Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 20 February 2018 | 2,067 times
Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has hit back at former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Military President Ibrahim Babangida for writing open letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that the duo institutionalised corruption in Nigeria.
Adamu, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja on Monday, said that Obasanjo was especially lucky that Buhari has not jailed him over the funds he allegedly committed to promote the failed third term bid in 2006, among other alleged crimes.
He said: “Chief Obasanjo said that President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the President were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock today on trial on charges of corruption arising from the corrupt practices in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the national assembly in 2006. Today he denies that he ever nursed such ambition. And being a man much favoured by God, he has repeatedly said that if he had wanted it and asked the almighty for it, he would have given him the third term.
“He knows as well as I and other leading members of the PDP that he badly wanted it and initiated the process of constitutional amendment. He bribed each member of the National Assembly who signed to support the amendment, with the whopping sum of N50 million to make the constitutional amendment scale through.
“The fresh, mint money was taken in its original boxes presumably from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria and distributed among the legislators. The money was not his and it was not appropriated by the National Assembly as required by law. I, therefore, agree that in
failing to make former president account for that money, President Buhari is waging his anti-corruption war selectively.
“Nor should we forget that President Buhari has also not bothered to interrogate Obasanjo’s role in the Halliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail. Perhaps, President Buhari might wish to look in the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo
administration was indicted and for which some Nigerians were on trial. What became of the trial?”
Senator Adamu said that he was ready to give IBB a benefit of doubt In view of the controversy that was generated around the statement, he said that IBB and his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, capitalised on Obasanjo’s letter to say what has been itching to say.”
He said: “While I am prepared to give General Babangida the benefit of doubt for now, I would like to point out that he and his aide appear to have been encouraged to issue their separate statements by Chief Obasanjo’s letter. It is as if they wanted to take advantage of that to say what they had been itching to say about the president all along.
The former governor added: “I wish to remind the General that although men have short memories, history has a long memory. We can trace nearly all our present economic and political problems to his transition programme.
“We cannot forget SAP that sapped the economy or the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election for which the nation is still paying a stiff price. It is not always advisable to be holier-than-thou.”
Still dwelling on Obasanjo’s letter Adamu said that the former President was not driven by altruism contrary to his claim in writing the letter adding that he merely wanted to heat up the polity and cause problems for Buhari’s government.
He said: “Was he entirely motivated by that noble sentiment? I find that hard to believe. Motives are not always as honourable or as altruistic as one might be made to believe, particularly when such a man as this is so highly placed that we tend to place him above the
shenanigans of petty politics. I find it difficult to completely ignore what appear to me like the dark motives hovering over his action because I see it as a behavioural pattern that began with his 2014 letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, titled “Before it is too late”. It seems to me he believes that that letter alone cost Dr Jonathan the presidency. So, if he is fatigued by President Buhari, he can resort to the same weapon with probably the same consequences. It is a long shot.
“No one can deny him the right to criticise a sitting president but his method leaves much to be desired. He cannot, therefore, escape the charge of impure motive and that he took this step, not to try and set things right for the sake of the nation but to promote Obasanjo for
the sake of Obasanjo.
“Being a former President, he has an unimpeded access to the president and can, therefore, seek to influence him in the privacy of the seat of power. Indeed, in the early years of the Buhari administration, Chief Obasanjo was a frequent presence in Aso Rock. I believe he
frequented the seat of power in support of the administration. I now wonder why he suddenly decided to turn a friend into an enemy and rubbish everything the president has done so far in a little over two and half years.”
Senator Adamu said that it should be a taboo in a civilised political structure for former presidents to openly take a sitting president to the cleaners.
“Our former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has faithfully kept to this time-honoured culture of a former ruler not washing the dirty linens of a current ruler rather gleefully in the public. So have former President Shehu Shagari and former head of state, General
Abdulsalami Abubakar. The implications for the polity of a former president regaling the public with a litany of the failures of a sitting president is a calculated and unholy effort to destroy him politically,” he said.
According to him, Obasanjo, being a former president, has an unimpeded access to the president and can, therefore, seek to influence him in the privacy of the seat of power adding that the likes of former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon; former President Shehu Shagari and former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar have imbibed that
He said: “The question is, if Chief Obasanjo meant well for Buhari, his administration and Nigeria, why did he not choose the option of quietly offering his advice to the president? In taking his case to the rowdy market place of sensationalism, he clearly intended to score
cheap political points at the expense of the president. He intended to undermine the Buhari administration, subject the president to public ridicule and impugn his moral strength and integrity to lead the nation.”
Senator Adamu debunked the allegation of nepotism levelled against Buhari, saying that Buhari was fair to all.
He said: “The constitution of the federal republic obliges the president to compose the executive council of the federation in a manner that reflects the federal character. I do not see that the council is dominated by people from Katsina, the president’s home state. Nor do I see that the major ministries such as finance, power and steel, housing, transport are held by people from that state or his part of the country. All these ministries are held by competent men and women from the southern parts of the country. What does this say about Buhari’s clannishness? I am aware of criticisms that the president appointed only northerners
as heads of his security agencies. There may be some merit in a national spread but a president reserves the right to fill such positions with those who command his implicit trust and confidence. That is neither unconstitutional nor a moral crime.
“The management of the Nigerian economy has always been a frustrating experience but gallant efforts have been made at critical times to reposition the national economy. SAP was one of such efforts intended to structurally reform the base of the economy. General Sani Abacha’s Vision 10-10 and 20-20 was initiated for the same purpose. So was Chief Obasanjo’s own NEEDS. If these efforts had succeeded in the past, President Buhari would have had an easy ride on the management of the economy today.
“And to put a fine point on it, the Minister of Finance and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria are not from Katsina State. President Buhari knows only too well that if he does not get the economy right, he would have a tough time trying to get anything else right. He is struggling with that challenge with my personal sympathies.”
On the Coalition for Nigeria, which Obasanjo advocated in his letter, Adamu said that the plan would fail as he described it as a red herring.
He further said: “His (Obasanjo’s) Coalition for Nigeria is a red herring across the path of our constitutional government. He is free to form a political party and pursue .his ambition of being the power behind the throne but such a national movement would achieve no discernible purpose in the economic management and the social administration of the country.
“I believe that Chief Obasanjo is too high and too big in the estimation of the people to permit himself the continued sickening indulgence in political skulduggery. I believe that the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state have been most kind to him. ChiefObasanjo has a moral obligation to make the country succeed in solving its myriads of problems. That, I believe, is one w ay he can give back to the country that has given him so much.”
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