20 February 2018

Nigeria: Pro-Buhari Senator Tackles Obasanjo, Says Ex-President Should Be Tried for Corruption

A senator has criticised ex-Presdient Olusegun Obasanjo over his open letter to Presdient Muhammadu Buhari.

Abdullahi Adamu, who is also a former Nasarawa State governor, however, said he agrees with Mr. Obasanjo's allegations that Mr. Buhari is selective in prosecuting the anti-corruption war

"Chief Obasanjo said that President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the president were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock today on trial on charges of corruption arising from the corrupt practices in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the National Assembly in 2006."

Mr. Adamu, who was a Peoples Democratic Party governor when Mr. Obasanjo was president on the platform of the same party, said the solution to the problems in the country is a slow process and that Mr. Buhari has no power to simply make them disappear overnight.

While addressing a press conference tagged, "The Antics of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo" in Abuja on Monday, Mr. Adamu stressed that Mr. Obasanjo cannot, "escape the charge of impure motive and that he took this step, not to try and set things right for the sake of the nation but to promote Obasanjo for the sake of Obasanjo."

The APC senator said he wondered why the former president chose to write an open letter the way he did to former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 especially as he has unhindered access to President Buhari.

Few weeks ago, Mr. Obasanjo had in an open letter to Mr. Buhari titled "The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Coalition For Nigeria Movement," asked the president not to seek re-election in 2019 and called for a coalition to move Nigeria forward.

Mr. Obasanjo highlighted the widespread discontent with the Buhari administration and advised Mr. Buhari not to seek re-election but to "dismount the horse" with honour and dignity.

He criticised the president for Nigeria's economic woes saying though he had suspected that Mr. Buhari was not to be trusted with properly handling the economy, he had supported his election and in fact, voted for him because he thought the president would appoint capable managers to take charge of the economy.

In his reaction, Mr. Adamu said, "In a civilised political culture, it is taboo for former presidents to openly take a sitting president to the cleaners. Our former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has faithfully kept to this time-honoured culture of a former ruler not washing the dirty linens of a current ruler rather gleefully in the public. So have former President Shehu Shagari and former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

"The question is, if Chief Obasanjo meant well for Buhari, his administration and Nigeria, why did he not choose the option of quietly offering his advice to the president? In taking his case to the rowdy market place of sensationalism, he clearly intended to score cheap political points at the expense of the president.

"He intended to undermine the Buhari administration, subject the president to public ridicule and impugn his moral strength and integrity to lead the nation. As he must have obviously expected, his statement was intended to heat and is heating up the polity and causing confusion at this critical time when the myriads of our national challenges commend themselves to our statesmen and women for sober reflections rather than indulgence in crass sensationalism. It is a disservice to the country."

The senator explained that no administration is a total success and none is a total failure. He said Mr. Obasanjo cannot honestly claim that he ran a perfect and totally successful administration, "because he did not. Every administration grapples with problems thrown at it by circumstances beyond its control."

Defending the president, the lawmaker said, "President Buhari inherited an economy that was unsteady on its feet. He also inherited the security problems such as Boko Haram, armed robberies and kidnappings. Yes, I agree, that under his watch these problems should grow less, not more. But the solution to problems such as these is a slow and agonising process. He has no powers to simply make them disappear overnight.

"Since he left office on October 1, 1979, to local and international applause Chief Obasanjo has systematically sought to undermine every federal administration after him. He has today set up himself as the moral conscience of the nation. He believes he has acquired the wisdom of King Solomon and has consequently imposed on himself the right to decide who rules us and how we should be ruled.

"I am aware of criticisms that the president appointed only northerners as heads of his security agencies. There may be some merit in a national spread but a president reserves the right to fill such positions with those who command his implicit trust and confidence. That is neither unconstitutional nor a moral crime."

Reacting to allegations that Mr. Buhari is selective in prosecuting the anti-corruption war, Mr. Adamu said, "Chief Obasanjo said that President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the president were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock today on trial on charges of corruption arising from the corrupt practices in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the National Assembly in 2006.

"Today he denies that he ever nursed such ambition. And being a man much favoured by God, he has repeatedly said that if he had wanted it and asked the almighty for it, he would have given him the third term.

"He knows as well as I and other leading members of the PDP that he badly wanted it and initiated the process of constitutional amendment. He bribed each member of the National Assembly who signed to support the amendment, with the whopping sum of N50 million to make the constitutional amendment scale through.

"The fresh, mint money was taken in its original boxes presumably from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria and distributed among the legislators. The money was not his and it was not appropriated by the national assembly as required by law. I, therefore, agree that in failing to make former president account for that money. President Buhari is waging his anti-corruption war selectively.

"Nor should we forget that President Buhari has also not bothered to interrogate Obasanjo's role in the Harliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail. Perhaps, President Buhari might need to look in the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo administration was indicted. What became of the trial?"

He described Mr. Obasanjo's call for a "Coalition for Nigeria as a red herring across the path of our constitutional government.

"He is free to form a political party and pursue his ambition of being the power behind the throne but such a national movement would achieve no discernible purpose in the economic management and the social administration of the country.

"I believe that the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state have been most kind to him. Chief Obasanjo has a moral obligation to make the country succeed in solving its myriads of problems. That, I believe, is one way he can give back to the country that has given him so much".

"As a friend, I wish to advise the former president to pull back from the dangerous path of rubbishing all presidents that came into office after him. Bringing everyone down is not a patriotic duty," he said.

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