By Our Reporters
Ahead of the February 16, 2019, Presidential election, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo appers to have declared total war on President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, to forestall him from winning the election. Obasanjo, may not have seen anything good in the three and half years of the Buhari Administration, as he had continued to attack him .
The worry of many was that if the Katsina state born Nigerian President was so bad, how could he, Obasanjo, a former military Head of State, in the 1970s would have appointed him to head a sensitive ministry as the then Federal Commissioner of Petroleum Resources. He was said to have given a free hand to operate without interference . Obasanjo was said to have thrown his weight behind him that he was able to supervise the establishment of Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, phase 2 and Kaduna Refinery.
The Ogun state former President , political watchers said, could not see any bad to sack him as an unfit Federal Commissioner but still retained him in his government, which further exposed him to raw power. Indeed, the recent attack on him, according to Presidency sources is the third between 2018 and now.The first major attack came through a formal letter to Buhari in January 2018, where he pointedly told the APC Presidential Candidate who he helped to win the 2015 election, not to bother seeking a re-election in 2019. He may have ignored his advice as the party endorsed him for the election.
Perhaps, the only person that may have escaped the attack of the former President was late President Shehu Shagari. Political analysts believe he may have him because he handed over power to him to avoid giving excuse to power hungry politicians in military garb to overthrow the country nascent democracy. Former President Goodluck Jonathan was not lucky as he worked for his defeat for failing to bow to his orders. Now, it is the turn of Buhari to feel the enormous powers of the former President as a king maker with the support of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former military President and other retired Generals opposed to Buhari to work for his defeat in the February 16, election.
Last April the former President had hit Buhari, asking him to stop giving Nigerians excuse, for his non performance in office. He stopped short at calling him a failure. Obasanjo , who has used his private Presidential Library at Abeokuta, Ogun State, as a place of launching attacks on serving Presidents who have stepped on his toes in the country, may have picked on the current President this time around to force him to sit up, while playing host to the New Nigeria 2019 Group, led by the convener, Chima Anyaso, in company with Moses Siasia.
Note that in a 4002-word letter, titled “Point for Concern and Action,” to his fellow countrymen last year, he had warned Nigerians never to allow Buhari deceive them the second time. “What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.
From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count. It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.
“His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
“The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State.
“We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.
“His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him.
“Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.
“Today, another Abacha era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy.
“EFCC, police and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trademark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved.
“Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.
“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude.
“Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past.
“Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, ‘Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria’. It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, ‘the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels’. Buhari was the leader of the party.“Bola Tinubu’s statement about Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, ‘Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.’
“Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism. But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotistic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand?
The All Progressives Congress (APC),however, reacted saying Obasanjo’s “past is actually hunting.” Its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said:
“When you are adept at a particular thing, that is, what you know how to do well, for eight years of president Obasanjo, all the elections he held and government policies were determined by whatever mood he finds himself. All the institutions of government were brought under his wings and what he did for those eight years is what is hunting him.
“We have conducted over 93 elections since the APC came to power and you can be sure that all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government.
His past is actually hunting him and he must be imaging that perhaps the way he did it remains the same.”
“The 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about and it happened under former president Obasanjo. He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky and he has considered the favours God has done to him as coming from himself.
credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it?
“From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary. The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment.
“The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out.
“I know that I am not alone in being skeptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.”
Obasanjo who, did not also spare INEC’s National Commissioner, Amina Zakari either, averred that since Buhari has accepted both the families of Zakari and Buhari have marriage relationship , she should have excused herself from the election exercise.
Doing otherwise, he said, would suggest that she may deliberately have been “assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a commissioner.
“Amina Zakari is not the only commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible. His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.”
The former president also took Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the cleaners for leading the Trader Moni campaign, saying it is “outrightly idiotic” for a person of his status, to lead such a campaign.
“It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy.
“You cannot give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said: ‘The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.’
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number two man in the executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye.
“Osinbajo fears that there is danger ahead: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, ‘any hope?’ Yes, for me, there is hope. His verdict that it was their government programme tha, can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an out rightly idiotic programme, speaks volume.
in spite of the atattack on Buhari by Obasanjo, the presidency has kept a sealed lips, believing that it is not yet the right time to respond to the attack. Recall, that last April, Buhari had hit at Obasanjo and the retired Army Generals who believe that this country belong to them because of their enormous wealth. He had urged Nigerians to be vigilant and to see these people as the enemy of the country.
Obasanjo’s attack may have forced the Presidency to pay for an advertorial in AIT, worth millions of naira to showcase the achievements of the Administrations since inception in 2015 in the areas of the economy, infrastructural development, Agriculture and power, to convince Nigerians that the government has done well despite paucity of funds and basterdisation of the economy by the Jonathan Administration but that was how far the government could go.