Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, because he was elected to change the country.
Mr Obasanjo has refrained from criticizing Mr. Buhari for the almost two years that he has been in power.
But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo served signal that the honeymoon between the two former military heads of state have ended.
Delivering the keynote address at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Mr. Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations (including the one he, Obasanjo, led) together and then accusing them of misgovernance.
He also advised Mr. Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.
“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”
The former president also criticised plans by Mr. Buhari to take about $30billion loan.
“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.
“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged.
Whil expressing optimisim in the capacity of Nigerians to bounce back from adversity, Obasanjo warned that “Events in the world are showing that the opportunities are diminishing. If we do not get it right in good governance and accountability, the fuze of anger of the citizenry particularly the youth may be getting shorter.
“Correction must be made while there is still time. If that correction is timely made, Nigeria has the quantity and quality of resources particularly human resources to make it a great nation to be counted among the comity of nations within two generations as the undisputed leader of Africa and the black race in all ramifications.”
Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.
“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”