Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says it is worrisome that banditry is happening in the north-west region of the country where the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), hails from.
Obasanjo, therefore, asked the president to wake up and fight banditry and other sundry crimes especially in the northern part of the country.
The ex-president, who spoke on Sunday in a virtual interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, said Buhari should start thinking of leaving an enduring legacy as president.
He said, “I thought I knew President Buhari because he worked with me. But I used to ask people that is it that I have not read him well or read him adequately or is it that he has changed from the Buhari that I used to know? I am not subscribing to the people who say we have a new Buhari from Sudan and all that nonsense.
“I know what I believed was his limitations and I have written about it –he wasn’t strong in economics, not all of us are strong in anything but you need to have sufficient knowledge of it for you to direct the affairs. He wasn’t particularly too strong in foreign affairs but I thought he was strong enough in the military.
“From his performance in his first outing as head of state, I thought he would also do well in fighting corruption. I did not know the nepotistic tendencies of President Buhari maybe because he was not exposed to that sort of situation when he worked with me.
“But with what I have seen now, I believe that maybe he will be thinking of a legacy. Maybe he will also learn from what has happened in recent times. If you are the commander-in-chief and banditry is taking place in your backyard, then you have to wake up.”
The ex-president also said some governors are now in a state of hopelessness because of the president’s way of handling the insecurity in the country.
The security challenges in the country have assumed a more concerning dimension in recent times as rampaging bandits, bloodthirsty insurgents and ransom-demanding kidnappers terrorise Nigerians with daring audacity.
Amongst other cases of high-profile criminalities, bandits had on December 11, 2020 stormed Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina the same day the president arrived in Daura, and abducted over 300 schoolboys who were later released after some six days.
Some kidnap victims have not been fortunate like the lads as some of these captors mauled, raped and killed their abductees.
The PUNCH had reported that the worrisome spate of insecurity, especially in Buhari’s North-West and North-East regions had ignited the clamour for the sacking of the service chiefs.
The President appointed new service chiefs last week but Obasanjo said it was nothing to be cheery about, adding that the success or failure of the new commanders would be known in the next six months.
He said, “Recently, the president changed his service chiefs after they have been there for more than five years without any perceptible improvement and some people started jubilating.
“Somebody spoke to me and said, ‘Oh, you are not enthused’, and I said, ‘I am not’. The person said, ‘Why?’ And I said I don’t know any of those people that have been appointed as service chiefs but you will hear my comments three to six months from now because within that period, we should be able to show what they can do. And if they cannot bring about any perceptible change or improvement then you can write them off as failures.”
Obasanjo also advised the Buhari regime to better equip the security forces and provide them with the right motivation for them to succeed.