• My criticisms not personal, says former president
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo, yesterday advised former President Olusegun Obasanjo to desist from his ceaseless attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
This is coming as the former president has said that his criticism of President Buhari’s administration is not personal or borne out of hatred.
The monarch gave the advice in his goodwill message to mark the 82nd birthday anniversary of Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.
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 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.
The former president explained that he was only criticising the programmes and policy of the present administration to ensure that things were done according to democratic norms.
He noted that while anybody could be in the President’s position, the purpose of criticism was to deepen democracy and ensure economic growth and development of the nation.
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.
The former president further called on African leaders to focus more on democracy, good governance and the growth of the economy for the good of the people.
According to him, those who keep quiet in an environment where there is not development are accomplices in the crime.
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.