The clash between Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Former President Ibrahim Babangida may be far from over. Although Obasanjo has reportedly said he will not pass further comments on the issue, IBB hardly seems satisfied. Speaking through Prince Kassim Afegbua, his media spokesman, IBB said “we are actually not fighting Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, it has not got to that level, we might seek legal redress on this issue”.
He went on: “We think and most Nigerians do, also, that the former leader went beyond his bounds to use very uncouth language to respond to what IBB said in his interview. I want to refer you to the published interview and, please find out for me, where we castigated Chief Obasanjo.
“General IBB only made allusion to the on-going probes in the National Assembly, several of which have exposed the rotten underbelly of that democratic regime of Obasanjo. He should rather call those who are exposing him through the probes fools and not direct his anger towards IBB.
“Every Nigerian who knows General IBB will attest to the fact that the former leader is highly cerebral and conveys a large dose of humility, tolerance and respect for people. He hardly discusses leaders on the pages of newspapers. But for him to be so described as a “fool at seventy” as a birthday message from a man who has gained more from IBB was the height of crass irresponsibility.
We are still weighing the options because we might seek legal redress on this issue. Please go and check the dictionary meaning of ‘fool’ and you will know the import of what I am saying.”
The spokesman added: “Chief Obasanjo has just brought home ant-infested logs, so he must be ready for the visit of the lizards. We will not allow him to denigrate the personality and quintessence of IBB just like that.
People are aware that General IBB is very magnanimous and tolerant of criticism, he does not like joining issues with his subordinates and superiors, but on this issue, we will place history in its true perspectives. A sentence from OBJ will be met with two sentences from us.
A word from him will be met with a sentence from us. Gone were those days when people just ram things down the throat of General IBB and the man will just let things go by. These days, we will return word for word, sentence for sentence and phrase for phrase.
The warring former Presidents have both denied claims that the Presidency intends to intervene in their conflict saying that there are not aware of any such actions or intentions. There are reports that the reason for IBB’s annoyance with Obasanjo is over what IBB’s supposedly considers to be Obasanjo’s betrayal.These reports have it that Babangida felt betrayed that Obasanjo could work against his presidential ambitions in 2007 and 2011, this was contrary to the agreement they had during the tenure Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), to make Obasanjo president in 1999. Instead Obasanjo foiled IBB’s Presidential aspirations by bringing late President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua to contest against him. IBB is supposedly most pained by the fact that Obasanjo got a second chance to rule which he did not get.
Femi Fani-Kayode – former spokesman and Minister of Culture and later of Aviation under the Obasanjo administration seems to have taken sides with IBB as he is of the opinion that Obasanjo’s addressing IBB that way amounted to ingratitude. According to him, it was IBB’s dogged support that had availed Obasanjo the opportunity to rule in both his military and his civilian tenures.