Sunday, 15 February 2015

OBJ slams GEJ again, says he is afraid Buhari might jail him when he leaves office

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came hard again on President Jonathan and his style of governance, claiming that President Jonathan is afraid that if Gen Buhari wins the election, he might jail him when he leaves office. Obasanjo said this while speaking to newsmen at his home in Abeokuta shortly after his return from his trip to Kenya and UK.

Obasanjo said President Jonathan was doing everything possible to win the elections, either by hook or by crook. He said president Jonathan is playing the cards of former Cote d’Ivoire President, Laurent Gbagbo who continued shifting elections in his country in a bid to ensure that he won the election, a situation that plunged Cote d'Ivoire into political crisis. He said President Jonathan was reigning and not ruling after he said in his last media chat he was not aware of the military's advise that the election be postponed. He said INEC deciding to postpone the election was a forced decision. Read all that after the cut...
"While I was away, I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn at firsthand what actually transpired and what was going on, and it turned out to be a forced decision on the INEC because it was alleged that the Security Chiefs were unable to provide security, and as a result the Chairman of INEC had to postpone, in accordance with the dictates of the so called Security Chiefs. I thought, for me, that was bad precedent for democracy in Nigeria. It meant it doesn't matter what preparation or lack of preparation any electoral body could make in Nigeria. The final decision whether election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in the domain of security. It is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria. I will say this: we must all feel concerned before democracy is killed. The observable and what would appear to be happening is that the president has a grand plan, a grand plan to ensure that by hook or by crook, he wins the election or if it all fails, he scuttles it and creates chaos, confusion and unpleasantness in the whole country. It is the duty and function and responsibility of the security officers to provide security. The President is the Chief Security Officer of the country and he is the Commander- in -Chief and if security is required anywhere, anytime, it is his duty to provide it. Failure to provide it is dereliction of duty. Pure and simple. Whether the President is following his own grand plan or his aides and associates are working a script, they are playing a script which must have got his endorsement, if not initiated by him. What again, it looks to me that the President is trying to play Gbagbo (Laurent). Gbagbo is the former President of Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo made sure he postponed the election in his country until he was sure he would win and then allowed the election to take place. He got an inconclusive election in the first ballot. And I believe this is the sort of thing Nigeria may fall into. If I am right in what I observed as the grand plan and then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with 8% behind Quattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading was rebuffed by him and he unleashed horror in that country until nemesis caught up with him. I believe that we may be seeing a repeat of Gbagbo or what I called the Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not.” he said

Obasanjo said the reasons given by military chiefs who called for election postponement is not tenable and that if they have failed, they should as well leave office and go home

“When they have failed, they can as well go home. Their job is to maintain law and order and provide security at any time and at any place. They said they cannot do it, they have failed. I want to believe that this was forced on them, I want to believe that but whether it was forced on them or it was their initiative, it was bad, very bad. I hope we will never have a repeat performance of this in this country again. The unfortunate thing is this: they are over exposing themselves or they are being over exposed by whoever brought about that way of doing things, and for me, a momentous decision like that cannot be taken and implemented by the security chiefs. It was even made worse when the President in the media chat on the 11th of this month claimed not to have knowledge or not to have authorized it. I get worried, very worried, that if the President of Nigeria is not in-charge of security, maintenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, assuming that is true, then the President must be reigning but not ruling. And who then are the shadow figures that are ruling us? It means that one day we will find out that  this country would be plunged into chaos, into commotion and into confusion and the President would say, ‘I do not know about it’, of course President(Jonathan) can run but he cannot run past God. He has constitutional responsibility and to claim he doesn’t know is not an excuse. So, I do hope that those Service Chiefs who we are proud of the services people like me and others like me have rendered and proud of what they are doing, will not shame themselves and shame us. This is because what this amounts to is what, in the military circle, is called very an unmilitary conduct and conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. For me, you can give any excuse or you can give any rationalization or you can rationalize anything. Look Boko Haram problem has been with us since 2009 and now if we say what we have not been able to achieve since 2009 would be achieved in six weeks, all I would say is that God is a God of miracle. God can do anything but knowing what we know, look countries like Syria had election, they have full scale war all over the country. A country like Iraq had election, they had full scale war and they are still having war. Countries like Afghanistan had election, they even had election where the incumbent served his term and moved out. Even Colombia where the rebel group (FARC) has been active for more than 50 years has been having elections regularly and FARC is still very active. So, to say that what we have not been able to achieve in five years, we will achieve in six weeks, let us wait and see. When people want to make excuses, they should look for excuses that are tenable. I believe the President’s fear is not leaving office per se, because he and I have had occasions to talk about this both seriously and jovially. I believe President would want an opportunity to disengage peacefully and have a nice, decent and a glorious exit, I believe the President’s fear is, particularly, motivated by those who he see as Gen Buhari as his likely successor. I believe those people would have been telling him that Buhari is a hard man, he would fight corruption and you may end up in jail if not in grave. I believe people must have told him all sorts of things and he is not the only one, there are other people who may be afraid of Buhari. But why? I would say that Buhari has learnt his lessons. If he hasn’t learnt lessons, then he would be probably the most unlearning human being. If he has learnt lessons, he would know that you do not fight corruption by putting people in jail for 200 years. And this has been done by my own predecessor in office, General Abdulsalami Abubakar. He recovered over $750 million from Abacha’s estate without putting anybody in jail, without hurting or harming anybody. When I took over, we recovered over $1.25 billion from the same Abacha estate without hurting anybody, without harming anybody. In fact, what would be rather unfortunate is the fact that our lawyer who is still alive and able, who was chasing this money all over the world, said to us that there’s still about $1 billion to be recovered from Abacha estate but the unfortunate thing is that my successor did not do anything about it even though it was in my handing over note. I don’t think the President is afraid of being out. There’s life after Aso Villa. It depends, of course to a large extent, on how he descendsý; how his descent takes place; and how his exit takes place. Because out there in the international world, there’s so much need for the wisdom and experience of people who have done it before. They also want people who are creditable and credible.” he said

According to President Obasanjo, General Buhari would give a firm leadership to Nigeria and preside over an efficient and effective economy

"Whoever comes in at anytime in future will fight corruption, and we must even encourage successful fight of corruption. We must. Recklessness and impunity must not continue to be our part of life. Whether recklessness and impunity in the management of our economic affairs, in the running of our finances and even in political affairs, they must not be allowed to remain part of us. Buhari  has tried to do it before. I believe he will give firm leadership which is what is good for a country like this. When he was there, it was the military and military is both the executive and the legislature. In a democracy, that is not possible. I believe he knows the military, the damage that has been done to the military. It has been rendered almost impotent by a number of things that have happened and I believe he will do something about it. And if he doesn’t do it, I would say shame on him if he gets there because that is some of the things he knows. I believe he can preside over an efficient and effective economy. He has the knowledge, he has the experience, he may not be a bowl of fire as an economist but he presided over it.” he said
He advised President Jonathan to stop listening to those creating the phobia of Buhari in him
"He should not listen to those who are creating phobia, phobia of Buhari, phobia of enquiry and all that. President Jonathan has done well to the best of his ability and he has made history as the first elected Nigerian from a minority tribe and nobody can take that away from him. He can even make a second history, if it turns out that way. If he contests a fair, free and transparent election and loses, take a dignified exit. He will be on the mountain top and he would be acclaimed as a true patriot and a true democrat. What stops him from doing this?” he said