Obasanjo: I have not endorsed any presidential candidate

obasanjo-nigeriaFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday denied reports that he has endorsed the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari.

Obasanjo made the clarification during the launch of his 1,500-page autobiography, ‘My Watch’ in London, three days after local media reported he had endorsed Buhari during an interview with London-based Financial Times in Nairobi, the Kenya capital. Interestingly, the occasion was also the launch of the same book, ‘My Watch.’

The report drew the ire of notable Peoples Democratic Party chieftains who did not hesitate to lampoon the ex-president who is also a chieftain of the party. In the interview with the Financial Times, Obasanjo was quoted as saying: “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 Gen Obasanjo. “He’s smart enough. He’s educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”

But yesterday in London, Obasanjo may have surprised his audience when he announced that he was yet to decide on which presidential candidate to endorse, this even as he, again, criticized the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Financial Times had said: This is the first time Gen Obasanjo has come out openly to support Gen Buhari.” But yesterday, Obasanjo denied the statement, saying: “I didn’t endorse or unendorse him as such.

“What I said and I will say it again and I will do it: when the time comes for me to vote, I will consider the track record of all the candidates that are contesting and I will assess and based on my assessment, whoever I believe has the best track record to perform the job of the Nigerian president will have my vote.

“If anybody should know what the job of the Nigerian president requires, I should know. Nigeria has a population of 180 million and you wouldn’t have anybody other than one person or two persons that can run the affairs of Nigeria.

“There are millions who can run the affairs of Nigeria who are not even coming out. So why should you die on behalf of one who is probably performing as a mediocre? What the hell are we talking about? “If you love Nigeria, you would look for the best for Nigeria and I don’t believe that at this point in time we have the best for Nigeria.”

But even as he denies endorsing Buhari, he may have tactically defended the APC presidential candidate, regarding the certificate scandal he (Buhari) is facing.

According to reports, Obasanjo had bitter words for those questioning the academic qualification of Buhari. He wondered why some people should question the academic qualification of a retired army General who had passed through the Nigerian Army’s staff college, which is the equivalent of a first degree and also attended the US War College, which is equivalent to a master’s degree.

Obasanjo insists that it does not matter if Buhari does not have O’Level certificate.

“If anybody thinks that I’m illiterate or uneducated after attending many military institutions in the UK, India and the US, they should read my books. I would also urge those engaged in Buhari’s qualification debacle to focus on real issues and stop degenerating into trivialities,” he said.

On the fate of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, Obasanjo insists that the Federal Government failed in its responsibility to rescue the girls just as he said he had no regret not allowing his ex-Vice President Abubakar Atiku to succeed him.

Even with the mirage of problems he says Nigeria is currently facing, the former president is hopeful that Nigeria will emerge victorious and stronger. “God will see Nigeria through and Nigeria will emerge successfully and move up and forward. I am not heating anything. When things are going bad and you can’t say anything, you are an accomplice. If anybody can prove that what I am saying is wrong, I will apologise,” he said. -SunNews

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