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Obasanjo Slams FG, Says Nigeria Left Behind For Not Signing Trade Pact |RN

Says Nigeria’ll be left behind for non-signing of trade pact

Obasanjo expressed optimism that the government would sign the AfCFTA in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme.

Amechi Ogbonna, Cairo, Egypt

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.

He said it was absurd for Nigeria that had played many leadership roles on the continent from 1963 not to be part of the AfCFTA deal.

He said the rest of Africa countries was ready to proceed with the implementation of pact without Nigeria.

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

Obasanjo who featured at one of the closing sessions of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions titled “Conversation with former Nigerian president” and moderated by Nigerian journalist, Mark Eddo, regretted that at a time the country was needed to provide leadership by being on the table to sign the AfCFTA, even after debating it at the highest policy making organ of the Federal Government, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the leadership suddenly developed cold feet thereby leaving other nations who were looking up to it for direction in quandary.

“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.

He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”

Obasanjo, who also reminded his audience that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, with one third of its the population living in virtually all parts of the world, expressed optimism that the government would comply and sign the agreement in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme. He expressed satisfaction with the heavy presence of the Nigerian private sector at the Fair and urged the Nigerian authorities not to allow the opportunity to slip off their hands.

According to him, the AfCTA is the economic salvation that Africa needs to redeem the wrong perceptions of it left by colonialism.

“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”

He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.

According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations.  (The Sun)

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2019: Obasanjo Slams Buhari Again, Refutes Having No Preferred Candidate |RN

                                                   Buhari, Obasanjo

Niyi Odebode  and Tunji Bosun 

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday denied a report which indicated that he had dropped his support for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He faulted the report which also stated that he had no preferred presidential candidate. Obasanjo said only a fool would sit on the fence.

The ex-President said these in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, made available to journalists in Abeokuta.

In  the  statement titled,  “2019 elections and reports of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s neutrality”, Obasanjo said he was in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair  where  he acted as  the Chairman of the Advisory Council when his attention was drawn to the report (not in The PUNCH) with the headline, “Atiku: Obasanjo shifts political gear to neutral”

Obasanjo said in the statement that Nigeria was being destroyed by incompetence, lack of focus and nepotism.

He said while he chose not to use the Owu convention in Iwo, Osun State on Saturday as a platform for a  political campaign, he adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu sub-ethnic group.

According to the statement, the former President “ believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise”.

The statement said,  “It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family.

“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former President said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impose any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who would drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.

“Chief Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality. In fact, the former President believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.

“The former President reassures Nigerians that he will not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of Nigeria.

“Chief Obasanjo reaffirms that he is on the side of what is best for Nigeria and what we have currently, at the helm of affairs of Nigeria,   is not the best for Nigeria, so nobody should fool himself or deceive others about Chief Obasanjo’s position.

“The former President further urges Nigerians, who are victims of what we have for now, to stop just complaining and go out to get beneficial change.

“They must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive, just complaining and complacent and allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.

“If they do not become active and get the much-needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer.

“On his part, Chief Obasanjo will remain consistent in speaking out whenever and wherever he sees evil as he is known to do no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody should manipulate Chief Obasanjo’s position, particularly on the 2019 presidential election and what he said in Iwo,  to perpetrate or perpetuate continued destruction of our country, “the statement said.

Obasanjo, had in a letter to the President in January this year, urged Buhari not to seek re-election. He had accused the President of incompetence in many areas, including the economy.

The ex-President had stated, “There are other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on the performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest.”

Urging the President to shelve his 2019 presidential ambition, he stated, “I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.”

After the emergence of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate, Obasanjo in October endorsed the ex-vice-president.

The endorsement followed a peace meeting brokered by the founder of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo; an Islamic preacher,  Ahmed Gumi; the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah;   a  chieftain of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the PDP National Chairman,  Uche Secondus.

The relationship between  Obasanjo and Atiku had become frosty towards the twilight of the Obasanjo administration which ran from 1999 till 2007.

There were allegations that Atiku had worked against the third term agenda purportedly mooted by his then boss. Obasanjo too had since not supported all Atiku’s earlier efforts at becoming the president.

Obasanjo, had in an exclusive interview with Premium Times on August 3 after his arrival from Kigali, said God would not forgive him if he supported Atiku.

“How can I be on the same side with Atiku?”  Obasanjo was quoted to have asked. “To do what?  If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” he said.

But on October 11, 2018, after the peace meeting, Obasanjo said he forgave Atiku in the interest of the nation.

He stated, “Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, on his success at the recent PDP primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo.  In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku.

“And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has rediscovered and repositioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the party, the government and the country.

“I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.

“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on a daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.” (Punch)

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God Will Punish, Obasanjo, Atiku By February Next Year, Says Oshiomhole |RN

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

 

National Chairman, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, has said that God will punish former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, when President Muhammadu Buhari defeats them at the 2019 presidential election.

The former Edo State governor, who spoke to newsmen after receiving APC women leaders from Edo State, who paid him a solidarity visit in his office in Aso drive, in Abuja, also reminded Obasanjo that he swore that God should punish him if he ever supported his former deputy, Atiku, to become the president.

He further noted that the ruling party is much more stronger in Ogun and Imo states despite grievances of their governors, Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha, respectively, stressing that APC will work hard to deliver the governorship candidates of the party without them.

Asked his fears for 2019 elections, he said: “I will rather tell you my hopes and that is that Buhari will win by getting more votes than he got before. Nobody has said that Buhari is a thief, but who said that the other person is a thief was the person he worked with.

“If you are working with me and I said that you are thief, that God will punish me if I support you and when you are confused because your supply line has been chopped off and you enter a new deal, come back to say I now support you, that God you invoked with your name to punish you if you support that person is about to go to work and He will go to work in February next year. He will punish you thoroughly and punish the person he is supporting in favour of Nigeria,” he said.

While describing the governors as poor students of history who had forgotten where they came from to join the APC, Oshiomhole said argued that some APC governors have no electoral values any longer.

“Our popularity in Imo and Ogun states are much higher. What you don’t know and Nigerians always made me surprise by thinking that once you are a governor, you have electoral value. Yes, we have overwhelming majority of the APC governors with electoral value but we also have others without electoral values.

“I can concretely tell you today that in Imo state, APC will win more votes. As I said, it is about numbers and my focus is about the ordinary Imo electorate because the governor, his Commissioner for Happiness and the son in-law have only one vote on that day.

“But those mechanics, market women, school teachers and workers whose salaries are unpaid for years that have the same weight of votes. They are excited about the new possibilities of a new government coming with new idea free from all the encumbrances of the present system. I am very confident in Imo.

“Also, in Ogun state, don’t forget that the vice president is from Ogun state. We cannot focus on one person and not on the other. Ogun is one of the most enlightened state in the country and that is where Chief Awolowo came from. “They have a huge history in a political kingdom headed by one person.

When a child ran out of his father’s house to bear a new name according to history and the Bible, he returned when the weather thoroughly beat him as a prodigal son. That is why APC has prodigal sons. Those who think that their political future is tied to are poor students of history.

“They forget that some of these people thinking that they are invisible have run election before and lost deposit until they abandoned their parties and joined us. If they return back, history will repeat itself,” he said.   (The Sun)

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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

olusegunobasanjo1

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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