “President Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion on how he has perceived President Buhari. The fact of the matter is that every individual has his or her own way of approach to governance as it’s in this case. Ex-President Obasanjo has only highlighted what he believed are President Buhari’s flaws in his style of governance.
“I am of the opinion that the content in the letter is one sided in that it lacked constructive criticism, because Obasanjo failed to at least highlight the good things that have been achieved by President Buhari within just three years and under an extremely difficult circumstances created by many years of previous administration misrule.”