• Says ex-president lucky he’s not in prison
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu has slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda over their letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, in which they advised him not to seek re-election in 2019.
He said the duo’s anti-democratic and shadowy past do not qualify them to offer such advice, even as he said Obasanjo is lucky not to be in prison at the moment. Senator Adamu accused the duo of sowing the seed for the socio-economic challenges Nigeria is currently facing.
He spoke at a news conference in Abuja.
Adamu was one of Obasanjo’s closet allies through his eight-year presidency.
Focusing first on IBB, Adamu, who is chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum (NSF) and, who recently led some of his colleagues to oppose the change in the order of elections in the ongoing amendment of the Electoral Act, claimed that Nigerians have disturbing memories about his (IBB) tenure.
“I wish to remind the general that although men have short memories, history has a king memory. We can trace nearly all our present economic and political problems to his transition programme. We cannot forget SAP that sapped the economy or annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, for which the nation is still paying a stiff price.”
Adamu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, admitted that the incumbent administration has not met met the expectations of Nigerians but contended that it was unfair for Obasanjo and IBB to have gone public in their feelings about goings-on in the country, instead of quietly meeting with the President. He argued that by taking the letter to the public domain, Obasanjo’s motive was to undermine the incumbent government.
He said: “No one, not even Buhari’s most rabid supporters, would be unfair to themselves enough to suggest that everything is right with the administration. It is true that government has not met expectations. 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.”
Taking on the former president, one after the other, on reasons he gave for asking president Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019m Adamu flayed Obasanjo’s claim that the ongoing fight against corruption was selective .
The former governor said the ex-president could make assumptions because he knew president Buhari should have prosecuted and jailed him over a number of financial indiscretions when he (Obasanjo) was in power. He insisted that Obasanjo ran an imperfect government and stressed that his government never respected the rule of law and democratic tenets. I do not intend to comment on all of Obasanjo’s letter verbatim. I will deal with three of his allegations namely; the president’s alleged clannishness, his management of the economy and his anticorruption war.
“Before I do so, let me say at this point that I am worried by the antics of Chief Obasanjo and his penchant for promoting himself as the only competent Nigerian leader. 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.
“Perhaps, part of the reason is that before leaving office in 2007, his party, the PDP conferred on him the titles of Maker of Modern Nigeria and Father of the Nation. Such titles do have a heady way of making a man seeing his head bedecked in the halos of selfrighteousness. “
The senator further lashed out at Obasanjo: “Chief Obasanjo said 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 practises in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the National Assembly, in 2006.”
He maintained that “today, he denies that he never 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 Halliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail. Perhaps, president Buhari might wish to look in the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo administration was indicted and for which some Nigerians were on trial. What became of the trial?”