Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as announced his decision to dump the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
After the announcement, Obasanjo asked that his PDP membership ID card be torn by the Chairman of his ward 11 Ita-Eko, Sumonu Oladunjoye.
The former president also said that he isn’t ready to join any political party, as he wishes to remain an elder statesman.
He told newsmen, “They said they want to expel me from PDP. Although, I have not been told but I have my ears on ground.
“We’ve been trying to run away from a man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river.”
Obasanjo said he would prefer to remain a statesman rather than joining another political party but will be available to work with anybody without political affiliation.
“I have told you before that I became president on the platform of PDP. Once I leave the PDP, I will not join any party.
“I will only be a Nigerian. I am ready to work with anybody regardless of political affiliation.
“Why would some people say they want to send me away? They don’t need to bother themselves.
“Here’s your membership card, take it.
“From today on, in the presence of all us and with your support, I am not going to be in any political party in Nigeria.
“I am no more a politician but a statesman both internally and externally. The issued that they want to expel me from the party for, once you people are with me what other people am I looking for?
Meanwhile, the Nigerian military has come down hard on the former President, saying his conduct and unguarded utterances have fallen short of the standard of discipline expected of a General.
According to Military High Command, his recent negative comments about the military are far from being “noble”.
While positing that his motive “as usual remains unknown but it is certainly less than noble or well intentioned”, the Defence Headquarters added that “We dare say again that Chief Obasanjo’s assertions are false.”
In a statement on Monday, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, asserted that the former military leader was only playing to the gallery or indulging in politicization of serious national security affairs.
The statement reads in full:
“The Defence Headquarters has noted the remarks of a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as reported in the media stating his views on perceived state of the armed forces and the roles being allegedly played by the military in the nation’s political process in recent times. The leadership and cross section of the military believes that the former President and retired General has every right to be interested in the actions and fate of the military. Hence, his views like many others will continue to be accorded the well-deserved attention. It is however noteworthy that most of his utterances lately indicate an attitude of playing to the gallery or indulging in politicization of serious national security or military affairs.
“For instance, the comments credited to Chief Obasanjo alleging that the postponement of the General Elections was to enable President Jonathan to use the Service Chiefs to plot a tenure extension is to say the least, very surprising. It is surprising indeed, considering the fact that the retired General chose to ignore the clarification and emphatic assurances of non-partisanship of the military as declared in a DHQ statement on the position of the Armed Forces in the ongoing political activities. His motive as usual remains unknown but it is certainly less than noble or well intentioned. We dare say again that Chief Obasanjo’s assertions are false.
“Much as the military desires to respect the old General and his views, it has become necessary to point out that his conduct and unguarded utterances of late have fallen short of the standard of discipline expected of an individual who has had the privilege of service in the military and risen to the status of a General. The behavior of retired General (Chief) Obasanjo has been so unbecoming and continues to constitute a serious embarrassment to the military before all who have reasonably and rightly adjudged the essence of military background in terms of the high value and standard it tends to contribute to statesmanship.
“We feel constrained to remind the old General that the world has moved beyond that parochial and self-adulating reasoning and mindset which he seems stuck to. Indeed, he needs to be told that by virtue of their better training, exposure, education, assessment and environment, the military personnel of today are already far beyond his level in their appreciation of democracy and it’s indispensability for the stable and prosperous society which Nigerians cherish.
“In this instance, the military wishes to inform the retired General, that the institution which he bequeathed to the nation has .certainly developed beyond how he left it. The Nigerian military is now better placed to strive for the maintenance of the legacies & ethos of service, valour, subordination to constituted authorities, and nonpartisan commitment to duty and fatherland. It has to be restated that the military as an institution, is neither as inept in the discharge of its duties, nor is it being misused for political ends in the manner the retired General Obasanjo who was also a former President has possibly been made to believe.