By Leo Sobechi
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came out with scathing remarks against President Buhari, describing his leadership style as full of ‘adhocry’.
He said Buhari’s plan to obtain an external loan of $29.96b has exposed the president’s unrealistic approach to socio-economic challenges facing the country.
Obasanjo, who spoke in Lagos while delivering the keynote speech at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, also lashed out at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations (including the one he, Obasanjo, led) together on issues of corruption and bad governance.
Urging Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, Obasanjo said since the incumbent was elected to change the country, “he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.”
Apparently mocking Buhari’s penchant for blaming past leaders, the former president said: “It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
“Yet, once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress, leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”
He said a collective approach to solving the problems on the ground was needed. “Now that we have had change, because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based.”
Returning to the president’s search for about $30 billion loan, Obasanjo, who was instrumental to the election of Buhari, called for a broad policy that would deliver on the short, medium and long-term.
He said: “I am sure that a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years.”
According to Obasanjo, “Adhocry is not the answer. Cold, hardheaded planning that evinces confidence and trust is. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.
“Investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange, and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of short-termism.
“Short-term may be the enemy of medium and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensations have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”
The former president continued his tirade against the National Assembly, stressing that the legislative arm “stinks to high heavens”, even as he said the Nigerian military needed to be purged