Obasanjo: FG after my life for no cause

The Nigeria’s ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo alleged yesterday that there were moves by agents of the federal government to terminate his life for no just cause.

He said that the Muhammadu Buhari government which he helped to install was out to use Gestapo tactics to cow and silence him.

Obasanjo, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta yesterday, said the desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into silence was borne out of government’s belief that the tactics could impel him to jettison what he identified as his ”divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living.”

The African Democratic Congress (ADC) which was adopted by the Obasanjo-inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) as the platform for its supporters to contest coming elections in the country, and his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), expressed worries over the allegations.

The ADC warned that no evil must befall him while the PDP said the allegation, coming from a Nigerian of Obasanjo status, was terrifying.

The ex-president, in his statement, said federal government’s antics against him have not only continued unabated but have also taken a bizarre dimension as “impeccable security sources had alleged that his (Chief Obasanjo’s) name was on their Watch List and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.”

He said the alleged threat to his life was the fallout of his “State-of-the-Nation Special Statement on January 23, 2018,” where the ex-President pilloried Buhari’s administration as a failure and advised him not to seek re-election.

The statement reads: “Impeccable security sources have alleged Chief Obasanjo’s name is on their Watch List 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.

“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.

“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.

“For Chief 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open investigation into the activities of Chief Obasanjo’s administration using false witnesses and documents. This will be a re-enactment of the Abacha era in which Chief 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 Chief 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, Chief Obasanjo reiterates his readiness to face probe again after that of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the ICPC, and the EFCC, but before an independent, objective and credible panel of enquiry to account for his stewardship in Government and beyond.

“Chief 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 Chief Obasanjo from calling a spade by its name.

“Chief Obasanjo is a patriot whose sole agenda is to ensure that the country’s unity, progress and democracy are not negotiated on the altar of incompetence and provincialism and mediocrity.

“It is important to point out that Chief 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.”

ADC warns against plans to frame him up

Reacting to the development yesterday, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) which recently absorbed the Obasanjo-inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), warned the Federal Government against putting him in danger of any kind.

It said any plot against Obasanjo is an ill wind that would blow no one any good.

Spokesman for ADC, Chief Akin Osuntokun, who signed the statement, 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.”

Allegation worries us, says PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the allegation, coming from a Nigerian of Obasanjo status, was terrifying.

The development, according to him, has heightened tension in the polity and confirmed the party’s fears that the nation has descended into a police state where any Nigerian who holds a divergent view to President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid becomes endangered.

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 Federal Government to frame, arrest, detain and arraign political opponents of the APC, including regular Nigerians, for holding or canvasing opinions that are divergent to the interest of those in power.

“We invite Nigerians to note the travails faced by perceived opponents of the 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 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 party condemned what it described as APC’s resort to persecution, intimidation, harassment and framing of its members and other dissenting voices. It added that the government’s action was aimed at suppressing the opposition ahead of the 2019 elections.

“PDP wants the APC and the Buhari Presidency to note that no amount of coercion, intimidation and illegal arrests will alter the determination of Nigerians to vote out the dysfunctional APC and rescue our nation from the shackles of the Buhari Presidency and its misrule come 2019,” the statement added.