Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has set his mind on regime change “by fair or foul means” and is plotting to plunge Nigeria into crisis, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati has said.
He was reacting to statements credited to Obasanjo on Saturday that President Goodluck Jonathan was plotting to win the 2015 general election by “hook or crook”.
Obasanjo had endorsed Jonathan’s main challenger Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, but then seemed to backtrack on Thursday.
There are insinuations that Obasanjo is not well disposed to Buhari either and would want an interim national government (ING) to be headed by him to midwife new elections in which neither Jonathan nor Buhari would be candidates.
Obasanjo was believed to be the brain behind the ING set up by Ibrahim Babangida after the annulment of June 12 election in 1993, an arrangement that lasted for less then 100 days before the military took over.
In his statement on Saturday, Abati (pictured) said Obasanjo was plotting with others “within and outside the country” to thwart the general election and foist an unconstitutional ING “which he hopes to head”.
He said his “odious” plan to return to power through the back door “will fail woefully”.
Abati said: “As we have had cause to say before, it is most regrettable indeed that a man like Chief Obasanjo, who should know better, chooses to repeatedly, wantonly, and maliciously impugn the integrity of a sitting President of his country for the primary purpose of self-promotion.
“It is obvious from Chief Obasanjo’s serial vituperations against President Jonathan who is doing his best to positively transform Nigeria for the benefit of all of its people that he has willfully chosen to close his eyes to the present administration’s good works and intentions. For reasons best known to him, Chief Obasanjo has set his mind on regime change by fair or foul means.
“Otherwise, it would be completely senseless, irrational and out of place for Chief Obasanjo, who still claims to belong to the same party as the President, to accuse President Jonathan of plotting to win the rescheduled presidential elections by ‘hook or crook’ and planning to plunge the nation into crisis if he loses the election.”
He said Jonathan had no such intention and will continue to give the greatest possible support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the rescheduled elections are successfully conducted.
“Indeed, it is not President Jonathan who remains faithful to his oath of office who is trying to plunge Nigeria into crisis, but Chief Obasanjo who is scheming to plunge the country into chaos in pursuit of a selfish and highly egocentric agenda.
“Chief Obasanjo’s plot with others within and outside the country to thwart the general elections and foist an unconstitutional Interim National Government, which he hopes to head on the nation is well known to us, but by the Grace of God Almighty, his odious plan to return to power through the back door will fail woefully.
“We know very well that it is in pursuit of this nefarious plot that the former President continues to sow the seeds of discord and crises in the polity by purporting to remain in the ruling party while openly consorting with the opposition, endorsing its candidates and predicting victory for opposition candidates in a manner most unbecoming of a supposed elder statesman.
“Thankfully, the vast majority of Nigerians who are patriotic and right-thinking cannot be fooled by Chief Obasanjo’s antics,” he said.