Leadership (Abuja)

2 February 2013

Nigeria: Blame Jonathan for Boko Haram - Obasanjo

The simmering differences between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a turn for the worst, with the former leader pointedly blaming Jonathan for the festering crises in most parts of Northern Nigeria following attacks by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

In a recent interview published in this month's edition of the pan-African magazine, New Africa, the former president accused Jonathan of mismanaging the security issues engulfing the country.

"If the president is the chief security officer of the country and there is a security problem, where do you go for solution? And if that solution is not coming from the chief security officer, who has everybody and can mobilize everybody, inside and outside to get a solution, then he has the responsibility to solve the problem. And nobody else should be blamed but him."

Obasanjo's broadside is coming on the heels of a recent claim by a former minister in the Obasanjo's cabinet, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili that the two administrations that succeeded Obasanjo's - Yar'Adua and the present Jonathan's administration, squandered $67 billion left in the nation's foreign reserve.

It will also be recalled that the former president unceremoniously stepped down as the Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). The faction loyal to him and that of Jonathan are presently locked in a no-win battle on who becomes the BoT chairman.

Last year, the former president had on his own initiated moves at finding a solution to the Boko Haram insurgency. He visited Maiduguri and met with some personalities.

President Jonathan has not visited Borno or Yobe states since the insurgency started. However, Vice-president Namadi Sambo is billed to visit Borno state today on a one-day visit.

Obasanjo in the interview also rebuffed literary giant, Chinua Achebe's claim that the Igbo ethnic group have been marginalized since after the Nigerian civil war.

Achebe in his recent book; "There Was A Country", had noted the plight of the Igbo in the post civil war Nigeria.

But Obasanjo, one of the principal actors during the war, in the interview said that Achebe's views was because the writer resides outside the country and therefore not at home with the happenings in the country in recent time.

His words: "May be he is making those remarks because he is not living in Nigeria. If he were living in Nigeria, when I was the president of this country, an Igbo lady was my minister of finance, an Igbo man was the governor of the Central Bank. An Igbo man was one of the military service chiefs. The Permanent Representative to the United Nation was also an Igbo person. What more do you want?

"For someone to say that the civil war has not ended, 40 years after its conclusion, that person is living in the past."

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