Obasanjo Writes Buhari, Says Killings Can No Longer Be Treated With Nonchalance

A photo combination of Former President Obasanjo and President Buhari.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing worry over incessant killings across Nigeria.

According to him, the issue of killings can no longer be ignored or treated with nonchalance. He said it can not be swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.

The elder statesman in the letter also warned that Nigeria is tipping towards a dangerous cliff and only the president could forestall such a looming disaster.

He was however quick to add that the President cannot handle the situation stressing the need for a joint effort to tackle the menace, adding that the President cannot do it alone.

Obasanjo, therefore, urged the government to open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of the consultation to proffer solutions to the problem of insecurity confronting the nation.

 

Read full statement below…

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking  Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria.  This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.  The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.  Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned.  When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of  government’s claim of victory  over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks.  How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with the government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of a hammer.  It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate  situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace  unleashed  by Fulani  elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons  but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians  and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious  responsibility  to you as a  Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times.  Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

 

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets.  As a result, the very onerous cloud is gathering.  And the rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome.  Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence.  It will continue to snowball until it is out of control.  A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished  Nigerian merit Laureate,  has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”.  Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet.  Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

  1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram  type;
  2. Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
  3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
  4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to the dismemberment  of the country.

 

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone.  In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The madmen with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security.  The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus.  Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society.  It will be a national programme.  We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government.  It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter it’s colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help.  If there is a failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else.  We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together.  Blame game among own forces must be avoided.  It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians,  I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour.  May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening.  As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

 

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

July 15, 2019

Released by

Kehinde Akinyemi

Special Assistant Media.

Obasanjo To Buhari: Killings Can’t Be Swept Under The Carpet [FULL STATEMENT]

Obasanjo Calls For Stronger Opposition In Nigeria
A file photo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking  Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria.  This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.  The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.  Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned.  When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of  government’s claim of victory  over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks.  How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with the government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of a hammer.  It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate  situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace  unleashed  by Fulani  elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons  but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians  and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious  responsibility  to you as a  Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times.  Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

 

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets.  As a result, the very onerous cloud is gathering.  And the rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome.  Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence.  It will continue to snowball until it is out of control.  A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished  Nigerian merit Laureate,  has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”.  Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet.  Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

  1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram  type;
  2. Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
  3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
  4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to the dismemberment of the country.

 

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone.  In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The madmen with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security.  The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus.  Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society.  It will be a national programme.  We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government.  It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter it’s colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help.  If there is a failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else.  We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together.  Blame game among own forces must be avoided.  It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians,  I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour.  May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening.  As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

 

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

July 15, 2019

Released by

Kehinde Akinyemi

Special Assistant Media.

FG Replies Obasanjo, Says His Comment On Boko Haram Is Divisive

 

The Federal Government has replied former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his comment on the activities of Boko Haram terrorist group describing his comment as divisive.

According to the Federal Government, the comment by the former president is aimed at imputing ethnoreligious motive to Boko Haram and ISWAP and it is “deeply offensive and patently divisive.”

This was disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Has Gone Beyond FG’s Capacity, Says Obasanjo

Mohammed added that such comments are far below the status of an elder statesman.

He said it was particularly tragic that Obasanjo, who fought to keep Nigeria one is the same one seeking to exploit the country’s fault lines to divide it in the twilight of his life.

 

Read full statement below…

 

OBASANJO’S COMMENTS ON BOKO HARAM DIVISIVE, DEPRESSING – FG

The Federal Government has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comments imputing ethno-religious motive to Boko Haram and ISWAP as deeply offensive and patently divisive, saying such indiscreet comments are far below the status of an elder statesman.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was particularly tragic that a man who fought to keep Nigeria one is the same one seeking to exploit the country’s fault lines to divide it in the twilight of his life.

He said Boko Haram and ISWAP are terrorist organizations pure and simple, adding that they care little about ethnicity or religion when perpetrating their senseless killings and destruction.

“Since the Boko Haram crisis, which has been simmering under the watch of Obasanjo, boiled over in 2009, the terrorist organization has killed more Muslims than adherents of any other religion, blown up more mosques than any other houses of worship and is not known to have spared any victim on the basis of their ethnicity. It is therefore absurd to say that Boko Haram and its ISWAP variant have as their goal the ‘Fulanisation and Islamisation’ of Nigeria, West Africa or Africa,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said President Buhari put to rest the mis-characterisation of Boko Haram as an Islamic organization when he said, in his inaugural speech in 2015, that “Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of”.

The Minister said Obasanjo’s comments are therefore as insensitive and mischievous as they are as offensive and divisive in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria, wondering whether there is no limit to how far the former President will go in throwing poisonous darts at his perceived political enemies.

He said Obasanjo’s prescriptions for ending the Boko Haram/ISWAP crisis, which include seeking assistance outside the shores of Nigeria, are coming several years late, as President Buhari has done that and more since assuming office, hence the phenomenal success he has recorded in tackling the terrorists.

“Shortly after assuming office in 2015, President Buhari’s first trips outside the country were to rally the support of Nigeria’s neighbours – Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – for the efforts to battle the terrorists. The President also rallied the support of the international community, starting with the G7, and then the US, France and the UN.

“That explains the massive degrading of Boko Haram, which has since lost its capacity to carry out the kind of spectacular attacks for which it became infamous, and the recovery of every inch of captured Nigerian territory from the terrorists,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said Obasanjo’s call for wide consultations with various groups as part of the efforts to tackle the Boko Haram crisis has been neutralized by his ill-advised comments which have served more to alienate a large number of Nigerians, who are offended by his tactless and distasteful postulation.

The Minister called on the former President, whom he said took bullets for Nigeria’s unity, not to allow personal animosity to override his love for a united Nigeria, saying it will not be out of place if he withdraws his unfortunate statement and apologizes to Nigerians.

 

You Deserve To Be Celebrated, Obasanjo Tells Atiku

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), deserves to be celebrated.

Obasanjo said this on Sunday at the turbaning of Atiku as the seventh Wazirin Adamawa by the Lamido of Adamawa, Mustapha Barkindo.

Obasanjo also hailed his former deputy for jointly dealing with national and international affairs with him while they were at the helms of affairs.

“Even when we were in Abuja and we were dealing with national and international affairs, you did not take it lightly the cultural affairs at home.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the turbaning of Atiku as the seventh Wazirin Adamawa.

 

“So, you more than deserve this celebration and I will plead that the way you had carried the office you held in the past, you will carry the one that you have now. No matter what responsibility you may have at the national or the international level, east or west home is the best.

“If the occasion we are having today is an acknowledgment that home has given to you and you must do everything to show the home that you appreciate the honour that has been done to you,” Obasanjo said.

Other dignitaries who were at turbaning of Atiku include former President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President Bukola Saraki; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and some serving PDP governors.

Obasanjo Visits Bode George Over Son’s Death

ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George during Obasanjo's visit to George at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos, on Saturday, June 23.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George during Obasanjo’s visit to George at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos, on Saturday, June 23.

 

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has visited his former ally and former National Deputy Chairman (South West) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, to condole with him over the death of his son, Dipo.

Obasanjo in the Saturday morning visit, led his aides and loyalists to the Ikoyi residence of George, where he urged the deceased father to take solace in God over the demise of his son.

Dipo George died last month, May 9, 2018.

“We cannot query God, but to only take solace in what He has done to you. If this does not happen, who knows what next that will happen. I have not been around but it was on my mind to come over and commiserate with you and the family. May God grant the depose eternal rest,” Obasanjo said.

ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George during Obasanjo's visit to George at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos, on Saturday, June 23.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George during Obasanjo’s visit to George at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos, on Saturday, June 23.

 

In a release by Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, family members of George, who was a former military administrator of Ondo State, however, described Obasanjo’s visit as symbolic of an end to the political rift between the duo.

Bode George’s sister, Alhaja Majolagbe in her vote of thanks declared that the rift between the two was over with the visit.

READ ALSO: LIVE UPDATES: APC National Convention – Ruling Party Elects New Leaders

Obasanjo Should Go And Clear His Name, Not Raise Alarm – Fayose     

Ekiti Stae Governor Ayodele Fayose

 

Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s not to raise the alarm but should come forward and clear his name.

Fayose is reacting to the former President’s allegations that the Federal Government is plotting to silence him, using false witnesses to indict and possibly arrest him.

“There is no need to raise alarm. Obasanjo at a time said President Buhari is best for Nigeria. So now, President Buhari is telling the whole world that Obasanjo stole money. Obasanjo should go and clear his name,” he said.

The state governor also wondered why former President Obasanjo is afraid. He claimed that Obasanjo is his book, ‘My Watch’, said he preferred to be jailed by President Buhari instead of being jailed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Since Obasanjo himself said he preferred to be jailed by Buhari and worked for his enthronement, the President can hasten his arrest and imprisonment.

“What is he afraid of?”

Fayose who was speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on Saturday added that former President Obasanjo started the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and therefore should not be afraid of being probed over alleged funds mismanagement.

Only The Guilty Should Be Afraid, FG Replies Obasanjo

Be Fair In Reporting Govt Activities, Lai Mohammed Tells Media
Mr Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government has reacted to claims by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that it is plotting to silence him using false witnesses to indict and possibly arrest him.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed said in a statement on Friday that the allegations by the former President were frivolous and aimed at distracting the government.

Chief Obasanjo, an ally-turned critic of President Buhari, made the allegations against the government in a statement earlier on Friday.

According to a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, impeccable security sources have alleged that the former President’s name is on a watch list and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.

“The operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail the personal liberties of the former President and hang a crime on him,” the statement added.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Raises Alarm Over Alleged Plot By FG To Arrest Him

Hours after the allegations, the Minister of Information and Culture said the Government was too busy try to fix the country and clear the mess created by past administration to think about framing anyone.

”This administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens. That is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration,” a statement by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, said.

Obasanjo had called on the Federal Government to uphold the principles of democracy and to stop trying to suppress opposing voices.

But the minister does not believe there is a need for that as the government is already operating democratically.

To him, only those with skeletons in their wardrobe have reason to be afraid.

“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,” he said.

”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.”

Furthermore, the minister suggested that the timing of the allegations and some others “were cleverly choreographed to divert attention from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause”.

According to him, it is 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,” he said.

”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. Faced with this double tragedy, even the strongest of men may begin to succumb to a figment of their imagination. They may start crying wolf where there is none.”

I Don’t Think Anyone Can Intimidate Me – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says nobody can intimidate him on the mission to set up a third force with the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), a group which he has been promoting across the country.

Obasanjo said this on Saturday when he addressed thousands of CNM members during a town hall meeting held at the Trans Amusement Park, Bodija, Ibadan.

“For me, I don’t think there is anyone that can intimidate me. Let me remind you, I have gone through many things. I have been jailed without committing any offence,” he said.

According to the elder statesman, CNM will soon become a political party. He then urged members of the group not to give in to any form of intimidation from the powers that be either individually or collectively.

READ ALSO: Full Results Of Verification Exercise For Dino Melaye’s Recall

He emphasised that he will cease to become a member of the group, once it becomes a political party, adding that this however will not reduce his concerns for Nigeria and unity of the nation.

“My struggle for the good of Nigeria progress of Nigeria, unity of Nigeria, development of Nigeria will not diminish. Even now, I get people from other parties, coming to me to seek advice. I don’t belong to them. I don’t have anything to do with them, but I give them advice. So, that situation will continue. I will continue to look for the good of Nigeria wherever I am.

“Men of valour don’t run away from challenges and it is the same thing with women of honour. Permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) are your instruments. If you have not collected yours, go and collect it. If you are not yet registered, go and register. They are the keys to open the doors,” he said.

Obasanjo also urged youths to participate in politics, noting that, this is one of the philosophies of CNM.

“The youths under 40 years old form more than 65 per cent of our population. Now, who will tell you that because you are under 40, you cannot play a very significant role in the affairs of your country?

“I was Head of State when I was under 40. Now, France has elected a president that is under 40 yrs. Botswana has just a vice president at 32 years old. Now, what we are saying is that the youths must be given a pride of place.”

The National Coordinator of the movement, Olagunsoye Oyinlola also at the event said verifiable members of CNM have scaled over three million, adding that the movement would participate in all the elections scheduled to hold this year in the country.

The meeting was also attended by a former deputy governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja; former secretary to Oyo State Government, Olayiwola Olakojo, who is the Oyo State Coordinator of CNM;  another ex-SSG in the state, Ayodele Adigun, Oyewole Fasawe, as well as a legal luminary, Hammed Raji, among others.

Nigeria’s Infrastructure: Obasanjo Advocates Strong Public-Private Partnership

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria, Public-Private Partnership, infrastructureFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified the public and private sector as the two legs for Nigeria’s socio-economic development, hence one cannot work effectively without the other.

He lamented that both the present and past governments in the country have not paid sufficient attention to work together with the private sector to develop the sector.

The former president made the remark at a seminar organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture at the International Trade Fair Complex in Kaduna State.

The audience at the one-day seminar cuts across the business community, students, academia and political class.

Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, decried that Nigeria has not been able to harness her natural potentials in order to be at the same pace with other nations.

He faulted the reversal of the sale of refineries by the Umaru Yar’adua administration, which he said was largely responsible for the instability in the oil and gas sector.

The former president further stressed the need for government at all levels to collaborate with the private sector, in order to get Nigeria out of its present economic recession.

Need To Concession Critical Assets

A former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, also presented a paper with the theme: ‘Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development’.

Dr. Usman emphasised the need for government to concession some of its critical assets like the sea port terminals, airports and roads to enable them work effectively and also reduce financial burden on government.

He explained that a smooth public-private collaboration must have the highest political support, credible reward sharing formula and transparency.

The former minister added that most of the successful PPP projects were done during the Obasanjo-led administration, due to strong political will.

The host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, on his part, highlighted some of the collaborative efforts of his administration with the private sector to be able to finance its multi-year plan in the major sectors of the economy.

Participants at the event noted that infrastructure in Nigeria is poor, due to old age, overburden or poor management, to meet the needs of over 170 million population.

They added that the competing needs of the economy have placed a huge burden on the government which they said cannot solely provide all the services required.

Nigerian Leaders Optimistic About Greater 2017

Nigerian Leaders Optimistic About Greater 2017Nigeria’s former leaders and current Vice President, Yemi Osibajo, have collaborated to release a hymn in which they advocated a greater, united and more peaceful Nigeria in the year 2017.

Singing Isaac Watts’ hymn, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” were: the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Chairman of Nigeria Interim Government, Ernest Shonekan, Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Admiral, Ebitu Ukiwe.

The VIP choristers released a video recording of the rendition on Monday.

Thereafter, in a goodwill messages to Nigerians, Yakubu Gowown said: “We pray to God, to continue to grant us that peace and unity that this country dearly deserves”.

They believe that: “In spite of the mess we tried to make of the country, God manages to always rescue us when we get to the edge of the precipice and we thank him for that”.

Furthermore, they expressed gratitude to God for “accepting and accommodating us, despite the mess we’ve made of ourselves”.

Meanwhile, speaking on the state of the country, Obasanjo believes that “God created Nigeria as we are, and he doesn’t make a mistake. So, we should thank him for that”.

Mr Shonekan, also encouraged citizens to continue to work hard in order to achieve desired results.

The former leaders equally expressed appreciation to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Mr Osinbajo, for coming up with the idea of bringing them together to render the song.

Obasanjo Advocates Need For Strong Party In Power And Opposition

Olusegun-Obasanjo-Ali-Modu-Sheriff-PDP-PartyFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has advocated a strong party in power and a strong opposition party, if Nigeria’s democracy must be strong, dynamic and cherished.

He made the call after a closed door meeting with a factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff on Saturday.

The former President described the PDP as “a party whose soul has been taken away and a party in comatose”.

He spoke on the recent crisis in the PDP, under which he was once the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking to journalists at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in southwest Nigeria, Obasanjo also reiterated his renouncement of partisan politics.

On his part, Senator Sheriff eulogised the leadership of the former President.

He said his visit was part of the ongoing consultation aimed at finding lasting solutions to the leadership crisis in the PDP.

Nigeria Urges ACP To Focus On Trade, Investment And Technology

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria, ACPNigeria has urged the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to focus its future around areas of comparative advantage including trade, investment and technology.

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, made the appeal on Wednesday while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded ACP Summit of Heads of States in Papua, New Guinea.

While the ACP Group has done well, “I would like to emphasise the point that the Federal Government of Nigeria supports the view that the ACP should not stretch itself further but rather, focus on areas of comparative advantage”, he said.

Professor Osinbajo listed the three areas which he described as the ‘future pillars’ for the group to include: Trade and Investment, Government Development Cooperation through Technology, as well as Political Dialogue and Advocacy.

Considering the challenges that most countries of the ACP face, he stressed the need to focus on development cooperation and building capacity in trade and investment with science and technology.

Cutting Edge Of Technology
In the area of technology, the Vice President while presenting Nigeria’s statement at the summit said efforts should be focused on job creation.

He added that young people should be encouraged to go into areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and education.

Professor Osinbajo emphasised that technology in particular areas such as computer application, programming, lighting and software applications amongst others should be explored to engage young people in ACP countries to ensure that they were in the cutting edge of technology.

Responding to the report on the future of the ACP, which was presented to the summit by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Vice President acknowledged the important suggestions and recommendations in the report and assured the summit of Nigeria’s continued support.

He also promised that Nigeria would continue its active engagement with and in the group while he described the report of the EPG as excellent, saying that it had set the tone for future negotiations.

Vice President Osinbajo described the meeting as ‘a crucial one, endeavouring to re-position the ACP towards 2020 and beyond’, when the strategic relationship between the ACP and the European Union is expected to move to a new level.

The ACP is an organisation formed in 1975 with the Cotonou Agreement, and composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

According to the Vice President, since the creation of the ACP, there had been so many changes and dynamics, necessitating the need to re-strategise.

Regarding the expiration of the agreement in 2020, Professor Osinbajo stated that the countries seemed to have made up their minds to continue to work together beyond 2020, noting that the most important thing is how the ACP would engage with the European Union, as the organisations are vastly different from what they were in 1975.