Nigeria: Obasanjo Is Confused, Says President Jonathan
Twenty-four hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo advised the Federal Government to adopt “carrot and stick” approach in tackling Boko Haram, presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, has told the Nigerian leader to pocket his counsel. In fact, Abati said Obasanjo is confused. Obasanjo told Zain Verjee on CNN International interview on Tuesday that President Goodluck Jonathan should use the stick to check the menace of the Islamist sect whose campaign has killed over 2,500 people during attacks on churches and mosques.
Reacting to Obasanjo’s interview for the second time yesterday, Abati, in four tweets, said Obasanjo is apparently confused over the Boko Haram menace with his recent suggestion that the “carrot and stick” approach should be employed to address the insurgency. Obasanjo had, in the CNN interview, accused President Jonathan of only using the stick approach to address the problem rather than ‘a double track’ approach.
“To deal with such group, you need ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ approach. ‘Carrot’ is finding out what, how to reach out to them and ‘stick’ is when you are trying to reach out to them, those that are amenable to be reached out to, you have to use the stick approach”. But Obasanjo’s new posture, however, drew the ire of the Presidency, as Abati picked holes in the suggestions of the former president, saying it smacked of contradiction and confusion.
He said Obasanjo had earlier accused President Jonathan of being too soft on Boko Haram at a function in Warri, Delta State where he suggested an Odi solution (genocide) to the Boko Haram insurgence “Jonathan administration has shown creativity and purposefulness in handling the Boko Haram challenge. Hence, the progress we witness. “One report says Obasanjo is recommending a multifaceted approach to Boko Haram. This government certainly doesn’t need a lecture on that,” Abati tweeted.
Obasanjo and the Presidency had engaged in a veiled war of words since last year over perceived plan by Jonathan to contest a second term in 2015. Although, the President was yet to declare his intention, Obasanjo had never concealed his posture that the next president must come from another zone of the country and not from the South-South where Jonathan hailed from.