Obasanjo says President Jonathan is afraid Buhari might jail him when he leaves office

February 15, 2015 9:39 am

Former President yesterday came hard again on
President Jonathan and his style of governance, claiming that President
Jonathan is afraid that if Gen Buhari wins the election, he might jail
him when he leaves office. Obasanjo said this while speaking to newsmen
at his home in Abeokuta shortly after his return from his trip to Kenya
and UK.

Obasanjo said President Jonathan was doing everything possible to win
the elections, either by hook or by crook. He said president Jonathan is
playing the cards of former Cote d’Ivoire President, Laurent Gbagbo who
continued shifting elections in his country in a bid to ensure that he
won the election, a situation that plunged Cote d’Ivoire into political
crisis. He said President Jonathan was reigning and not ruling after he
said in his last media chat he was not aware of the military’s advise
that the election be postponed. He said INEC deciding to postpone the
election was a forced decision. Read all that after the cut…


“While
I was away, I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue
because I wanted to come back home and learn at firsthand what actually
transpired and what was going on, and it turned out to be a forced
decision on the INEC because it was alleged that the Security Chiefs
were unable to provide security, and as a result the Chairman of INEC
had to postpone, in accordance with the dictates of the so called
Security Chiefs. I thought, for me, that was bad precedent for democracy
in Nigeria. It meant it doesn’t matter what preparation or lack of
preparation any electoral body could make in Nigeria. The final decision
whether election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in
the domain of security. It is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria. I will
say this: we must all feel concerned before democracy is killed. The
observable and what would appear to be happening is that the president
has a grand plan, a grand plan to ensure that by hook or by crook, he
wins the election or if it all fails, he scuttles it and creates chaos,
confusion and unpleasantness in the whole country. It is the duty and
function and responsibility of the security officers to provide
security. The President is the Chief Security Officer of the country and
he is the Commander- in -Chief and if security is required anywhere,
anytime, it is his duty to provide it. Failure to provide it is
dereliction of duty. Pure and simple. Whether the President is following
his own grand plan or his aides and associates are working a script,
they are playing a script which must have got his endorsement, if not
initiated by him. What again, it looks to me that the President is
trying to play Gbagbo (Laurent). Gbagbo is the former President of Cote
d’Ivoire and Gbagbo made sure he postponed the election in his country
until he was sure he would win and then allowed the election to take
place. He got an inconclusive election in the first ballot. And I
believe this is the sort of thing Nigeria may fall into. If I am right
in what I observed as the grand plan and then in the run-off, Gbagbo
lost with 8% behind 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 a repeat of Gbagbo or what I called the Gbagbo saga
here in Nigeria, I hope not.” he said

Obasanjo
said the reasons given by military chiefs who called for election
postponement is not tenable and that if they have failed, they should as
well leave office and go home

“When
they have failed, they can as well go home. Their job is to maintain
law and order and provide security at any time and at any place. They
said they cannot do it, they have failed. I want to believe
that this was forced on them, I want to believe that but 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.
The unfortunate thing is this: they are over exposing themselves or they
are being over exposed by whoever brought about that way of doing
things, and for me, a momentous decision like that cannot be taken and
implemented by the security chiefs. 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 authorized 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 is true, then the President must be reigning but not
ruling. And who then are the shadow figures that are ruling us? It means
that one day we will find out that  this country would be plunged into
chaos, into commotion and into confusion and the President would say, ‘I
do not know about it’, of course President(Jonathan) can run but he
cannot run past God. He has constitutional responsibility and to claim
he doesn’t know is not an excuse. So, I do hope that those Service
Chiefs who we are proud of the services people like me and others like
me have rendered and proud of what they are doing, will not shame
themselves and shame us. This is because what this amounts to is what,
in the military circle, is called very an unmilitary conduct and conduct
to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. For me, you can
give any excuse or you can give any rationalization or you can
rationalize anything. Look Boko Haram problem has been with us since
2009 and now if we say what we have not been able to achieve since 2009
would be achieved in six weeks, all I would say is that God is a God of
miracle. God can do anything but knowing what we know, look countries
like Syria had election, they have full scale war all over the country. A
country like Iraq had election, they had full scale war and they are
still having war. Countries like Afghanistan had election, they even had
election where the incumbent served his term and moved out. Even
Colombia where the rebel group (FARC) has been active for more than 50
years has been having elections regularly and FARC is still very active.
So, to say that what we have not been able to achieve in five years, we
will achieve in six weeks, let us wait and see. When people want to
make excuses, they should look for excuses that are tenable. I believe
the President’s fear is not leaving office per se, because he and I have
had occasions to talk about this both seriously and jovially. I
believe President would want an opportunity to disengage peacefully and
have a nice, decent and a glorious exit, I believe the President’s fear
is, particularly, motivated by those who he see as Gen Buhari as his
likely successor. I believe those people would have been telling him
that Buhari is a hard man, he would fight corruption and you may end up
in jail if not in grave. I believe people must have told him all sorts
of things and he is not the only one, there are other people who may be
afraid of Buhari. But why? I would say that Buhari has learnt his
lessons. If he hasn’t learnt lessons, then he would be probably the most
unlearning human being. If he has learnt lessons, he would know that
you do not fight corruption by putting people in jail for 200 years. And
this has been done by my own predecessor in office, General Abdulsalami
Abubakar. He recovered over $750 million from Abacha’s estate without
putting anybody in jail, without hurting or harming anybody. When I took
over, we recovered over $1.25 billion from the same Abacha estate
without hurting anybody, without harming anybody. In fact, what would be
rather unfortunate is the fact that our lawyer who is still alive and
able, who was chasing this money all over the world, said to us that
there’s still about $1 billion to be recovered from Abacha estate but
the unfortunate thing is that my successor did not do anything about it
even though it was in my handing over note. I don’t think the President
is afraid of being out. There’s life after Aso Villa. It depends, of
course to a large extent, on how he descendsý; how his descent takes
place; and how his exit takes place. Because out there in the
international world, there’s so much need for the wisdom and experience
of people who have done it before. They also want people who are
creditable and credible.” he said

According
to President Obasanjo, General Buhari would give a firm leadership to
Nigeria and preside over an efficient and effective economy

“Whoever
comes in at anytime in future will fight corruption, and we must even
encourage successful fight of corruption. We must. Recklessness and
impunity must not continue to be our part of life. Whether recklessness
and impunity in the management of our economic affairs, in the running
of our finances and even in political affairs, they must not be allowed
to remain part of us. Buhari  has tried to do it before. I believe he
will give firm leadership which is what is good for a country like this.
When he was there, it was the military and military is both the
executive and the legislature. In a democracy, that is not possible. I
believe he knows the military, the damage that has been done to the
military. It has been rendered almost impotent by a number of things
that have happened and I believe he will do something about it. And if
he doesn’t do it, I would say shame on him if he gets there because that
is some of the things he knows. I believe he can preside over an
efficient and effective economy. He has the knowledge, he has the
experience, he may not be a bowl of fire as an economist but he presided
over it.” he said

He advised President Jonathan to stop listening to those creating the phobia of Buhari in him

“He
should not listen to those who are creating phobia, phobia of Buhari,
phobia of enquiry and all that. President Jonathan has done well to the
best of his ability and he has made history as the first elected
Nigerian from a minority tribe and nobody can take that away from him.
He can even make a second history, if it turns out that way. If he
contests a fair, free and transparent election and loses, take a
dignified exit. He will be on the mountain top and he would be acclaimed
as a true patriot and a true democrat. What stops him from doing
this?” he said

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