Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged Nigerians to do things differently in the 2019 general elections, noting that Nigeria deserves better than is currently on offer.
The former president said this during a meeting with presidential aspirant, Attahiru Bafarawa, at his Presidential Library in Abeokuta on Sunday, August 5, 2018.
Obasanjo advocated that the opposition in the country should be united in its resolve to sack the current government and not get pulled in different directions. He said no right-thinking Nigeria should support the current government.
He said, "If we do not act together, Nigeria will not be what it should be in 2019. The objective must be clear that only one person will be President of Nigeria but if the opposition starts going in different directions and pulling in different ways, Nigeria's situation may not change.
"With a population of 200 million and for us to continue to complain shows we keep doing the same thing we have been doing. If we want a different result, we need to do things differently.
"The situation in Nigeria today is not a situation which any right-thinking Nigerian will applaud and my strong belief is that Nigeria deserves better than what we have right now.
"What I will say is that if we do not act together, Nigeria will not be where it should be by 2019. Aspiration yes, but we must be objective together."
Obasanjo further told Bafarawa, a former Sokoto State governor, to aspire to contribute his quota to make Nigeria a better place than it is.
In response, Bafarawa expressed his commitment to making sure that Nigeria gets better than it currently is.
"My own strong belief is that Nigeria deserves better than we have now and we can get better than what we have. I believe the task of moving Nigeria to an enviable height is a collective responsibility and if we fail to act together as we ought to, the nation will not be where it is supposed to be in 2019," he said.
Obasanjo vs Buhari
Obasanjo's relationship with the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been strained for the past few months. He recently alleged that Buhari's administration has an active plan to indefinitely detain him by using false witnesses and documents to frame him.
In a statement released by his spokesperson, Kehinde Akinyemi, on June 8, 2018, the former president alleged that the witch hunt against him was fueled by his wave of criticism against the president's administration.
Obasanjo's war of words with Buhari started when he publicly condemned the president's administration in January and asked him to not seek re-election in next year's election.
In that 13-page statement titled, "The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement", Obasanjo also expressed his lost hope in the ability of the ruling All Progressives' Congress (APC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to provide Nigeria with the initiative it needs to progress.
He subsequently launched the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) which he said would be a movement of all well-meaning Nigerians that will engage in democratic practices that will drive Nigeria forward and be a source of hope for all Nigerians. That movement has adopted the as its political platform to install a new political class in the 2019 general elections.
With Obasanjo constantly criticising Buhari since that January statement, the most high-profile clash between the two happened in May when the president raised questions over the $16 billion allegedly spent on power projects during Obasanjo's administration.
While speaking at the Presidential Villa on May 22, 2018, Buhari remarked, "One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion USD on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?"
In response to the accusation, Obasanjo fired back later that day, saying that Buhari was ignorant on the subject for re-echoing an unsubstantiated allegation that has been proven false.