FORMER president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has raised the alarm over postponement of the elections.
This was as he publicly endorsed former military head of state and candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Obasanjo was in Nairobi, Kenya, to launch a 1,500-page autobiography highly critical of Jonathan. The book has been banned in Nigeria, pending libel hearings brought by an ally of the president.
“The signs are not auspicious in the wake of the six-week postponement of the general election,” Obasanjo said, adding, “I don’t know whether a script is being played.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission, last weekend, postponed the earlier scheduled February 14 election till March 28, after security chiefs said they could not safeguard the polls while launching a regional military campaign to reclaim territory from Islamist extremists.
Obasanjo,in an interview, said: “I sincerely hope that the president is not going for a broke. “I hope that we will not have a coup... I hope we can avoid it.”
This is the first time Obasanjo has come out openly to support Buhari.
“The circumstances Buhari will be working under if he wins the election are different from the one he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature — he knows that,” said Obasanjo, adding that “he’s smart enough. He’s educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”
He also believed Buhari would be well equipped to combat corruption and restore fighting spirit to an army that had struggled in the face of the onslaught by Boko Haram.
“It’s a question of leadership - political and military,” Obasanjo said of the crisis facing the army.
“I think you need to ask Mr Jonathan how has he let the army go to this extent... Many things went wrong: recruitment went wrong; training went wrong; morale went down; motivation not there; corruption was deeply ingrained; welfare was bad,” he added.
The former leader also expressed dismay at the extent to which billions of dollars in oil revenues had “all disappeared” since he left office, when reserves had reached $45 billion and the government had $20 billion more in rainy day savings.