President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday received members of the Northern Elders Council who paid him solidarity visit at the State House.
However, he used the occasion to indirectly reply his foremost critics- former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, saying they are not qualified to be called ‘Senior Citizens’.
Both Obasanjo and Buhari, have been critical of the Jonathan administration, accusing him of failing Nigerians and running the country aground.
A visibly enraged Jonathan accused them of making provocative statements that are capable of setting the country ablaze and causing disaffection amongst the people.
President Jonathan likened them to ‘Motor Park touts’, saying having occupied the highest office in the land does not qualify one to be ‘elder statesman’.
Carpeting them further, President Jonathan said he would rather refer to them as ordinary politicians than elder statesmen.
“Some people call themselves statesmen but they are not statesmen, they are just ordinary politicians.
“Some people are hiding under some clogs, some big names and creating a lot of problems in this country.
“Making provocative statements in this country, statements that will set this country ablaze and you tell me you are a senior citizen.
“You are not a senior citizen you can never be. You are ordinary motor park tout because if you are a senior citizen you will act like one.
“It is not because of the offices we occupy, it’s by divine grace and providence that some of us occupy these offices. But what role are you playing to build this country
“For you to be a statesman is not because you have occupied a big office before but the question is what are you bringing to bear? Are you building this country?
“Or are you a part of people who tell lie to destroy this country? To create enmity and make people who ordinarily would have been living together to fight themselves.
“Are you planning to set the country ablaze? Because you did not get that particular thing you want.
“At the appropriate time Nigerians will know all of us even though I know most of you know us but the younger ones do not know,” he said.
Former presidential adviser in the Second Republic, Tanko Yakassai, who led the Northern Elders Council delegation, said the Council was of the view that the southern part of the country must also be allowed to lead, in line with zoning arrangement commenced in 1999.
According to him, “Mr. President, Nigeria is passing through political transformation and it is important to all Nigerians and indeed northerners to appreciate the fact that this country was crafted in sub a manner that no one section if the country can rule the country without support of the other.
“It is unpatriotic for anybody to instigate people against any person or peoples because of a temporary gain. Politics of insult, blackmail and castigation of individuals shall not take this country anywhere. We therefore believe in peaceful co-existence among Nigerians and by working together shall we move the country forward”.