The eldest son of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has attacked Vice President Atiku Abubakar in an interview published on Monday, accusing him of being unquenchable greedy.
In what could further worsen the crisis in the Abuja politics over the 2007 general election, Gbenga Obasanjo told The News magazine that his father had no third term ambition as being speculated in the press but businessmen are urging him to stay because they "cannot believe" Abubakar.
"The only reason why they are asking Baba to stay is because they are afraid of Atiku. They know he will come and take over everything they have built with his unquenchable greed," Gbenga said.
"Atiku thinks the presidency is his birthright. Loot at ... the privatization process, they just sold the entire country to themselves," said Gbenga, noting these are "fraud perpetrated against" Africa's most populous country.
But the president in a statement issued by his spokeswoman Oluremi Oyo dismissed the comments by his son as "embarrassing, unfortunate and regrettable."
"It must therefore be emphasized that they do not reflect the views of president and his government," the statement said.
It stressed that Gbenga as an adult was responsible for his statements and actions.
In his reaction, a spokesman for the vice president, Alhaji Garba Shedu issued a statement, saying that the comments by Gbenga were undeserving of a response.
"Young men who attacked men old enough to be their father are dismissed as rude and uncultured. This boy will not be glorified with a response," the statement said.
Suspecting that Gbenga was acting as a front for some political foes, it added "let the mask come off the face of the masquerade and we face each other."
The face-off between the two top Nigerian leaders blew into the open in August last year when Obasanjo accused his deputy of disloyalty shortly after Abubakar declared in a newspaper interview that the president was committed to leaving office in 2007.
The Nigerian constitution provides only two terms of four years for the presidency and tongues have been wagging that Obasanjo wants a third term.