Some elder statesmen under the aegis of the Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) say President Muhammadu Buhari has surpassed his predecessors in terms of security, contrary to claims by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The group made this known in a communique issued on Tuesday and signed by Alhaji Muhammadu Ari Gwaska and Chief Simon Shango, its President and Secretary respectively after an emergency meeting in Abuja.

As part of its resolution, the elder statesmen described Obasanjo’s comments describing Nigeria as a failed state as a “hoax”, noting that President Buhari has stood for the country’s unity and indivisibility at all times.

While admitting that Obasanjo deserves respect based on his status, the group said his utterances unfortunately in most times is condescendingly wrong.

According to the PEC, the nation was in shambles and on the brink of collapse in terms of security prior to Buhari’s emergence in 2015.

” The state of affairs in Nigeria as inherited by President Buhari to describe it mildly were terrible, horrible and disheartening. No any other failure of leadership in the country can descend below it,” the communique said in part.

However, PEC stated that with the courage and will displayed by President Buhari, Nigeria is dramatically back from the woods.

It said the era of bombings in the North-East and the Federal Capital Territory, kidnappings in the South-South as well as an insurrection in the South-East is now forgotten.

The PEC, therefore, commended the efforts of Mr. President on the journey so far, pleading with him never to be distracted; but keep his vision on course to deliver the nation from the ruins the likes of  Obasanjo’s and his co-travellers deposited on the land.

It, however, advised Obasanjo and others, that as elders, “they have a sacred obligation to the younger generation by striving to leave a legacy of truth and honesty”.

Read full communique below:

Chief Obasanjo is twice a former leader of Nigeria and rightly an elder statesman in Nigeria nay Africa as a whole and deserves his respect based on this status. He is always welcome to make interventions on the state of affairs in the country to serve as a guide to incumbent leaders of Nigeria. Though, sometimes Obasanjo’s utterances are right; but unfortunately, most times, he is condescendingly wrong. His latest public statement at the consultative dialogue is a perfect example of the many instances he is damn wrong and sounds unconvincing even to himself.

Ex-President Obasanjo, more than any other Nigerian leader knows the institutionalized, intricate and complex problems of Nigeria, as the country’s democratic leader from 1999-2007. And he midwifed all the two successive administrations which came after him. The preceding administration to President Muhammadu Buhari which had a golden opportunity to arrest the socio-economic drift of the country, but disgustingly and ludicrously reneged was singularly attributable to his influence by Nigerians.

The state of affairs in Nigeria as inherited by President Buhari to describe it mildly were terrible, horrible and disheartening. No any other failure of leadership in the country can descend below it. Nigeria was suddenly plunged in mindless wastes, massive poverty, depravities, misery, overwhelming lethal insecurities, which upgraded Nigeria to the status of the   Syria of Africa. Nigeria was assailed by this mirage of afflictions in the midst of years of oil and economic boom which was rather consumed through official profligacy and politicking by elites at the expense of the masses and the prosperity of the country.

An unbiased, sensible and dispassionate former leader of the country should know President Buhari came on board the lead ship of Nigeria with virtually nothing left for him to manage the affairs of the country; while mountains of national problems were domiciled in every part of Nigeria. But undeterred, President Buhari summoned the courage to start rebuilding from the ruins and emptiness transferred to him. We have no doubt, President Buhari is adroitly rescuing the nation and no one expects that all the volley of problems should dissipate in a jiffy. But there are visible and positive signs of improvements.

Insecurity was undoubtedly the greatest problem of Nigerians. Boko Haram insurgency; armed banditry, bile, chaotic and anarchic separatists’ movements; militancy, ethnic militias, communal and sectarian clashes and farmers/herders skirmishes conspiratorially converged on Nigeria, devouring our youthful population and economic resources unrestrained.

President Buhari has insisted on the security of lives and property of all Nigerians and the respite Nigerians experience today from these insecurities is because of Mr President’s uncompromising stand on security. In fairness, the administration of Buhari has saved Nigeria from the ditch of a glaring and consuming holocaust it was plunged before his Presidency.

Chief Obasanjo cannot contradict or deny the sacrifices the Nigerian Army has endured in order to restore peace and security to the troubled Northeast region, with the hitherto vitriolic Boko Haram insurgency ditto, armed banditry and cattle rustling in the Northwest, virulent Niger Delta militancy and all other lethal crises which overwhelmed civil security and imposed gloom and servitude on Nigerians. That there are peace and security now in the South-South and Southwest is large because of the relentless efforts of an obviously overstretched Nigerian Army.

But quite regrettably, Obasanjo has forgotten suddenly that as serving President of Nigeria, he wittingly failed to equip the military in his eight years as President. It saw the whole country and its entire military might ridicule and kowtowing to a ragtag militia group which grew into a terrible terror gang, which tormented Nigerians for years. Yet, his usual pride cannot allow Obasanjo appreciates President Buhari who is equipping the Nigerian Military; a responsibility he could not discharge.

President Buhari has never minced words in standing for unity and indivisibility of Nigeria at all times.  He has devoted his life and public service to this cause. His sermons in this regard have always centred on the oneness and unity of purpose, equal opportunities for all Nigerians regardless of political party affinities, ethnicity, religion or social affiliations. Issues of favouritism, nepotism and ethnicity are fast disappearing from the national psyche. He permits the federating units to operate their states according to their dictates and tastes in strict adherence to democratic norms and the rule of law.

No leader in Nigeria in recent times has demonstrated this inclination more than President Buhari. It is, therefore, thoughtless and completely insensitive for Obasanjo to utter or even insinuate that Nigeria is “slowly becoming a failed state or poverty capital of the world.”  In spite of meagre resources and repeated global economic recessions, the latest precipitated by the Coronavirus pandemic, the administration of President Buhari has initiated and implemented numerous poverty alleviation schemes for unemployed Nigerian youths.

The N-Power jobs, generous free-interest loans to farmers to boost agricultural activities, same to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and the latest National Youth Fund designed to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty belies Obasanjo’s loathsome claims.

Therefore, President Buhari as the Commander -in- Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces has achieved more on security than any other leader in Africa in any country similarly troubled by insecurities even in lesser proportions than Nigeria. On the economic plane, Nigeria is on a steady path of recovery, in spite of the global meltdown in the prices of crude oil in the international market. Mr President has over the years been able to manage the country’s commonwealth prudently and judiciously in timely payments of recurrent expenditure bills as well as executing dozens of capital projects across all the geo-political zones of Nigeria simultaneously.

The milestones have been possible because the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption is progressing steadily and spares no foe or friend or relation. Financial sanity has been restored in public governance and those who regale in looting or embezzling public resources are now conscious that there is punishment after the act when caught. These are praiseworthy strides of the government, which deserve eulogies because on it, rests the dream of Nigeria’s final redemption under the Buhari Presidency.

Nigeria is therefore on a sound footing and on the track to total recovery. Nigerians have sighted reassuring rays of hope of regaining their lost virile and strong country under President Buhari’s leadership. The detractors can expectedly spew every rubbish that defiles wisdom. But it is least expected of someone of Obasanjo’s standing; while mindful of his pretentious public posturing of being against “call for war or secession. It is deceptive and overtly runs contrary to his inner mindset, as betrayed by his inciting statements to Nigerians and Nigeria’s political leadership in the same forum.

Obasanjo kicked against the proposed Constitutional review on the flimsy excuse that it is a money-gulping activity and endless waste of resources without results. This is extremely unconscionable. Nigeria operates a Constitutional democracy, which is governed by the rule of law. And Nigerians are agitating for a review of obsolete laws or inclusion of certain aspects of prime national issues not covered in the 1999 Constitution.

It is thoughtless for a leader of Obasanjo’s status to kick against the legitimate aspirations of the masses of Nigeria and fault the government for being responsive to popular agitations or yearnings. If previous proposed Constitutional amendments failed, including the one organized by the Obasanjo Presidency, it is not a yardstick or permanent standard that no other leader of Nigeria can succeed in amending the Nigerian Constitution.

While it is acceptable to encourage dialogue among leaders and groups in the country; it is absurd to push this mutual conversation on the plank of imaginary national malaises as Obasanjo erroneously pontificated at the forum by instigating discussion on “death, destruction, debt, disease, deceit, disbelief, disenchantment, doubt and suspicion around.” This is the height of dishonesty and veiled incitement of the people. These leaders are not bothered because they are aware of the concoctions by Obasanjo as his mischievous ways of ventilating personal grievances against the government for being sidelined.

PEC wholeheartedly commends the efforts of Mr. President on the journey so far and plead with him never to be distracted, but keep his efforts on course to deliver the nation from the ruins likes of  Obasanjo’s and co-travellers deposited on the land.

Lastly, let us advise Obasanjo that as elders, they have a sacred obligation to the younger generation by striving to leave a legacy of truth and honesty. This is exactly what President Buhari is rightly doing and even though, many persons including members of this group had disagreed with him  in the past; but  it is not worth the hoax,  lies and falsehood that Obasanjo is peddling or wants the world to believe.