By Ayo Kehinde
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo who recently stirred the hazy polity with a letter to President Buhari advising him not to run in 2019 because of what he considers as poor performance of his administration has explained that the Coalition for Nigeria Movement is not a third force but a grassroots movement for real change in the country. Obasanjo who formally joined the movement in Abeokuta on Thursday also took time to explain why he exchanged banters with Buhari at the venue of African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week
He said it was a natural behaviour of his as he bore the President no malice
“Last week, I issued a statement which I did not do lightly or frivolously but out of deep concern for the situation of our country. I wonder why some Nigerians were worried why I had to pay respect to the Nigerian President at Addis Ababa. That’s my own upbringing as a well-born and bred Yoruba boy.
“That doesn’t mean that what I have said about the President, which I did not say out of bitterness and hatred. It is evidence that the President has performed, in some areas, good enough.
” In other areas not good and a proper advice which he may take and he may not take.
“I didn’t do that out of malice or out of ‘bad belle’; I did it out of my respect for that office and my interest and I hope in your interest and the interest of Buhari in Nigeria.”
Obasanjo was speaking at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oke Ilewo area of Abeokuta, shortly after he formally registered as a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, barely 24 hours after the movement was launched in Abuja amidst pomp and pageantry on Wednesday.
In tow with Obasanjo to the NUJ venue of the Abeokuta chapter launch of the movement were its coordinators, former governors of Cross River and Osun States, Donald Duke and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola respectively, among others.
Addressing journalists and others present at the occasion, he said: “I am happy to be a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement which is a movement for good governance. This is the commencement for our popular and grassroots association.
“The membership will be free to collectively decide on whether it will become a political party and if it decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member. It is necessary to make it clear that this new movement does not regard itself as a third force.
“It sees itself as a popular movement that can accommodate all Nigerians irrespective of their political interest or affiliations and will propel Nigeria forward.”