According To Former President Obasanjo, Nigeria Is Back To Abacha Era

AFormer president Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria is back to the Abacha era when state institutions were used to fight perceived enemies of the head of state.

Obasanjo made the remark in an open letter titled ‘Points for Concern and Action’. It was distributed to journalists at a press conference held on Sunday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun state.

The former president decided to address the nation following recent developments in the polity, including the trial of the chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, over an alleged false declaration of assets.

Obasanjo said: “Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticizing him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.

“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved. Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.”

CONCERN OVER ELECTIONS

The former president also expressed “serious concern” over the integrity, impartiality and competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a credible election. He said going by the Osun State gubernatorial election, the forthcoming polls may have “incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment”.

He said the transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling while noting that Amina Zakari has become too controversial to take part in the elections. Obasanjo urged Zakari to “stay out” and “not be seen as a source of contamination of the elections”.

He also accused the All Progressives Congress of “recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualize the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count”. Obasanjo said the alleged recruitment is the “sole reason” the president refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.

CRITICISM FOR VP OSINBAJO

The former president criticized Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo over the “suspect timing” of the implementation of the Trader Moni scheme. He said: “What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”.

“A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope. Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.

“Those who criticize the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots. What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that.”

Obasanjo urged Nigerians that are “being intimidated or threatened” to persevere, saying “tough times do not last forever”.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) quickly replied former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying he was haunted by what he did while in office, especially with regards to the conduct of elections.

Lanre Issa-Onilu, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, stated this at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja,

He was reacting to allegations by Mr Obasanjo that the APC-led Federal Government had concluded plans with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the coming elections. “For eight years of Obasanjo in office, all the elections he held, in fact, government policies were determined by whatever mood he found himself. All the institutions of government were brought under his wings and what he did for those eight years is what is haunting him.

“He cannot imagine that a government will allow INEC the statuary independence that it has. We have had 93 elections or more since APC came to power, and you can be sure that all those elections were conducted without government interference. We can understand where the former president is coming from, his past is haunting him, he imagines that perhaps the way he did it is the same way we will do it,” Mr Issa-Onilu said.

He added that the APC-led federal government had always allowed institutions to fulfill their mandates without interference. Onilu further said that the 2003 and 2007 general elections held under Obasanjo`s watch were nothing to write home about. He assured Nigerian that under the APC government, votes would count in the coming general elections, assuring that the polls would be free, fair and credible.

The APC spokesman added that the party had no reason to rig elections, because according to him, its achievements in all sectors of the country`s economy would speak for it. He, however, advised Mr Obasanjo to adjust himself to the reality of an imminent defeat in the coming elections.

“He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky.“And the favour that God has done to him, he now considers as the things that are coming from him. I think it is time for him to smell the coffee, this election will come and it will be free and fair, APC does not have any reason to rig it,“ Issa- Onilu said.

He further maintained that after February 16, Mr Obasanjo “would realise that he is not God.’’

Mr Issa-Onilu said the APC was already campaigning round the country even though the PDP had earlier said that President Muhammadu Buhari would campaign by proxy. He also stressed that Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, personifies the dark era of the country.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to teach ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo “and his co-travelers” a political lesson they will never forget. In a statement which Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, issued on his behalf, Buhari accused the former president of being hostile to leaders he has no control over. He described him as someone who lacks the moral standing to criticize his administration.

Denying the allegation, Buhari said Obasanjo needed to visit his doctor for treatment. “The sixteen-page letter the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and released this afternoon is the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President politically, and have resorted to subterfuge,” the statement read.

“Our first message to the former President is that he needs a good doctor for good treatment and to say to him, ‘Get well soon’. As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President. But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better. It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.

“As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke. A leader who took USD 16 Billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.

“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria. The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.”

Culled from NAN

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