The Alake of Egbaland believes that at 82, former president Olusegun Obasanjo should retire from his civic right to criticise the government in power. Speaking at the 82nd birthday celebration of the former president in Abeokuta, the Alake advised Obasanjo to stop criticising President Muhammadu Buhari.
Of course Obasanjo was not going to have any of that and he used the occasion to teach the 75-year old Alake a few things about the office of the citizen in a democracy.
Lesson 1 – What democracy and governance is not: “Governance is not a family affair and democracy involves criticism and considering all sides to an issue,” Obasanjo said, while emphasizing that there was nothing personal between the president and his.
“In a democracy, you can criticize a policy, a government or a leader because democracy is not a family affair. If it is my brother that is occupying the leadership role and he is not doing what I believe he should do, he must be criticized and that is what democracy is all about.”
Lesson 2 – Silence in the face of wrong is a terrible thing to do:
“I believe that Africa has no alternative to democracy, good governance, development, and growth of our economy. And If that is not happening in any country, those who keep quiet about it are accessories after the fact,” Obasanjo said. “So, if I say anybody in government in Nigeria or any government for that matter is not doing well, let that government prove that it is well. It’s not anything personal.”
Obasanjo then went on to speak about being Buhari’s boss. Those are not very important for this class, but just for the records, he said: “So, Kabiyesi, your boss, Buhari; there is nothing personal between me and him. Just as he is your boss, I am his boss, with all due respect. Now the point is that I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian will ever be there. That’s true. If any Nigerian comes in and has two terms, he will not have almost four years of military rule. So, I have been there longer than any Nigerian would ever be.”
Nobody really cares about all that. But hopefully Kabiyesi learnt a thing or two.