MADUABUCHI NMERIBEH/Kano

Former Political Adviser to ex-president Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai has chided ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo over his comments against President Goodluck Jonathan on Democracy Day.

Obasanjo had shunned Jonathan’s Democracy Day celebration in Abuja on 29 May and travelled to the northwestern state of Jigawa where he attended Investment and Economic Summit organized by Governor Sule Lamido.

Chief Obasanjo was the Guest Speaker at the event where he made indirect comments, suggesting that the Jonathan’s administration was a failure.

Quoting one of Obasanjo’s jibes at Jonathan which goes that, “you can help someone to get a job but you can’t help that person do the job,” Yakasai wondered why Obasanjo should use such “unpalatable utterances” against President Jonathan.

In a statement signed by the elder statesman and made available to P.M.NEWS in Kano Wednesday evening, Yakasai said, “the unpalatable utterances of our former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo ostensibly directed on President Goodluck Jonathan which he made in the cause of his speech as special guest of honour at Ddutse, where he was reported to have said ‘you can help someone to get a job but you can’t help that person do the job.’

“He also used the occasion to underrate the achievements of the Jonathan administration especially in the area of macro-economic growth. The former President who was himself in office for eight years was also reported to have said that the road that leads into Dutse is better than the Lagos-Ibadan express way, forgetting that the two roads he referred to are all federal roads, as if that blame should go to the present federal administration, which has only been in office for two years,” Yakasai stated.

According to Yakasai, “General Obasanjo being a former President and high-ranking leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is the party in power at the Federal level in the country has every opportunity to seek audience with President Goodluck Jonathan and either offer him whatever advice he has to offer or criticize any policy of his administration that he has cause to disagree with. I think that is what is expected of any statesman, particularly people of the caliber of General Obasanjo,” Yakasai added.

The elder statesman noted that, “people close to him say when ever General Obasanjo disagrees with a person, he will carry the fight to his place of worship, to his dining table and sometimes, he will even be fighting the person in his dream. He is reported to be unforgiving and his method of disagreement with people is sometimes regarded as a matter of life and death.”

“To me as a patriotic Nigerian, a democracy day celebration is hardly a suitable occasion for any citizen to make a personal attack on his country’s leader. Whatever differences exist between them, such should have been solved amicably.

• Obasanjo: under fire over Jonathan comment

• Obasanjo: under fire over Jonathan comment

“General Obasanjo and I enjoy tremendous goodwill and mutual respect. I respect him as the former President of my country, and he accords me some measure of respect as his elder. It is in this spirit that I would like to appeal to the former Ppresident to pursue political differences with some decency and decorum. That is what normally is expected of a man of General Obasanjo’s calibre.

“Despite our difference with NPC leaders during the First Republic, we NEPU leaders as members of the opposition to the NPC never took our political differences with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa or Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto to the level of attacking their personalities.

“In the light of this and as a veteran politician, I would appeal to President Obasanjo to adopt decorum, tolerance and statesmanship standard in the pursuit of his political differences with others. This is the most honourable path for a man of his stature,” Tanko stated.