Only thing Obasanjo didn’t do is to apologise to Nigerians – Reuben Abati

A former Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Reuben Abati has said that has shared his thoughts on a statement written by the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, in which he criticised the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Abati who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday said the statement reflects certain levels of consensus within society.

He, however, noted that the only thing that was not mentioned was an apology to Nigerians especially as the former president was one of those who voted for the ‘change’ administration.

He also said the there was no better time for him to respond to the state of the polity than now.

The former President in the statement written on Tuesday accused President Buhari of failing, especially in one of the areas his administration pitched as its ‘key point of action’ when it assumed office – the fight against corruption and therefore, asked him to honourably “dismount from the horse”.


“It’s probably the most important subject of the day. Its been the main subject that everyone is discussing and that should be understandable considering the stature, the capacity, the influence of the author of the letter,” Abati said.

“Before now, many Nigerians had been waiting on the former president Olusegun Obasanjo to say something about this administration and he has chosen his time very well to come out and do a full assessment of the administration so far.

“If you look at that letter it drips with frustration, disappointment, even regret. The only thing president Obasanjo does not do in that letter is to apologise to Nigerians but he admitted that he was part of the efforts to bring about change in 2015 and he not only supported the incumbent president, he also voted for him and now he says he is disappointed.

“The letter probably reflects certain levels of consensus within society because you know of late, a lot of people have been saying some of the things that president Obasanjo said in that letter but coming from Obasanjo, those statements acquire a special significance and resonance both locally and I believe, internationally.”

While the Presidency has yet to respond to the letter, Abati believes that “there would be meetings upon meetings and there will be persons who would have sat down with that letter to try to deconstruct it.

“I imagine also that the President would have read it over and over again and people around him would be offering advice and they will be trying to provide strategy.

“It is necessary for the President to look at the letter and make up his mind about whether he wants to do a formal response because the time has come for this administration to change the narrative.”

Also responding the statement on the programme, was a member of the Buhari support group, Aliyu Abdullahi.

He, however, believes that the Buhari administration has performed beyond average especially in the areas of the economy – having recovered from a major recession, as well as infrastructure developments in transportation among others.

“It was just a matter of time for that letter to come, as we all know. Dr Rueben Abati has received a similar letter during his own time so of course this administration will receive its own,” Abdullahi said, stressing the fact that the former President has the right to air his opinion as much as President Buhari has the right to seek re-election, as provided in the constitution.

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