President Muhammadu Buhari has explained that he was reluctant to reply to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegations against his administration.
Consequently, he stopped his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, from responding and told the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, also not to reply to the former President.
But while Mr Adesina complied with the instructions of his boss, the Minister did not and replied.
President Buhari spoke about the development on Friday night when members of the Buhari Support Organisation visited him at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.
According to the President, the age difference between Adesina and Obasanjo was one of the reasons he ruled out a response to the latter.
He said, “My press secretary was agitated he wanted to reply the letter, but I stopped him for two reasons.
“First, because he is much younger than Former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Secondly, he is from the same consistency as Obasanjo so I wouldn’t know how it will affect him if I allow him to go wild or go public.”
The same considerations did not apply to the Information and Culture Minister, who the President believes did a good job with his response, even though that was done in disobedience of his directive.
“When Lai Mohammed came I said he shouldn’t, he insisted, he disobeyed me. He said he was going to remind Nigerians where we find ourselves when we came in as a government, where we are now and what we have done with the resources available to us.
“And I understand he did a good job because a number of people rang me and said Lai Mohammed has done a good job,” Buhari said.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had on accused the Federal Government of plotting to silence him by using false witnesses to indict and possibly arrest him.
Chief Obasanjo, an ally-turned critic of President Buhari, made the allegations against the government in a statement issued by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
The former President based his statement on information received from highly-placed security sources who alleged that his name is on a watch list and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.
“The operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail the personal liberties of the former President and hang a crime on him,” the statement added.
But Mr Mohammed rejected the allegations, describing them as frivolous and aimed at distracting the government.
Although the minister does not think there is any merit to the former President’s claim, he stressed that the Buhari administration was to busy fixing the country to consider the idea of framing anyone.
”This administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens. That is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration,” a statement by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, read in part.
President Buhari observed that the response by the minister was professional and reminded Nigerians of the state of the nation in 2015 when he came to power.
He believes it also captured the progress made since then and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the economy and better the lot of Nigerians.