February 15, 2015
Former President has unleashed another attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan, acussing him of playing politics of do-or-die like President of Côte d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo and that Jonathan is afraid of being jailed by Buhari if he loses.
Obasanjo said this on Saturday at his hiltop mansion in Abeokuta while speaking with newsmen shortly after he came back to the country from his overseas trips.
Obasanjo while reacting to the postponement of the election said, the postponement of the election was a grand plan by Jonathan and his cronies to perpetuate office till the situation becomes clear that the election would favour him.
He acussed Jonathan of playing a brand of politics played by President Gbagbo who he said had delayed the presidential election of the country and when he eventually conducted the election and lost refused to leave the office.
According to Obasanjo, I was away because I had a number of assignment abroad which took me to Morocco, Munich, Nairobi, London and New Delhi. Exactly a week today, when we were in Munich for what they called Munich security conferences annual event and all people who are in security community normally, you found them there.
“For this year, the Vice President of America was there, the Secretary of State, John Kerry was there, the Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany was there, President of Ukraine was there and many others.
“I was there with Koffie Annan, our side was to talk about peace and security in Africa, I was to handle the African perspective while Koffie Annan was to look at it from the global perspective.
“While I was out, I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn at first hand 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 weather election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in the domains of the security, it is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria.
“And I will say this, we must all feel concern 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, they scuttles it and create chaos, confusion and unpleasantness in the whole country.
“Because it is the duty and function and responsibility of the security officers to provide security, the President is the Chief Security 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 deriliction of duty, pure and simple.
“Either the President following his own grand plan or his aides and associates are working a script, they are playing a script which must not got his endorsement if not initiated from him.
“What again it looks to me is that the President is trying to playing Gbagbo, Gbagbo was 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, Gbgbo lost with 8% behind Ouattara 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 the repeat of Gbabgo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not .
I believe the president’s concern of fear is not live out of office per se, because he and I have occasions to talk about this both seriously and jovially. I believe President would want an opportunity to disengage peacefully and have a nice, descent and a glorious exit, I believe the President’s fear is, particularly, motivated by whose he sees as his likely successor, that is General Buhari.
“I believe 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 sort of things and he is not the only one, there are other people who may be afraid of Buhari but, why? I woud say that Buhari has learnt lessons, if he hasn’t learnt lessons, then he would be probably be 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 Abdus-Salam 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 and in fact what would be rather unfortunate is the fact that our lawyer who is still alive, 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 may depend of course, to a large extent, 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,” Obasanjo said .
While speaking on the role of the Security Chiefs on the postponement of the election, Obasanjo said “that’s what I said it was strange to me, it wasn’t the duty and responsibility of Security Chiefs and service Chiefs to tell INEC, ‘we are not in the position to provide security for you’ because it is their job, when they have failed, they can as well go home, their job is to maitain law and order and provide security and at any time, at any place, they said they can not do it, they have failed.
“I want to believe that this was forced on them, I want to believe that but weather it was forced on them or it was their initiative, it was bad, very bad, I hope we will never have a bit performance of this in this country again because the unfortunate thing is this, it is over exposing themselves or they have been over exposed by whoever brought about that way of doing things and for me, a monumentous decision like that can not be taken and implemented by Security Chiefs.
“It was even made worst when the President in the media chart 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, maitenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, assuming that is true, then the President must reigning and not rulling and then who are the shadow figures that are rulling us? It means that one day we will find out this country would be plunged into chaos, into commotion, into confusion and the President would say, ‘I do not know about it’, of course President can run but he can not run pass God.
“We have 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 like me and other like me, that we are proud of the services we have rendered and we were proud of what they were doing, will not shame themselves and shame us, because what this amount to is what, in the military is called very unmilitary conduct, conduct to the prejudice of good order and military descipline.
On the Boko Haram insurgency as excuse for the postponement, the former President said, “for me, you can give any excuse or you can give any ratonalisation or you can rationalise anything, look Boko Haram problem, as they are now, has been with us since 2009 and now if we said 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, country like Iraq had election, they had full scale war and they are still having, countries like Afghanistan had election, they even had election where the incumbent had its term and moved out, even countries like Colombia where FARC, their insurgent group have been active for more that 50 years, they have been regularly having elections 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, that would be my own thing but when people when people want to make excuses, they should look for excuses that are tenable.
On Buhari corruption crusade criticism, Obasanjo said, “Corruption must not remain part of our national life, whoever comes in at anytime in future will fight corruption, and we must even encourage successive fight of corruption, we must.
” Recklessness and impunity must not continue to be our part of live, weather recklessness and impunity in the management of our economic affairs, in the running of our finances and even in political affairs, there must not be allowed to remain our part.
“I believe within reason, judging by its track records, and I have said that at the end of the day, I look at the people track record, to see what they can do and what they can not do, to see where I go and where I do not go, I believe he will fight corruption, he 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 the military is both the executive and the legislature.
“In a democracy, that is not possible, I believe he knows the military, that the damages that have been done to the military now, because the military has been rendered almost impotent by 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 there as an economist but he can preside over it”.
While speaking on the situation in Ekiti state, Obasanjo said “I don’t want to comment on Ekiti State because Ekiti state situation is a great disaster and it would continue to be so”.
On the issue of the removal of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Obasanjo said “I think the President in his media chart has dispelled that rumour but of course I know the President very well, but I will want to believe him, but I will want to believe what I see not what I hear.
“I believe that after Jega has been boxed to a corner, he had no choice but to accept the fate accompli and postponed the election, and I believe that like I have said before, it is unfortunate because in the past, this same Jega had changed the date of election when he found it that it was not suitable so, it is the duty, reponsibility and fuction and jurisdiction of INEC to determine weather the situation allowas or does not allow them to go on with the election, nobody should either twist their arms, blackmail them or force them.
“And if they do that, that is their legal job, if anything is done to remove Jega, it will actually heighten the disbelieve of the people about wanting to have a fair, free, transparent and credible election and even if the President wins genuinly, many people may not believe it, he would have undermined the credibility of the result of the electin.
“But he has said he will not remove him, he said it is a rumour and let it remain the realm of rumour and let’s hope for the best.
“I will, at this juncture, offer some warnings, but let me also offer some appeals. The first appeal for me is to President Goodluck Jonathan, appeal for him not to do anything to destroy the fledgling process that we are enjoying, democracy is not a destination, it is a process and the more we strengthen the process of democracy, the institutions and factors, the better it is for us and we sill continue to improve on it.
“Again and I appeal to President Jonathan again not to 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 Nigeria from aminority tribe and nobody can take that away from himm he can even make a second history, if it turn out that way, if he contest a fair, free and transparent election and if he looses to have a degnified descent and a degnified exit, he will be in the moutain top and he would be acclaimed as a true patriot and a true democrat, what stops him from doing this?
“I will want to appeal to the PDP and APC as two major parties, they have responsibility for seeing the continuation of our present democratic process and if any of them does anything to short-circuit or cut shot the process, the verdict of history will be very very drastic.
“I also will like to appeal to General Buhari, if the election takes place, I sincerely hope that it will take place, and if he happens to win, one of his first responsibility is to ally the fears of those who see Buhari as a buggy, as a threat, particularly in the areas of human right, in the areas of rule of law, and in the areas of obedience of our constitution.
“I will want to appeal to Nigerians, we all have a stake and a say in what is going on, don’t let us just hung our hands and say ‘there’s nothing I can do’, there’s everything you can do, everything you can do and we must all try to do everything to sustain this process that we have made.
“In number of areas, we have talk about corruption, we have talk about management of the economy, we talk about number of other things, there’s no government that will come and do everything that is needed to be done in a country, you do you own, leave it and let other come and do whatever they think they should do.
“I believe that where we are today, we should not do anything to send us back, the international community, they are interested in what is happening in Nigeria, I saw that last Saturday, everybody was coming round and going round. And weather it is those in government or the security, anything that amounts to impunity particularly in terms of lost of life, they may not be able to go away with it.
“Because there’s a limit to what you can get away with even as a leaders, there’s a limit, there’s elastic limit and when that elastic limit get to its end, something else will happen, may good things continue to happen to Nigeria and with Nigeria but all of you have something you can do to make sure democracy is sustained.
“For me, I will not stop because there’s nothing better than democracy in a multi national and diverse ocuntry like ours and those who are pushing the President, I know, at the end of the day, when the chips are down, I have told him before, he will be naked and isolated, all those people would say we told him he didn’t hear, if you know this, why not take caution.
“I will want to wish President every good wish, I will want to wish Buhari every good wish and I will want to wish every Nigerian, every good wish.
“I said I will not say anything about Nigeria until after the election but because the election has been postponed, I have been forced, I am constrained to have to say something, I hope I will not be constrained to have to say anything until after we have the election again”, he said..
Source: Vanguard NG