The current face-off between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida has been generating mixed feelings among eminent leaders.

Where some of them see it as a ripe time for the government of the day to launch into the much demanded probe of failed past administrations of this country, others brush it off as mere distraction that is not necessary at the moment.

Chief Obasanjo had responded to an interview granted by General Babangida on the eve of his 70th birthday where he said, “In my eight years in office, I was able to manage poverty and achieve success while somebody for eight years managed affluence and achieved failure.”

In his response, the former President fired back at the Minna-born General, accusing him of threading the path of foolishness at seventy even as he defended his administration against allegations of ineffectiveness couched in the earlier IBB’s interview. He said “But if Babangida had decided on becoming a septuagenarian that he will be a fool, I think one should probably do what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 26, verse 4. It says don’t answer a fool because you may also become like him.”

In response, IBB took his time to observe that Obasanjo calling him a fool at 70, “is at best a compliment,” and that, “Nigerians surely know who is truly a fool or the greatest fool of this century.”

Uncomfortable with the developments, some leaders from across the country gave their words.

Ignore them -Balarabe Musa

What happened is that Obasanjo called Babangida a fool, which only shows a relationship between the two of them. OBJ is right because it was IBB that took him out of the prison and made him president in 1999. He should call him a fool. So Nigerians should not worry about it. It is not a serious political issue and so, I appeal to Nigerians to ignore the leaders and see both of them as non-existent.”

The war is timely –Adebanjo

Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the quarrel between Obasanjo and Babangida was God sent. “I think, it is God-sent that the two of them should quarrel. It is timely. It is God that is exposing them. When Obasanjo came to power, he was asked to probe IBB on “power”, but he couldn’t, probably he knew it was IBB that brought him out of prison to become the president in 1999. None of them has done the country any good throughout their lives. So, what they are doing should stop worrying Nigerians.

It’s a distraction —Lai Mohammed

The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed opines that the matter shouldn’t be taken seriously. “I think there are more important issues in the country than OBJ and IBB. We should commit ourselves to better issues than their problems. It is completely a distraction. Both OBJ and IBB should address their minds to serious issues”.

It’s shameful — Pa Reuben Fasoranti

Leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, simply rubbed it off as a display of shame on the part of the two leaders. He said, “It is shameful to see both of them in that kind of scenario having occupied the highest position in the country. The argument is not for our consumption.

Both of them are close and so, I don’t see the reason for the quarrel. We expect them to settle whatever quarrel is raging between them and set a good example for the younger generation.

It’s now a street fight—APGA’s Victor Umeh

The present open confrontation between General Babangida and General Obasanjo is a very good development because, it enables Nigerians to begin to know what they never knew about how they were governed in the past.

The country had been so misgoverned by these past leaders and nothing has been done to sanction the failed leaderships of the past. There is no country that can progress in that kind of situation.

“From what we know that have happened in Nigeria, it is easier to forgive Babangida’s sins but Obasanjo’s sins against Nigerians remain unpardonable. Babangida was a military ruler; in other words he ruled with the gun. The Nigerian people gave Obasanjo eight years opportunity to re-shape this country under his civilian administration. He mishandled the opportunity. Under Obasanjo’s civilian rule, Nigerians never witnessed any credible election; not any one and that is responsible for the present situation with our democracy.”

Mark, Kachako sue for peace

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has appealed to the warring Generals to sheath their swords in the interest of the nation. He spoke just as Obasanjo’s former Deputy Defence Adviser in India and former Acting Military Governor of Kastina, Senator (Col.) Isa Kachako spoke from Kano to lend his voice on the matter. He said they should “show the spirit of brotherhood and let every issue rest. Both of them brought us up and through their individual guidance, we have been able to achieve a lot of successes in our respective bits in the country and abroad,” said Kachako.

Senator Mark, according to a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the former Presidents who are elder statesmen to restrain from making further inflammatory remarks capable of destroying all the efforts they have sunk into building our great nation.

“As statesmen, you cannot afford to resolve your differences on the pages of newspapers. You have contributed immensely to the growth and development of this nation. Your responsibility is to advise those coming after you on the challenges confronting our nation today and in the future,” he said.

He cautioned the followers of these eminent Nigerians not to expand the horizon of this disagreement, adding that “we should continue to pray for peaceful co-existence amongst all.”

Presidency may wade in

Former Presidents Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) and Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) may have to appear before the State Security Services (SSS) to explain their recent disagreement which degenerated into a shouting match with the media having a field day over what one Aso Villa source described as “embarrassing, undignifying and unworthy of the status of former Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Sources close to the villa revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan had received a report on the incident late last night and was said to have expressed disappointment over the incidence and would wade into the crisis.

Our source also revealed that “If necessary, security agencies may invite IBB and OBJ on what actually transpired, causing the two statesmen to violate the sacrosanct principle of reserve in their public comments.

“The status of a former President of Nigeria is highly revered. That is why security agencies may look into the incident.”


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