By NDUBUISI ORJI
Former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has lampooned former presidents in the country who were in the habit of criticizing the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. He said it was wrong for the former leaders to criticize the President especially when they could reach him privatly to offer whatever suggestion they have for the development of the country.
In a veiled reference to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who is currently having a stand off with Jonathan, George called for better conduct from past presidents. But he did not mention name George, who spoke during the African Leadership Award ceremony, where he received an award for his contribution to the youth empowerment in Nigeria said those who had held the highest office in the land should not be in the habit of pulling down others.
The award was organised by the All African Students Union (AASU). The PDP leader said, “past presidents don’t abuse people publicly. More so, to go to a foreign land to be denigrating your country. Don’t let us pull ourselves down.” He recalled that recently when former American President, George Bush was asked to comment on the Obama administration, he responded that all the occupants of the office were good men.
While urging former Nigerian leaders to emulate their American counterparts, George, who is also the leader of the PDP in Lagos State said “there is indeed significant wisdom in the American tradition, wherein preceding leadership abstains in deferent latitude from criticizing a succeeding power. And what is more, it is virtually a taboo to criticize the leadership of the American nation upon a foreign soil.”
Recall that in recent time, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had repeatedly criticized the Jonathan’s administration over the handling of nagging national issues, especially the Federal Government approach to the fight against the Boko Haram menace and security challenges in the country. However, the PDP chieftain stated that there was nothing wrong in criticizing the government of the day by the citizens, but that such criticism must be with the best of intentions and not to pull down the president, adding that “as patriots, we should help our President to succeed.
He cannot do it alone. Surely, we are not going to cuddle him. That itself will be disservice to the nation. We must point the ills of the society with all decency and sincerity.” He said leaders could be subjected to critical appraisals with a view to helping those in authority and assisting the pace of development without “ being petty or nasty.”
Furthermore, George said “ we can advice him (Jonathan). We can recommend to him because he is not perfect neither are we. But we cannot assume the arrant posture of curative omniscience. We cannot condemn with deliberate mischief and chest beating sense of infallibility.”