Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, will explain why he refused to attend the May 29 and June 12 state functions in the country, the Nigerian Presidency has said.
While President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated for another term of four years on May 29, the nation celebrated the democracy day on June 12.
Mr Obasanjo did not attend the two events. He is not the only past leader to have stayed away from the state functions. The president’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan; former military leaders; Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalam Abubakar were all absent during the celebrations which held at the Eagle Square.
While Yakubu Gowon, former military leader, attended the president’s inauguration, he however stayed away during the democracy day celebration.
The presidency in a statement on Wednesday said Mr Obasanjo must explain why he failed to appear at the events which he was invited to attend.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, who signed the statement also dismissed insinuations that the former president was not invited but failed to release evidence to back up his claims.
“The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, owes an answer to Nigerians on his absence from the 2019 Presidential inauguration and Democracy Day celebration because the claim that he was not invited or he did not receive an invitation cannot be sustained,” Mr Shehu said.
“Since the claim was first made, elements in the polity that have deliberately and consistently been trying to lead the country toward polarization have cashed in on it, throwing all manner of rubbish at the Buhari Presidency.
“The fact remains that the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha wrote on May 16th, 2019.
“The invitation was sent to Chief Obasanjo’s known forwarding address, detailing out all the major events, and the invitation cards were delivered by a reputable courier company as confirmed.
“The receipt of the letter and invitation cards as delivered by the courier company was confirmed by Mr. Taiwo Ojo, the long standing Personal Secretary to the former President.
“If, in the circumstance, Chief Obasanjo did not see or receive the letter and invitation cards as published by Vanguard newspaper (Page 16, June 16, 2019) and several other news platforms, then the former President needs to find out what is happening with his own secretariat.
“The government office did its job diligently and should not be blemished for no reason,” the presidential spokesman said.
The relationship between the two political heavyweights went soar during the build up to this year’s presidential election.
Obasanjo withdrew his support for the president by asking him not to seek a second term in office but this did not deter the Nigerian leader who emerged winner of the election, defeating Atiku Abubakar, the candidate backed by the former president.