- The presidency has come under attack following its criticism of former president Olusegun Obasanjo's 'state of nation' remark
- The five apex socio-political groups in the country said the message should have been taken seriously rather than the messenger
- Obasanjo, speaking on the state of the nation, had reprimanded the current government's handling of Nigeria's diversity
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The criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration on Monday, September 14, hit a new dimension as five apex socio-political groups in the country fired back at the presidency over its reaction to former president Olusegun Obasanjo's statement on the state of the nation.
Recall that the groups – Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Middle Belt Forum - held a two-day meeting with the former president.
It was during the meeting held in Abuja Obasanjo warned that Nigeria is fast drifting towards a failed state under the administration of President Buhari.
The former president expressed sadness at the divided state of the nation and charged that necessary steps have to be taken to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
Presidency, however, on Sunday, September 13, fired back at Chief Obasanjo for saying the country is seriously drifting.
In a statement by Lai Mohammed, the information minister, the presidency said President Buhari's emergence in 2015 saved Nigeria from collapse.
Another statement signed by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, September 13, accused Obasanjo of attempts to divide the nation.
“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief,” Shehu said.
But in a swift reaction to the presidency's rejoinder to Obasanjo's criticism of Buhari, the five socio-political groups described as “deeply disappointing and worrying” the attacks on the former leader.
“This goes to show the genuineness of our intention. Despite our differences, people from across party lines attended the meeting and what is expected is for the government to look at the message, not the messengers,” the groups argued.
"To say that the Presidency chose to react in the manner, it did to a responsible and credible initiative by our groups and a former president is, to put it politely, deeply disappointing and worrying.
“We are alarmed at the insensitivity of the Presidency, which will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action than taking steps to address gaping holes in the manner it handles our national destiny, our security and our economy."
Earlier, Legit.ng reported how prominent Nigerians asked the government of President Buhari to heed the advice sent out by Chief Obasanjo.
Some of them noted their support for Obasanjo's claim that the country was drifting and is now more divided.
However, the Arewa Consultative Forum headed by former minister Audu Ogbeh, slammed Obasanjo for making the comment.
5 years after, Nigerians speak about Buhari's administration | Legit TV