A former military administrator of Bauchi and Osun states, Col. Theophilus Bamigboye (retd), and a former governor of the defunct Western State, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon, (retd) have said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo should not be castigated or lambasted for his comment on ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria.
Although they said they would not comment on Obasanjo’s statement, they advised Nigerians to respect Obasanjo, adding that the former President had a right to his opinion.
In separate interviews with newsmen on Thursday, they stated that Obasanjo was in a vantage position to hold his opinion, having been a two-time leader of Nigeria, as Head of State and two-term President in Nigeria’s democracy.
Bamigboye said, “This is the problem we have. Somebody who is of the standing of Obasanjo, people should respect his opinion and statement. He could not have made that statement anyhow.
“In any case, you do not expect me to lambast my former Command-In-Chief. I am not good at that. But people who are doing it, they should, for God’s sake, weigh it and then see reasons instead of castigating him. This is the way I look at him. This is a former Head of State and respected elder statesman; I think people should respect his opinion instead of castigating him.
“About his comment, I have no power, authority or knowledge about that. I cannot comment further on that.”
Jemibewon who is a former minister for Police Affairs said, “I think it is unfair to castigate an elderly person who is respected, in fact, beyond this country. I think it is unfair. People should be able to express their views. If you disagree, just simply say you disagree, rather than people castigating anybody.
“I think everybody who has reached the age of maturity should be able to express his opinion on a matter as long as he did not insult anybody. I think he should be able to express his view not to talk of somebody of the age of Obasanjo.
“If people claim he has no right to his personal opinion, who then will have right? As long as you do not insult people, everybody is entitled to his view on any matter. So he has expressed his view and, of course, anybody can subscribe to his view or disagree.”
On his reaction to Obasanjo’s comment, he said, “For me, I do not think I have any comment about his views or what he has expressed. I know that certainly, the situation in this country can be better, but it is very possible that when you think that certain people are involved in certain things, they may not all be involved. So I do not want to express opinion one way or the other but everybody has right to his opinion and views as long as it is not insulting.”
A former Chairman of the Nigerian Chapter of Transparency International, Major Gen. Ishola Williams (retd.), has differed with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on his statement that Boko Haram and herdsmen were fighting to islamise and fulanise Nigeria and Africa.
Williams, in a telephone interview with newsmen on Friday, said people were imbued with diverse cultural and religious beliefs which they would let go willingly without putting up a brave fight.
He said, “I don’t agree with Obasanjo’s statement. I don’t believe in what he said. Are we mumus (fools) that someone will just tell us this is the religion we should all follow and we will agree with him? In Yoruba history, didn’t the Yoruba stop Jihad at Ogbomoso?’’
He said there were several Islamic groups just like such also existed in Christianity, adding that such groups were indicative of the diversities in each religion.