Four months after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘letter’ to President Muhammadu Buhari advising him not to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election, the President has given reasons why he did not reply or allow his aides to make a direct response.
Speaking in Bauchi during a state banquet in his honour on Thursday night as part of his two-day official visit to the state, Buhari said he resisted attempts by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed to make a response.
He told the dinner guests that included Governor Abubakar, his wife; the State Deputy Governor; some Ministers and other top officials of the Bauchi State government, how the Information Minister convinced him to respond without mentioning Obasanjo’s name by outlining the achievements of the administration thus far.
Buhari said, “tonight, I want to remind the people of what Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information did against my wish, in the sense that when a letter was written containing our failures as an administration, Lai Mohammed agitated that he should reply and I said no.
“I said no for two reasons: He is much younger than the person who wrote the letter and myself; two, he is from the same constituency as the person who wrote the letter.
“But when Lai Mohammed came, I said he should go out but he said he won’t go. I asked why and he said let me give him a chance to say what he wanted to do. I said go on.
“He said in what he would do, he would not mention names but only try to remind Nigerians what the country was when we came in, where we are now, and what we have done with the resources available to us.
“Eventually, I had to admit that he was right and I was wrong because a number of people who could get in touch with me have said that Lai had done a good job. A lot of them are in the media who I don’t have time to see – but of course, they are very busy people. Therefore, I am very happy with the performance of our party, the All Progressive Congress.”
Buhari also went down memory lane to narrate how the betrayal of some of his former political associates informed his insistence on finding a credible platform that would enable him rescue the country from sinking, as he said it would have, if the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continued ruling Nigeria.