Olusegun Obasanjo, one of Nigeria’s former presidents, gets into the mood sometimes. If the problem of Goodluck Jonathan, another former president, is that he never wants to offer an opinion about the state of things in the country; the problem with Obasanjo is that he has an opinion on everything and he would offer his opinion publicly at every turn.
Earlier this year, he dispatched a letter to the national assembly, accusing them of lawlessness, greed and a lack of integrity. The national assembly was guarded in its response to Obasanjo, especially the senate president, whose response was deferential to the former president. Obasanjo was also a frequent letter writer to the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan who he later got to despise.
Last week, Obasanjo took the verbal battle to state governors, accusing them at an event of living like emperors and hindering local government areas from performing their statutory obligations. While most other governors who have responded to Obasanjo have simply said that he could not have been referring to them as they do not live like emperors, Gov. Adams Oshiomhole hit Obasanjo in the same measure. He said if there is anyone who deserves the ”emperor” tag, it is Obasanjo, and not the governors.
“The former president was a member of the PDP until a few weeks to the general elections when he tore his membership card. He may be referring to PDP governors whom he presided over. He may have information about PDP governors whom he presided over that he wanted to share,” said Oshiomhole through the state commissioner for information and orientation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, in response to an inquiry by The Nation newspaper.
Oshiomhole said that Obasanjo acted like an emperor in the two seasons he held sway as military head of state and civilian president.
“Our economic infrastructure is second to none in the history of this state. The PDP presided over this state for a period of ten years and they left a tale of woes, neglect and discredit infrastructure. Today we have converted that sorry state to a sweetened state by virtues of the economic infrastructure we have put in place.
“It will be a wrong estimation for anybody to put Oshiomhole in the rank of those who are called emperors. We don’t own a private jet in this state. Others have and they don’t have the means to sustaining it. We don’t live an exorbitant lifestyle. The governor’s office is the same except that we renovated it to give it a facelift.
“Go round and ask local government chairmen. Oshiomhole does not touch local government money. The directive he gave was that they should pay primary school teachers as a first line charge because of his commitment to education.
“When there was an interregnum, he saved money for the local governments. Some got as much as N800m. They inherited it because Oshiomhole saved the money for elected chairmen,” he said.