- Written by Our Reporters
- Friday, 13 December 2013
BARELY 24 hours after the media release of a pungent letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, joined Jonathan for breakfast in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday.
Jonathan was in the country as guest of President Uhuru Kenyatta, where he joined other African leaders at the 50th Independence anniversary celebration of the East African country.
Obasanjo’s visit to Jonathan in his Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, where they had a private breakfast together, came as a surprise, as his letter, first published in the media on Wednesday, had elicited response from the presidency.
Obasanjo left Jonathan after the breakfast, but it was not clear whether they discussed the letter or the issues contained therein.
In the letter, which was first published on Premium Times, an online medium, on Wednesday, Obasanjo had raised numerous allegation against the president, who he accused of working towards another term in office, even when he had undertaken to run for one term.
But in the presidency’s reaction on Wednesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, blasted the former president, saying the letter was in bad faith.
At the Nairobi event, which took place at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani, it was observed that Obasanjo sat quietly, making calls on his mobile hand set at interval while the event lasted.
Speaking at the event, Jonathan called on all Kenyans to unite, noting that there was no alternative to unity if Kenyans must move their nation forward.
He said in building their nation, Kenyans must make unity their focal point, as he noted that the destiny of the country laid with its people who must strive hard to take it to a greater height.
Expressing happiness that Rhaila Odinga, who contested the presidential election with Kenyatta, was present at the event, Jonathan said “nobody can love you more than the Kenyans, so you all have to jointly develop your country. All Kenyans should come together to form an inclusive society.”
Speak up, Atiku urges IBB, Gowon, others
FORMER vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, said there is an urgent need for leaders, such as Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Yakubu Gowon, T. Y. Danjuma and others, who were consulted by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, before making his letter to President Gooluck Jonathan on the state of the nation, to speak up on the matter now.
Atiku, in a statement by his media office in Abuja, on Thursday night, said the intervention of those leaders would reduce the tension already created by the allegations in the letter to President Jonathan.
“The allegations were too disturbing to be treated with apathy by any political stakeholder like me. At a moment of national anxiety or uncertainty, leaders across the country should rise to the occasion and reassure fellow Nigerians about the future,” he added.
Atiku said at a time the rest of the world was looking at Nigeria as a beacon of hope for stability, the content of Obasanjo’s letter should be urgently addressed by former leaders and elders.
He asked that with the attention of Nigerians focused on the 2015 elections, there was the need to reassure Nigerians.
Atiku said the president was free to run his government without interference, but said sometimes, even sitting presidents needed outside constructive interventions to move the country forward.
Jonathan’s critics have selfish objectives —Jubril Aminu •Says his aides can’t handle criticisms
FORMER Petroleum Minister, Professor Jubril Aminu, has warned against undue attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan, especially by politicians within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who, he observed, are motivated by the need to properly position themselves for 2015 general election.
Speaking in an interview to select reporters in his house in Abuja, Aminu also blamed Jonathan’s personal aides for allegedly lacking the necessary wherewithal to deal positively with the criticisms trailing his office.
However, he advised that Jonathan should resist the temptation of responding to all criticisms directed at him, noting that “rather than address the issues the way their counterparts do in other countries, his aides engage in polemics or become simply crude.”
The member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) observed that members of the party attacking the president were not talking as members who wanted the party to win election, but in pursuit of their own selfish objectives.
According to him, “they are not talking as members of the same party working together to win election as a political party, with a hierarchy, bound by some kind of philosophy, by a manifesto requirement. No. Everybody has now positioned himself for 2015.
“That is what matters to them. Will I say something which will promote me, or my course? I agree with you. It is shocking to see people referring to the president of the country in those terms.
“But the president and the people of the Villa must also not stoop to be replying all these things. He has taken people who are very trained in polemics. When you want to hire people to work for you, you do not take people because of their ability to be crude or to deliver polemics on people. No!
“All the people who the United States (US) president hire, do you hear them engaging in polemics? They are very careful and selective in their language.”
He observed that the crisis in the PDP was inevitable, because of its large size which, he said, bred internal opposition.
“When a political system is weighing heavily on the side of a political party, most of the oppositions come from within. So they are all fighting within. I do not think it is a bad thing. But I do not think people should use it to position themselves,” he added.
On the governors who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Aminu said they did not act in the interest of the country, even as he blamed the PDP hierarchy for not handling the crisis in the best way.
Noting that the governors were free to leave PDP, the former minister warned against any action that could return the country to the path of civil war.
Allegations by Obasanjo shocking —Sagay •As Rotimi-Williams, Ubani, Ogunye express worry
LEGAL practitioners expressed anxiety over the content of an 18-page letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wherein he accused the president of aiding corruption and polarising Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines.
Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, said the allegations made by the former president was shocking and could cause Nigerians a great deal of anxiety.
He added that as a former president, Obasanjo could not have lied about the content of the letter, given the fact that he was a former head of state, who was also instrumental into the ascendancy of President Jonathan to the number one office in the land.
“It is a very serious allegation and it could set the whole country on a state of alert and anxiety because, for somebody, which invariably is the mentor of the current president, to have made these very serious accusations, it sends an alarm bell ringing, which could be troubling to every rational citizens. I am, indeed, very troubled,” he lamented.
Sagay said what frightened him most was the allegation that snipers were being trained in the same school where the Abacha killer squads were trained, with the fact that some Nigerians were under political watchlist.
“That is very frightening, because it is not something you expect under a civilian democratic regime, except under a military dictatorship,” he said.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams, who described the content of the letter as very powerful, urged President Jonathan to take the corrections in good faith and act fast to prevent the nation from further drift.
Rotimi-Williams, who agreed with Obasanjo that a whole lot was going wrong in the country, said President Jonathan would be doing a great disservice to himself if he considered the content of the letter as insulting, rather than taking appropriate action on the issue discussed.
According to him, the criticisms were powerful, adding, however, that because of the love Obasanjo had for the country. Jonathan should read the letter and act on it.
also, chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Monday Ubani, expressed concern over the allegations, saying that something urgent must be done to nip the issues raised in the letter in the bud.
“It is a very grievous allegation. And if those allegations are true, then something needs to be done very fast in order to nip all those things in the bud.
“Clearly, Nigeria is on the verge of liquidation and if you place over 1,000 people on watchlist and you are going to use snipers to eliminate them as the president of the country, then that is very grave for this country.
“And then, given the fact that this allegation is coming from Obasanjo, a top notch of the PDP, tells you that there is more to it than meets the eye,” he stated.
Another constitutional lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, also described the allegations as “weighty,” calling that it should not be waved aside.
According to him, “President Obasanjo is not a flippant personality who makes unfounded allegations,” while he urged the president to address the raised issues.
OBJ, a drowning man – Kashamu
A chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in South-West, Chief Buruji Kashamu, on Thursday, threatened to commence libel proceedings against the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in earnest, over statements he considered libelous in his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Obasanjo had, in the controversial letter, alleged that Buruji was a drug dealer, wondering why the presidency would have preferred to pitch tent with such character and handed him the overall control of party structure in the South-West.
Buruji, speaking through his lawyer, Mr Ajibola Oluyele, at a press conference held at Victoria Island, Lagos, said “we are not going to give him any ultimatum. This is not the first time he is doing it. In the past, he had done it through his surrogates.
“We have taken action against the AIT which was airing it. In any case, notice is not required to commence a libel suit,” Oluyele stated.
According to Buruji’s lawyer, his client was embarking on the legal battle in order to expose Obasanjo and prove that he had no basis for making such statement.
Oluyede argued that the contents of the letter was not meant to achieve anything positive, but were part of “an orchestrated attack on the person of the president and my client.”
According to him, the letter was a vendetta and reaction to the roles played by Kashamu in the defeat of Obasanjo and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, including their acolytes in Ogun State and South-West politics.
Speaking on the alleged drug running case, Oluyede said all previous attempts to rope in Kashamu had failed.
According to him, the two British courts had stated that Kashamu was not the person being sought after, adding that it was Kashamu himself who approached the court to clear his name.
Kashamu, speaking on the issue, took a swipe at the former president, declaring that he was never a drug baron.
He described Obasanjo as his former partner when things were good and now a drowning man, adding that he was only out to blackmail him.
Kashamu maintained that he was never a drug dealer, but a businessman of 30 years’ standing with high record of achievements.
He said Obasanjo was his political ally that depended on him to fight the former Ogun State governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel, to a standstill in the state, adding that he never referred to him as a drug dealer then.
Speaking further, Buruji argued that it was ironical that Obasanjo was the one who presented Jonathan as reliable and with a clean bill of health in terms of corruption, while expressing concern that the same Obasanjo could suddenly turn around to label the president the way he did recently.
“He told us Jonathan was not corrupt, how can he now tell us that all Nigerians are fool?” he queried.
Jonathan’ll come back in 2015 – Tukur, Alamieyeseigha •As ex-Bayelsa gov describes OBJ as a joker
NATIONAL chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and a former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, have said President Goodluck Jonathan will contest and win the 2015 presidential election in popular vote.
The duo spoke in Abuja, on Thursday, at the inuaguration of the National Executive Council (NEC) members and state coordinators of PDP Councillors’ Forum.
Tukur, who noted that the defection of some PDP governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not affect the party structure anywhere, stressed that PDP had remained unshakable.
He said President Jonathan had the right to contest in 2015 as a Nigerian and member of PDP, while he challenged the councillors to mobilise the electorate for Jonathan to win the election in 2015.
Alamieyeseigha, in a reaction to the letter written to President Jonathan by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said Obasanjo should not be taken seriously.
“Well, I have known Obasanjo for so long. That is his style. Himself or nobody. That is not good. Obasanjo has direct access to the president. When he was the president, he did not do better.
“He should play a fatherly role. There is no need to answer or reply Obasanjo. That was exactly what he was doing till (Sani) Abacha put him in jail. The same style. He has started again.
“I don’t think he has advisers. If he has, they will call him to order. Yes, I respect him, as a former president, he has contributed to the sustenance of democracy. Even in the military, we know all that, but power is transient,” he said.
On the threat of opposition, he said “forget about the opposition that controls the media. We all know the power of the media, but let us be objective. They cannot deceive us again.”
The letter is timely – Tsav
FORMER Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and a social critic, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, has hailed the letter written by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as “timely and appropriate.”
Tsav, in a reaction in Makurdi, Benue State capital, on Thursday, noted that the nation, under President Jonathan, was drifting backward, lamenting that the quality of governance was deteriorating.
He called on the National Assembly to save the nation by commencing impeachment process against the president, before he plunged the nation into total darkness.
According to him, “the letter by Obasanjo is timely and appropriate, considering the deterioration of the quality of governance in the country and astronomical rise in corruption, coupled with the enhancement of the culture of impunity.
“It is not malicious, self serving or hypocritical. Obasanjo has spoken the truth, he brought in Jonathan and has the right to advise and correct him if he veers off the path of honour as he is now doing.”
OBJ’s letter against national interest – Odumakin
THE publicity secretary of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, on Thursday, urged Nigerians to be wary of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, saying the letter did not mean well for the country.
The Afenifere chieftain alleged that there was possibility of ulterior motives, which might be dangerous for the democracy.
“If Obasanjo, who happens to be a retired general, is now beckoning on fellow retired generals and, at the same time, inciting Nigerians against a sitting president, something untoward must be going on.
“Obasanjo referred to former generals like Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar and others in his letter, there is the need for caution,” he said.
Odumakin said the former president had no moral justification to accuse President Jonathan, because corruption was at its peak under his (Obasanjo) regime.
He also said political murder was not as rampant now like it occurred during the former president’s regime, adding that as a matter of fact, cases of rigging of elections was unprecedented during Obasanjo’s regime.
“On the issues of Jonathan’s body language for a second term, I think the former president is also wrong, because he didn’t only spent two terms in the office, he attempted a third term, which was truncated,” he argued.
Jonathan is finished – Fani-Kayode
FORMER Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said the end of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration has come, based on the letter written to the president by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Fani-Kayode, on Thursday, said “OBJ has finally closed Jonathan’s chapter with his letter. Jonathan is finished, mark my words. Abati should shut up and let his boss speak for himself on this one.
“The Ebora Owu has spoken and the issues that he has raised are too serious to be ignored or to be responded to with amateurish and cheeky insults and slurs from a mere staff of the presidency.
“The president should find the courage to personally answer the charges and address the message rather than get his aides to attack the messenger. As Baba said, Jonathan is bleeding Nigeria to death. It is time for change.
“God used Obasanjo to put Jonathan in power and, by His grace, He will use that same Obasanjo to remove him.”
2015: N/Delta group slams OBJ
THE Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has slammed former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, over his call on President Goodluck Jonathan to jettison his 2015 ambition.
This came as the group insisted that beside God, no one could stop the re-election bid of Jonathan.
The group in a press statement signed by its president, Nelly Emma and secretary, John Sailor, flayed the former president, accusing him of being responsible for the woes of the country.
“President Jonathan cannot forget about the 2015 general election; he has the right to contest. All Nigerians should encourage the president to seek re-election in 2015 to fix the many woes of the country, caused by former President Obasanjo who is today asking President Jonathan to forget 2015,” the group said.
While urging the former president to immediately withdraw the letter and apologise to Jonathan, the group charged other former leaders in the country to support the re-election bid of President Jonathan in 2015.
I feel diminished as a Nigerian —NLC VP
THE vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Isa Aremu, on Thursday, said former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan made him feel diminished as a Nigerian.
“Whether you take the reaction of the presidency or the letter itself, certainly this is not a good story about Nigeria,” he added.
Aremu said the story was made worse by the fact that it was coming from a former president and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to which President Jonathan belonged, adding that Obasanjo had helped the current administration get into power and was the author of the letter which levelled strong allegations against the incumbent president.
“Several issues raised in the letter, including oil theft, lack of accountability and corruption, have been debated by Nigerians, hence Obasanjo only increased the noise level,” Aremu said.
He pointed out that the famed handshake of Raul Castro and President Barack Obama at the Mandela memorial indicated that leaders of the world were imbibing Mandela’s virtues and were building bridges but lamented that the case was different in Nigeria.
Aremu called on President Jonathan to respond to all the allegations raised by the former president, while he also called on Obasanjo to share in the blame.
“What should worry us (Nigerians), including Obasanjo, is that the party he left for us, including those people he recommended for us, have put the country in this mess,” he said.
Niger Delta youths warn OBJ
YOUTHS from the Niger Delta, under the auspices of Niger Delta Youth Administrative Council, has asked Chief Olusegun Obasanjo not set the country on fire, by making inflammatory statements, especially the ones critical of President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
President of the council, Ambassador Marvin Yobana, while reacting to the purported letter written by Obasanjo to Jonathan, said the choice of words of the former president was derogatory to the office of the president.
He stressed that Obasanjo should tow the path of statesmanship, saying comments, as contained in the letter, were capable of setting the regions against another.
He insisted that President Jonathan had every right as a Nigerian to seek re-election, adding that youths from the Niger Delta and, indeed, other Nigerians were solidly behind his coming back in 2015.
Yobana said Obasanjo had every access to President Jonathan and should advise him appropriately, where necessary.
“Former President Obasanjo is somebody that is highly respected by Niger Delta Youth Council, but his comments in recent times have been unstatesmanly,” he said.
Corruption: OBJ has no moral right - CACOL
THE convener of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, has carpeted former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, saying his administration was renowned for frustrating fight against corruption.
He said it was rather unfortunate for Obasanjo to be dreaming of championing a crusade against corruption, knowing fully well that his administration frustrated the fight against corruption.
“The ICPC under Obasanjo was underfunded. The EFCC under him was used to suppress the voice of political enemies,” he said.
The activist remarked that it was a well known fact that Obasanjo came to power with less than N20,000, but left the government in affluence.
“Obasanjo, therefore, has no moral right to criticise Jonathan, though things are bad with this government. He should keep quiet and allow people with integrity to talk,” he insisted.