Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said his recent comments on the Goodluck Jonathan administration was not to run the president down, but he said everything out of genuine concern for the progress of Nigeria.
“I have raised most of what we discussed in my own public pronouncements in recent times, not to castigate anybody, not to bad-mouth anybody, not to run anybody down, but, out of genuine concern for the situation of this country,” Obasanjo said.
These same issues, according to him, was why five governors of the people’s Democratic Party (PDP) held a-three-hour- closed door meeting with in his Abeokuta home.
Obasanjo who hosted Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi and Liyel Imoke of Cross-River states. He said the meeting was to deliberate on the serious problems affecting the country.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Obasanjo thanked the governors for their concern for the nation. He announce that “They were concerned about what you may call the situation of the nation – security and economy.
“When we looked at these issues closely, very objectively, we came to the conclusion that, we have a bad situation, but, not irredeemably bad. Something can still be done and what now is required is the will and the courage to do something when and how it needs to be done. We agreed on that.
“I appreciate their coming to me because of the respect and honour they have for me, this task is not for one man and it is not even a task for one group, it is a task that requires all hands on deck and as they have said and assured me, they will hold this type of consultation with other leaders in the interest of this country which is ours and for which we have no alternatives,” Obasanjo said.
Commenting on the falling oil prices and the attendant consequences on the economy, Obasanjo said Nigeria should have prepared for the rainy day.
“I am never scared by anything but I am concerned that firstly, when we had surplus, we did not remember the rainy day, now ,that the rainy day is staring us in the face, we must be honest and courageous enough to do what is right, to let the nation know and then to take the steps that will put it right as quickly as possible. You do not need to be an oracle or a world bank expert or an International Monetary Fund expert to know that our economy is not what it should be.
“And this is not the first time we would hear it, we have heard it in the past when of course I came in in 1999, the price of oil was about $9 and we realised that we had a problem, we even made budget that we could not fund but we realised that we were in a serious situation and we took steps, within two to three years, we were able to sail through, the price of fuel started moving up.
“Do not forget that there was a time during the Iraqi war, price of fuel rose to $42 and then it came down to $9, the one that we have now, we do not know when it would bottom and at what price it would bottom but we can weather the storm if we take measure that we should take it and when to take it”.
Chairman of the PDP governors’ forum, Godswill Akpabio said the governors who were elected on the platform of the ruling party decided to pay a visit to the former President because of the role he played in the emergence of the current democracy.
“So, we decided that it is important for us to come and consult with him, as he said, pay our respect, discuss the affairs of the nation and then to tap from his wealth of wisdom.
“The intention here is that all Nigerians are determined to reposition the country, we have no other country than Nigeria and so, no matter the challenges we may face today, we must work together as a team to redeem the situation. I want to thank our dear leader for receiving us and for what he said that the situation is redeemable and that we must also consult other leaders and work to ensure that the country is redeemed,” he said.