Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president yesterday cries out says alleged intelligent report reaching him explains that he was under security watch.
Obasanjo, in a statement issued on his behalf by his media aide Kehinde Akinyemi, obtained by urban express news-online said the security of his life is seriously under danger and could not be guaranteed
The former President alleged in the 22- paragraph statement: “Informants, many who are in the top echelon of the nation’s security management and close to corridors of power” had hinted him that the government in power had plans to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open investigation into the activities of his administration between 1999 and 2007.
Obasanjo said he believed he was being intimidated because he always calls spade a spade, adding: “We are currently in a nation where the Number Three citizen is currently being harangued and the Number Four citizen is facing similar threat within the same government they serve.
“There is a groundswell of our nationals that live in fear that they could be hounded, harassed, maimed or even killed as the battle for 2019 takes this worrisome dimension.”
“According to him, he is one former President that had engaged the present administration privately and in a bilateral manner on several issues of direct interest to the government.”
The Statement put further: “Since Obasanjo declared in his state-of-the-nation special statement on January 23, 2018, the desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into abandoning his Divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living continued unabated and has even taken a bizarre dimension.
“Impeccable security sources have alleged Obasanjo’s name is on their watchlist and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.
“According to these informants, many of who are in the top echelon of the nation’s security management and close to the corridors of power, the operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail the personal liberties of the former President and hang a crime on him.”
It continued: “Ordinarily, we would not have dignified these reports with a response, but for the fact that many of these informants are not known for flippant and frivolous talks.
“Secondly, this government has demonstrably exhibited apathy, and in some cases, encouraged by its conduct, daily loss of lives and property in many states of the country, the office cannot be indifferent…
“For Obasanjo, this is a joke carried too far and being someone who does not act on unofficial information, he had cautioned all informants and adopted a wait-and-see attitude to the bestial propositions allegedly being contemplated to cow, cage and embarrass him.
“The content of the alleged beastly designs, it was learnt, are two-fold for now.
One, to seize his International Passport and clamp him into detention indefinitely in order to prevent him from further expressing angst on the pervasive mediocrity in the quality of governance, economic management and in the protection of lives and property by the government.
“But since that could expose the government to a swath of international condemnation, embarrassment and outrage, it is said that another plot being hatched is to cause the EFCC to re-open the investigation into the activities of Obasanjo’s administration, using false witnesses and the documents.
This will be a re-enactment of the Abacha era in which Obasanjo was one of the principal victims.
“The same EFCC that had conducted a clinical investigation on the activities of Obasanjo in and out of government, it was said, would now be made to stand down the existing report that gave Obasanjo a clean bill of health on the probes are now to get him indicted, fair or foul for possible prosecution and persecution, like it is being done to real and perceived opponents, enemies and critics of this government.“Dissent is a fundamental principle on which liberal democracy is predicated. A true democrat must be ready to live with and accommodate dissent and opposition.
“While it is regrettable how the government has sunk in its shameless desperation to cow opposition, a resort to blackmail, despotism and Gestapo-tactics being employed by the goons of this government would not hold water. And no government ever remains in power forever.
“For the record, Obasanjo reiterates his readiness to face probe again after that of the House of Representatives, Senate, ICPC and EFCC, but before an independent, objective and credible panel of enquiry to account for his stewardship in government and beyond.
“Obasanjo reiterates that he has taken a principled position to ensure that the ship of the Nigerian state does not capsize and he remains steadfast in his resolve to turn the tide of maladministration, poor economic management and rudderless governance model that has torn Nigerians apart on account of religion and ethnicity which is a great threat to our democracy.
“We would like the government and its supporters to understand that no amount of campaign of calumny, no matter how well contrived, orchestrated or marketed, would deter Obasanjo from calling a spade by its name.
“Obasanjo is a patriot, whose sole agenda it is to ensure that the country’s unity, progress and democracy are not negotiated on the altar of incompetence, provincialism and mediocrity.”
It went on: “It is important to point out that Obasanjo is one former President and Head of State, who has engaged the current administration privately and in a bilateral manner on several issues of direct interest to the government and other matters of national concern.
That channel of private engagement remains open and continues.
“However, should there be the need for public engagement, the right to free speech will always be exercised and jealously guarded, again in the best interest of Nigeria and the government.
Meanwhile, minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said the Buhari Administration will not be distracted with a frivolous allegation from any quarter, especially those cleverly choreographed to divert attention from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause.
The minister, in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday, said the administration was too busy trying to clear the mess of 16 years and build on its unprecedented achievements over the past three years to waste its energy and time on framing up anyone or dwelling on issues that are not grounded in fact.
His word: “while those who have skeletons in their wardrobes should be afraid, even of their own shadows, innocent persons need not worry about any investigation, whether real or imagined”.“This administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens”.
He said that is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration. Only the guilty should be worried. To paraphrase an African proverb, “a man who has no wife cannot lose an in-law to the cold hands of death”.
‘’The administration is also strongly committed to the tenets of democracy, including freedom of speech and the right to dissent. But we understand that those who, in their time, were untethered to those principles would find it hard to believe,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said.
The Minister said it was curious that the frame-up and witch-hunt allegations came a day after a major presidential proclamation reversing some past acts of injustice was made, to the relief and acclamation of a long-expectant nation.
‘’Apparently, the impact of this proclamation was too much to bear by those who, through acts of omission or commission, helped to deepen the wounds inflicted by the blow of injustice that followed an election that was widely acclaimed to be free, fair and credible, hence they felt the need for a red herring that will distract the nation. ‘’Added to that is the frustration brought about by the fact that the contraption they have so much hyped as a freeway to power has failed to gain traction.