Considering the issues raised in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on the state of the nation, its contents should set the tone for discourse by the National Conference, a renowned clergyman, Bishop Emmah Isong, has suggested.
He told THISDAY in an interview in Calabar that as a former leader and now an elder statesman, Obasanjo knew more about Nigeria hence the allegations made in the letter should not be glossed over as the country was adrifting and the ship of the state in dire need of stability.
The presiding bishop of Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI), Calabar, said since the letter touched on many national issues, the national conference being organised by the presidency on take-off should consider them by using them as guide in its deliberations.
‘’I want to commend Obasanjo for making Nigerians proud by rising to the occasion. He could not have written the letter without reviewing the current state of the nation. His letter is an eye opener and seeks to make President Jonathan wake up to the realities of the issues of the day. He is trying to play the role of Nelson Mandela though belatedly.
‘’Jonathan should present the letter for public debate. Whether Obasanjo lied in the letter or not is a matter for Nigerians to judge themselves. To me, Jonathan should respond well to the allegations by seizing the opportunity to address Nigerians on the state of their affairs. It was a wonderful letter. I wish Nigerians have more of such letters.
‘’It is foolhardy to accuse Obasanjo of hypocrisy. People who said the former president has no moral justification for criticising Jonathan are paid agents of government. We are not after the credibility of who wrote the letter but its contents. Are they saying there’s no truth in all the allegations made? Let this letter form part of the national dialogue,’’ he said.
The president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Cross River State said Obasanjo by this letter was playing perfectly the role of a statesman and made Jonathan to understand that the late Nelson Mandela allowed his opponents and critics to speak and even appointed some to serve his government.
‘’The way Mr. President will react to this letter will make him powerful or not. The president can use this letter to score cheap political point. Let him respond to it if he has nothing to hide. This is an opportunity for the president to shine. He may not need to react in writing but through his projects, action and programmes,’’ he said.
On state governors who defected from the ruling PDP to APC, the man of God said he had no confidence in their action as they may return if they find the new party uncomfortable, adding that his pessimism was based on the fact that Nigerian politicians have no manifestos but manifestations.
He commended the Peoples democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State for zoning the governorship position in 2015 to the northern senatorial district, saying it had given each geopolitical bloc the opportunity to produce an occupant of the Government House and ensures there are no complaints of marginalisation.
‘’Without zoning, people were ready to vote for a governor of northern extraction. This is because the former governor, Donald Duke hails from the southern senatorial district, the incumbent from the central hence it is the turn of the north to take its turn at Government House. Let Imoke’s successor not be imposed. Such a successor should be proactive, development-oriented and build on the achievements of Imoke.
‘’The politics of emergence of state governors in the country is based on senatorial arrangement not ethnic. That is why constituencies are delineated. In 2015, we should look at credibility of candidates and their performance profile in previous offices held,’’ he said.