ABUJA (AFP) — The Nigerian presidency on Wednesday hit back at criticism by
former president Olusegun Obasanjo, describing his widely leaked letter
accusing Goodluck Jonathan of leadership failures as "indecorous" and
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said in a
statement that Obasanjo's letter to President Jonathan was deliberately
leaked to the media in an effort to "to impugn the integrity of the
In the 18-page missive, the former head of state --
who ruled from 1999 to 2007 -- accuses Jonathan of failing to tackle a
litany of problems, from corruption to piracy, kidnapping and oil theft.
He also takes the president to task over party infighting and a
crackdown on dissenters.
"I want nothing from you personally
except that you should run the affairs of Nigeria not only to make
Nigeria good, but to make Nigeria great for which I have always pleaded
with you and I will always do so. And it is yet to be done for most
Nigerians to see," Obasanjo wrote.
He added that he was speaking out because he felt the country was heading in the wrong direction.
could sense a semblance between the situation that we are gradually
getting into and the situation we fell into as a nation during the
Abacha era," he said.
Sani Abacha, a dictator in power from 1993
to 1998 when he died, ruled Nigeria with an iron fist, jailing and
driving his critics into exile. Abacha's regime jailed Obasanjo and
several others for his alleged involvement in a failed coup plot in
Abati said Jonathan would in due time respond to the letter
and "the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges
levied against him and his administration".
He added that it was
"highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative" that the letter was
"deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn
the integrity of the president and denigrate his commitment to giving
Nigeria the best possible leadership".
Obasanjo contested and won
elections in 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party, now enmeshed in crisis.
He guided his chosen successor Musa Yar'Adua to an election win in 2007 and still holds huge sway in Nigerian politics.
Yar'Adua died in office and was succeeded by Jonathan.