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Obasanjo should stand trial if indicted – TMG

By News Express on 09/06/2018

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•President Buhari and Former president Obasanjo
•President Buhari and Former president Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegations resonated loudly across the polity yesterday with strong reactions from across the country.

While the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP affirmed that the reported plot confirmed its stance of the machinations of the Buhari administration, the civil society umbrella group, Transition Monitoring Group said Obasanjo, like every other Nigerian, was not above the law and should be tried whenever he is indicted over a crime.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in a strongly worded statement warned against aggravating the situation in the country with the arrest of Obasanjo who he described as a historical figure in the emergence of the country’s democracy.

A strong loyalist of Buhari’s Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON in a subtle dig at Obasanjo dismissed the threat saying that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Obasanjo had in the press statement alleged a plot garnered from high level security officials to frame him over yet unknown financial scam and use that as justification to put him out of circulation in the light of his opposition to what he described as Buhari’s incompetent rule.

Affirming that he had in the past been subjected to rigorous investigations without blemish by the country’s anti-crime agencies, Obasanjo said he was again ready to subject himself to an independent investigation even as he alleged that those after him did not mind harming his life.

Responding yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP said the claim by President Obasanjo was reflective of past allegations by the party that the Buhari government was leading a witch-hunt of its perceived enemies.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said:

“The alarm by Chief Obasanjo has further shown that the PDP has not been crying wolf regarding the plots by the APC-led federal government to frame, arrest, detain and arraign political opponents of the APC, including regular Nigerians, for holding or canvassing opinions that are divergent to the interest of those in power.

“We invite Nigerians to note the travails faced by perceived opponents of Buhari Presidency including Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senators Shehu Sani and Dino Melaye, who had raised similar alarms in the past.

“The PDP urges Nigerians to note how the APC-controlled security forces, on Wednesday, arrested and detained opposition members in Ogun state, including a member of the House of Assembly, Hon. Adebiyi Adeleye, who were going about their legitimate activities, only to tag them as cultists,” the statement read, adding that “no amount of coercion, intimidation and illegal arrests will alter the determination of Nigerians to vote out the APC in the 2019 general elections.”

Atiku Abubakar in a strong reaction warned President Buhari to rein the security agencies back. He said:

“I am disturbed by this turn of events in our dear country considering the huge price that was paid for us to have democracy.

“I wish to advise that government and its agents should retrace their steps to avoid aggravating the already overheated polity. The alert by President Obasanjo is coming against the backdrop of earlier alerts by some leaders, especially those of the opposition of deliberate and orchestrated attempt to intimidate and frame them up.

“I wish to state without equivocation that President Obasanjo is a historical figure in Nigeria’s democracy and that the primary purpose of government is to provide security of lives and property of all citizens and residents irrespective of their status, political affiliation, religious inclination and ethnic leanings.

“Our nation has lost so much precious lives and property that we can no longer afford to travel that road again. I wish to appeal to President Buhari to call the security agencies to order in order to douse the tension in the land.”

Third Republic governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife warned last night that framing Obasanjo would turn out to be a final bus stop for the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, government. Affirming that the administration had succeeded in pulling the Igbo down and that the same attempt would fail against Obasanjo, Ezeife warned:

“Buhari will not, should not and cannot harass former President Obasanjo for his political position. There are boundaries to everything we do in life, there are boundaries.”

On what could happen if Obasanjo is arrested, he said, “It means that the system has completely broken down. They were doing it to Igbo people. Pull Igbo down. They started with Ibeto, they went to Capital Oil, they went to Innoson, then they went to all those who were importing container, their containers were being seized.

“So when there were doing pull Igbo down, we only lamented but if he wants to pull Obasanjo down, he will pull himself down.”

The Transition Monitoring Group, the umbrella organization for more than 400 Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs in the country speaking through its chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said:

“This does not sound like a real threat though. However the former President has raised an issue that deserves attention, he needs to prove since he has alleged the existence of threats.

“However nobody is above the law, if he has questions to answer, the government should be free to take him up on it after all former President of South Africa was tried for corruption, so what’s is wrong in trying him? The war against corruption should have no bounds,” the TMG chairperson said.

Responding, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, who served in the Obasanjo government as political adviser to the president said: “If it is true then it means that Nigeria is once again on an imminent course towards perdition. It serves as indication of the dark political calculations and motive behind the desperate political Greek gift of retrieving the noble memory of Chief Moshood Abiola as precursor.

“It will amount to a cheap and primitive playbook of Abacha in full replay and display. For the Buhari government, the contemplation of this recourse will be seen as a logical reclaim of a direct ancestry from the Abacha dictatorship.

“But then the conspirators should realise that the Nigeria of 2018 is different from the Nigeria of 1995 and the world of 1995 is different from the contemporary millennium. I can assure you that regardless of any such intentions, it will never come to pass. It is an ill wind that would not blow anyone especially the alleged conspirators any good.

Reacting to Obasanjo’s allegation, the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu a confidant of President Buhari accused the former president of being afraid of his own shadow.

Okechukwu also queried the source of what he described as the stupendous wealth allegedly gathered by Obasanjo between 1999 and now, adding that one who lives in a glass house should avoid throwing of stones. Okechukwu said

“I don’t want to work on speculation but he who lives in a glass house should not throw stones. Obasanjo is afraid of his own shadow; I don’t believe what he is saying.

“There is need for Obasanjo to tell us how his wealth came about between 1999 and now. Even if monies were donated to him, he should tell us who and who did that for him.”

The Southwest should beware of Greek gifts, the middle belt is undergoing trauma now simply because they said they don’t want manipulation. “What Obasanjo said that Buhari is not doing well is what everyone had said,” he concluded. The  chairman of the Action Democratic Party, ADP, in Plateau State, Andrew Daman said: “Indices have indicated that that is the hallmark of Buhari’s administration that anybody that is not in his good books, he tries to frame and send to jail but those close to him and singing his praises to high heavens are protected.”

To Ishak Lawal, a Public Affairs Commentator, he said that both men given their high roles in society were “supposed to sit down and iron out whatever differences they have so that they would understand themselves without any person saying he wants to jail the other because you say something bad against me.” (Vanguard)

Source News Express

Posted 09/06/2018 7:12 PM

 

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