By Stephen Ubanna
Those who know former President Olusegun Obasanjo very well know that he had always the occasion of an event in his Presidential Library at Abeokuta, Ogun state to launch attack at his perceived enemies, pparticular, a the country’s serving President. H e has did so to former President Goodluck Jonathan and now Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.
Many had expected him to use the occasion of the celebration of his 82 birthday at the Presidential library to talk tough about the conduct of the February 23, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly Election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. They got it wrong.
Instead , the Ogun state , born politician and statesman, has created the impression his criticisms of Buhari and other past leaders was not borne out of hatred. He was said to have made those that cares to listen that ”there is nothing personal between him and Buhari”’ ,insisting that he is the boss. ”I am his boss with all due respect”, he had said. He may have soft pedaled to win the heart of the iron fisted Buhari going by his apologetic statement, that he was only criticising the ”programmes and policies of his government to ensure that things were done according to democratic norms having been in that position longer than any other Nigerian will ever be there”.
According to him, the ”purpose of the criticisms was to deepen democracy and ensure economic growth and development of the nation”. He further argued that to ”criticise a policy a policy of a government was not a family affair ”, noting that even if it is his brother that where to be in that position and is not doing that ”I believe he should do , he must be criticised”.
He noted that ”anybody in government in Nigeria or any government in Africa should not feel bad when he turns his sharp tongue on them as the essence of the criticisms is for the government to sit up and prove to the governed that ”it is doing well” and not taking it personally.
Recal that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had sent a signal to Obasanjo that he would probe probe the $16 billion or N1.2 trillion allegedly spent in the National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, by his government if he should win the 2019 Presidential election. The former President knew that Buhari is not one person that would go back on his word once he promises to do something.
Presidency sources told The Value News that Buhari may have been seen as silent on the matter in last four years because of his plan to seek-re-election in the 2019 Presidential election. He got it. This may have strengthened his resolve to probe the NIPP .
Reports has it that 27 Companies both within and outside the country had benefited from the 16 billion spent on the project. Obasanjo may be waiting for the probe panel to start their job as he reprtedly said that only N273.65 billion was spent on the power project between 1999 and 2007, which covered the eight years of his Administration.
Note that that the power project was in the seven Integrated Power projects and eighteen gas turbines which late President Musa Yar’adua, who opened up on the alleged fraud could not clear at the ports over a year of its importation , despite the civil works done on the site.
In spite of their political differences, Buhari had showered encomium on Obasanjo as he celebrates his 82 birthday, describing him as a ”passionate and great patriot”. The Statement , which was signed by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, instead of the President himself speaks volume. Political watchers believe that Buhari may have sent the birth congratulatory message to Ogun state born statesman to fulfill all righteousness as his former boss.
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