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Tag Archives: OLusegun Obasanjo

Buhari desperate to silence Obasanjo by accusing him of a crime – Atiku

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says the Buhari administration is desperate to accuse ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of a crime so as to silence him.

In a statement issued on Monday, Atiku’s media office said the inclusion of Obasanjo’s name in the list of tax defaulters by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was to blackmail him.

It said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was feeding the media with falsehood to cause disaffection between Obasanjo and his former deputy.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is feeding members of the media with deliberate falsehoods in an attempt to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on one hand, and between former President Obasanjo and Nigerians in general,’’ the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Babalele Abdullahi, Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, did not donate any money in cash to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library. Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.

“This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organisation that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria, and that should be applauded.”

Referring to Buhari, the media office said unlike “another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.”

“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalised. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals,” it said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of fifty million naira was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public. Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.

“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.

“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathisers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.’’

The media office said the EFCC has become a propaganda agency and that the presidency, APC, the EFCC, The FIRS and The Nation “are now working together as five fingers of the same leprous hands.”

EFCC begins probe of Obasanjo’s $16bn power projects

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun the probe of the $16 billion power project of the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

There had been conflicting figures on the exact cost of the project as some people put it at $16 billion while others say it is $13.8 billion.

It was gathered last night that the anti-graft agency may arrest key contractors involved in the power project scam which extended beyond the Obasanjo administration into those of former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

It was also learnt that about 18 top former and serving public officers, including two ex-ministers, may be questioned.

Also likely to be interrogated by the EFCC are some top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Preliminary investigation revealed that Rockson Engineering Limited got a chunk of the contracts worth about $2 billion.

The findings revealed that the transactions involving the firms implicated in the power contracts were characterised by absence of due diligence.

A reliable source in the anti-graft commission said a team of crack detectives had been put in place to interrogate the people involved in the scam.

The source said: “The operatives of the EFCC have launched a massive investigation into the alleged $16 billion power scam between 2006 and 2011 just as concerted efforts are being made to recover the humongous funds allegedly diverted into private pockets by different firms involved in the power project.

“The whole power project is $16 billion and anchored on generation, transmission and distribution.

“The project is being handled by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).

“It is instructive to note that the NDPHC belongs to the three tiers of government, namely the Federal Government, state and local governments.

“Investigators also discovered that most of the firms that secured contracts under the power project collected huge sums in naira and dollars but did not perform up to 30 per cent before abandoning the project.

“Incidentally, most of the payments took place during the regimes of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

“The first amount released from the Excess Crude Account was about $8.3 billion.”

Another source claimed that some of the contractors will soon be invited by the EFCC for interrogation.

The source said: “A team of crack detectives has been raised by the commission to get to the roots of the power deal. Some of the key contractors will soon be quizzed.

“One of the major contractors – Rockson Engineering Ltd- is being allegedly taken over by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria.

“From documents available to the commission, Rockson got four contracts and it received over $2 billion in the following tranches: $180 million; $220 million; $240 million and $480 million.

“Rockson also received questionable $11 million and another N150 million.These payments are now under investigation.

“These huge funds were released to Rockson for power generation alone.

“Investigation further revealed that despite the release of the above to Rockson, the firm was only able to execute 30 per cent of the construction.

“The firm also claimed that it imported certain materials since 2013 and lying in Onne Port without clearing.”

It was also gathered last night that the EFCC will look into alleged lapses by some top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The source added: “Lack of due diligence pervaded the transaction while certain officials of the CBN are under probe over certain regulatory flaws.

“Instead of opening Letter of Credit (LOC) in the name of the manufacturers of the equipment for the power project, operatives discovered that the LOC was opened in the name of Rockson.

“Investigation also revealed that instead of the LOC being put in place in Form M (tangibles and specific), the LOC was opened in Form A (intangibles like school fees, medical bills, etc).

An official in the media unit of the EFCC only said: “We will do everything to recover the huge funds and prosecute indicted officials accordingly.”

Investigation revealed that the EFCC might also review issues in the report of the House of Representatives Committee.

The House actually recommended 18 top former and public officers, including two ex-ministers, for investigation by anti-graft agencies, especially EFCC and ICPC.

Many salient issues were raised for investigation by the House Committee, which was headed by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

The issues raised by the Elumelu Committee were as follows:

All NIPP payments were made without following Due Process

No meaningful progress was made in the execution of power contracts

Officials rushed to pay contractors in full even before engineering design for the projects had been completed and approved

NIPP contracts were not only overpriced in comparison with PHCN contracts, they were also wide off the mark

Widespread evidence of systematic over-scoping of projects in order to inflate costs both in PHCN and NIPP

NIPP Distribution EPC contracts were awarded at costs averaging about 10 times the norm when compared to PHCN contracts

The Ndudi Elumelu Committee was put in place by the House on January 31, 2008 to look into how much was spent on power projects.

In its report, the committee said that about $13.278 billion was spent on power projects between 1999 and 2007.

The committee recommended termination of 13 contracts and review of 10 projects.

About 15 contracting and consulting companies were asked to be investigated by the appropriate agencies.

The report reads in part: “From the oral and documentary evidence, it was clearly established that the total expenditure in the power sector during the period 1999-2007 was US$13, 278,937,409.94billion.

“Indeed, had the supplementary budget of the power sector in 2007 been implemented, the expenditure could then have been over $16billion reported by the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“There are also unfunded commitments to the tune of US$7.265billion for NIPP projects as at May 29, 2007.

“There is another US $1billion for PHCN capital projects awarded between 2000 and 2007, which have been captured in the 2008 Appropriation Act.

“Additionally, the total commitment of the NNPC and its Joint Venture partners(of which the Federal Government, through the NNPC has an average of 51% interest) towards IPP power plants, gas sources development, gas transmission and metering of JV IPPs, PHCN power plants and NIPP power plants, according to the submission of the acting GMD of the NNPC is US$7billion, out of which about US$1.62billion has been expensed, leaving outstanding commitments of over US$5.5billion out of which the Federal Government will provide about US$3billion.

“Recognition of these unfunded commitments would bring the total (funded and unfunded) FGN expenditure commitments in the power sector to over US$24.5billion between 1999 and 2007.

“From the assessment done during the Committee’s tour of the project sites, it is safe to conclude that no meaningful progress was made in the execution of power contracts.

“It is curious and quite strange that officials rush to pay contractors in full even before engineering design for the projects have been completed and approved.

“NIPP contracts were not only overpriced in comparison with PHCN contracts, they are also wide off the mark when viewed against comparable power stations in several parts of the world.

“A comparable review of the cost of power installations in varied regions of the world such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia, U.S.A, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico and Chile showed that $10billion could have built plants to produce between 5,000 to 6,000 MW of electricity. But this amount failed to do so in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, all NIPP payments were made without following Due Process. In its place, a process called ‘Waiver of Due Process Certification for Payment’ was adopted in flagrant disregard of Due Process Policy, thus paving the way for dubious and highly risky payments to contractors and consultants by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The committee found hard and widespread evidence of systematic over scoping of projects in order to inflate costs both in PHCN and NIPP.

“At least 15 transmission lines and substation projects have been identified. For example, the New Haven-Ikot-Ekpene 2x330kv Double Circuit Line was over-scoped by 49% whilst the Afam-Ikot Ekpene 330kv line was over-scoped by more than 100%.

“The estimated aggregate cost inflation identified so far for transmission projects is over N20billion and this is recoverable from contractors.

“A clear example of project cost inflation is the proposed supply of 9No GE frame 9 gas turbines and auxiliaries at the cost of N185billion($1.55billion) awarded to Rockson International.

“In comparison, it is noteworthy that GE supplied 18No turbines of similar specification previously at about $404million, including cost of Technical Assistance (TA) services and Long-Term Service agreements (LTSA). The implicit cost inflation on the additional turbines and associated services exceeds $1.145billion.

“Another example is the costing of the so-called change-order provisions for Alaoji Power Plant (Phase I) at a highly-questionable amount of US$123million.

“NIPP Distribution EPC contracts were awarded at costs averaging about 10 times the norm when compared to PHCN contracts costs for similar projects in the past five years. This 1,000% cost inflation of the NIPP Distribution EPC work scopes translates to an aggregate overpricing of over N50billion.”

Regarding the funding of NIPP projects, the panel says: “The contracts were not funded from any Appropriation Act. What this means is that the National Assembly had no knowledge of the source of the funds of the NIPP projects. All the government functionaries who testified referred to what they termed Excess Crude Account as the source of funding.

“The Committee was not able to determine the level of involvement of the National Assembly in the decision to set up the Excess Crude account. What the committee established is that it was illegal and unconstitutional for such a fund to be established without legislative authorization. Sections 80(3 and 4) of the 1999 Constitution which states clearly.

On the role of the CBN, the panel’s report added: “The committee is perturbed by the failure of the CBN Governor to provide information in respect of Letters of Credit opened and where the money involving over $1billion has been kept all these years

“It is necessary to note that the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to provide the Committee with schedule of utilization and draw-downs on Letters of Credit as well as interest accrued on unutilized balances.

“The committee strongly believes that these monies might be on fixed deposit accounts with some banks.

“In view of the apparent unwillingness of the CBN to cooperate with the Committee in this matter or provide the Committee with a proper account of withdrawals from Excess Crude account, the balance on the account, where the monies in respect of the unutilized Letters of Credit are kept and interest that have accrued thereto, we recommend that the EFCC be invited to investigate the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria in respect of the above issues relating to Letters of Credit opened.

Insecurity: Obasanjo hosts Fulani leaders in Abeokuta

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo hosted leaders of the Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), an umbrella group for Fulani organisations, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun state, on Saturday.

Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of Afenifere, Dayo Adewole, son of former minister of health who was recently kidnapped in Oyo state, were among those in attendance.

Sale Bayari, GAFDAN national chairman, led delegates of the association, drawn from south-west states, Kogi and Kwara states to the meeting.

Obasanjo said Adewole’s son was invited to the meeting to narrate his ordeal, adding that the essence of the meeting was to proffer a solution to the killings and kidnappings across the country.

“We are all in darkness, all of us, we are in the darkness. We need to be in the light. I want to learn from you; I hope you will learn from me too. And at the end of the meeting, we will be able to proffer solutions to the happenings in the region,” Obasanjo said.

Journalists were later asked to leave the venue of the meeting but a communique was issued hours later.

The communique said the ex-president conveyed the meeting as part of his efforts to understand and facilitate the mitigation of the insecurity and criminality that is pervading south-west states and Nigeria.

It said all the participants agreed that there was need to find a solution to the rising insecurity in the land.

“It is critical for us as a people to start talking to each other with a view to find the practical solutions to deal with the challenges. One of the problems worrying the society is the problem of cover-ups and denials by both community and public institutional leadership that ought to expose these problems and deal with them,” the communique read.

“Stigmatization and victimization of a group of people, in this case the Fulani is of grave concern. The Fulani have both good and bad people. The action of bad Fulani should not be taken against all the Fulani.

“Fulani are also victims of kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and loss of property etc. There are other tribes who feel so in Yorubaland, and there are Yoruba who feel so in other geo-political regions of Nigeria. So the idea of moving tribal groups en masse from one geo political region to another is inpracticable and should not be talked about by leaders. g. We have to work as one community through our various efforts and responsibilities to protect and safeguard the interest of the community.”

Obasanjo’s selfish letters landed him in prison, says Yakasai

Tanko Yakasai, a founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), says writing “unpatriotic” letters is a peculiar attitude of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Yakasai said this in reaction to the letter Obasanjo wrote to Buhari on the insecurity in the country.

But speaking to journalists in Kano on Monday, Yakasai said the content of the letter may cause unrest in the country.

He said all letters written by Obasanjo to past Nigerian leaders were never inspired by patriotism but selfish interests.

Yakasai said one of the letters Obasanjo wrote during the reign of late Sani Abacha, former military head of state, landed him in prison.

“The actions of General Olusegun Obasanjo are, indeed, an open invitation for disaster for this country with the kind of hate speeches and messages that are flying all over the country,” Yakasai said.

“I don’t see patriotism in General Obasanjo’s letters. In fact, all the letters written by General Obasanjo to all Military Heads of State and Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not guided by patriotic considerations.

“My experience with Nigerian political situation is that the top echelons of the Military are always fighting one another, either when in the service or when on retirement.

“It is from this angle that I always view most of the writings of General Olusegun Obasanjo to any military officer who is a Head of State or President in Nigeria as unpatriotic. Even the ones he wrote to former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua were not patriotic. They were guided by selfish interest.

“General Obasanjo did it during Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s era. He did it during the late General Sani Abacha’s regime, which later resulted to accusations that he was trying to overthrow the government, which eventually led to his imprisonment.

“General Olusegun Obasanjo also wrote a number of letters during General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s regime; and he is still writing letters in this current presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari. So, this attitude of writing unpatriotic letters has been part of General Olusegun Obasanjo.”

Yakasai said there was nothing new raised in Obasanjo’s July 15 letter other than the call for a national conference.

He advised Buahri to revisit the recommendations of the 2014 national conference rather than calling for a fresh one.

“I am puzzled to read from that letter that General Olusegun Obasanjo is requesting or asking for the convocation of another National Conference at this critical moment in our national history,” he said.

“A National Conference, even if it is convened at this point in time cannot begin in peace and end in peace.”

Full text of Obasanjo’s open letter to Buhari

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.

The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;

2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.

3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;

4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

July 15, 2019

Released by

Kehinde Akinyemi

Special Assistant Media.

Obasanjo writes another letter to Buhari…says Nigeria endangered

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written yet another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This comes more than a year after the letter he wrote to the president generated so much uproar. He had criticised Buhari, asking him not to seek another term.

In the new letter dated July 15, Obasanjo said he is very worried over the high level of insecurity in the country.

He called on the president to take decisive action to prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown crisis.

“I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned,” he wrote.

“When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities: abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type.

“Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened. Similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom; Violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.”

Obasanjo deceived, failed Afenifere, AD govs in second term – Osoba

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo promised to restructure Nigeria when he sought the support for his re-election for a second term from the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and governors on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy.

Osoba stated this in his 341-page memoir: ‘Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics’ which was published by Diamond Publications Limited, and will be presented to the public next Monday as part of activities marking Osoba’s 80th birthday in Lagos.

The former Ogun State governor said there was no love lost between Obasanjo and governors in the South-West until there was an attempt to impeach him by the Ghali Umar Na’Abba-led House of Representatives in August 2002.

Osoba said the Afenifere and the AD governors opposed the impeachment plot despite their differences with Obasanjo because they felt it could truncate the nation’s re-nascent democracy.

He explained that after the impeachment plot failed, the former president used the opportunity to curry favour with Afenifere.

The AD chieftain said, “It was after this experience that Obasanjo began a frontal attempt to woo the AD governors. He came to Lagos to attend the convocation at the University of Lagos and then invited all the AD governors to a meeting later in the night same day.

“Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos was the contact between us and Obasanjo over the arrangements for the meeting. We met him in the old office of the head of state at Dodan Barracks. The only person who accompanied him to the meeting was the Director of the State Security Service, Col. Kayode Are.

“At the meeting, he directly requested support from all the six AD governors. He said he wanted an understanding between us and himself because he faced some serious challenges that were likely to create some upheaval in the political terrain and in the country at large. Therefore, he wanted an understanding and a working relationship with us.”

Osoba said the group wondered the basis for the collaboration since Obasanjo’s first term was coming to an end.

He noted that the governors said they needed to consult the AD leadership before making any decision.

He said the governor consulted the leader of the Afenifere, late Pa Abraham Adesanya. According to him, after the consultations a meeting was held among the members (Afenifere) in Lagos where conditions for negotiating with Obasanjo to support his second term were agreed upon.

Osoba said Pa Adesanya led a team with the Afenifere charter of demand to Ota, Ogun State, to discuss with Obasanjo.

“The Afenifere and the AD leadership were not going to give their heart and soul to support Obasanjo’s second term ambition without extracting some major political commitments from Obasanjo. A meeting was held in Lagos where the conditions for negotiating with Obasanjo were agreed upon. After the meeting at the home of Pa Adesanya, he led a team with Afenifere charter of demand to Ota to discuss with Obasanjo.

“The delegation to Ota included Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Femi Okurounmu and Dr Cornelius Adebayo. Senator Okurounmu and Dr. Adebayo were mandated to speak on behalf of AD and Afenifere respectively at the meeting with Obasanjo. Chief Adesanya called me and asked me to join them at Obasanjo’s Ota Farm, from my station in Abeokuta

“The conditions presented to Obasanjo, among others were: the restructuring of the Nigerian federation, devolution of power, including moving some items from the exclusive to the concurrent list and ensuring fiscal federalism. Obasanjo was made to agree to organise a credible and transparent national census. We also demanded that the constitution must include merit as a condition that must be followed alongside federal character and quota system in the recruitment to federal positions across the country.

“When all these conditions were tabled before Obasanjo, he assured us that he was satisfied with them and that he clearly identified with them. He explained that he had even started implementing the issue of merit in federal appointments indirectly through the privatisation of many public enterprises which were run for many years without respect for merit.

“On the whole, Obasanjo sounded so eloquent and convincing. At the end of the meeting, we drove to the Gateway Hotel, Ota, where I had arranged dinner for the leaders. It was also the place to debrief ourselves of what we gained from meeting with Obasanjo. Chief Adebanjo was the major speaker.

“I sincerely cannot believe that Obasanjo has become such a changed man,” he said. ‘I am surprised, but happy that he is ready to take fundamental actions to restructure Nigeria in his second term in office.’

“That was the impression most of us took away from the meeting. Consequently, we agreed to support him for the 2003 presidential election. On our part, we decided not to present a presidential candidate for our party in spite of resistance from some Afenifere leaders.

It was later that we realised that we had been fooled. Obasanjo merely played along with us and ended up deceiving us by telling our leaders what he knew they wanted to hear, but which didn’t come from his heart.

Agbor monarch urges OBJ to end Sanusi, Ganduje feud…says things not right in Nigeria

The Dein of Agbor Kingdom Delta State, His Royal Majesty Benjamin Ikenchuku (Keagborekuzi I) has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to foster greater peace between Kano State Governor Abdulahi Ganduje and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Dein Ikenchuku, who arrived Abeokuta from Republic of Benin where he was conferred with the title of Chancellor of a University, told reporters in Abeokuta that Nigerians needed peace and harmony now than ever before.

The highly revered traditional ruler, who became the world’ youngest monarch at the gae of two years and four montgs in 1981, visited Obasanjo at his country home in Ota to discuss the issue of peace between Governor Ganduje and Emir Sanusi II, on Thursday.

He hinted a similar visit would be paid to President Muhammadu Buhari, commending him for re-appointing his subject and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emeifele, for another tenure.

He said: “I am not trying to gain anything from these visits but to help our great country. We want peace, unity and be a fruitful country. We must get back to the good times of this country. I will also try to get to the governors too, we must just get back that is my concern now. Things are not just going right.

“Let me use this opportunity to commend and thank Mr. President for giving us back for the very first time, a two-term CBN governor, Godwin Emeifele, a worthy son of Agbor. I felt it would have been very dangerous if he had been changed at this sensitive time of our economy situation. So, I have to thank Mr. President for that.”

He noted that Obasanjo is sensitive to the wishes and pains of Nigerians, including the northerners and called for dialogue between President Muhammad Buhari and the elder statesman.

Both of them, he said, had the competence and qualities to achieve peace and overcome the socio-economic challenges of the country.

He said: “Obasanjo remained an elder statesman that is committed to the progress, peace and unity of this country, irrespective of positions in certain quarters. His views have not changed about Nigeria even as at today that I met him.

“I have known Baba now for almost 20 years. He’s the President I came to know when I came back to Nigeria in 2000. He’s the President that I admire.

“Some people say so many things about this old man, which I found to be very untrue. All the negative things they say about him, even before I met him, I found out they were lies.

“Obasanjo is somebody that is very sure of his position. He’s somebody that is confident of who he is and where he is going. But at the same time, Obasanjo is somebody that is very humble. So we should not be abusing our elders.

“Whether anybody likes it or not, Obasanjo is an elder and a statesman, who has served as Head of this country and led in different capacities. This is somebody that is well respected by the international communities too.

“So, if somebody with this kind of experience and knowledge is saying something, the Nation should listen. We have a problem in this country and that is how we dialogue, which is sometimes abrasive and disrespectful and that is not how brothers and sisters should be living because we are brothers and sisters. Obasanjo, is very sensitive to both the wishes and pains of the North as well as we here in the South.

“These two portions of the country neither can do without each other. We are one people. God put us together in this country and we need to sit down and solve this problem together.

“The two could still continue a dialogue that those around them would not cause any kind of freezing in their relationship. They both need each other to be able to help steer this country forward.”

Fayose: It’s a shame on Obasanjo that Buhari honoured Abiola

Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti state, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Last year, Buhari declared June 12 as Democracy Day and also conferred a post-humous award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.

He also apologised to his family, on behalf of the federal government, for his death in the struggle to reclaim his mandate.

The military junta of Ibrahim Babaginda had annulled the 1993 election adjudged as the freest and fairest in the nation’s history.

On Wednesday, the president also named the Abuja national stadium after Abiola.

Reacting to this, Fayose, a critic of the president, took to his Twitter account to knock Obasanjo and hail the president.

“Honouring MKO Abiola by Buhari is to Obasanjo’s shame. It remains a sore-point of his political history that because of ego, Obasanjo, who’s the greatest beneficiary of the June 12, 1993 struggle failed to honour his kinsman, MKO Abiola. So, I commend President Buhari,” he tweeted.

Peter Ayodele Fayose

@GovAyoFayose

Honouring MKO Abiola by @MBuhari is to Obasanjo’s shame.
It remains a sore-point of his political history that because of ego, Obasanjo, who’s the greatest beneficiary of the June 12, 1993 struggle failed to honour his kinsman, MKO Abiola. So, I commend President Buhari.

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Kingibe: Obasanjo knew about June 12 annulment

Babagana Kingibe, running mate of MKO Abiola in the June 12, 1993 presidential election, says he has a video recording of the events surrounding the election.

Kingibe said this on Wednesday when he featured on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme.

The former ambassador had been criticised as not been part of the struggle after the election was annulled by former military head of state Ibrahim Babangida.

He once served as foreign minister under Sani Abacha, late head of state, who jailed Abiola in the heat of the struggle.

But speaking during the live programme, Kingibe admitted that he has been silent on the issue. He said though he knew all that transpired during and after the election, telling the stories would diminish other people’s views on it.

“This is the first time that I am addressing the issue. Sometimes, I am bemused (but) I am not surprised about the comments that people were making about June 12; the claims on June 12, those who stood on June 12 and so on,” he said.

“I know every detail of what happened and there is no way that one can tell the truth about June 12 without perhaps diminishing some people’s own;  without taking away from the significance and the solemnity of that day.

“I have actually recorded my recollections of those days and those events. I hope that I will have the opportunity to air my recording one day. It is in video recording, not audio recording.”

Kingibe said Olusegun Obasanjo, former president, was one of the architects of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, though he had made effort to see how issues arising from the annulment would be addressed.

“In the aftermath of the annulment, one of the architects of the annulment, former president Olusegun Obasanjo tried to get some elder statesmen, I think at the African Leadership Forum, to see how the aftermath of the annulment could be addressed or to see how the problems arising from the annulment could be addressed,” he said.

“And I think President Muhammadu Buhari did attend the meeting once, the inaugural meeting. I understood that when he (Buhari) saw the direction of the meeting, he decided not to attend again.

“Every time the issue of the annulment came up over the years, his position was very clear; it was very firm that the election was free, fair and there was a clear winner. And that the annulment was unjustified.”

Obasanjo hits Buhari again…says govt moving Nigeria towards disaster

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of moving the country towards the path of disaster.

In an interview with Premium Times, the former president said the progress the country is said to be making is questionable.

He lamented the present arrangement of political leadership in the country, saying it tends to favour some zones at the expense of others.

In the buildup to the 2019 general election, Obasanjo fell out with Buhari and endorsed Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“I think we have no choice but to be on the path for sustainable development,” Obasanjo said.

“The progress we are making may be questionable. Is it fast enough? Is it steady enough? Is it stable enough? Are we taking two steps forward and one step back or one step side-way?

“You can question that, but we have no choice but to be on (the) path for sustainable development. Any other thing will be a disaster. In fact, the pace at which we are going now is tending more and more toward disaster and instability and unsustainability.”

The former president said foreign investors no longer have confidence in the nation’s economy as it is poorly managed.

“The problem is that we are just not doing what we should be doing,” he said.

“Nobody has that confidence, and we cannot develop Nigeria without that confidence in our economy. Both for domestic investors and foreign investors.”

The former president expressed worry about the present leadership arrangement in the country, saying the composition sends a disturbing signal in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.

“I think there is a presumption in our constitution that our system will bring out competent leaders devoid of extremism, religious or tribal bigotry. Leaders who understand what it takes to hold the country together and put it in high gear for development, unity and an inclusive and shared society,” he said.

“These are assumptions. And if these assumptions come true, what is meant to be achieved in our country will be achieved. But the kind of situation you have now cannot allow those assumptions to become reality. Now you have a situation where three top officials of government will be from only two northern zones. Ahmad Lawan (who has been pencilled down as senate president) is from the north-east, the acting chief justice of Nigeria is from the north-east, The president of the country is from the north-west. They are all from what we call the core north. How can you have that kind of arrangement and then be absolutely insensitive to it (lack of geographical diversity)?

“So the prescription that our constitution makes of the kind of leadership that should emerge, we have failed to achieve that with the present leadership we have in place. The Constitution expects the executive to care for the welfare and security of every Nigerian. But in the present situation, they don’t seem to care.”

My experience aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight to Lagos — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has narrated his experience while on board an Ethiopian Airline flight that nearly crashed on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The airplane, Boeing 777-300, narrowly avoided an accident while trying to land with nearly 400 people on board.

In an m interview with Premium Times, Obasanjo said ”he remained calm and read papers while the scary situation occurred.”

“While it all happened, I was reading my papers,” said Obasanjo. “One man, who was next to me, said, ‘Oga you no worry?’ I said, ‘Íf I worry, what will I do? If you are on a plane and you have a situation like this, why should you worry?’ I left everything in the hands of God.”

Obasanjo was returning from a stakeholders dialogue on continental trade and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.

The plane, with 394 persons on board, had a false landing due to strong winds and a heavy downpour and was about to overshoot its runway before it returned to the air.

It later landed safely at the airport after spending about 10 minutes in the air.

“I was on Ethiopian Airline. Rain just came down heavily,” Obasanjo recalled.

“The pilot thought he could land. And he landed. He touched down. But I think he took a swift decision that he had to take off again.

“So he took off. If he did not, I think he probably would have overrun the runway. He then apologised and said he would try to land again. He tried again, and we landed safely. And we all clapped.”

The ex-military head of state said the pilot first landed the plane at about 12:20 p.m. before the incident, but finally landed safely on return at 12:30 p.m.

“He touched the ground. Then he took off and apologised and landed again at about 12.30. We spent just about 10 minutes in the air before we landed again,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines recently suffered a crash of its flight ET302 flying its B-737 MAX 800 aircraft in March which killed all 157 persons on board.

The aircraft en route Nairobi from Addis Ababa, crashed six minutes after takeoff around Bishoftu, 40 miles South-east of the Ethiopian capital.

Two Nigerians died in the crash.

The BBC had earlier reported that Obasanjo denied being aboard the flight quite g his media aide.

BREAKING: Obasanjo escapes plane crash (Updated)

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and 393 others aboard and Ethiopian Airlines plane, escaped crash on Wednesday at Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

Obasanjo, who was reported to have been absent from the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term, escaped crashing in the plane.

Other prominent Nigerians aboard the Ethiopian airline passenger aircraft, Boeing 777-300, included the Director General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Amb. Ayoola Olukanni.

Also in the plane was Prof Samson Tunde Adebayo, the Director of Ports Inspection, National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) as well as scores of Nigerians and other nationals.

The passenger aircraft, ET-901, had departed the Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, at about 9:10 a.m., Ethiopian time; 7 a.m Nigerian time.

A NAN correspondent, who was among the passengers, reported that the almost five-hour flight from the Ethiopian capital to Lagos had been smooth until the pilot attempted to land at the Murtala Mohammed International airport.

Rather than landing on the first touchdown zone of the runway, the pilot over shot it, due to rain and heavy wind, landing on the third touchdown zone

NAN reports that on realising that they could over shoot the runway entirely the cockpit crew quickly maneuvered the plane back into air, flying out of the Lagos airport causing panic in passengers.

After circling between Lagos and areas suspected to be in Ogun, the plane finally landed safely at Lagos airport, some 20 minutes after the initial missed approach.

The atmosphere in the air bus upon landing was replica of what is obtainable in some Nigerian worship centres, as many passengers broke out into worship songs and clapping, while some fell to their knees in prayer.

Officials of the NCAA were unable to confirm the incident as the General Manager, Public Relations of the agency, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said there was no report of any incident in Lagos so far while the General Manager, Public Relations, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, said he had not received any incident notification from any airline.

NAN checks from the Control Tower also gave the same report.

But the Duty Manager and Chief Customer Service (Nigeria) of the airline, Mr Otori Otan, told NAN that if the pilot had continued taxing down after landing on the third touchdown zonr, he would have overshot the runway.

“But this is an experienced pilot. He realised this immediately.

“Fortunately, the distance between when he realised the situation still permitted him to take off and renegotiate landing,” Otori said.

He added that the incident was not out of place, while confirming that the wind obscured the pilot’s vision.

Otori also disclosed that most of the aircraft that flew out of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport had to fly against the midday heavy wind.

“These things happen. That is where the sophistication of the aircraft and experience of the cabin crew members come in.

“The aircraft is one of the best you can have around and we are fortunate to have pilots who know their onions ” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Ikechi Uko, Media Consultant to Ethiopian Airline, confirmed that the aircraft had a “missed approach” while about landing due to poor visibility caused by inclimate weather.

“The aircraft thereafter made an air return before it proceeded to land successfully .”

He said the pilot’s effort was in line with the Safety and Recommended Practices (SARPS) in aviation

Obasanjo and Olukanni had both attended a Stakeholders Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.

Nigeria shouldn’t bring its problem to AU, says Obasanjo on AfCTA

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement will not be hindered by Nigeria’s reluctance to sign up to the process.

Obasanjo spoke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the opening session of the stakeholders’ dialogue on continental trade and strengthening the implementation of the AfCTA.

The dialogue was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).

The former president was reacting to concerns raised by one of the discussants, on the need for stakeholders to look into the implications of AfCTA without Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy.

He said Nigeria should resolve its “domestic problems” and not bring such to the AU.

Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea are the only countries on the continent yet to sign the AfCTA agreement.

The agreement has, however, achieved the minimum number of ratification, 22 countries, needed for its implementation.

Obasanjo, who recalled that Nigeria took over the processes leading to the AfCTA agreement from Egypt, wondered why it suddenly halted signing the agreement.

“It is nobody’s fault if your country cannot resolve its domestic problem,” Obasanjo said.

“If you (Nigeria) is not signing the agreement, it is unfortunate. AfCTA will go on without Nigeria. You will recall that this is the first time since 1976 that Nigeria is not at the table of a major continental process. Nigeria should settle its problem at home and not bring it to the AU.”

Obasanjo also said feelers from the AfCTA remain positive, adding that meetings would be extended to other stakeholders, including Africa’s central banks, customs and security agencies.

He said the removal of trade barriers does not mean the removal of other statutory agencies at various national border posts.

He, however, commended the issuance of visas at the point of entry by some African countries, saying the gesture was a positive step in the direction towards the movement of people across the continent.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement between 49 AU member states, with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The AfCTA is expected to help African countries eliminate high tariffs and enhance intra-African trade.

The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify the agreement, a year after it was first introduced while Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has not reached a decision on its participation in the agreement.

President Muhammadu Buhari had backed out saying the country he could not sign agreements without understanding the terms.

“Already, some of the treaties we are party to have been significantly abused, resulting in massive smuggling which has crippled many of our local industries and destroyed millions of jobs,” Buhari had said.

“To avoid these past mistakes, we conducted vast consultations across the country in which the LCCI participated. The responses have been mixed.”

Soyinka warns FG not to ignore Obasanjo’s comment on insecurity

Prof Wole Soyinka, nobel laureate, has urged the federal government to consider the comment by Olusegun Obasanjo, former president, on the rising insecurity in the country.

The foremost playwright was speaking at an event organised by the United Bank of Africa to mark the 2019 Africa Day, in Lagos, on Wednesday.

While delivering a lecture on Saturday in Delta state, Obasanjo had said the Boko Haram crisis had become an agenda for “West African Fulanization, African Islamisation”.

In reaction, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said such comment by the former president is absurd and divisive.

Soyinka said rather than dismiss Obasanjo’s comment, the government should deal with its substance.

He said leaders should not be too carried away by the “marvelous concept of unity” to the point of ignoring the issues that threaten the existence of the nation and its people.

Soyinka urged the government to prioritize the material condition of its citizens, saying “we are being re-colonized by a number of forces.”

“We should be careful not to be too dismissive over the matter. The Federal Government is leaving aside the substance, which is the high level of kidnapping, youth suicide and terrorism in the country. I support unity in Africa but we need to particularize the area of unity we seek. Even Boko Haram also tries to unify everybody,” he said.

“Everybody knows me and Obasanjo, and I think we should be careful not to be too dismissive or abrasive. The language must be put aside and let us deal with the substance.

“Let us analyse carefully what the (former) president has said. I was listening to the Minister of Information; they are leaving aside the substance and dealing with the person. Obasanjo also called for a meeting to deal with the social malaise of suicide, kidnapping, noting that we had better sit down and tackle this issues.”

Alleged Islamisation: Lamido warns Obasanjo against turning into bigot

A former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido has warned ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo against turning himself into a bigot. He said Obasanjo’s comments at a church on alleged Fulanisation and Islamisation of Nigeria were intolerable.

Lamido advised Obasanjo to retain his national outlook instead of fanning the embers of religious divide.

But a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said Obasanjo was only being courageous in telling the truth.

Lamido expressed his views in a statement by his New Media aide, Masur Ahmed.

The statement said: “Speaking about ‘Fulanisation and Islamisation at St. Paul Cathedral Church’ is very much unlike you, sir!

“If it were said at a non-religious venue to a non-religious audience, may be it might have been more tolerable.

“Please, sir, don’t let your disappointment with sitting Presidents turn you into a bigot. You must not abandon the national stage.

“The cracks along the various divides in our national cohesion are already turning into huge ‘gorges’”

In a counter-statement, Fani-Kayode said Obasanjo was just being courageous.

He said the former President had done more for the core North, Lamido’s Fulani tribe, and Nigeria’s unity than any other ex-President or Head of State in the nation’s history. The former minister said posterity would be kind to Obasanjo for speaking the bitter truth.

Fani-Kayode said: “I hear one or two people like Sule Lamido are not too happy with what Obasanjo said and have called him (names) out for saying it. That is sad and unfortunate because Obasanjo has done more for the core North, Lamido’s Fulani tribe, and Nigerian unity, than any other former President or Head of State in our history.

“He also fought in a civil war to keep the country together. For anybody from the core North to call him names for speaking the truth and baring his mind over what is unfolding in Nigeria today tells you how blinded by power, insensitive and callous some of these people are.

“It is only those that subscribe to the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda that will criticise or oppose Obasanjo’s observation and describe him as ‘a bigot’ for making them.

“What Obasanjo said was timely and necessary and millions are commending him for it. He spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

The former minister alleged that Nigeria was driven to this stage because the world refused to listen to early warnings.

He added: “President Obasanjo remains the only politically active southern and Middle Belt leader that understands what is really going on, the grave danger that we are in and what lies ahead. He is deeply courageous and his latest contribution that there is an agenda to Fulanise West Africa and Islamise Africa says it all.

“Obasanjo needs say no more. History and posterity will be kind to him for speaking the bitter truth and saying what almost every other southern and Middle Belt politician and leader knows to be true but is too timid and too scared to say publicly.

“With his latest contribution, he has vindicated yours truly and many others. I saw this coming in late 2013 and I told the world. Nnamdi Kanu saw it coming in 2014 and he told the world. Asari Dokubo saw it in 2015 and he told the world.

“Afenifere, OPC, YOLICOM, PANDEM, MEND, the Middle Belt Forum, the Niger Delta Avengers, IPOB, MASSOB and Ohanaeze Ndigbo saw it in 2017 and they told the world. The Christian Elders Forum, CAN and the Church saw it in 2018 and they told the world.

“Sadly, the world refused to listen, left us on our own and, instead of rising to the occasion and confronting the evil, Nigerians went on bended knee to the powers that be and acted as if they were not saddled with a major problem that was bound to eventually consume them all. Now, they know better, even though most of them are still in denial.

“Now, they must live with the consequences of their indifference, ignorance, cowardice and stoicism. What a pity!”

Obasanjo demystified by Buhari’s victory – Akiolu

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu on Wednesday said the election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second -term in office was a clear proof that no man, but God gives power.

Akiolu made the statement when participants of the Senior Executive Course 41 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, visited him in his palace in Lagos. .

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN)reports that the visitors who were on study tour of the state were led by Dr Nasirudeen Usman, NIPSS Acting Director of Studies .

Akiolu said the president got his second term mandate from God through the people of Nigeria.

He said the claim by former President Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the election that Buhari would not win the election because he did not support him had been neutralised by the president’s triumph.

Akiolu said Obasanjo had always arrogated to himself the divine power to determine the country’s leaders, adding that Buhari’s victory in the last election had demystified him.

Akiolu said he had always believed Buhari would win the election and that he was glad that the former president had been proved wrong at the end of the day.

”I had said that Buhari would win even before the election, unfortunately ,the number one person creating problems in this country is former president Obasanjo.

”He arrogated to himself the powers of the Almighty Allah by saying it was the support he gave to Buhari that made him win the first term.

”Obasanjo said Buhari would not win the second term, but did Buhari not win? Did I not say Obasanjo will be disappointed by the time the results were announced .

”The president’s victory clearly shows power belongs to God only and no man can decide who leads the country”, he added.

Akiolu urged Nigerians to support the president to deliver the goods as he begins his second term in office .

He said the problems of insecurity, unemployment and other challenges of the country would be better tackled if citizens joined hands with government to address them.

The monarch urged politicians to put the issues of the last elections behind them and work together for the progress of the country .

Akiolu advised Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general elections to drop his case against Buhari’s election.

He predicted that Atiku’s case will amount to nought at the end of the day, adding that he strongly believed Buhari had the manadate of Nigerians and would finish his term in office.

”If anyone of you here is close to Atiku, tell him he can never succeed in what he is doing now.

”Buhari will complete his term in office, but Buhari too has to listen to.the people, pray to God and be honest in what he is doing ”, he said.

The monarch commended the visit of the NIPSS Executive course participants to the state, saying the state would benefit from the study tour of the delegation.

The Oba said he was particularly glad that the focus of the tour was to understand the challenges affecting healthcare delivery system in the state with a view to providing solutions.

Akiolu stressed  that qualitative healthcare system was key to improved life expectancy, adding that there was a link between it and development.

He advocated increased budgetary allocation to the health sector in line with World Health Organisation standard .

Akiolu described the NIPSS as a good initiative that had helped shaped policy formulation in the country .

The monarch said he was once a participant in a course at NIPSS as a police officer and that he still lived with the experience till date.

Speaking, Usman said the visit was to pay respect to the monarch as it was the norm for participants to visit distintiguished personalities anywhere they went .

He said the NIPSS participants were on the study tour of the state to study and assess its universal health care delivery system.

”Your Royal Highness, you will agree with us that universal healthcare system is quite an issue in the country .

”We have been in the state since the beginning of the week to engage shakeholders in the health delivery sector, to interact with them and find out the challenges facing the sector .

”At the end of the day, we will present a copy of our report to the state government with the expectation that it would implement our recommendations to improve healthcare in the state”, he said.

Usman said the Federal Government had over the years supported the institute to help in formulating policies for national development.

Obasanjo sues Punch columnist, newspaper for libel…demands N1bn

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has sued The Punch newspaper and Sonala Olumhense, a syndicated columnist, over an article they published on January 27, 2019.

In the article, “This is the best contribution Obasanjo can make,” Mr. Olumhense recalled previous articles he had written about the two-time Nigeria leader, explaining that because of Obasanjo’s “persistent efforts to distort Nigeria’s history and colour it in his own image,” he occasionally writes to remind Nigerians “he is not the saint or patriot or doer he pretends to be.”

But Obasanjo is claiming one billion naira as general damages, describing the article as “false, malicious, unjustified, injurious, scornful, distasteful, unsavoury” and exposing him to “public odium, ridicule and disdain.”

Mr. Olumhense is also principally syndicated on Sundays by Daily Trust, but the Abuja-based newspaper was not joined in the suit.

In addition to riches, Obasanjo is also seeking retraction of the already published complaint in two national newspapers within three days of the judgement of the court, and an order to restrain the defendants and others from publishing the same or similar words.

In an earlier article, on January 27, 2008, Olumhense called on the Umaru Yar’Adua administration “To Probe the Emperor,” giving 10 reasons.

“If Obasanjo gets away without being investigated, the bigger loser will not be Obasanjo, but this nation,” he wrote. “What Obasanjo did in office, and the reason that people are calling for him to be probed was done with arrogance, indiscipline and impunity. Not to probe him is to protect him. To protect him is to betray the constitution and the people of Nigeria in favor of yet another privileged citizen.”

Olumhense recalled that on June 23, 2004, Obasanjo himself publicly admitted that Nigerian leaders had failed Nigerians, and argued that a probe would be his chance to prove he is not one of the leaders he had criticized.

The columnist further recalled, on that occasion, that four years earlier Obasanjo had told the BBC that any Nigerian who was not prepared to die for the nation did not deserve to be a Nigerian citizen. “Probing him would give him the opportunity to stand by those words, and for Nigerians to see who he really was, as a president,” Olumhense observed.

In another article on August 18, 2013, he described Obasanjo as “Nigeria’s First ‘419’ President,” drawing attention to a speech Obasanjo had given that month at the University of Ibadan in which he excoriated other Nigerian leaders as not being good enough.

“And then he dismissed Nigerians for not finding him to be exceptional,” the columnist noted. “If Nigerians were yet to find a leader worthy of commendation after 53 years of independence [Obasanjo] declared, “’Then we are jinxed and cursed; we should all go to hell.’”

Commented the writer, “No, Chief, I humbly disagree. Only dishonest and unpatriotic leaders qualify for perdition.”
He asserted that Obasanjo knew he was Nigeria’s first ‘419’ leader. “But he is counting on the Nigerian people, especially the youth, remaining too distracted or too scared to rise to their feet and say, emphatically and in unison: “NO,” “ENOUGH” and “NONSENSE.”

“It is time,” Olumhense declared. “Our mumu don do!”

When the trial opens in the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, The Punch is expected to be represented by a battery of lawyers.

Olumhense will be represented by the fiery legal luminary, Femi Falana (SAN).

Many PDP leaders are after their stomach – OBJ

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says many leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are after their pockets and stomach.

Speaking when he received leaders of the party from the region in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, on Monday, the former president advised the opposition party to “purge itself of bad eggs”.

He said such individuals lacked commitment to returning the opposition party to its lost glory.

The elder statesman said Nigeria needs a vibrant voice and opposition with a view to building a virile democracy.

Obasanjo called for a strong voice and action from the opposition parties, in order to save the nation’s democracy.

He said he was willing to support genuine efforts from those who were passionate about the interest of the country.

“I knew PDP would lose the election in 2015 because it was clear, and I knew PDP will need to be rebuilt after losing the election,” the former president told his guests,” he said.

“You need what I call a critical mass of committed people, and come rain, come shine they are committed. With that, you can make Nigeria better.

:You see peoples’ faces beautiful but you don’t know what each person harbours inside of him. If you discover a bad egg, remove such a person and if such person has learnt his or her lessons, there can still be room to accommodate the person.

“Politically speaking, you can’t be my friend if you don’t buy into Nigeria’s project. For me, till death, I will continue to push for a better Nigeria.”

Obasanjo: Those discouraging Atiku from challenging Buhari in court are evil

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says those opposed to the decision of Atiku Abubakar to seek legal redress over the outcome of the presidential election have evil minds.

Atiku, who contested under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost to President Muhammadu Buhari in the March 23 election.

Speaking on the judgement of the Osun governorship tribunal, Obasanjo said Atiku did the right thing by challenging Buhari’s victory.

He said without a reasonable cause, Buhari went to the court to challenge his loss in three elections, wondering why some people were trying to “stop Atiku from going to court”.

On Friday, the tribunal declared Ademola Adeleke of the PDP  as winner of the September 2018 election in the state.

In a statement on Saturday, Obasanjo said the nullification of the election, which he described as an illegality, has given renewed confidence in the judiciary.

“While I was in Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum meeting, I received the news of the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal declaring Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the winner of the 2018 Governorship election in the state,” Obasanjo said.

“Let me take this opportunity to commend the tribunal for its courage in nullifying what was clearly an illegality. This action by the judicial officers, albeit a first step in the legal process, gives renewed confidence in the judiciary at a time when there are coordinated efforts by some political leaders to undermine, if not destroy, it.

“As I have repeatedly said, the world is watching events in Nigeria with keen interest. What we do or do not do right in our electoral process will have implications not just for Nigeria but for Africa and indeed the world. By correcting what was clearly a desperate attempt to change the will of the Osun people, the tribunal has saved Nigeria from great embarrassment and started the process of saving and strengthening our democracy.

“Let me also commend Sen. Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice. This is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society. Going to court must be encouraged and not discouraged as some people are now attempting to do.

“And if Buhari could go to court three times to seek justice, even without reasonable cause, any Nigerian who feels denied of justice must feel free to go to court.

“Those who have conceived and are promoting the narrative that if Atiku Abubakar continues to seek legal redress there will be violence, are evil minds looking for excuse to unleash violence on Nigerians. At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity.”