Comments on insecurity : Obasanjo Fires Back At Gowon

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Former
President Olusegun Obasanjo
 at the weeker took on former Head of State,
retired General Yakubu Gowon for describing him as “highly irresponsible” for
criticising President Goodluck Jonathan’s ‘weak’ approach to the insecurity in
the North-East.
General Gowon used the phrase on Obasanjo at the launch of a
book, Stay At The Top, authored by a fellow of the Institute of Chartered
Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Omoniyi Komolafe, last week.  Gowon’s remark
was captured in the media thus: “Obasanjo is highly irresponsible to have made
such comments about the present government. Many people have condemned what he
(Obasanjo) did in Odi and Zaki Biam. So, it was irresponsible for him to defend
it or accuse the present administration.”

The
former Head of State referred to Obasanjo’s response to a question on the Boko
Haram crisis in Warri recently, where Obasanjo said there was need for
President Jonathan to be decisive in tackling the insecurity, just as he did in
dealing with the militancy in Odi, Bayelsa State in 1999.

In
a statement last night, Obasanjo, through his spokesman, Malam Garba Deen
Mohammed, said, Obasanjo was shocked by General Gowon’s comments, wondering,
“When did General Gowon become the spokesman of the Jonathan administration?”
Garba
Deen quoted Obasanjo as saying, “There’s nothing irresponsible about my
comments on the insecurity in Nigeria. I was only interpreting the reality. I
expressed an opinion on the way the Boko Haram crisis is being handled and said
if the current strategy is not working, then there has to be a change of
strategy to achieve results. If the strategy were working, Boko Haram would
have become a thing of the past by now.” It said further that, “In expressing
my opinion, I drew from my personal experience. General Gowon can disagree with
me without being insultive. Gowon’s comment is unkind, unfair, and unguarded.”
The
statement added that as a result of his commitment to end the insecurity,
Obasanjo left his abode in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to Maiduguri, the Boko Haram
enclave, to solicit for peace and dialogue with the sect. “Where was Gowon? Why
has he not visited Maiduguri to solicit for peace?  Is he not a leader of
the North? What effort has he made to ensure an end to the crisis?” Obasanjo
queried in his statement.
It
added that, “Just two weeks ago, the government of Borno State came out in the
open to declare that it had been abandoned by the Federal Government. Why
didn’t Gowon convince the Federal Government to help Maiduguri?”
At
the time General Gowon made the remarks, Obasanjo was playing host to several
northern governors in Abeokuta where the foundation stone was laid for a
mosque, Islamiya School and staff quarters for the Imam and teachers at the
mosque located in the Obasanjo Presidential Library. More than N350 million was
raised at the event.
Some
of the governors who attended the event included Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto
State, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Alhaji Saidu Usman Dankingari of Kebbi
State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, representatives of many governors,
former governors, and leaders of the National Assembly.
Source:
Daily Trust

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