Former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Alani Akinrinade has advised his former boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to desist from public letter-writing, in a bid to make a point, which is his fundamental right.
Gen. Akinrinade, a hero of the civil war when Obasanjo was the Commander of the Third Marine Commando, said since his former boss has unfettered access to those in power, letter-writing may not be a good option.
Gen. Akinrinade who worked with Obasanjo during the civil war also said whenever Obasanjo wrote his letters to the president, what came to his mind was how he handled similar matters when he was in the saddle.
While acknowledging Obasanjo’s role in history, Akinrinade said statesmen should consult with those in power and offer constructive criticisms, instead of going to the public.
The former Army chief spoke with reporters in Lagos, ahead of his 80th birthday holding in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Akinrinade said:” If in an opportunity to advise him, I will say he should not write letters again. Each time he writes a letter, the question I ask is: when he was there, how did he do it? He should not write letters again. He has access to them and he can give his advice, instead of writing.”
The retired soldier lamented the pollution of the military by acts inimical to professionalism.
He said there was no discipline in the Armed Forces, adding that soldiers had been misused for businesses they were not trained for.
Akinrinade urged Nigerians to stand for unity, saying that the country could be better.
He, however, said the conditions for unity and harmony should not be ignored.
Noting that Nigeria is a highly heterogeneous country, he said the basis for peaceful coexistence should be mutually worked out.
Akinrinade frowned at the neglect of the 2014 National Conference report by the Buhari administration.
He said it was curious that the administration that had ignored the report later set up an intra-party committee to discuss the possibility of true federalism.
He said restructuring cannot be compromised again, stressing that it is the key to the resolution of the national question.
Akinrinade, who assessed the 20 years of stable civil rule, said it could have been better.
He said:” We have not found exactly the formula. My assessment is that we have done very poorly. We could do much better.”