The ex-president said Buhari has divided the nation with his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics
The former president made his feelings about Buhari's administration known in a 13-page statement released on Tuesday, January, 23, 2018.
In the statement titled, "The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement", Obasanjo pointed out major failings of the Buhari administration, particularly in the area of economic prosperity.
He said the president has performed below the expectations of Nigerians and asked him to take a backseat in 2019 and help the nation from the sidelines while someone else takes over.
He said, "President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.
"His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
"I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward."
Obasanjo also faulted the president for appearing to exhibit nepotic interest, as well as his administration's knack for not taking responsibility for issues.
He said, "There are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him.
"One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation.
"It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action?
"How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?
"The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security.
"The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one's own responsibility.
"Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game."
Obasanjo also expressed his lost hope in the ability of the ruling All Progressives' Congress (APC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in providing Nigeria with the initiative it needs to progress.
He said "I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction.
"If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it "a cruel Hobson's choice; it's like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference."
"We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly."
Read Obasanjo's full statement HERE.
While meeting with the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire in November 2017, the president explained that he was accompanied to the meeting by two state governors because it will "be another vote for me in the future."
Also, while speaking during a two-day visit to Kano State a week later, the president said he's confident of winning reelection particularly due to the crowd turnout.
"I am overwhelmed by the sea of people I see, and by what I see today, if elections are contested I will no doubt win it," he said.
Hours after media reports indicated that Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had been reappointed as Buhari's national campaign coordinator on January 3, 2018, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, told journalists in the State House that the campaign for Buhari's reelection has officially taken off in the southwest region.