Nigerians are still responding to the bombshell statement from former Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo asking Pres. Muhammadu Buhari not to vie for reelection in 2019, and expressing disappointment in his administration so far.
Below are reactions from five senior lawyers on whether they agree (Yay) or disagree (Nay) with Obasanjo’s submission:
Prof. Itse Sagay: NAY
“I saw Obasanjo’s comments and I could not believe my eyes, that a man who tried to get a third term is discouraging someone else from getting a second term. It doesn’t make sense.
“I think Obasanjo should try and respect other people. He has achieved a lot. He is a great man and I respect him. But he should learn to respect other people and think of them as being, at least, as good as himself.
“I think it is insulting for a man who wanted third term to tell somebody else not to want second term. It is most inappropriate, and for a former head of state to say so is most improper.”
Olisa Agbakogba SAN: YAY
“It (Obasanjo’s call) is a great idea as Buhari hasn’t anything left to offer. We at the Third Force will build a new coalition to take power.
“We salute Obasanjo for in a most decisive manner calling on all Nigerians to immediately join forces to bring about a Coalition for Nigeria; a political Third Force Movement that will rescue the country from the impunity and inertia of the two dominant parties in Nigeria; PDP and APC.’’
Mike Ozekhome SAN: YAY
“Even if you give Buhari another 20 years, he will only take Nigeria backward more and more. It is better to save Nigeria from him.
“That is why some of his supporters in the ruling party are backing off because they have realized that he’s a wrong horse to back.
“Some APC governors are still playing the proverbial ostrich, saying this man is doing well even when they know that he is not doing well.
“So, I totally agree with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Indeed his call is coming too late.”
Monday Ubani, Vice President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA): YAY
“Former President Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari was long expected and, for coming now, I will say it is even belated.
“Recall that former President Obasanjo has written such letters to virtually everyone that took over from him and if you will remember such letters were even written to former military leaders like IBB and Abacha.
“Such scathing and virulent attacks on leaders before and after him are therefore not novel. What is novel is that he did not initiate the attack on President Buhari timeously, due to some personal reasons known to him.
“However, former president Obasanjo should not allow this idea to get into his head that he has become the ‘power and principality’ that will always determine the political direction of Nigeria. “Nigerians should always know when they are tired of any government and should determine the fate of their leaders, including President Buhari if at all he decides to contest in 2019, and when they so decide it is not because former President Obasanjo instructed them but because they are tired of the ‘Change.’
“My humble take about Nigeria is that the destiny of Nigeria should not be seen to be in the hands of these supposed ‘powers and principalities’ of Nigerian politics but in the hands of the majority of Nigerians who must always have their way. That is the way for us to go and it is my dream for my dear country.
“Nigerians will not reject President Buhari in 2019 because former President Obasanjo said so but because President Buhari may have wittingly or unwittingly rejected Nigerians. He alone by now should know his status with Nigerians. A word is enough for the wise.”
Femi Falana SAN: YAY
“President Olusegun Obasanjo’s intervention is a vivid expression of the frustration of the Nigerian people with the Buhari administration.
“The statement is a clarion call on President Buhari to remove the incompetent and corrupt cabal of power mongers that has hijacked political power from him. Through sheer nepotism and cronism, the regime has lost the massive goodwill that heralded it to power.
“The success recorded in the fight against insurgency in the northeast zone has been eroded in the wave of kidnapping and reckless killing of unarmed Nigerians by AK47-bearing herdsmen.
“The success of the fight against corruption and impunity has been rubished by the inability of the regime to remove corrupt public officers.
“President Obasanjo’s challenge has been taken up by many Nigerians who have already formed a coalition of genuine progressive forces to liberate Nigeria from internal colonialism and imperialist control.”