National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, at the weekend, took a swipe at ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, over their ‘opposition’ to the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He declared that their ‘gang up’ against the APC-led government would fail.
Oshiomhole made the declaration at the weekend, during a Presidential rally in Minna, saying, the future of Nigerians was no longer in the hands of the ‘old men.’
Obasanjo, an elected president , had a two-term tenure of eight years, and was widely believed to be pushing for a third term which could not materialise.
Also, Babangida, a military leader, ruled for about nine years, and stepped aside in the heat of the protest that greeted the annulment of June 12, 1993 election, believed to have been won by late MKO Abiola.
Querying their right to challenge Buhari’s second term bid, Oshiomhole, in a veiled reference to the two former leaders, said their plots would fail.
“Why do the old men think that the future belongs to them? The future of Nigeria is not in the hands of retired generals. Nigeria will now determine their leader,” he said.
Continuing, the party leader said: “One of them ruled for nine years as military ruler, while another one ruled for eight years and even wanted third term. They are the ones that are now saying that President Buhari should not do eight years.”
The national chairman who expressed his firm belief in the doctrine of one man, one vote, assured that his party does not need to rig to win election in 2019.
According to him, it was clear that Buhari will win the coming election, considering the high level of acceptability across the nation.
He said Nigerians should begin to ask questions about the N16billion allegedly went into some private pockets when the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was vice president.
Addressing the crowd of supporters at the rally, President Buhari urged them to vote for all APC candidates.
He assured Niger state residents of his administration’s determination to complete all ongoing road projects in the state, adding that the federal government would fulfill all its promises to the state.
Obasanjo tackles Buhari
And for the umpteenth time, former President Obasanjo has again berated the Buhari-led APC government, accusing it, among others, of planning to rig February presidential polls in favour of the ruling party.
Obasanjo, who made the accusation at a press conference in Otta, Ogun state, yesterday, advised Nigerians to appreciate Buhari for the little he has done, and allow him go home peacefully.
The former president, who also faulted the administration’s handling of the insurgency and related security challenges, also accused the federal government of empowering Boko Haram fighters via the payment of ransom in dollars.
On the alleged plan by the Buhari administration to rig the forthcoming election, Obasanjo said: “President Buhari and his hatchet men in the coming election think that the judiciary must be primed in their favour. Hence, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has been harassed and prosecuted for non-declaration of his assets without following the constitution and the law, just to make him conform or set him aside for a Buhari man to take over or act, as President Buhari and his people believe no stone should be left unturned to rig Buhari in.
“It seems to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as a whole in preparation for all election cases that will go before them. Where and how will all these stop? Typically, with overwhelming outrage and condemnation, we are told that the Presidency denied knowledge of the action. But the vice-president told us that the president knew of the action on Saturday night for everything that has been prepared for Monday morning. Haba VP, it doesn’t happen that way.
“Nobody should take such measure against any of the four in hierarchy below the president or any of his ministers without his knowledge and indeed his approval. But if that can happen to the Chief Justice of the Federation, the fifth man in the hierarchy of government, without the knowledge let alone the approval of the president, then it speaks for the type of government we have, which means the president is not in charge, let alone being in control, and no Nigerian must take anything for granted.
“We are all unsafe and insecure under such an administration. And enough of it! Buhari’s apologists will not stop at anything to try to cover up his administration’s inadequate performance and character.
“A constitutional liberal democracy cannot thrive without an independent and insulated judiciary from the executive and the legislature. Nigerians must wake up and stop these acts of wanton desperation tantamount to mental incapacity to run the affairs of Nigeria wholesomely.
“Life and living are anchored on trust. But if I trust you and you deceive, cheat or disappoint me the first time, it is shame on you. However, if I allow you to do so the same thing for me the second time, I do not only have myself to blame, I must be regarded as a compound fool.
“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and National Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the Buhari’s party before it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude. He describes him as inflexible, insincere, dubious, intolerant, never accepts responsibility when things go wrong and impervious to reason and advice for change.”
Likening the APC-led government to Abacha regime, Obasanjo, who was jailed for over a coup plot under the regime, recalled that “at the height of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual power, he did not brook any criticism because Nigeria was seen as his personal property. You must go along with him or be destroyed. All institutions for ensuring security, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians, particularly the police, the military and the Department of State Services (DSS), were abused and misused to deal with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.
“Today, another Abacha era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him, or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed.”
On the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he said: “The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.
“The joke about INEC would seem real. The INEC was asked if the commission was ready for the election and if it expects the election to be free, fair and credible. The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It is up to Nigerians to ensure that the redline is not crossed in safeguarding our fledgling democracy. And if crossed, appropriate action must be taken not to allow our democracy to be derailed.
“I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? From what we saw and knew about Osun state gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary. The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment.”
We‘ll teach you political lessons- Presidency
But in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Obasanjo’s remarks is the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the president politically and have resorted to subterfuge.
The statement reads: “Our first message to the former president is that he needs a good doctor for good treatment and to say to him, “Get well soon.” As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President. But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.
“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.
“The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari. What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.
“Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.
“The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.
As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former president said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.
“A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.
“Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.
“Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads.
“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria.
“The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.”
Ex-President wrong – APC
However, in swift response, APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Isa-Onilu, declared that the former President was being haunted by his past.
“When you are adept at a particular thing. It is something that you know how to do well. For the eight years of President Obasanjo, all the elections he held, in fact, government policies were determined by whatever mood he found himself.
“All institutions of government were brought under his whims and what he did for those eight years is what is haunting him. He cannot imagine that it is possible for a government to allow INEC its statutory independence that it has. We have had about 93 or more elections since APC came to power, and you can be sure that all those elections were conducted, without any interference from this government. In fact, if there is anything you want to credit this government for, one of such is the fact that institutions are allowed to fulfil their mandate without anybody interfering.
“So, we can understand where the former president is coming from. His past is haunting him. 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about, we knew what happened under President Obasanjo. So, for us in APC votes will count, we are going to have a free, credible and fair election. We have no reason to want to rig election,” Issa-Onilu said during a chat with journalists in Abuja.
Continuing, the party’s spokesman said, “our achievements speak for us. President Obasanjo should adjust himself to the reality of the imminent defeat that is staring him in the face. He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has just only be lucky and the favours that God has done to him he has now consider those to be things that are coming from himself.
“Obasanjo should adjust himself to the reality that after February 16, he will realise he isn’t God.”