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I’ve not endorsed any presidential candidate –obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
yesterday denied reports that he has endorsed
the All Progressives Congress presidential
candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari.
Obasanjo made the clarification during the
launch of his 1,500-page autobiography, ‘My
Watch’ in London, three days after local media
reported he had endorsed Buhari during an
interview with London-based Financial Times in
Nairobi, the Kenya capital. Interestingly, the
occasion was also the launch of the same
book, ‘My Watch.’
The report drew the ire of notable Peoples
Democratic Party chieftains who did not
hesitate to lampoon the ex-president who is
also a chieftain of the party. In the interview
with the Financial Times, Obasanjo was quoted
as saying: “The circumstances (Buhari) will be
working under if he wins the election are
different from the one he worked under
before, where he was both the executive and
the legislature he knows that,” said Gen
Obasanjo. “He’s smart enough. He’s educated
enough. He’s experienced enough. Why
shouldn’t I support him?”
But yesterday in London, Obasanjo may have
surprised his audience when he announced
that he was yet to decide on which presidential
candidate to endorse, this even as he, again,
criticized the Peoples Democratic Party
presidential candidate, President Goodluck
Jonathan.
The Financial Times had said: This is the first
time Gen Obasanjo has come out openly to
support Gen Buhari.” But yesterday, Obasanjo
denied the statement, saying: “I didn’t endorse
or unendorse him as such.
“What I said and I will say it again and I will do
it: when the time comes for me to vote, I will
consider the track record of all the candidates
that are contesting and I will assess and based
on my assessment, whoever I believe has the
best track record to perform the job of the
Nigerian president will have my vote.
“If anybody should know what the job of the
Nigerian president requires, I should know.
Nigeria has a population of 180 million and
you wouldn’t have anybody other than one
person or two persons that can run the affairs
of Nigeria.
“There are millions who can run the affairs of
Nigeria who are not even coming out. So why
should you die on behalf of one who is
probably performing as a mediocre? What the
hell are we talking about? “If you love Nigeria,
you would look for the best for Nigeria and I
don’t believe that at this point in time we have
the best for Nigeria.”
But even as he denies endorsing Buhari, he
may have tactically defended the APC
presidential candidate, regarding the certificate
scandal he (Buhari) is facing.
According to reports, Obasanjo had bitter
words for those questioning the academic
qualification of Buhari. He wondered why
some people should question the academic
qualification of a retired army General who
had passed through the Nigerian Army’s staff
college, which is the equivalent of a first degree
and also attended the US War College, which is
equivalent to a master’s degree.
Obasanjo insists that it does not matter if
Buhari does not have O’Level certificate.
“If anybody thinks that I’m illiterate or
uneducated after attending many military
institutions in the UK, India and the US, they
should read my books. I would also urge those
engaged in Buhari’s qualification debacle to
focus on real issues and stop degenerating into
trivialities,” he said.
On the fate of the kidnapped Chibok
schoolgirls, Obasanjo insists that the Federal
Government failed in its responsibility to
rescue the girls just as he said he had no regret
not allowing his ex-Vice President Abubakar
Atiku to succeed him.
Even with the mirage of problems he says
Nigeria is currently facing, the former
president is hopeful that Nigeria will emerge
victorious and stronger. “God will see Nigeria
through and Nigeria will emerge successfully
and move up and forward. I am not heating
anything. When things are going bad and you
can’t say anything, you are an accomplice. If
anybody can prove that what I am saying is
wrong, I will apologise,” he said

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