By Olawale Jokotoye/Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo broke his silence Tuesday since President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election last week, by saying he will continue to criticise him.
The former leader who had campaigned against Buhari’s re-election by raising a Third Force and a Coalition group, before finally settling for Abubakar Atiku, spoke at an event marking his 82nd birthday.
The event took place at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.
His comment followed an advice by the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo that Obasanjo should stop his attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.
Gbadebo, who noted that Obasanjo had been ‘‘a warrior’’ all his life, urged him to rest, fight less and rather take a position of a consultant at his new age.
‘‘At 82 years, I think you should keep your sword more rather than use it always,’’ he said.
Gbadebo, who served as a military officer during the military administration of Muhammadu Buhari between 1984 and 1985, said he had always told Obasanjo to leave his boss (Buhari) alone.
Obasanjo, who responded to goodwill messages from friends, family members and well wishers at the programme, responded by saying that the issues between him and Buhari were not personal.
According to the elder statesman, governance is not a family affair, adding that democracy involves criticisms and consideration of all sides to an issue.
‘‘There is nothing personal between President Buhari and I.
‘‘In a democracy, you can criticise a policy, a government or a leader because democracy is not a family affair.
‘‘If it is my brother that is occupying the leadership role and he is not doing what I believe he should do, he must be criticised and that is what democracy is all about.
‘‘I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian will ever be there.
‘‘So if I say anybody in government in Nigeria is not doing well, let that government prove that it is doing well,’’ he said.
Earlier, former Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, delivered a lecture entitled: ‘‘Colonialism, Apartheid, Freedom and South Africa Rising.’’
Buthelezi, in the lecture, identified corruption as the biggest challenge facing the African continent.
He expressed concern that South Africa currently ranked so poorly on the Corruption Perceptions Index of the Transparency International.
The former South-African Minister attributed the development to ‘‘the mistakes we have made, allowing resources to be consumed by greed and abuse.’’
Buthelezi, who noted that only six countries in the African Union had ranked above 50 on the corruption index, stressed that ‘‘corruption is pervasive throughout the region.
‘‘This is difficult to hear and perhaps, it stirs our anger. We must, however, accept the facts and fix them.
‘‘When we consider countries like Seychelles and Botswana who have become paragons of excellence, we need to ask what they did to achieve this.
‘‘We know that Botswana, for instance, reinforced its legal and institutional frameworks and made resources available specifically to fight corruption.
‘‘There are measures we can take and we must take them.
“If we can overcome these challenges in Africa, we will open the possibilities for growth, development and social justice that were the dreams of my generation,’’ he said.