a female Northern activist, Najatu Mohammed, on Friday slammed President Muhammadu Buhari and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for contributing significantly to the nation’s woes.
She spoke in a statement.
It reads: “The publication of former President Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation, the Coalition for Nigeria (CN) and the National Intervention Movement (NIM), which he advocated as an alternative political action platform has gone noticeably on political overdrive.
Needless to say that as we head into the election year of 2019, Nigerians are less assured and less confident about the political direction of the country.
It is this air of uncertainty that former President Obasanjo, the classic political opportunist whose track record of predatory political interventions in Nigeria is well known and documented, sought to cash in with his public letter to President Buhari.
In this context it must be stated that Obasanjo has no moral justification to choose Nigeria’s leaders. His trajectory in political chicanery is well documented. Obasanjo’s finger prints have been identified in virtually all the changes of government since his military days to date;
• As best friend and roommate of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, he could not have been ignorant of the coup plot that eventually resulted in the killing of Nigerias political and military leaders in January 1966 as he later claimed. Had the coup been thoroughly investigated as demanded by majority of Nigerians at that time and had the appropriate punishment in line with military law had been meted to the officers who planned the coup, there was no way Obasanjo could have escaped justice. This is especially as he himself subsequently as military head of state approved and implemented the clause of guilt by association which saw the execution of a number of innocent fine officers in the 1976 coup trials, whose only offence was being friends with some of the confirmed guilty officers as he was with Nzeogwu in 1966.
• During the civil war, as hostilities between the federal forces and the rebels raged on, Obasanjo who was in hibernation at the Army headquarters sought to undermine the exploits of frontline commanders like Benjamin Adekunle, Murtala Mohammed, IBM Haruna, Mohammed Shuwa, Alabi Isama, Alani Akinrinade and TY Danjuma. Obasanjo kept at this treachery to replace Adekunle as the 3rd marine command of the war front.
• Obasanjo’s real role in the 1976 Dimka coup that claimed the life of General Murtala Mohammed is still up in the air. But from what is known about what he did and did not do during the coup, he should have been court marshalled and if not subsequently shot, he should have been summarily dismissed were it not for the political correctness of the circumstances of the coup and its aftermath.
At the time of the coup when brave officers were helping to confront the coupists in their well-entrenched positions, Obasanjo, who was Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, was expected to rally loyal troops as the nominal second in command to the fallen Murtala Mohmmed; however, he went into hiding and incommunicado. He only emerged after the coup was crushed. Obasanjo was about to cowardly throw in the towel, when he was literally forced to accept the mantle of leadership “……against my personal wish and desire”, as he candidly admitted in his nervy, emotion laden maiden address to the nation as Head of State. Nigerians at that time will recall that as head of state, Obasanjo took to riding in coaster buses along with civilians and military officers whenever he went on public visits, in fear of what befell his predecessor Murtala Mohammed.
• Obasanjos military career has been so tainted that his standing among his military peers is thoroughly abysmal. He has the singular dubious honour of having fallen out with his peers like Murtala Mohammed, IBM Haruna, Olufemi Olutoye, Mohammed Shuwa, Iliya Bissalah, Benjamin Adekunle, TY Danjuma and his juniors like Ibrahim Babangida, Paul Tarfa, Shehu Musa Yaradua, Joe Garba, Muhammadu Buhari and Sani Abacha.
In the sphere of politics with regards to the return to civil rule in 1979, there is still a large school of thought which holds that Obasanjo contrived to deny Obafemi Awolowo, the candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria, the chance to become Nigerias President due to his abiding desire not to allow the emergence of any political leader to eclipse his standing in the south west.
• Even in retirement, Obasanjos penchant for undermining governments through parallel political actions did not abate. As he is presently re-enacting with the government of President Buhari, Obasanjo had repeated the same subversive political actions consecutively against the governments of civilian President Shehu Shagari, the military governments of General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sani Abacha.
• The greatest damage inflicted on Nigerias political psyche by Obasanjo was during his tenure as civilian president. Ironically he was sprung from the jail he was consigned to on account of alleged coup plotting by General Sani Abacha, to help midwife the new civilian political dispensation in the country after several years of military rule. But between 1999 and 2007 when he held the reins as civilian President of Nigeria, Obasanjo repeatedly set new lows on political skulduggery; removing elected state governors extra constitutionally, corrupting party and government processes through monetary inducements, among several other serial political infractions.
What would rank as Obasanjo’s greatest political crime against Nigeria was his attempt to change the constitution in order to seek for a third term in office. Had vigilant and conscientious members of the National Assembly and a number of patriotic Nigerians not robustly resisted, the gate would have been opened to a full blown Obasanjo dictatorship of Nigeria.
•Obasanjo’s record of Human rights violation and extra judicial killings as President is one of the most abysmal. Till date, the mysterious killings of Bola Ige, Marshall Harry, Aminosoari Dikibo, and Chuba Okadigbo which occurred during his tenure have remained unresolved. Similarly, the invasion of Odi in Bayelsa and Zaki biam in Benue, which resulted in the destruction of lives and properties, remains a festering sore in the Nations psyche.
Having stated all this, we must admit that Obasanjo could not have issued his letter without some justifiable basis especially with regards to some clearly identified failings of the President Buhari administration.
In this regard the following are points to note; • Buhari’s war on corruption has been more of a hoax and a drama than reality. Under President Buhari’s tenure the issue of bribery and corruption in several government parastatals, NCC, NNPC, CBN and most recently NIA have come to surface.
• In the case of NCC, a highly placed member of Buhari’s inner circle has been identified as having collected huge sums of money to give a waiver to a multinational telecommunication operator for infractions on its operations, even as the NCC remains one of most corrupt agencies under this administration.
• Similarly President Buhari himself had mentioned that the sum of over 40 billion naira was withdrawn from the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria with instruction written to current CBN Governor Godwin Emiefiele on a bread coupon. Why is the CBN Governor still conducting business as usual from his office, while Sambo Dasuki who was said to have received the money is still languishing in detention despite several court orders granting him bail?
• As regards to the National Intelligence Agency, while Nigerians were still awaiting the findings of the panel set up by the President and headed by Vice President Osinbajo, Nigerians woke up to a counter panel headed by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and the another scandalous withdrawal of a huge sum of money from the coffers of the agency.
• Investigations into the conduct of the various arms of the military per the war against the Boko Haram insurgency uncovered massive corruption involving several officers. The reports/findings involving the Navy and Airforce had been released but that of the Army is yet to see the light of the day. Is it to protect a serving minister in the administration whose tenure as Army chief covered the period under investigation?
• As regards the issue of the chief executive of the main anti-corruption agency, the EFCC, President Buhari has been condoning and abetting the illegality of retaining Ibrahim Magu contrary to extant laws. Magu, it can be recalled was investigated twice and declared as unfit to hold that office by the Department of State Security, which indicted him in a report to the Senate. Is there anything that Magu is covering up for the Buhari administration that necessitates his being retained by all means even as the Senate’s embargo on the administrations appointees remains?
• Regarding the issue of insecurity in the land, while commending the Buhari administration on its achievement in degrading the Boko Haram insurgency, it must be pointed out that new and deadly forms of insecurity have gripped the nation. Kidnapping has assumed a more national dimension covering all parts of the country. Several persons have been kidnapped for ransom with some maimed and losing their lives. The law enforcement agencies have in a number of situations been found to be partisan and even complicit in some of the reported massacres in various places by aiding some state governors. These atrocities include the massacre of hundreds of innocent and defenceless Shiite men, women and children in Zaria, Kaduna state, the Mambilla massacre in Taraba state, and the senseless killings in Benue State to mention a few. As yet no culprit has been brought to book for these heinous crimes against humanity.
• In clear disregard for the principle of separation of powers under our constitution, the Buhari administration has sought to forcibly invade and arrest Judges on unsubstantiated allegations of corruption.
In doing so the administration will fully chose to ignore that the Judiciary has its own procedures and mechanism of disciplining Judges. By the crude and primitive methods it employed, the Buhari administration took us back to the days of brutish, arbitrary arrests of individuals as it happened during the military when the late Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was savagely thrown into a military truck.
• The bastardisation of the Judiciary and failure of the government to obey court orders have resulted in a dysfunctional state of law enforcement giving rise to a near state of judicial anarchy in the country. A government that is constitutionally responsible to enforce the law has become the greatest law breaker as in the case of Dasuki, Elzakzaky and now Magu.
• Impunity, corruption, economic sabotage, hoarding, diversion of product, gross incompetence and total disregard to the suffering of Nigerians by President Buhari’s administration has led to persistent fuel scarcity, inflation and increase in the price of food items around the country. As if the present administration’s poor record in managing the country’s economy is not enough.
In conclusion Nigerians must be able to transcend the divisive issues of ethnicity and religion in the choice of their future leaders. It has now been clearly established that our political elite and leaders have always harped on these issues to advance their selfish political agenda leaving us more impoverished.
The 2019 elections promises to be a threshold in the political development of Nigeria and between the antecedents of Obasanjo and the disappointment of the Buhari administration, Nigerians have an imperative to come out with a third alternative. Obasanjos “third force” clearly depicts the anti-democratic and manipulative tendencies of Obasanjo, the sponsor and convener. Nigerians at this juncture of political development hardly need a “force” but an alternative political platform made up of genuine patriots determined to do away with the issues that have been the bane of our politics up till now.”