Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came hard on President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of allegedly plotting to rig the February 16 presidential election.
This is the third time Obasanjo would attack Buhari in less than one year.
The first major attack came through a formal letter to Buhari in January 2018, where he pointedly told a man he helped to power in 2015, not to bother seeking a re-election.
By April of the same year, Obasanjo again hit Buhari, asking him to stop giving Nigerians excuses, insisting that the attitude of always giving excuses was why Buhari had not achieved results.
Obasanjo, who described Buhari as a failure then, this time spoke at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to the New Nigeria 2019 Group, led by the convener, Chima Anyaso, in company with Moses Siasia.
Obasanjo, in a 4002-word letter, titled “Point for Concern and Action,” warned Nigerians never to allow Buhari deceive them the second time.
Obasanjo said: “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.
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“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.
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“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.”
He also did not spare INEC’s National Commissioner, Amina Zakari either. Obasanjo held that since both the families of Amina Zakari and Buhari have accepted that there was indeed a marriage relationship between both families, she should have excused herself from the election exercise.
Doing otherwise, Obasanjo 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 must have gone for, ‘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.
“Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.”