“Peace unto the people that call for peace and woe unto the people that call for woe”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Resurgent Group read with shock the most highly undeserving press briefing addressed by a former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, where he likened the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to a former Ivorian Leader, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo. We were particularly astonished that General Obasanjo could go thus far in displaying his hatred for Dr. Jonathan while trying to sell to Nigerians, the candidate of his new party, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari. It is equally surprising considering the import, motive and timing of such statement coming just few days after same General Obasanjo publicly vowed not to make any comment on the State of the Nation until the elections are concluded. Such we say is the inconsistency that has characterised the behavior of General Obasanjo and this is not unconnected to the fact that Obasanjo's new party had perfected the rigging plan for the earlier date of February 14th, now foiled by the shift. He has now moved to "coup baiting" to achieve regime change outside the democratic way of the ballot.
Before now, we as committed members of the party have always been strong supporters of the former President even when it was clear that he alongside his military cohorts played no less significant role in bringing the country to where we find ourselves today.
The present state of our nation could be directly attributed in no small measure to the practices and official excesses of past military and civilian regimes, including Generals Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, the late Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar etc. Our admonition to General Obasanjo, therefore, is "do not do to others what you would not want done to you."
We consider Obasanjo's outburst as a public attack on the person of the President. No civilised nation has had this sort of Obasanjo's public attack being disguised as criticism of the incumbent by a predecessor. The spirit behind the latest Outburst of General Obasanjo is evil, self-serving and hypocritical. It is in looking beyond the veil that we saw that Obasanjo like he always do, is trying to play God.
General Obasanjo has continued to paint a picture that President Goodluck Jonathan is the sole cause of the crisis rocking the nation today. We as students of history recall the years of Obasanjo as a Military ruler and civilian President. This was a man who ruled the country even under a civilian administration with such tight fist. We cannot forget quickly a letter dated December 6, 2004 and titled: "Aso Rock is not a poultry farm" by a former PDP chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, to Obasanjo when Obasanjo was the President of Nigeria. Chief Audu Ogbe stated thus: "In life, perception is reality, and today we are perceived in the worst light by an angry, scornful Nigerian public for reasons which are absolutely unnecessary. Mr. President, if I write in this vein, it is because I am deeply troubled and I can tell you than an overwhelming percentage of our party members feel the same way though many may never be able to say this to you for variety of reasons."I dare to think that we can, either by omission or commission, allow ourselves to crash and bring to early grief this beautiful edifice called democracy. On behalf of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), I call on you to act now and bring any and all criminal, even treasonable, activity to a halt. You and you alone have the means, do not hesitate. We do not have too much time to waste.”
Of course, we knew what happened to Chief Audu Ogbe thereafter. What about other former PDP National Chairmen, from Chief Solomon Lar to Barnabas Gemade and Ogbe? They were all victims of Chief Obasanjo’s lust for control of the party machinery for his self-serving political motive. So how is President Jonathan guilty of the PDP crisis or the challenges presently confronting our nation, many of whom were institutionalized by Obasanjo and some of his cohorts who are known power-hungry individuals?
Obasanjo does not posses the franchise to speak for Nigerians, we are sure not even for his Owu race in Ogun State. How does it become a crime for President Jonathan to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right of seeking a second term in Office? If it is the will of God and the wish of Nigerians to have President Goodluck Jonathan reelected, how could Obasanjo or his new party, APC be an impediment to the peoples will and aspiration? We find it rather curious that General Obasanjo of all people could continually blackmail President Jonathan because of the 2015 election. We cannot forget that in 1999, General Obasanjo was reported to be reluctant to contest for the presidency when he was approached. It was even reported that he made a deal with some prominent northern leaders to spend one term and then hand over power to Abubakar Atiku, who became the Vice President.
So, what happened at the 2003 convention of the PDP that Obasanjo went to the extent of begging Atiku and some PDP governors to give him an opportunity for a second term? Interestingly, after he was sworn in for a second term, he even went to the extent of trying to change our constitution to enable him go for a third term in office.
It is an assault on our collective intelligence that General Obasanjo and some unpatriotic elements would seat in the comfort of their rooms to determine who becomes our President in 2015 or to determine President Jonathan’s fate at the detriment of Nigerians.
This will not be possible. Dr. Jonathan had the mandate of Nigerians in the 2011 elections and not from a group or ethnic region.
It is on record that President Jonathan, after he was elected in 2011, promised Nigerians electoral reforms and that our votes will count. Should he then be blamed if the PDP lost in some states that it formerly controlled? Dr Jonathan is not an apostle of do-or-die politics like General Obasanjo. Rather, he has brought innovations and dynamism to our electoral process. May we ask Obasanjo what became the fate of PDP Governors he imposed on their states when he was President? Were they not removed by the court? It is wise for General Obasanjo to at this stage shun partisan statements and support Mr President’s efforts in making votes count in Nigeria, rather than chasing shadows under the guise of some fake patriotism.
For those working with General Obasanjo to distract President Jonathan, we need to remind them of what befell those Nigerians that had the temerity to ask General Obasanjo some constitutional questions. We recall the cases of Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State, Joshua Dariye of Plateau, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa, and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti. These governors were impeached without recourse to constitutional procedures. Nigerians cannot forget this and today, we count ourselves lucky that President Jonathan is a democrat and a God-fearing leader.
Not all Nigerians are fools not to know that Obasanjo's garrison politics while in power nearly destroyed his party, PDP, and the democratic ethos of the nation. For him to now issue such manner of statements against President Jonathan and supporting an unrepentant Dictator, General Buhari tells us the kind of people on this Jonathan-must-go plot. People who had their opportunity to change Nigeria at some point but never did. Is it not this same Obasanjo, who wanted an unconstitutional third term that is now asking a Nigerian not to aspire for a second term that is within the limit of the constitution? All allegations made by General Obsanjo that President Jonathan is trying to manipulate the electoral process are utter rubbish, especially when not proved beyond doubt.
Someone of Obasanjo's standing should not be seen joining ordinary citizens to peddle unfounded rumours.
The Boko Haram terror-related attacks have reduced given the strategy deployed by the military to contain them.
It is alarming that an elder statesman like Obasanjo tried to tell Nigerians that votes and voters no longer count otherwise they will wait till 2015 election and try to vote out President Jonathan rather than inciting unrest and baiting coup like OBJ is currently doing. So General Obasanjo must determine who rules Nigeria and not the voters?
In looking at Obasanjo's position and the issues therein, which is clearly about the 2015 presidential election, we ask, is Nigeria a democratic entity or not? Do we have a functioning constitution under which anyone of legal age and qualifications reserve the right to run for political office regardless of past promises or comments to the contrary? General Obsanjo think he still runs Nigeria. We think the time has finally come for him to be reminded that he no longer runs the country both as a dictator and otherwise.
Under the watchful eyes of Saint Obasanjo, a sitting Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige was murdered in cold blood in this country, this also had on its list, the politically motivated assassination of other prominent Nigerians like Chief Harry Marshal (A chieftain of the then opposition APP), Chief Aminnasori Dikibo just to mention few. Till date the Obasanjo government has provided no answer to the pressure by Nigerians and the International community on those responsible for these killings that characterized the Obasanjo regime.
As Nigerians we are proud of the administration of President Jonathan under whom the Freedom of Information act came into existence and till date, there has been no case of politically motivated killing of Nigerians as it was the order of the day under the regime of General Obasanjo.
On the issue of corruption that Obasanjo asserted that President Jonathan is afraid of being tried by General Buhari after office, this is laughable. Let us remind Obasanjo that he did nothing till date to refute United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Blair’s damning report that Nigerian leaders (Obasanjo inclusive) looted in excess of $520 billion from the nation’s treasury between 1960 and 2005. What is Obasanjo afraid of? His positions these days are truly self-serving for it reveals, in synopsis, the inner working mind riddled with guilt and fear of retribution from the angry public, especially the several impoverished and aggrieved people of the polluted Niger Delta. The region’s oil wealth personally benefited Obasanjo, Babangida, Abacha, Abdulsalami, Adamu Ciroma, Bola Tinubu, Atiku etc.
Let us remind Obasanjo that his deceit of zero tolerance for corruption eventually put Nigeria as a nation on trial in so many international courts because of his personal involvement and that of several members of his cabinet in the famous Halliburton and Siemen's scandals. In fact, Obasanjo should be ashamed of himself because the Halliburton scandal resulted into the company and its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) agreeing to the largest corruption settlement ever paid by a U.S. company under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to the tune of $579 million. Their historic guilty plea is only the latest in a string of high-level bribery cases involving payments from multinationals to secure contracts in Nigeria under the Obasanjo era. This happened directly under General Obasanjo who can consciencelessly turn around today and accuse the administration of President Jonathan of massive corruption.
The time has therefore come for us and every patriotic Nigerians to demand a full scale investigation into all the above mentioned which are largely responsible for the myriage of challenges facing the nation today. It is as assault on our collective integrity that men like Obasanjo who ordinarily should be subjects of trial are now walking free on the streets instigating unrest in their desperate bid to truncate our fledging democracy.
Finally, we are using this medium to call on President Jonathan to make up his mind by probing the past atrocities especially those committed against Nigerians under the Obasanjo regime and to also work on bringing all corrupt leaders, past and present, to book and damn the consequence. No party must be spared.
Meanwhile, action on the report of the national conference must be expedited. The sooner we achieved true federalism the better.
We also restate our very firm support for President Jonathan and his transformational leadership.
God bless Nigeria.
Comrade Olufemi Lawson
Alh. Hassan Abdullahi