Minister of of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has no right to short-change Nigerians by asking President Muhammadu Buhari to forget seeking re-election in 2019.
Shittu, who was stopped by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, from distributing Buhari’s re-election campaign caps at last week’s Federal Executive Council meeting, accused Obasanjo of engaging in sensationalism.
The minister told State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa yesterday, it is beyond Obasanjo to tell Nigerians who they should vote for.
“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, have a right to also state the other side which, perhaps, Obasanjo is ignorant of.
“You see, there 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 administration other than his own that he did not criticise except Sani Abacha, who didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticise 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.
“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. It is not for anybody to short-change Nigerians and prevent people from offering themselves for 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, can contest or not.
“I think Nigerians should concede this privilege to we, members of APC, to decide the fate of Mr. President when the next round of primaries come.”
The minister also alleged those who have lost out totally in the current administration now resort to blackmail, to achieve selfish aims.
“As somebody who has been in this government for almost two years, I believe am in a position to know what true achievements of this government are.
“Ironically, it looks like we have not been talking because we believe in modesty, we do not believe in propaganda.
“Unfortunately enemies of this government, particularly people who perhaps 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.
“I am talking here not as the spokesperson of the government but as an individual, a leader of APC from Oyo State, who also is a member of this government, having 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 are out there, by people who ordinarily deserve respect but who, for reason of being clannish, for reason of tribalism, for reason of religious bigotry and intolerance have decided to see and not to ask questions about what is going on in the country.”