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Obasanjo: Your term as president symbolised dark era of democracy

January 3, 2023


The Presidency launched an attack against former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday over the latter’s New Year’s open letter in which he publicly endorsed Mr. Peter Obi, the nominee of the Labour Party, in the election scheduled for February 25.

In the letter, Obasanjo voiced harsh criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and advised Nigerian young to vote for Mr. Obi in the upcoming election in order to control their own future.

The Presidency responded to the former President’s claim that Nigerians were suffering under Buhari’s rule by describing Chief Obasanjo as a disgruntled individual who was morally wrong to criticise the ruling party.

The Presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said:  “As we said sometimes back, Mr. Obasanjo’s tenure between 1999-2007, represented the dark days of Nigeria’s democracy, due to a slew of assaults on the constitution.”

It premised its reaction on four grounds, saying “former President Obasanjo is so well-known to all that no one needs to describe who he is.

It continued:  “One is that he will not stop attacking President Muhammadu Buhari because the former President won’t stop being jealous of anyone who beats him to a new record in the nation’s development process.

“President Buhari is ahead of Chief Obasanjo in all fields of national development and to do that is a cardinal sin to Obasanjo, whose hallucinations tell him that he is the best ever to lead Nigeria and there will never be another one better than him.

“President Buhari just completed the world-class edifice that is the Second Niger Bridge after three decades of failed promises. It is now awaiting commissioning.

Obasanjo laid the sod for the bridge in his first term as elected President and work never started.

“When he sought re-election for his second term in office, he returned to the site to turn the sod for the bridge the second time.

”When the Obi of Onitsha, forthright and scholarly, reminded him that he had done this in the past, Obasanjo told the foremost Southeast traditional ruler that he was a liar, in the full presence of the Chiefs and Oracles in his palace.

“Obasanjo lied to the Southeast to get their votes. President Buhari didn’t get their votes but built the bridge because he believed it is the right thing to do.”

The Presidency also said Obasanjo was frustrated because of the global recognition and accolades President Buhari is getting especially, his insistence that the nation’s constitution should be respected as regards tenure of government.

“Two, President Buhari had been bagging awards and encomiums for trying to do that which the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says a leader should do: serve one, or a maximum of two terms and go.

“President Buhari has been stating and restating that he will supervise a better election than the one that brought him to the office and to leave as and when due.

“Having tried tenure elongation and failed, Obasanjo’s fictitious mind must be telling him that he is the one under attack.

”But he is not on President Buhari’s radar because experience has shown, especially lately in West Africa where there have been at least three successful coups and many other failed attempts, that third term or tenure elongation is a recipe for political instability.

“Furthermore, the totality of African leaders appointed President Buhari the Anti-Corruption Champion of the continent.

“You can’t be an anti-corruption champion if ‘you meddled and bent the rules,” carrying the putrid responsibility of what happened to national assets in the name of privatization as documented by the Nigerian Senate in 2011.

”As an insight, the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, which was set up with $3.2 billion, was sold to a Russian firm, Russal, for a paltry $ 130 million. Delta Steel, which was set up in 2005, at a cost of $ 1.5 billion, was sold to Global Infrastructure for just $ 30 million.

“ALSCON got back $ 120 million for the dredging of the Imo River, which was never carried out.

“Three, which is linked to the one above is the growing profile of President Buhari as the Champion of Democracy not only at home and in the West African sub-region but the African continent as a whole.

”As President, Obasanjo destabilised internal democracy by orchestrating impeachment after impeachment of governors, who were not compliant with his highly imperial administration.

“The former president deployed federal machinery to remove governors Joshua Dariye, Rashidi Ladoja, Peter Obi, Chris Ngige and Ayo Fayose from office. They were the then governors of Plateau, Oyo, Anambra, Anambra and Ekiti, respectively, unjustly removed them, using the police and secret service under his control.

”Under him, a five-man legislature met at 6:00 a.m ‘impeached’ Governor Dariye in Plateau; 18 members out of 32 removed Governor Ladoja of Oyo from office; in Anambra, APGA’s Governor Obi was equally impeached at 5:00 a.m. by members, who did not meet the two-thirds required by the constitution.

“Lawmaking powers of the Rivers State legislature were transferred to the federal parliament to punish Governor Amaechi for shifting his political alliance.

“Moreover, he damned the Supreme Court and unlawfully held back Lagos State revenues due from federal sources on account of his pettiness against the then Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“On the other hand, in Washington a few weeks ago, US President Joe Biden at a meeting with African Heads of State and Government described President Buhari as a champion of democracy and a role model for the leaders of African states.

“Clearly, Obasanjo has become even more jealous by adopting a vengeful attitude.”

The Presidency further said, “Four, to say that “frying pan to fire” is the situation in Nigeria at this time should be read to mean a personal experience to him and we know what that means.

“Hell” for Obasanjo is when a President, any President that comes after him refuses to be his puppet, to do as he wishes on all matters and at all times. He then keeps attacking out of frustration.

“Obasanjo’s vengeful attitude towards President Buhari is the height of selfishness and little short of moral squalor.”