Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be careful and vigilant in taking decisions that would affect the country. Obasanjo, who was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday to confer with Buhari, stated that it was important to get people with integrity in right places if the country must move forward progressively.
Asked whether he was worried about the recent revelation in the National Assembly on padding of the 2016 budget, Obasanjo said: “It is not question of investigation, we should get men and women of integrity in the place and the president should be very vigilant, whatever should not pass should not pass.”
The former president stressed that he was vindicated by the revelation, which is not different from his earlier warning about corruption in the National Assembly. Obasanjo had, in January, accused the lawmakers of sustaining a culture of impunity, opaqueness and corruption.
In a letter criticising the National Assembly’s budget of N4.7 billion to purchase exotic cars for individual members, the former president described their action as insensitive because it does not reflect the current economic realities.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Buhari, Obasanjo noted that: “Well, if you said that I have said it in the past and if there are people who didn’t believe what I said in the past, then you now say that what has come out confirms what I said in the past, then you can say what I said in the past is what I will say now.”
The former president expressed concern over the current budget padding accusation and counteraccusation between the leadership of the House of Representatives and the former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin. Jibrin, who was removed as the chairman of the committee last week, had accused the leadership of the House of padding the 2016 budget to the tune of N40 billion.
He alleged that the padding was done at a secret location with the backing of Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three principal officers including Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor. On the purpose of his visit to Buhari, the former Nigerian leader said: “I am visiting this time because I have some messages for the president.
Not too long ago, I was in Liberia and Gambia and I have messages these two countries will want me to deliver to the president. “Also, onlyyesterday I came back from Seychelles Island where I attended this year’s Annual General meeting of Africa Export Development Bank.
And there are aspects of the proceedings that I think I should update the president.” Speaking on whether he was enjoying his travel around the world, Obasanjo said “travelling is a good education, what you will learn about a country by visiting that country for two or three days, you won’t learn by reading through books.”
He made some jokes when the former leader was asked whether he intended to slow down. “May God not allow you to slow now,” Obasanjo noted. Meanwhile, The Senate has assured that there is no impeachable offence against Buhari and, as such, there is no contemplation of impeachment by the chamber.