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Buhari felicitates with Obasanjo

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President Muhammadu Buhari has found it in his good heart to congratulate former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his birthday, extolling the latter’s immeasurable contributions to the unity and development of our land. He said he was doing so despite their political differences. He, unlike his apologists, sees Obasanjo’s criticisms, as nothing personal. He described Obasanjo as “a passionate and great patriot who deserves accolades for his immeasurable contributions to our democracy and national unity. ..

Regardless of our political differences with Obasanjo, I still hold him in the highest esteem because his contributions to the development of the country overshadow those differences.” That is the mark of a mature spirit. A petty mind would have ignored the occasion. Buhari may not be my kind of President, I recognise a good heart when I see one. On this occasion, it is Obj’s response I find inappropriate. In the time of rejoicing and shared happiness it was not necessary for Obj to raise the issue of seniority.

I recall Chief Awolowo saying that once his attention was drawn to the unrelenting and unsparing criticisms of him by the New Nigerian of the triumvirate of Adamu Ciroma, Mamman Daura, Turi Muhammadu, he cultivated the habit of personally reading the newspaper on a daily basis. The editorials, Awolowo said, kept him on his toes, and got him to rethink many a subject he had thought was settled. The New Nigerian said in its maiden edition in January 1966 that it was the voice of the North. And there were no apologies for that. The editorials were informed, well argued, and incisive, as well as relentless. They were powerful. That certainly is the intention of Obasanjo’s appraisal and criticisms of Buhari and his Administration. We must promote clash of reasoning. Let facts contend against facts. What is forced out of the mills of contention can only always be of value and help. We must promote goodness whenever an act of goodness raises its beautiful head and hail large-heartedness. Buhari has just demonstrated that.This column didn’t appear yesterday due to computer glitches. It returns on Thursday next week.

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