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Why I Visited Obasanjo – Bukola Saraki |The Republican News

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta

 

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has disclosed what he called “the main reason” why he visited ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Monday.

Saraki had held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the latter’s penthouse within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta on Monday.

Saraki, who came in a black Toyota Land Cruiser in company with some security aides, arrived the OOPL around 5.30pm.

He emerged from the meeting at 7.12pm.

Our correspondent gathered that the meeting was earlier scheduled to hold at 4.00pm but it did not start until 5.30pm when Saraki arrived at the venue.

Emerging from the meeting, Saraki told journalists that he was with Obasanjo to make up for his (Saraki’s) absence at the formal inauguration of the Presidential library held last year.

He said, “You know, I missed the official opening of the library and that is why I have decided to come and see the place and, honestly, it is beautiful.

“We are very proud of what he has done here.”

The embattled Senate President hurriedly entered his vehicle and it zoomed off when journalists asked him questions about the crisis rocking the National Assembly.

Informed sources, however, said that the meeting was not unconnected with the crisis rocking the National Assembly over the plot to impeach him by the All Progressives Congress senators.  (Punch)

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Obasanjo Laid Foundation For Bad Leadership In Nigeria – Osoba |RN

Oladimeji Ramon

A former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has accused ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of laying the foundation for bad leadership in the country.

Osoba, who alleged that the ex-President manipulated the governors elected on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy in 1999 out of the Council of State, said that alleged manipulation by Obasanjo “was the beginning of the downward trend of leadership in this country.”

The journalist-turned-politician said the crop of state governors elected in 1999 through the open ballot system were still the best, noting that he and others never had any cause to be probed for corruption by anti-graft agencies.

Osoba spoke on Monday in Lagos at the 70th Birthday Colloquium of one of the co-founders of Newswatch Magazine, Mr Ray Ekpu, a contemporary of the late Dele Giwa.

The colloquium, with the theme, “Nigeria: The leadership question,” held at Muson Centre, Lagos Island and was chaired by a former Minister of External Affairs, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi.

Some of those in attendance was a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah; the founder of Vanguard Newspaper, Sam Amuka-Pemu; Prof Pat Utomi; a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential hopeful, Kingsley Moghalu; and the Chairman, Editorial Board, The Nation Newspaper, Sam Omatseye.

On the panel of discussants was the Executive Director of Enough is Enough, Ms Yemi Adamolekun; and Mr Debo Adesina.

While expressing his hope in the future of the country, Osoba said he believed that the proposed electronic voting in the amendment to the Electoral Act would eliminate election rigging in the country.

He blamed the emergence of bad leaders on the nonchalance of the educated citizens who slept in their houses on election day and left the exercise to thugs, “who sell their votes for N5,000.”

The guest lecturer at the colloquium, Dr Chidi Amuta, a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said it was a time that the use of sworn affidavits was banned as an instrument that could be used by people seeking elected or public offices to prove their ages and educational qualifications.

“Those who cannot remember when they were born or what school they attended and certificates obtained have no business leading anybody,” Amuta said in the lecture delivered on his behalf by Mr Dan Agbese, also a co-founder of Newswatch Magazine.

Amuta also called for the abolishment of immunity for public office-holders, just as he proposed that there should be a system of training leaders.

“Leadership requires tutelage; we should resurrect the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies to continuously train and orientate public officials on the rudiments of democratic governance,” he said.

In his contribution, the ex-Akwa Ibom State governor, Attah, rejected the claim that there had never been exemplary leaders in the country, saying he was one. He added that incumbent elected officers should leave the choice of their successors to the electorate, and break the culture of imposition of their candidates.

In his speech, the celebrant, Ekpu, while noting that Nigeria had tried the parliamentary system of government without success before opting for the presidential system, which had also not worked, said the problem with the country was not about the system of government being practised but about the handlers of the country.

“Both the parliamentary and presidential systems have worked well in Britain and the United States where we imported them. So, why has none of them worked smoothly like a well-oiled Swiss watch in Nigeria? My considered view is that the operators of the constitution must be held responsible,” Ekpu said.

He also charged the citizens to wake up to their responsibility of demanding accountability from those in government.

In his remarks, Akinyemi said if the country was restructured,  the North would lose some of their benefits, noting, however, that that would be better than for the North to lose everything “if things fall apart.”

Efforts made to reach Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Osoba’s allegation proved abortive.

Calls made to his telephone line did not connect, and he did not respond to a text message sent to him on the matter.

Also, he neither acknowledged the message sent to him on his Whatsapp page nor responded to it.  (Punch)

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Election 2019: We Deserve A Better Nigeria – Obasanjo|The Republican News

Olusegun-Obasanjo1

The former president declared that he was ready to make more personal sacrifices like he had done, to make Nigeria better.

Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has vowed that no amount of intimidation and threat will force him to abandon his struggle for a better Nigeria.

He said “nobody who loves Nigeria will want it to be better than what it is today,” and warned that if Nigerians fail to act together as they should, the country will not be what it should be by 2019.

He made the remarks yesterday while addressing a 30-man delegation of Bafarawa Presidential Campaign Organisation (BCO), led by the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, during a courtesy visit to him at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) residence, Abeokuta.

The former president, who observed that no right-thinking Nigerian will applaud the current situation in the country, declared that he was ready to make more personal sacrifices like he had done, to make Nigeria better.

Obasanjo said he would throw his weight behind any presidential candidate who has track records of integrity, diligence, humility and not nepotism.

He saluted Bafarawa’s courage for aspiring to rule the country and said the former governor achieved a lot in Sokoto, by listening to his advice and cooperating with him as president. This, he added, made him visit Sokoto State 14 times to unveil projects

He said: “There are three attributes of a leader I saw in you, namely, diligence, humility and you don’t discriminate in terms of people who work with you. And you listen to advise. And so, yours is to see what you can do to make Nigeria better than what it is today.

 

“I’ve made personal sacrifices and I will make more. I fought in the war front and shed blood. I went to prison for doing nothing wrong. I’ve also been intimidated and threatened, what would you do to intimidate somebody like me?

“Before I act, I pray to God to guide me, and I think of Nigeria first, particularly majority of Nigerians who are underprivileged, whose situation we need to improve upon.

“But, leadership is not easy; if we do not act in unity, Nigeria will not be what it should become 2019. For 200 million people to continue to complain that things are not right, we are doing the same thing as we have done before.

“And if we keep doing the same thing, the result will not be different. If we want a different result, we must do things differently. And I believe we can do things differently.”

Speaking earlier, Bafarawa said he decided to visit Obasanjo to seek his prayers, advice and support for his presidential aspiration. He said as a governor, between 1999 and 2007, he was able to save and leave N11.8 billion in the coffers of the state, courtesy the then president’s advice.

He noted that the former president institutionalised the fight against corruption by establishing the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying “anybody talking about the fight against corruption without mentioning Obasanjo is erroneous.” (The Sun)

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Again, Obasanjo Attacks Buhari, Says Using EFCC, Others To Intimidate Opponents

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Former President, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo

  • Accuses FG of using EFCC, agencies to witch-hunt opposition

Nkechi Chima, Abuja

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of using the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to witch-hunt and intimidate other opponents.

Obasanjo alleged that some judges are already being intimidated; to prepare them to do the biding of the ruling party, in petitions that would arise from next year’s election.

He disclosed this in Abuja, at a colloquium titled Nigeria’s democracy: The journey so far and the role of women, which marked the 70th birthday anniversary of Mrs. Josephine Anenih, former minister for Women Affairs and Social Development.

The former president described the situation as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

He said: “Some institutions created for normal administration and dispensation of Justice, like the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Ministry of Justice are being directed to witch-hunt and pursue political opponents can only undermine survival of democracy.

“The use of intimidation, violence and physical attacks have started in some States.

“It is understood that judges are already being intimidated so as to prepare them to do the ruling party’s bidding in election petitions.

“All there are visible in today’s practise of democracy in Nigeria.”

Obasanjo noted that for democracy to endure and produce the desired gains, nobody should be unjustifiably treated and the rule of law must be observed by those in power.

He charged Nigerians to tolerate one another and stressed that though Nigeria has recorded some strides in her democratic journey it is not yet uhuru.

The former president also said democracy should not mean shutting those who did not vote for you and explained that it is a government of the people by the people.

“For me, that after almost twenty year’s of the beginning of the present dispensation, it has not been derailed, is enough a development in progress, even though there are many unpalatable practises and dangerous signs that have shown their ugly heads, which is the strongest indication that our democracy is alive but, it cannot be said to be hale and hearty.

“Practitioners of democracy must be democrats, if you have a lot to be desired.”

On women’s involvement in governance, Obasanjo advocated 40 percent representation for women at all levels of government.

He decried the current situation where Nigeria is yet to meet the 35 affirmative action.

“In this present administration, there are 15 women members in the House of Representatives.

“It is not only unacceptable but makes mockery of gender balance. There must be amendment of our constitution, not to allow any gender to have less than 40 percent in any parliament.”

Obasanjo congratulated the celebrant, Mrs. Anenih, on her birthday and also applauded her for the great success she has recorded so far in life.

He also sang a song for the her titled: “What shall I render” and danced to it as well. (The Sun)

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Obasanjo Makes Surprise Appearance At PDP Rally |RN

Olusegun Obasanjo

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta

In a dramatic manner, a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday, stormed the rally of one of the governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, Oladipupo Adebutu.

Adebutu, who is currently representing Remo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and his supporters were at the rally held within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library when the former President arrived in his Toyota jeep in a convoy of other cars.

This threw the supporters into a wild jubilation, as Obasanjo alighted from the vehicle.

The former President, who is also an in-law to the aspirant, said, “I am just passing by and decided to say hello and wish you well.”

Immediately he extended his pleasantries, he jumped into the jeep and he left with the convoy of cars in his trail to his residence situated within the premises.

Obasanjo had reiterated that he had quit partisan politics when he established his Coalition for Nigeria Movement, which later fused into the African Democratic Congress.

He, however, said his doors remained open for consultations by all Nigerians who shared his views of a united country.

Before the rally, Adebutu had earlier visited the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, in his palace to seek the monarch’s support and blessing.

He was accompanied on the visit by some PDP chieftains in the state and he had earlier donated electricity transformers to four communities in the Abeokuta metropolis.  (Punch)

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Obasanjo Is Nigeria’s Most Hypocritical Former Leader – Soyinka

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Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of being the most hypocritical former leader of the country, following his attempt to hijack the movement for political change.

He stated this in Abuja on Friday at a dinner organised by the International Press Institute.

“Obasanjo has crossed the red line and I will launch a publication to expose him on July 3 at Freedom Park in Lagos,” Soyinka stated.

He is trying to hijack a recovery process he is least worthy to lead.

According to Soyinka, Obasanjo is not the right person to lead any movement for reform on change of leadership in the country in 2019 and that Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement should not be glorified.

He said Obasanjo and other geriatric leaders of his generation should step aside and allow a new generation to lead the nation.

Responding to a question that he has not been critical of Obasanjo as he had been of other past leaders, especially late General Sani Abacha, Soyinka said, “As for Obasanjo, I have news for him. And it has been a progressive thing.

“I believe Obasanjo has really crossed the red line because he is trying to put himself as the head of a recovery process. He is trying to hijack the recovery process in this nation and I say that he is one of the least worthy of one of the former heads of States to lead that kind of movement.

“I have brought out a publication about that, the title is in Latin but it means; who watches the watchmen. That publication is coming out simply because I will like to see new blood in governance in this nation and I think these corrupt and hypocritical geriatrics should stop recycling themselves and they should stop trying to co-opt their former cronies to take over the reigns of governance in this nation.”    (Punch)

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Why Buhari Won’t Arrest Obasanjo |The Republican News

Obasanjo-and-Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari and Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, has cried out that President Muhammadu Buhari plans to arrest him.

 

I consider it the mother of all false alarms: Buhari lacks motivation for such an action.

But according to Obasanjo’s June 6 statement, which was signed by an aide, the plan arises from “(Buhari’s) desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into abandoning his divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living” because of Obasanjo’s indictment of his administration in January.

Expressing disgust with Buhari’s abysmal performance in office, Obasanjo had urged him not to seek re-election.  Ordinarily, Obasanjo’s status as a statesman ought to be enough for him to speak out on matters of national interest.  But having squandered that, he now mistakes his six-month-old university diploma for God’s very mandate.

But to be clear: in a normal polity, the prosecution—not persecution—of Obasanjo should have started on or right after May 29, 2007, following his loss of presidential immunity, for a truckload of offences that are now well-known to Nigerians.  But he had carefully planned his future, handpicking those who took over from him, thereby foreclosing the option of justice when Umaru Yar’Adua took office in 2007.

Mr Goodluck Jonathan, who eventually assumed the presidency in 2010, ought never to have been anywhere near that office, considering his abysmal record as governor of Bayelsa.

Still, Obasanjo shoehorned him onto the express path to the presidency, and when he made a mess of it, accused his creation of being fake and ineffective.

But he was fake and ineffective by design: Obasanjo’s.  But Obasanjo knew if he had made the patriotic choice and allowed the emergence of a strong and popular president, he might have wound up in prison rather than as a larger-than-life political deity forever trying to define Nigeria in his image.

But the man with a “divine mandate” (to protect Nigerians) has never apologised to Nigerians for his chicanery in manipulating the political process for his own purposes.

Now that in Obasanjo’s eyes, Buhari has descended to the same political lower life form—even if so in the eyes of many disappointed Nigerians—we must remind ourselves not only of Obasanjo’s responsibility for our suffering but also of other crimes as president that he has yet to pay for.

Crimes that, despite Obasanjo’s “alarm,” Buhari has no intention of making him pay for, nor can make him pay for.

And then there are those that he selfishly continues to commit. In the June 6 statement, Obasanjo said, among others, “We are currently in a nation where the Number Three citizen is being harangued and the Number Four citizen is facing similar threat within the same government they serve.”

This illustrates the double standards and arrant hypocrisy by which Obasanjo has perennially divided and cheapened Nigeria.

Bukola Saraki may have other issues with the executive branch, but at the heart of his troubles are allegations of false declaration of assets from his governorships of Kwara State.  Lest we forget, in 2006 during Obasanjo’s second term, 15 governors, including Mr Jonathan, were indicted for similar offences by his Joint Task Force and recommended for trial.

But Obasanjo personally rubbished the report and instead, gave Mr Jonathan the vice-presidency.  In that light, Obasanjo is consistent: the only side he has ever been on is Obasanjo’s, not justice.

To hear Obasanjo tell it, however, he is clean, and he was absolved by everyone, particularly the EFCC.  On that score, here is how he attempted to handcuff Buhari in his statement: “The same EFCC that had conducted a clinical investigation on the activities of Obasanjo in and out of government…would now be made to stand down the existing report that gave Chief Obasanjo a clean bill of health on the probes…”

Obasanjo never says that it was his EFCC that “cleared” him while he supervised it.  Or acknowledge that Nuhu Ribadu, who chaired the commission at the time, subsequently declared publicly that his government was more corrupt than Sani Abacha’s had been.

One more example: in April 2010, a report of the United States confirmed that over 80 Nigerians had collected bribes, some of them in the millions of dollars, from Halliburton.  They included former heads of states, notably Ibrahim Babangida, Abdusalam Abubakar…and Obasanjo!

That report, and a local one two years earlier by the Mike Okiro panel set up by Yar’Adua, reached the same conclusions that are well-known to Buhari.  But no Nigerian leader, certainly not Buhari, has had the courage to do anything about it.

That is because Buhari is not interested in fighting corruption symptomatically.  His corruption does not involve people who are as “important” as Obasanjo.  He also appears to be working with the template that leaders don’t harass former leaders, an EFCC official describing last year an arrangement under which Buhari will not arrest Jonathan or his wife.

Note that until Obasanjo shot Buhari’s re-election plans full of holes, Buhari never expressed one negative thought about him.  Only then did Buhari dig up Obasanjo’s infamous expenditure of $16bn in the power sector between 1999 and 2007.

But it is the same Buhari who had always vowed to recover all the funds looted since 1999. “We want to have everything back – all that they took by force in 16 years,” he swore in November 2015.

And yet, in the three years during which he has borrowed externally by the billions, he has not set about recovering any part of that $16bn.  Or any major accounts and scandals of real magnitude.

In other words, Obasanjo symbolises the duplicity and emptiness of Buhari’s mythical onslaught on corruption.  Obasanjo is proof that Buhari’s war is not blind; to investigate Obasanjo would open Pandora’s Box.

But now there may also be another reason why Buhari appears to be playing with parallel agendas: his own record.  In “Petroleum Trust Fraud,” last week, Ray Ekpu, one of Nigeria’s most accomplished journalists, explored Buhari’s sordid tenure as Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund under Abacha.  It is not an insult to say it diminishes Buhari considerably.

The irony of the power-play between Obasanjo and Buhari is that, in the end, a man without a conscience wants to be the conscience of a people. Had Obasanjo Nigeria at heart, he had eight full years to serve Nigerians with distinction.

He didn’t grasp the opportunity: the same test Buhari is failing as we speak.

(Akahi News)

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