It is a reminiscence period for former President Olusegun Obasanjo as he turns 80 years on Monday.
Obasanjo in an interview with a group of journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to mark the occasion fired a broadside at Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to reignite their long running standoff.
He said although he holds no grudge against the playwright, Soyinka should not be seen as either God or an oracle.
The ex- President said there is hope for Nigeria despite the numerous socio-economic challenges facing the country and that while Nigeria is not exactly where it ought to be, things could have been worse that they are now.
He clarified his statement on an Igbo president in 2019 and parried a question on his relationship with his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar.
Asked whether he had forgiven Soyinka after the writer openly kicked against Obasanjo’s aspiration to become United Nations Secretary General, the former President said: “You’re absolutely wrong. I don’t hold a grudge.
“Wole Soyinka is not God. And I don’t believe there’s any human being that is absolutely right. Wole Soyinka has what I believe he has. He’s a gifted person in his own way.
“But Wole Soyinka is not an oracle. I will not accept Wole Soyinka making cathedral statement on everything. I don’t believe that anybody could do that.
“So it’s not a question of forgiveness. When Wole Soyinka does what I believe is right, I will commend him. When he says what I believe is not right, Wole Soyinka is a populist and I don’t believe in populism.”
Obasanjo insisted that his assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari is that he has not done badly.
“President Buhari has not disappointed me. From what I know about him and what he has done, he has not disappointed me,” he said.
“In my book, I said he’s not strong on the economy. And he’s not. In fact, I said he’s not strong on foreign affairs. He’s improved somewhat on foreign affairs. But in the areas we know him, he has done his best. He has done his best in fighting insurgency. He has done his best in trying to fight corruption.”