After almost 24 hours of silence, the federal government has responded to the critical letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The ex-president had accused President Muhammadu Buhari of performing below expectation, advising him against running in 2019.
Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, presidential spokesmen, had refused to comment on the letter when journalists sought their reactions.
But in a statement sent to media houses on Wednesday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, disagreed with Obasanjo on the achievements of Buhari.
Mohammed said it is possible that Obasanjo had been so busy that he could not keep track of the progress recorded by the Buhari administration.
“Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: fighting corruption and tackling insurgency,” the statement read.
“Specifically, the former president said President Buhari must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We thank him for this.
“Apparently, the former president believes that the administration does not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third of our three-pronged campaign promises.
“We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.
“Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help.
“This administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing.”
Some of the achievements listed include daily feeding of 5.2 million children, empowerment of 200,000 unemployed graduates, pulling the country out of recession, boosting of the agricultural sector.
The statement described as a distraction the issues raised on the 2019 election.
“On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return,” the statement read.
“However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the president at this time. This is because Mr. President spends every waking hours tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his Administration by successive past administrations.
“He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now!”