- House whip tags ex-president enemy of democracy over ‘unpatriotic’ comments
Segun James in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja
Senator Tunde Ogheha has said that the letter written by former-President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation and the president’s stewardship in the last three years is a clear indication that the followership in the country has woken up to its responsibility of calling the leadership to question.
But the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, chastised Obasanjo over his recent comments against President Buhari’s possible ambition to seek re-election in 2019.
Ogbeha spoke at a symposium on ‘Followership: An Antidote to a Defective Leadership,’ organised by the Venerable Henry Johnson Foundation for Theology and Social Transformation at the Bishop Adelakun Howells Memorial Church in Lagos wednesday.
He said Obasanjo’s action was apt in that until now, the followership has never held the leadership accountable for their deeds and misdeeds.
He said unlike in the military or the clergy where the leadership is defined by a rigid system, political leadership is transient in that a leader today can be a follower tomorrow.
He, however, insisted that “The followership gets the leadership it wants,” adding that followers must hold their leaders accountable.
He also expressed regret that the followership had been compromised, a situation which he said, made it difficult to have square pegs in square holes.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the event and a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, expressed regret that the Nigerian constitution did not make experience a requirement for those seeking political leadership.
Kolade said the followership in any system must be proactive for the leadership to succeed.
Also speaking, the former deputy governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, insisted that followership must not only be critical but be ready to take responsibility and must remain focused.
According to her, many leaders just go about doing whatever they want but a responsible followership could call them to order by letting them know the true situation of things.
Also speaking, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, lamented that most leaders ‘are up there not knowing what is happening below them.’
He said as vice chancellor, he had to evolve a strategy to keep the trouble makers in check, adding that this helped to ensure that his term as the head of the university was crisis-free.
Meanwhile, the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Doguwa, yesterday chastised Obasanjo over his recent comments against President Buhari’s possible ambition to seek re-election in 2019.
In his personal response to Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, Doguwa accused the former president of trying to be a stumbling block against the popular desire of Nigerians to give Buhari a second term to rule the country.
He said the Obasanjo lacks the moral and political credibility “to even speak in the way he is doing on political affairs of our country,” adding that “After all, a man who was involved in all sort of corruption issues in his administration and indeed his unpopular bid to violate our respected constitution by wanting to take a third term is not in any way a credible democratic voice to count on.”
The lawmaker, who is the leader of the North West Caucus in the lower chamber, however, insisted that his comments were entirely his personal opinion on Obasanjo and not that of the House of his caucus.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, he urged Nigerians to dismiss the “destructive comments” made by the former president as baseless.
He said: “Nigerians should consider him as a mere confusionist, mischievous and an enemy of true democracy in Nigeria as he has always been. “
He said: “It’s also my candid opinion that all well meaning Nigerians are impressed by the good works of President Buhari and therefore, yearn that Mr. President should answer this clarion call to accept to run for the second term by 2019.
“While of course, we must appreciate and acknowledge the health challenge of Mr. President which is naturally human, but it’s my sincere belief that Mr. President’s health has significantly improved and therefore, has the physical and mental capacity to continue to rule this country to the best of his abilities.”
He added that Obasanjo, who was used to engaging in “very unreasonable political comments should know that he cannot in any way be a stumbling block” against Buhari’s re-election bid.
According to him, ”There is a clarion call, at least from the state I’m representing on the floor of the House…indeed, it’s a clarion call and we urge Mr. President to run come 2019 and he’ll have our solid support for that.”
On the pockets of insecurity still rocking parts of the country as highlighted in Obasanjo’s letter, the Chief Whip, who hails from Kano State said: “They used not to be pockets, they used to be very enormous in the country; everyone can bear me witness that security problem in the past was worse than what it is today. So now that we have pockets of them, they are only pockets because Mr. President has been able to address them squarely. And we have to thank him for that.”
He said: “Even if you had cause to applaud Obasanjo in the past, no well meaning Nigerian should applaud him this time around because he’s doing exactly a wrong, unpatriotic thing and we should not go by him.”
He said Obasanjo was only fighting back against Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts because the former is corrupt.