Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the Federal Government is planning to have him indicted and silence him.
According to a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Friday, the plot against the former President followed the statement he issued in January blasting the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The former President, who is a retired general, based his alarm on informants, “many of who are in the top echelon of the nation’s security management and close to the corridors of power”.
He said, “‘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.”
Read the full statement here.
Obasanjo who supported Buhari as he swept to power in 2015 has since then repeatedly criticised the President’s performance in office and advised him against seeking re-election.
”Since Chief Olusegun 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,” the fresh statement on Friday read in part.
”Impeccable security sources have alleged Chief Obasanjo’s name is on their Watch List and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.”
He added, “The operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail the personal liberties of the former President and hang a crime on him,” the statement added.
Late in April, Chief Obasanjo admitted that there was the possibility that his critical view about the Federal Government might lead to an attempt to suppress his views.
Regardless, he vowed that he would not bow to pressure.
The former president would have preferred to ignore the alleged plot by the Federal Government, but recent developments in the country and the credibility of the informants led him to speak out.
”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,” the statement explained.
“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.”
Recent developments in the country have created an atmosphere of fear as far as Obasanjo is concerned.
”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,” he said.
“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.
Since the breakdown of the relationship between President Buhari and Obasanjo, the Federal Government and the Presidency have had to react to criticism from the former President, first in January.
On May 22, President Buhari came up with his own attack on his former ally when he accused Obasanjo of spending $16 billion on power projects with no results.
The President’s comments about spending on power projects under the Obasanjo administration had led to calls for a probe of the expenditure.
Obasanjo, who denied spending that amount on power as president, said the matter had already been investigated.
Based on reports from his informants, the former President does not expect any fair or transparent investigation into his administration.
”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,” said.
Thereafter, he suspects the anti-graft agency would “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”.
The former President had expected that things would be handled differently in a democracy.
“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,” he said.
Despite his concerns, Obasanjo is optimistic that efforts to suppress opposing voices would fail and he is willing to face another probe.
”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,” the statement said.