In a statement from his office, the President described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as “a passionate and great patriot who deserves accolades for his immeasurable contributions to our democracy and national unity.”
He acknowledged that “regardless of our political differences with Obasanjo, I still hold him in the highest esteem because his contributions to the development of the country overshadow those differences.”
He said, “Chief Obasanjo gave a good account of himself and inspired his juniors with his wit and other leadership skills.”
According to Buhari, “Nigeria’s successful transition to democratic rule in October 1979 was one of Obasanjo’s remarkable contributions to national development.”
“As he celebrates his 82nd Birthday Anniversary, I wish Chief Obasanjo more good health, knowledge and wisdom in the service of Nigeria and humanity”, President Buhari said.
At an anniversary celebration held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo restated that his beef with Buhari was not personal.
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Gbadebo, who said he was not comfortable whenever the prominent Egba son was on collisio course with the President advised him to apply the brakes now that he had clocked 82.
Obasanjo’s response: “Governance is not a family affair and democracy involves criticism and considering 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 believe that Africa has no alternative to democracy, good governance, development and growth of our economy. And If that is not happening in any country, those who keep quiet about it are accessories after the fact.
“That is what democracy is all about, criticism and seeing the other side. So, if I say anybody in government in Nigeria or any government for that matter is not doing well, let that government prove that it is well. It’s not anything personal.
“So, Kabiyesi, your boss, Buhari; there is nothing personal between me and him. Just as he is your boss, I am his boss, with all due respect.
“Now, the point is that I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian will ever be there. That’s true. If any Nigerian comes in and has two terms, he will not have almost four years of military rule. So, I have been there longer than any Nigerian would ever be.
“So, when I say something, I know what I am talking about. Kabiyesi, any time you say, “Leave my boss alone,” I say, ‘He is your boss. But I am also his (Buhari) boss.’