Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that his exchange of pleasantries with President Muhammadu Buhari in African Union (AU) summit held in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, did not impair the essence of his letter to the president, advising him not to seek re-election in 2019.
The former president said this at the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday when he went to register at the launch of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).
Obasanjo said that his letter to Buhari was based on the deep concern for the critical state of the country and not on malice, adding that he did not wholly condemn Buhari’s administration, he also commended the president in areas where he had performed well.
He said, “Last week, I issued a statement which I did not do lightly or frivolously but out of deep concern for the situation of our country.
“I wonder why some Nigerians were worried why I had to pay respect to the Nigerian president at Addis Ababa. That’s my own upbringing as a well-born and bred Yoruba boy.
“That doesn’t mean that what I have said about the president, which I did not say out of bitterness and hatred… it is evidence that the president has performed, in some areas, good enough.
“In other areas not good and the proper advice I gave, which he may take and he may not take. I didn’t do that out of malice or out of ‘bad belle’. I did it out of my respect for that office and my interest and I hope in your interest and the interest of Buhari.”
Obasanjo said the CNM would make Nigeria a great country and would mobilise membership all over the country and in the diaspora.
He added that though members of the movement would be free to collectively decide on whether CNM becomes a political party or not, he vowed to abandon the movement the day it decides to enter active partisan-politics.
Obasanjo, who expressed joy at the launch of the movement in Abuja, said that Nigeria, like any other nation, has various challenges, stressing that the coalition’s readiness to mobilise Nigerians for peace, unity, security, stability, love, welfare and the well-being of vulnerable Nigerians, particularly the youths and women, was timely.