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Published On: Thu, Nov 27th, 2014

Obasanjo to Jonathan: You’re destroying Nigeria

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Obasanjo and JonathanBy Ali Abubakar Abare & Ikechukwu Okaforadi, with agency report

  • Describes NASS as assemblage of looters
  • Nigeria sliding into anarchy -Akume

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has again warned President Goodluck Jonathan over his political actions and decisions, saying that as a leader, the President should not deliberately engaged in or condone evil in the country.

Speaking at a book launch in honour of the pioneer chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, in Abuja, Obasanjo, who was the Chairman of the occasion, lamented that Nigerian democracy remains at risk due to the actions of the present administration.

He further noted that the greatest indictment against any administration is to be seen trying to destroy opposition of all sorts which invariably means destroying democracy.

According to him: “Management of democracy without resorting to brute force and dictatorial tendencies must be cultivated. As a leader, you must not deliberately do evil or condone evil. You should know that you will one day give account to God, you may cover up here, but before God, there is no cover up.”

Obasanjo further cautioned President Jonathan against encouraging “verbal violence which may not physically hurt but has ways of degenerating into physical violence.”

While commenting on President Jonathan’s style of handling the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption, the economy and youth unemployment, Obasanjo said Boko Haram is not out to “frustrate anyone’s political efforts”.

He lamented that it took President Jonathan years to fully understand the menace, even as he decried the level of corruption in the country, saying that “when the head is rotten, the whole body is useless”.

Expressing fear over the present poor state of the nation’s economy, Obasanjo pointed out that the economy would continue to sink deeper, arguing that what Nigerians are told about the state of the economy is not true, saying: “The economy is in doldrums, if not in reverse.”

Recall that while speaking last weekend in Abeokuta, while addressing book writers as part of activities marking the Ake Arts and Book Festival, Obasanjo had rated President Jonathan’s government below average.

“I rate this current administration below average,” Obasanjo said, while assessing the present government’s performance.

However, in a response issued in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, Jonathan said Obasanjo’s rating was at variance “with the facts on the ground”.

Obasanjo describes NASS as assemblage of looters

In a similar vein, Obasanjo lampooned the National Assembly, saying it is largely an assemblage of looters and thieves, at the same occasion, regretting that every aspect of Nigeria’s national life is riddled with corruption.

He however said there were a few exceptions and people who stand out and would not succumb to the scourge of sleaze, even in the federal legislature.

The former president said the National Assembly, which is shrouding its corruption in the opaque nature of its budget, has damaged its capacity to oversight the executive.

 He accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led executive of making direct payments to the legislature in order to cover up its wrong doings.

“Apart from shrouding the remunerations of the National Assembly in opaqueness and without transparency, they indulge in extorting money from departments, contractors and ministries in two ways.

 “They do so during visits to their projects and programmes and in the process of budget approval when they build up budgets for ministries and departments, who agree to give it back to them in contracts that they do not execute. They do similar things during their inquiries,” Obasanjo said.

He said the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has upped Nigeria’s corruption level through the huge sums of money it has been paying to the National Assembly to stop investigating its corrupt acts.

“Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects which they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.”

The former president insisted that over the years, the National Assembly never singled out any corrupt lawmaker except where the executive led in the indictment of a member.

He listed some of such cases where the executive led in exposing corruption in the National Assembly to include those of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, and former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara.

He maintained that majority of the members of the National Assembly live above the law in both misconduct and corruption and cannot in good conscience carry out oversight duties on any government ministry or department.

Nigeria sliding into anarchy

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader, Gorge Akume, has warned that, with the current interferences in the legislative activities of the parliament, Nigeria will slide into anarchy except the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, is called to order.

This is even as the Senate yesterday sets up a 7-man ad hoc panel headed by former Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Makarfi, to investigate what transpired in the last week Thursday invasion of the National Assembly by the police and report back to Senate.

Speaking at the yesterday’s Senate plenary, Akume (APC, Benue-Central), said the invasion of the parliament by security forces was an attack on Nigeria’s democracy.

He called the attention of the Senate to another heavy security issue in Ekiti State where seven lawmakers purportedly impeached the Speaker, even as he questioned the intention behind the occupation of the state by heavily armed police officers.

According to him: “It is not partisanship but impunity; there is no restriction on defection, I was in PDP, I am a founding member of PDP; a lot of us defected in the sixth Senate. The assault is a collective assault on the parliament.

Meanwhile, moving the motion for the Senate to investigate the events that led to the crisis, Senate Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi), lamented that if no definite action is taken against the incident, it might threaten the country’s democracy.

Also condemning the crisis, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu), said any attempt to muzzle the parliament is an attempt to frustrate the Nigeria’s democracy, recalling that the last time such a thing happened was during the time of late Chuba Okadigbo, as Senate President.

He said the Senate must get to the root of the matter to make sure it does not happen again, even as he advocated for a public hearing to enable Nigerians know what actions the parliament intends to take.

Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark, said it is necessary to set up a panel to probe the crisis, saying it will help the Senate to take proper and informed decision on the issue, even as he said the assault is part of the prices for Nigeria’s democracy to grow.

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