Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has said his criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was without any ulterior motives.
Obasanjo made this clarification at Abeokuta on Thursday after meeting with five governors from his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The governors were Governors Godswill AKpabio (Akwa-Ibom), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).
Obasanjo explained that the meeting he had with the PDP governors was focused on the state of the nation. He said the governors were, like him, worried about the state of Nigeria’s security and economy.
He told journalists that he criticised in good faith, adding that most of what he discussed with the governors had already been made public.
‘’I have raised most of what we discussed in my own public pronouncements in recent times, not to castigate anybody, not to bad-mouth anybody, not to run anybody down, but, out of genuine concern for the situation of this country and that is the same thing that brought them and I want to thank them.
“When we looked at these issues closely, very objectively, we came to the conclusion that, we have a bad situation, but, not irredeemably bad. Something can still be done and what now is required is the will and the courage to do something when and how it needs to be done. We agreed on that.
“I appreciate their coming to me because of the respect and honour they have for me, this task is not for one man and it is not even a task for one group, it is a task that requires all hands on deck and as they have said and assured me, they will hold this type of consultation with other leaders in the interest of this country which is ours and for which we have no alternatives.
“The other day, somebody told me he knows NADECO route but I do not want to follow NADECO route.
It is incumbent on us to do what is right , with men like them; Issa Yuguda, Godswill Akpabio, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu the Chief Servant, Sule Lamido and a very good Liyel Imoke, who are colleagues with whom I have worked, they will like to call themselves my sons.”
With regards to the drop in oil price on the international market, Obasanjo said the present administration should have saved enough for rainy day. He was, however, cautiously optimistic about Nigeria’s ability to withstand the effects of the downward spiral of oil prices.
He said “I am never scared by anything but I am concerned that firstly, when we had surplus, we did not remember the rainy day, now ,that the rainy day is staring us in the face, we must be honest and courageous enough to do what is right, to let the nation know and then to take the steps that will put it right as quickly as possible and you do not need to be an oracle or a world bank expert or an International Monetary Fund expert to know that our economy is not what it should be.
“And this is not the first time we would hear it, we have heard it in the past when of course I came in in1999, the price of oil was about $9 and we realised that we had a problem, we even made budget that we could not fund but we realised that we were in a serious situation and we took steps, within two to three years, we were able to sail through, the price of fuel started moving up.
“Do not forget that there was a time during the Iraqi war, price of fuel rose to $42 and then it came down to $9, the one that we have now, we do not know when it would bottom and at what price it would bottom but we can weather the storm if we take measure that we should take it and when to take it.”