The President Is Afraid Of Buhari Sending Him To Jail...Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan had a grand plan to scuttle the coming elections for fear that if General Muhammadu Buhari(retd) of All Progressives Congress succeeds him, Buhari would send him to jail.

He said this at his Hilltop presidential residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State while talking with journalists. He said he broke his promise not to talk till after the elections because the elections were postponed.

Obasanjo spoke just as Nobel laureate and playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, warned President Goodluck Jonathan not to use security agencies to scuttle the current democratic dispensation.

Soyinka’s warning to Jonathan was contained in a letter he sent to one of our correspondents on Saturday.

In another letter that was made public on Saturday, former chairman of the National Population Commission, Chief Festus Odimegwu, called on Jonathan to ensure that the polls were free and fair.

Obasanjo, who just returned from foreign trips, said, “I believe the President’s fear is particularly motivated by whom he sees as his likely successor, that is, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. I believe people would have been telling him that Buhari is a hard man; he will fight corruption and he (Jonathan) may end up in jail if not in the grave. I think people would have told him that sort of thing and he is not the only one afraid of Buhari.”

But Obasanjo said Buhari should have learnt his lessons and might not be contemplating sending people to jail to fight corruption.

“If he has not learnt his lessons, he would be probably the most unlearning human being. Now if he has learnt his lessons, he will know that you do not fight corruption by putting people in jail for 200 years. This was done by my predecessor in office, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. He recovered over $750m from Abacha’s estate without putting anybody in jail and without harming or hurting anybody.

“When I took over, we recovered over $1.25bn from the same Abacha without hurting anybody and without harming anybody. What is rather unfortunate is the fact that our lawyer who is still alive, who was chasing this money all over the world, said to us that there was still well over $1bn to be recovered from the Abacha estate.”

On the allegation that Jonathan had a grand plan to scuttle the coming polls, Obasanjo likened Jonathan to the former president of Cote d’lvoire, Laurent Gbagbo, who shifted election dates until he believed the odds were in his favour.

Obasanjo said, “President Jonathan has a grand plan to ensure that he wins the election by hook or crook and if he loses, he scuttles it and brings chaos and confusion in the whole country.

“It looks to me that the President is trying to play (Laurent) 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.

“Then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with 8 per cent behind (Alassane) Quattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading was rebuffed by him and he unleashed horror in that country until nemesis caught up with him. I believe that we may be seeing the repeat of Gbabgo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not.”

Obasanjo noted that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, must have been boxed to a corner by the powers that be, before announcing the postponement of the elections.

He recounted how world leaders confronted him over political developments in the country, saying, “I was away because I had a number of assignments 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 the Munich security conferences annual event, everyone in the security community was there.

“I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn 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 the elections, in accordance with the dictates of the so-called security chiefs.

“For me, that was a 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 on whether 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.”

He said he was worried that President Jonathan had said in his recent media chat that he knew nothing about the postponement of the elections.

“I want to believe that this was forced on them (security chiefs). I want to believe that whether it was forced on them or it was their initiative, it was bad, very bad. I hope we will never have a repeat performance of this in this country again.

“It was even made worse when the President in the media chat on the 11th of this month claimed not to have knowledge or not to have authorised it. I get worried, very worried that if the President of Nigeria is not in charge of security, maintenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, assuming that it is true, then the President must be reigning and not ruling.”

While puncturing a hole in the excuse of the Boko Haram insurgency as a reason for the postponement, Obasanjo said it remained to be seen how the war against Boko Haram which could not be won since 2009, could be won in six weeks.

Obasanjo also appealed to the two leading political parties, Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress not to heat up the polity.

He said, “I have offered some warnings but let me also offer some appeals and the appeals for me will be for President Goodluck Jonathan. I appeal to him not to do anything to destroy the fledgling democracy that we are enjoying, democracy is not a destination. It is a process and the more we strengthened the process of democracy, the institutions and the factors, the better it is for us.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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