You lied in your book, he declares
From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The cold war between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona festered as Obasanjo openly cautioned the paramount ruler not to engage in rumour-mongering and falsehood.
Obasanjo, in a letter he personally signed and dated December 30, 2016, in reaction to an extract from the book: “Awujale: “The autobiography of Alayeluwa, Oba S.K. Adetona, Ogbagba II”, which alleged that Obasanjo deliberately unleashed Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Chief Mike Adenuga (Jnr), while in office.
According to Obasanjo, Awujale’s position in the book about his person was “tissues of lies and untrue.”
The Awujale had, in the book, condemned the alleged role played by Obasanjo during Adenuga’s travails with the anti-graft agency in 2006 and accused him (Obasanjo) of squandering the enormous goodwill he carried into office “with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements.”
On the donation of a library building project by Adenuga to the Bells University of Technology, Obasanjo claimed he was not aware of such donation and said it was the former vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Julius Okogie who invited Adenuga to contribute to the project, adding, “I have not and I will not talk to Mike about it to convince you that I know nothing about its genesis”.
The letter reads further: “Under my watch, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was free to do its job as it saw fit. Common sense would suggest that wild rumours should not be perpetrated by an Oba of your calibre. Kabiyesi, your cousin did not tell you that My Chief of Staff, Abdul Mohammed put his reputation on the line by assuring EFCC that Mike would go nowhere, and they should trust him to give him his passport. I did not even know that Abdul had done that until the Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, reported the case of my Chief of Staff seemingly colluding with Mike to run out of the country. But I had implicit confidence in my Chief of Staff and I was to resolve the issue. Should your cousin not have mentioned to Abdul, who guaranteed the release of his passport, his fears and intention to go on exile? On several occasions, Nuhu Ribadu had asserted that, under my watch, he was a free agent to do his work as he deemed fit. Where it was necessary, he reported the outcome of his work to me and the subsequent or follow-up actions he intended to take. On no occasion did I guide, lead or direct him on what to do.
“Mike did not need to send anything to me to satisfy me; he needed to satisfy EFCC and, so, your sending any documents to me was insinuating that I was the one to be satisfied rather than the EFCC. So, such documents were not paid any attention by me. You, as the cousin and part beneficiary from Mike as you have told me in the past, would not be able to see the tree from the forest as far as the mode of operation of Nuhu Ribadu was concerned, viz-a-viz Mike. If the EFCC was investigating anybody, I did not consider it right for me as the President of Nigeria to be undermining EFCC by hobnobbing with that person. EFCC must be given free hand to do its work. Even if such a person was my child, the best I could do would be to secure a good lawyer to handle the matter before the EFCC for that child”.
On the alleged rumour by the monarch that OBJ is the owner of the Obajana Cement, Obasanjo said the rumour would not be the first against his personality, saying “the latest one you did in 2016 was telling me you heard that I had gone to Rasak Okoya to seek to marry her daughter, Abiola, when it was the girl that came to appeal to me to intervene to placate and appeal to her father to forgive her for all her misbehaviours to her father.
“I did and the father and daughter were reconciled. I told you even then that it was unbecoming of an Oba. Of course, I am used to such rumours, slandering and insinuations since my days as a Unit Commander in the Army, and I have developed thick skin. If 10 per cent of the rumours ascribing me to businesses and properties I know nothing about were true, I would be the richest man on earth. But recently, when Aliko, yourself and myself were together, Aliko assured you that I never ever had a single share in any of his business interests, but whenever he called on me to help within and without to promote his business interest, I always helped and I will always do because that is part of my job as a Nigerian leader-to help Nigerians grow their businesses or interests-and I have done that for other Nigerians and, indeed, for non-Nigerians, Africans and non-Africans who requested for help. It was revealing to me on that occasion when Aliko made the point that one of his directors on his cement company is somebody very close to you.”
On squandering of his goodwill, Obasanjo said: “Kabiyesi, if I have squandered all the goodwill I had, you would not have contacted me, on behalf of All Progressive Party (APC), to receive them in 2014, and you would not have been personally present when I received them as I demanded. I probably have greater goodwill today internally and externally than I had while in office.
“Kabiyesi, the total sum of what you have put down in those pages of your book is that I dislike Mike. Maybe I need to remind you that if there was any iota of truth in such a position or mindset, Mike would not have been granted the mobile telephone licence which made him a billionaire. It was my prerogative as the President so to do. You may also be reminded that in the first round of the auction, which Mike did not make, the country earned $285 million for each licence. The country earned only $200 million from the licence transaction with Mike and in the subsequent transaction with Etisalat, the country earned $400 million. It was a deliberate action on my part that a Nigerian should own one of the licences. Anybody else but Mike could have been that Nigerian.
“Kabiyesi, the type of hate propaganda you have tried to project in that section of your book against my person is grossly unbecoming of an Oba, let alone an Oba of your status and stature.
“However, I still accord you respect as an Oba, and one, for that matter, who I presume to be a friend. In spite of your unfortunate projection, my position remains the same – respect for you as an Oba and a friend.
“Kabiyesi, I believe I should set the record straight for posterity and to caution you from engaging in unedifying rumour-mongering and untruth.”