John Alechenu, John Ameh, Fidelis Soriwei, Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu
For describing the National Assembly as being peopled by a gang of unarmed robbers, the House of Representatives has lashed out at ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, calling him the grandfather of corruption.
The Reps described Obasanjo as the most corrupt Nigerian that ever held a public office, adding that he, however, saw himself as the only clean human being.
Specifically, the House called Obasanjo the “grandfather of corruption” in Nigeria.
It added that a reason Obasanjo would never like the members of the National Assembly was the fact that they foiled his third term ambition in 2007 after taking his money and displaying it publicly to put him to shame.
The House accused Obasanjo of churning out outright lies and mischievous innuendos against the National Assembly.
On Wednesday, Obasanjo had attacked the legislature on several fronts, including their salaries/allowances and the alleged diversion of constituency projects.
He had stated, “Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15million in a month for a senator and N10m a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.
“If the judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly, which stinks much worse than the judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished.
“It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians. Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of a whistle-blower is deplorable and undemocratic.’’
But, speaking through its Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, the House said Obasanjo first introduced corruption to the legislature in 1999 when he felt he must bribe legislators to have his way on every issue.
On corruption, Namdas noted, “Undoubtedly, former President Obasanjo is understandably angry with the National Assembly as an institution, having foiled his ambition for a third term in office even after trying to corrupt the members with a bribe of at least N50m each.
“Lest we forget, the person who introduced corruption to the National Assembly is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He birthed the 4th Republic National Assembly with corrupt practices from day one; indeed the first day of the Republic.
“He bribed the PDP, ANPP and AD legislators on their inauguration in 1999 to vote against the majority candidate of the PDP, (the late) Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. That was how Senator Evan Enwerem became the Senate President.
“Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives, being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some honourable members to impeach the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Ghali N’abba?
“Have we forgotten that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo used his position as President to extort businessmen and contractors to build his presidential library?
“The list of his corrupt acts while in office is endless. Unquestionably, he is the greatest corrupt person ever to hold office in Nigeria. He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or abuse of office in Nigeria as he remains the most corrupt Nigerian on record.”
On the allegation of budget padding and abuse of constituency projects, Namdas said the former President, like other Nigerians, should appreciate the responsibilities of the legislature, which he claimed needed additional funding.
He explained, “He claimed that the National Assembly’s budget is very high, when by all standards, the National Assembly is grossly underfunded and is hampered from effectively and legitimately carrying out its constitutionally-assigned functions.”
The House also observed that Obasanjo had started attacking President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that he was on a familiar path of discrediting any government that would not do his bidding.
“It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments. He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he did it to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, he did the same to Gen. (Ibrahim) Babangida; and he attempted to bring down (the late) Gen. Sani Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason.
“He made frantic efforts to derail the government of (the late) President Musa Ya’Ardua when he couldn’t use him. He supported President Goodluck Jonathan, but when he refused to take his dictation, he turned against him.
“He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government.”
Calling the former President a “blackmailer”, the House noted that all the issues he raised against Buhari publicly could have been discussed privately with the President since he had unfettered access to Buhari.
The Senate on Thursday kept mum on Obasanjo’s recent verbal attack on the National Assembly.
Several leaders and members of the upper legislative house declined to reply the ex-President.
The Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, who described Obasanjo as a father, said the ex-president would not be engaged in a media war.
He said, “I don’t want to take issue with my father. You cannot take issue with your father on the pages of newspapers.”
IYC, Mohammed back ex-President
But the Ijaw Youth Council and the convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, supported the former President.
The National Publicity Secretary of the IYC, Eric Omare, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “I think Obasanjo only stated the obvious and it is commendable. Nigerians are tired of Buhari’s excuses, while Nigerians are dying of hunger as a result of his poor economic policies.’’ (Punchng.com)