Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has warned his media aides against any form of attacks on Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president and till recently, a political ally.
The Premium Times portal citing an unnamed source at the presidency said Buhari had explicitly warned his aides to avoid any public utterances that will disrespect the octogenarian.
The report added that most media aides have thus steered clear of Obasanjo’s anti-Buhari views in order not to flout the president’s orders.
He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now!
Obasanjo last week released a stinging letter to Buhari. The 13-page letter widely shared in the media asked Buhari not to contest the 2019 elections.
The letter held that for the sake of his health and having failed to deliver on the economy, Buhari should shelve any reelection plans when his current tenure expires next year.
Obasanjo like Buhari are both old military men who ruled as civilian heads of states before transiting to become civilian presidents under the current consitution.
In the only official response so far, Information Minister Lai Mohammed thanked Obasanjo for his letter but disagreed with his views that the Buhari administration had failed on the economy.
The statement added that despite calls for Buhari to run for a final term, the calls were a mere distraction because: “He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now!”
The other response has been from Buhari’s Communications Minister who slammed Obasanjo’s view. Adebayo Shittu accused Obasanjo of “sensationalism.” The former president who is without a party after quitting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which won him his two terms, is said to be behind a third force party that could challenge the PDP and ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next elections.
The two leaders, meanwhile, met in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the just ended 30th African Union summit for Heads of State and government. The meeting was cordial as both men exchanged pleasantries.