Buhari, Udom, Lawan And Obasanjo Mourn Former SGF, Ufot Ekaete

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and grief over the death of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ufot Ekaette, describing him as “a consummate administrator and bridge-builder.”

Buhari, in a condolence message issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, noted that the deceased ”dedicated himself to duty in the course of his distinguished public service.”

President Buhari said late Ekaette was “a gentleman who had given his best in the service of his country.”

He consoled the Ekaette family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death, and assured them that deceased would always be remembered for his remarkable public service record and immense contributions towards bringing peace in the once-troubled Niger Delta region.

President Buhari regretted that “His demise comes at a time when voices like his own are needed to move Nigeria forward in the face of daunting challenges.”

The President, however, said that Ekaette’s contributions would never be in vain as “The country would always appreciate and remember his great contributions.”

The President prayed God to comfort the Ekaette family, friends and relations, and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.

Similarly, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has sent a message of condolence to the family of Obong Ufot Ekatte, a one-time Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and pioneer Minister of the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs.

READ ALSO: Former SGF, Ufot Ekaette Is Dead

In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, Governor Emmanuel celebrated the contributions to the development of Akwa Ibom State in particular and Nigeria in general of the departed Elder Statesman.

“He was a thoroughbred public servant who was transparent, honest and a stickler for excellence, qualities he brought to bear in the execution of the key offices of public trust he held in the course of his illustrious career. ”

“The Government and the people of Akwa Ibom State are grateful for his contributions to the development of our State where he once served as the Deputy Governor. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. He will be greatly missed.”

In the same fashion, The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has condoled with the Government and People of Akwa Ibom State and in particular the family of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, who died on Wednesday.

In his condolence message, Lawan described Chief Ekaette as a thoroughbred bureaucrat who gave his best to the service of Nigeria.

“The late Chief Ufot Ekaette was a thorough-bred bureaucrat and statesman whose meritorious service to the country cannot be over-valued,” Lawan said.

Lawan recalled Chief Ekaette’s great contribution to nation-building. He joined the Federal Civil Service in 1964 and served in several federal ministries and agencies before becoming the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and later the first Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

He said the Nigerian public service benefited from the tremendous expertise, dedication and commitment of the late SGF, urging civil servants to emulate the late bureaucrat.

The Senate President prayed to God to give the family and the nation the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

In a similar vein, Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has described his late former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Obong Joseph Ufot Ekaette as someone whose experience in the Civil service assisted him a lot in the transformation recorded in the public service during his administration between 1999-2007.

Also, the former President said that the late President of France, Jacques Chirac’s support for the country’s debt relief was impressive and commendable.

The late President reportedly died at the age, 86, on Thursday, while the former Minister for Niger-Delta Affairs, Ekaette, died on Wednesday, at the age of 80.

In a release by his Special Assistant Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President, who is still in South Africa, where he went for an international engagement in his capacity as the Chairman of Brenthurst Foundation, remarked that the deaths of the two great personalities would be missed in both the French speaking country and Nigeria respectively.

On his former SGF, Obasanjo said that Ekaette who served Nigeria in several capacities would be greatly missed, having left behind worthy legacy.

“He would be missed not only be his immediate family and the people of Akwa Ibom state, but the entire country.

“We had a very robust environment when he was chosen as the SGF in 1999 and I decided to retain him in 2003, because of his experience. He is industrious, hardworking and a special breed of civil servant whose experience in the civil service assisted me a lot.”

“By all standard, he did his best to my admiration. He was a great man who I could easily describe as my ‘Encyclopedia’. He saw through our administration’s policies and programmes from their initiation, nurturing and implementation. As the SGF, he was an advocate of human capital development and he so demonstrated it through his interests in improving the welfare and quality of life of everyone around him. He was so loved and revered by all his colleagues and staff. Indeed, he was a God-sent.”

In the political front, Obasanjo said that the late SGF “was never a novice in politics, remember he was a deputy governor in Akwa Ibom State. He did his job conscientiously.

“As pioneer Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta, under the administration of President Musa Yar’Adua’s in 2009, he also helped to lay the foundation for this strategic Ministry that is at the forefront of transforming the Niger Delta Region.

“Ufot was a prominent patriot and a detribalized Nigerian, who was well regarded not only for the great commitment that he had for the progress of the country, Nigeria, but also for his abiding faith in national unity. He belonged to the rare group of Nigerian politicians who eschewed ethnic chauvinism even at the risk of incurring the displeasure of his kinsmen. It was quite fitting, therefore, that his invaluable contribution to building a better society was well-acknowledged via the conferment on him of the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 2000. I must say, both Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria should be immensely grateful to this great man.”

Obasanjo urged his family and the people of Akwa Ibom, “to take solace in the memory of his total dedication and commitment to the service of his people and for the country’s public/civil service. We salute his achievements in laying the foundation of the reformed civil service in the country.

“We pray that the Almighty God will give the entire Ekaette family, the good people of Akwa Ibom and the rest of us, his admirers the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant Obong Ekaette eternal repose in His bosom,” Obasanjo disclosed.

On the death of Chirac, the former President remembered with nostalgia, the role played by the former French Prime Minister, declaring that it was impressive and commendable.

According to Obasanjo, ” He was a great advocate for securing debt relief for Nigeria which had been enmeshed in unsustainable debt overhang, crushing poverty, deep seated conflicts and other communicable diseases and debilitating crisis long before my assumption of Office as President in 1999. Indeed, he agreed to 70% relief as against our demand for 25% while also campaigned and lobbied within the Paris Club for consensus for that quantum of relief. His efforts were also directed to Germany, Italy and Japan as Britain has indicated going as far as 70% relief.

“I remember vividly his efforts at exploring modalities for settling the crises in Cote d’Ivoire sometime in 2003 and, with political will on all sides, the conflict in that brotherly African country, which had hitherto enjoyed stability and progress, was resolved satisfactorily. On the Nigeria–Cameroon border dispute, he also got himself involved to such an extent that the principle and the political reality were harmonised for durable peace and security for all concerned.

“President Chirac raised serious concerns over the humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of Western Sudan and demonstrated his strong preference for the return of a lasting peace in the region through the initiative and the effort of France in its drive to support the relief agencies in their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people of the Darfur region, which no doubt emanated from his conviction that the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan with its Herculean humanitarian problems was not simply an African problem but one, which concerned the entire international community.

“His intervention on the renewal of Nigeria’s HIV grants from The Global Fund AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria can also not go unrecognised.

“Also worthy of mention was his declaration that France would continue, in the spirit of true partnership, to support the efforts, programmes and initiatives of the African Union. France showed exemplary role in supporting NEPAD and other programmes of the AU that had been designed to reposition the continent for growth, stability, development and democracy. Then, he never relented in his belief in the efforts of the African leaders and in his support for Africa. I must say, the whole of Africa shall remain grateful to this great man for his consistent and personal interest in Africa and his long-standing belief in the capability of African States to address problems that affect them in cooperation with their development partners.

“It is my prayer that Almighty God grants his immediate family and all the good people of the Republic of France the fortitude to cope with the passing of this committed world leader.”

Obasanjo Visits President Ramaphosa Of South Africa

 

Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has paid a courtesy visit to South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa.

He presented the latest book he co-authored titled “Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage”, to the South African leader.

President Ramaphosa thanked the former President for working hard and still having the energy to write and contribute to current debates about the development of Africa.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Buhari Pledges ‘Solidified’ Nigeria-South Africa Ties As Ramaphosa Apologises

The two leaders also used the opportunity to reflect on recent events in South Africa which saw more than four hundred Nigerians voluntarily evacuated from the country.

A statement by the presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko says former President Obasanjo expressed his sincere appreciation of President Ramaphosa’s recent appointment of a team of Special Envoys who have in the past few days visited a number of fellow African states to deliver a message from the President regarding the incidents of violence against mostly foreign nationals.

Obasanjo Meets With Representatives Of Fulani Community

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has met with repressentatives of the fulani community in the Southwest including Kwara and Kogi states, to seek solutions to the recurring clashes between farmers and herders. 

The former president met the group, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria at his hill top home in Abeokuta the Ogun State Capital.

The group blamed the current security situation partly on the alleged inability to access security operatives to air the grievances and those profiting from the situation.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Miyetti Allah Leader In Adamawa

On his part, former President Olusegun Obasanjo recommended genuine dialogue and constant discussions as part of the measures capable of resolving the current security concerns between farmers and herders in the country.

Chief obasanjo however, asked the leaders of the association to take the message of peace and harmonious relationships to the grassroots where they reside.

Obasanjo, Ajimobi Inaugurate Projects At IITA

Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr Nteranya Sanginga; former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, during the unveiling of the institute’s circular road named after the governor, at IITA, Ibadan.. Photo: Governor’s Office 

 

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi over the weekend inaugurated some projects at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The projects include a 10.5km ring road named after the state governor and an agricultural transformation building dedicated to research and delivery of innovations to farmers across Nigeria.

Governor Ajimobi during the inauguration said the support given to IITA was in realisation of the importance of agriculture to Oyo State, and the contribution of IITA to agricultural development in the state.

“Today Oyo State is the best place to invest and promote agriculture because we have IITA located in the state,” he said.

Obasanjo, at the event, commended Governor Ajimobi for supporting IITA and called for the extension of innovations generated from research stations to farmers.

Also the goodwill ambassador of IITA, the former president said, recommendations in the Policy Framework need to be implemented by the incoming administration.

“Our problem is not policy formulation but implementation,” he said.

He added that there was a gap between research institutions and the ordinary smallholder farmers, “and we need to close that gap to bring about agricultural transformation.”

The construction of the agricultural transformation building commenced in 2017 with a foundation laying ceremony officiated by former Nigerian heads of government, General Yakubu Gowon, and Chief Obasanjo; and the African Development Bank President, Akin Adesina as part of projects initiated to mark the 50th anniversary of IITA.

The building, which was funded by the African Development Bank through a Nigerian project— Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP)— comprises 22 offices, 8 large laboratory spaces, a conference room, and a utility facility.

The Director-General of IITA, Nteranya Sanginga, said the rejuvenation of IITA facility in Nigeria was crucial for the institute’s sustained efforts to transform agriculture on the continent.

“We are excited to see a state in Nigeria showing the example by supporting infrastructure in an international agricultural research center. This is not common, and we commend the government and people of Oyo State,” he said.

Dr Sanginga also commended the government of Nigeria and the AfDB for their support towards the construction of the building, adding that it would accelerate the pace of research and accommodate the best/critical human and material resource needed to bring transformation to the agricultural sector.

 

See more photos of the inauguration below…

Photos: Obasanjo Swaps Trad For Suits

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo got tongues wagging all over social media recently when he swapped his usual traditional attire for a suit. 

The former military leader in a recent visit to Vietnam, joined Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, former Ethiopian prime minister, and other dignitaries to showcase the works of Chuong, a highly acclaimed Asian tailor, based in Hanoi, the Vietnam capital.

Obasanjo could be seen in a couple of photos, clad in suits, photos which made the rounds all over social media stirring some buzz over which fits him best, the native or corporate atire.

The Ex-President alongside Boshe and other dignitaries visited Chuong’s showroom of Chuong, to check out his fabulous collection.

Only recently, Chuong was awarded “Tailoring Artist” by the state council of Vietnam for his ingenuity.

Below are some photos obtained from The Cable, in which Chief Obasanjo was all smiles as he rocked the suits by Chuong.

READ ALSO: MTN Appoints Emir Of Kano As Non-Executive Director

Buhari Praises Obasanjo’s ‘Immeasurable Contributions’ To Democracy, National Unity

President Buhari says Nigeria’s successful transition to democratic rule in October 1979 was one of Obasanjo’s “remarkable contributions to national development”.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended former President Olusegun Obasanjo for what he described as his “immeasurable contributions to our democracy and national unity”.

This was contained in a congratulatory message by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, on the occasion of Chief Obasanjo’s 82nd birthday.

Describing the former president as “a passionate and great patriot”, President Buhari said that “regardless of our political differences with Obasanjo, I still hold him in the highest esteem because his contributions to the development of the country overshadow those differences.”

He added, “Chief Obasanjo gave a good account of himself and inspired his juniors with his wit and other leadership skills.

“Nigeria’s successful transition to democratic rule in October 1979 was one of Obasanjo’s remarkable contributions to national development.”

President Buhari wished Chief Obasanjo “more good health, knowledge and wisdom in the service of Nigeria and humanity”.

The commendation for the former number one citizen by President Buhari comes barely hours after Chief Obasanjo defended his criticism of President Buhari’s governance style, saying there’s nothing personal about his action.

At an event held at the Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Tuesday to mark his 82nd birthday, Obasanjo said, “You see that in a democracy, to criticise a policy of government is not a family affair; even if it is my brother that is there and is not doing the things that I believe he should do, he must be criticised.

“That is what democracy is all about. So, if I say anybody in government in Nigeria or any government in Africa is not doing well, let that government prove that it is doing well; it is not taking things personally,” he reiterated.

Chief Obasanjo claimed that having occupied the nation’s number position longer than any other leader in the country, and been the President’s boss (referring to their days in the military), he had every right to criticise Buhari’s policies to ensure the right things were done.

Atiku Praises Obasanjo On His Birthday

Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar

 

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has praised his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo on his 82nd birthday.

Atiku who served with former President Olusegun Obasanjo as his Vice, took to his social media handle, Twitter to celebrate him for his contribution to nation building.

He said, “A very happy 82nd birthday to you, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

“No living Nigerian has given as much to Nigeria in peacetime and in war as you have.

READ ALSO: Your Contribution To Our Political Discourse Is ‘Shameless’, Tinubu Slams Obasanjo

“May almighty God grant you many more years in good health and continued service to Nigeria and the world at large.”

Obasanjo Is The Greatest Rigger, Tinubu Alleges

 

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu has accused a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo of rigging the election that brought the late Umaru Yar’Adua into power.

The APC National Leader stated this on Saturday during the Presidential campaign of the party in Lagos.

Tinubu said, in 2007, he asked Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory, what he was going to do with the elections in Nigeria, and the late President replied: “the election that brought me as a President into this country is flawed, and I will reform it”.

READ ALSOOshiomhole, Tinubu, Others Grace Buhari’s Presidential Rally In Lagos

Tinubu then went on to allege that Obasanjo rigged the election on behalf of the late Umar Yar’Adua.

“Who conducted that election, Obasanjo is the greatest rigger in this country,” Tinubu said.

He accused the former President of failing to deliver on the power supply in the nation.

“When Obasanjo came, we taught them that there was no other way to have business evolution and revolution in this country without steady power supply.

“I introduced independent generating power projects in Badagry.

“What did he do? He and Atiku opposed it. I went to court. Who was my lawyer in court? Yemi Osinbajo. I won in court and we started generating 300MW, the first state to do it,” Tinubu argued.

Obasanjo Is Worse Than Abacha — Oshiomhole

 

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was a worse dictator than General Sani Abacha.

Oshiomhole made this assertion in reaction to a recent statement by Obasanjo in which the Ex-President accused President Muhammadu Buhari of returning Nigeria to an era of impunity.

Obasanjo had in his statement said that President Buhari has returned the nation to the era when state institutions were used to fight the perceived enemies of the government.

Obasanjo alleged that the President was putting into practice, the lessons he allegedly learned from late General Sani Abacha.

READ ALSO: Former Military Officers Endorse Buhari For 2019 Presidency

“Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgeling democracy,” he claimed.

Reacting to Obasanjo’s claims in an Exclusive Interview with Channels TV’s Seun Okinbaloyo, Oshiomhole disagreed that the country is drifting into a dictatorial state.

“Obasanjo can’t look me in the eyes and say those things, he is a worse dictator, he was worse than Abacha,” Oshiomhole said.

Speaking on the general state of the nation, Oshiomhole said Obasanjo ruled for eight years and could not fix Nigeria, and “we are saying Buhari should fix Nigeria in three and half years”.

Weighing in on the case of Justice Walter Onnoghen, Oshiomhole said it is morally improper for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to maintain multiple foreign accounts, and backed calls for the CJN’s resignation.

“You can’t fight corruption selectively, Onnoghen should spare the Judiciary the trauma,” the APC chairman stated.

He further argued that “Nigeria’s democracy cannot be stable if the rules are only made for the poor”.

PDP Tackles Tinubu Over Comment On Obasanjo

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reprimanded Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over his comments against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing it as “disrespectful, reckless, unguarded and indecorous”.

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, had earlier in week criticised the former President for his comments concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Tinubu faulted Obasanjo for criticising President Buhari, saying the contributions of the former President to political discourse were “shameful”.

In reaction to Tinubu’s statement, PDP through its campaign spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the APC chieftain’s retort former sounded like a “disrobed ruler facing a pang of defeat as he watches his empire being legitimately taken”.

The party said it there is no way Tinubu can claim to be a true democrat and continue to support and defend President Muhammadu Buhari.

PDP also alleged that the APC chieftain has been rigging elections for the ruling party.

“His reliance on rigging was typified in the Osun election where results were manipulated in order not to “disgrace” the fading politics of the Asiwaju of Lagos.

“Let it be placed on record that the story of that election has not been fully told by Tinubu in his snide remarks against President Obasanjo. He chose to be silent on that phone call which was clandestinely put across to Abuja, consequent upon which INEC declared an election already won by the PDP, as inconclusive. Since the matter is in court, we will not join Tinubu in abusing court processes,” PDP said.

The party further stated that President Obasanjo, contrary to Tinubu’s claims, “did not at any time, assure our party that he holds sway throughout the southwest and as such will deliver Osun state to the PDP”.

PDP further said “It is also important to state that the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, did not also claim to have rigged election in the South West. However, if Tinubu today denies his affinity with Atiku Abubakar, which is well known in the entire nation, then he can deny even his own existence”.

READ ALSO: Buhari Campaign Group Sues Atiku For Alleged Defamation

The opposition party opined that it is an established fact that Obasanjo remains a statesman and a global figure who always speak the truth to power and put the interest of our nation above all.

“It is on record that President Obasanjo and PDP genuinely fought corruption in this country. With the establishment of ICPC, EFCC, SFIU in the police as well as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to investigate economic crimes and corruption activities, as well as the trial of Nigerians, believed to have committed wrongdoings.

“Under President Obasanjo, there were no sacred cows in the fight against corruption, unlike what we are witnessing today, in which corruption has become pervasive under the nose of President Buhari in the presidential villa”.

Speaking on TraderMoni, the PDP said it is ridiculous that Tinubu can attempt to justify the sharing of N10,000 each to traders, in the market by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.

“The PDP believes that Asiwaju of Lagos has not read and like President Buhari is also unaware that the same poor people which Osinbajo claimed to be helping with his ‘TraderMoni’ voodoo, chased him out of the UTC market in Abuja,” PDP claimed.

“In modern-day governance, leaders do not give handouts to the citizens, they create an enabling environment for them to prosper. We challenge Asiwaju of Lagos to go round the markets of Idumota, Alaba, Ikeja Yaba and ask the traders if the N10,000 has yielded them the profit to purchase hotels, oil companies, airlines, and tax collecting agencies” the PDP asserted.

The party claimed that Tinubu is now overreaching himself and denigrating his benefactors like “Atiku Abubakar” because he has been handed the position of co-chairman for the Buhari presidential campaign.

Your Contribution To Our Political Discourse Is ‘Shameless’, Tinubu Slams Obasanjo

National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu and former President, Olusegun Obasanjo

 

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has criticised the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, for his comments concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Obasanjo had alleged that President Buhari was returning the country to the era when state institutions were used to fight perceived enemies of the government.

This is the second time the former President will be criticising the government of President Buhari, the first was an advise given to him not to seek re-election.

READ ALSO:  ‘Another Abacha Era Is Here’, Obasanjo Slams Buhari Again

Following his latest comment, Tinubu faulted Obasanjo for criticising President Buhari, saying the contributions of the former President to political discourse were “shameful”.

Read Full Statement Below.

Tinubu Bombs Obasanjo, Says Ex-president’s Ways Not Those of APC

*Calls Obasanjo rigger without peer

More criticisms came the way of former president Olusegun Obasanjo over his satanic letter where he chastised President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, claiming the president was preparing to rig the 2019 poll.

In his response to the letter on Tuesday, former Lagos governor and Co-Chair of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaigns, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said Obasanjo was projecting on to the APC the misconduct he would perpetrate if still in power.

“Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And this difference has meant the better for Nigeria,” Tinubu said in the strongly-worded letter.
Asiwaju described the former president as an election rigger without peer.

“There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part. Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant,” he said.

Tinubu’s riposte personally signed by him is titled “CHIEF OBASANJO – AT WAR AGAINST HIS OWN DEEDS”.

It is as follows: “Former President Obasanjo is many things to many people, but he is all things unto himself. His recent contribution to our political discourse wherein he alleges plots to steer the coming elections shows the benefits from exceedingly faulty memory, is purely shameless or has a most wicked sense of humour.

Perhaps all three are facets of his makeup and were equally on display in his latest prosaic display.

“The crux of his long tirade was the allegation that INEC is poised to cook the election results. Chief Obasanjo should not get his dander up and waste good ink for nothing. This election will be a free and open exercise of the people’s right to choose their leaders. Obasanjo makes fiery allegations against this right but offers no corroborating evidence; he presents only reams of words. This is because Obasanjo is projecting onto the APC the misconduct he would wreak if still in power. Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And this difference has meant the better for Nigeria.

“Moreover, Chief Obasanjo should be the last to complain about election rigging. His administration was an unalloyed miscarriage of justice and of the best aspirations of the Nigerian people. We all know he was not elected in 1999. He was handed Nigeria on a silver platter; perhaps because Nigeria was so easily given that he went about treating the nation as if it was a less than a precious thing; he thought it was a cheap give-away not a privilege to govern this nation.

“This man should have positioned himself to be the father of the nation. All the goodwill that could be granted a political figure was bestowed on him. The global economy was such that it fueled our growth. Everyone wanted Nigeria to succeed after emerging from years of noxious military rule. Despite the flawed exercise that rendered him, president, we all bit our tongues in hope that he would say and do the right things that would move Nigeria forward.

“Instead of being a unifying figure as Commander-in-chief, he lowered himself to be a divisive, vindictive conniver. There was no table which he feared that he did not upset and overturn. There was no one who came into his company for any period of time with whom he did not fall out if he expresses a thought contrary to one of his.

“He tried to convert our young democracy into a one-party state. His PDP boasted that they would rule for 60 uninterrupted years. Never did they boast that they would govern us well during even one year of the sixty. He could have placed the economy on the path to durable growth and shared prosperity through diversification, industrialization and creation of a social safety net for the poor. Instead, he handed the economy over to a tight group of cronies, turning what should be a modern economy into a version of the mammoth trading companies that dominated the 17th and 18th century. The Transcorp conglomerate was intended to be a throwback to monopolistic enterprises such as the East Indian Company wherein a select handful would control the national economy’s strategic heights.

“We hoped that Obasanjo would personify statesmanship, thus showing the way to a more benign political culture. Instead, he bickered and feuded with his vice president and mostly anyone who dared remind him that he was human and thus infallible.

“Given the vast margin between the good he could have achieved and the nebulous feats that comprise his true record, Chief Obasanjo is the person most responsible for the flaws in the Nigerian political economy since 1999. His ego is as expansive as the firmament but his good deeds would fit into a modest sachet with ample room to spare.

“The worst of Obasanjo’s record, I have yet to describe. When it comes to elections, he has been a rigger without peer. There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part. Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant. For Obasanjo to lament over electoral malpractice is tantamount to the ocean complaining that a few raindrops are causing it to get wet.

“In his writing, Obasanjo alleges the Osun election indicates rigging will take place in the coming contests. Let’s go straight to the truth, Obasanjo has no grievance with the process. His personal history suggests fair process is the least of his concerns. What knocks Obasanjo off-kilter is that he could not dictate the result in Osun. He told those in the PDP that he held sway in Osun and throughout the Southwest. They believed him. He led them to defeat notwithstanding the almost impossible voter turnout in PDP strongholds in that state. Obasanjo can only win an election when has the final say over the final vote tally. Otherwise, he is a troubled man.

“In an attempt to relieve his trouble, Chief Obasanjo makes reference to a joke about INEC. He says, “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.’” The joke has a touch of humor; we are glad that Obasanjo is not completely devoid of this most human of traits. However, he makes a telling omission by failing to give you the vintage of this bit of sarcasm.
“The jest was not born last week. It’s vintage is circa 2003- a time when a certain President Obasanjo rode roughshod over INEC. He would summon the nervous INEC chairman to the Villa, proceeding to hector the man until he gave way to Obasanjo’s demands. At Obasanjo’s urging, INEC improperly published fake election results on the gubernatorial race in Lagos. Not until a public outcry did INEC back away from rigging Lagos. A similar attempt was made in Lagos in 2007. In essence, for Obasanjo to laugh at this joke means he has belatedly developed the ability to laugh at himself.

“If Obasanjo was so committed to free elections, how could he countenance Atiku’s recent boast of single-handedly rigging elections in the Southwest. Atiku claimed that he took all states for the PDP but left Lagos alone due to some misguided affinity for me. By this statement, Atiku publicly admitted to rigged elections in the SW.

Beyond resort to wholesale rigging, Atiku could never deign to be more popular and potent in the Southwest than the panoply of good and decent leaders that guided the defunct AC. Moreover, I can assure you that we did not need Atiku’s false beneficence to win the elections in Lagos. The people voted for us and their votes countered the ill-designs Obasanjo and Atiku set in motion. Thus, if Obasanjo cannot chastise Atiku for publicly boasting that he rigged elections, then Obasanjo’s display of righteous indignation is but a magician’s trick.

“His fine words and sentiments come a dozen years too late. These noble things would have greater effect had he placed them into practice when he was at the helm of affairs. At that time, he was powerful so he did as he might. Now that he lacks power, he has taken to preach that which he never did.

“In his commentary, he mentions that INEC has a record of past rigging. I wonder if he understands the admission he makes. No other president has exercised such tight control over INEC for as many years as Obasanjo. No president has had the domineering relationship with INEC that Obasanjo enjoyed. If there are reports of past INEC rigging, those reports are of Obasanjo’s making. It is the irony of ironies for Obasanjo to complain of the fruit on the table when he was the hand that planted the tree.

“Chief Obasanjo tries to further confuse matters by pointing to the case of the CJN’s assets declaration as evidence of future vote-rigging via tampering with the judiciary. Again, Obasanjo goes into a personality shift. For years, Obasanjo has boasted of himself as our corruption fighter nonpareil. The very aim of this current letter is to attack imagined INEC malfeasance. Yet, with regard to the CJN, he blithely ignores the large cache of dollars in the CJN’s account and the millions of dollars that passed through the accounts. Obasanjo seems unbothered by the unexplained presence of such sums. Perhaps Obasanjo’s nonchalance regarding the money is that he expected the funds there because he knows both the origin and reasons for the trove.

“Chief Obasanjo sinks so low as to suggest that the VP, during the exercise of his official duties, was taking the PVC numbers of market women and traders. This statement reveals the bilious nature of the man. Obasanjo even quotes the notorious Bode George in claiming that the VP was “gutting our collective treasury” by giving loans of N10,000 to market women under the administration’s empowerment programs.

“What? Giving money to poor people to enhance their lives and escape the maw of poverty is, by PDP metrics, gutting the collective treasury. If helping the poor is gutting the treasury, Atiku’s privatizing large chunks of the economy into his own pocket must have been seen by the PDP as a vital public service. Jonathan and his Petroleum Minister’s syphoning government coffers of several billion dollars to enrich the already-rich must have been viewed by the PDP as the epitome of a social safety net. Obasanjo’s and the PDP’s disdain for the common person could not be clearer.

“Obasanjo should be ashamed to even raise this issue. When he was president, the economy was on easy sledging due to positive global trends. Obasanjo did not raise a finger to do anything for the poor. He and Atiku were champions of trickle-down economics. If anything good trickled down to the poor it was by accident. Obasanjo left the poor unattended because he cared nothing for them. Poverty increased under his cold indifference. Not one meaningful social program was established during his watch.

The banking and pension deregulation he brought were geared to profit the wealthy CEO and managers of these financial entities. The malpractices attendant to these deregulation fiascos extinguished the savings of millions of Nigerians. In reliance on these artifices of Obasanjo and his ilk, many Nigerians were thrust down the lower rungs of the poverty they so desperately sought to avoid. Obasanjo’s allies gobbled the savings of the poor and still feast on them to this day.

“Chief Obasanjo is one of the last people to preach to anyone about using public funds to care for the poor. He had the gall to fret that funds should not be given to the urban poor because they are not poor enough. But his grouse does not show any defect in the administration’s program. His complaint shows the defect in Obasanjo’s humanity or lack of it. To complain that some people are not poor enough for his liking is to reveal that seeing human suffering does not motivate him to cure it.

He would rather that people suffer it the more. Your unease and distress become his entertainment or at least evidence he is superior to the common man. Watching a labourer struggle against penury is no more than a spectator sport for Obasanjo.

“The most fantastic of all his claims is that this administration has returned Nigeria to the days of Abacha. If this were true, the press would be constantly closed. Obasanjo would be constricted in writing such letters. Elections would not be upon us. Atiku would not be able to freely campaign and the diversity of opinion in the public space would be suppressed.

“For Obasanjo to utter such an outrage is that he hopes to light strikes twice. He was ushered into office after Abacha’s demise. He thinks if he can invoke Abacha’s name, the same thing will happen again. By hook, crook or utter fantasy, Obasanjo seeks to return to Aso Villa, not as an irritating, importuning guest but as a long-term resident. He wants to be back in control. If he cannot be president, then the president better carves from his office a special room for Obasanjo.

“Obasanjo thinks he is more than the greatest Nigerian. He thinks himself greater than Nigeria itself. Unless he is allowed to lead the procession, he will groan, grouse and grit.

However, neither President Buhari nor the progressive APC has much use for his reactionary policies and his megalomaniac ways. Thus, we shall be forced to endure more of his letters. But enduring such missives is a vastly superior and small price to pay for not having to endure a repeat of his unenlightened misgovernance”.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,

January 22, 2019.

Osinbajo Reacts To Obasanjo’s Comments On TraderMoni [FULL STATEMENT]

 

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said that the statement by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme is either a clear sign of the former President’s “ignorance or mischief”.

This is according to a statement by Mr. Laolu Akande, a senior special aide to the Vice President on media and publicity.

Akande’s communique asserted that “It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”

The rejoinder further said that Obasanjo has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended.”

The rejoinder also noted that “Attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value”.

READ ALSO: ‘Points For Concern And Action’: Obasanjo’s Full Statement On Buhari, CJN’s Trial, Others

Below is the full statement as sent out by the Senior Special Assistant-Media&Publicity to the Vice President.

“Obasanjo’s attack on TraderMoni reflects either his ignorance or mischief – Presidency

(Statement attributable to Laolu Akande)

The statement purportedly attributed to former president Olusegun Obasanjo regarding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme if, indeed true and accurate, is most unfortunate, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.

While responding to media inquiries regarding the former president’s comments over the weekend, Akande noted that “it is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”

According to Akande, the former President has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended. “

Firstly, the Vice President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of 2 million petty traders across the country in the first instance.

Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.

These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.

Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.

For emphasis, the Bank of Industry implements the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, one part of our Social Investment Programme. Enumeration Agents have been engaged to visit the markets and other points where petty traders are found to confirm that they are traders and also take their biometric information for recording purposes. After the enumeration, the N10,000 collateral free loans are then disbursed electronically through the petty traders’ phones.

TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the more stringent criteria of BVN, bank accounts, market associations, cooperatives, required for bigger Market Moni loans.

Under GEEP – which has MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni, at least 1.5 million Nigerians are already beneficiaries of the three-pronged approach of GEEP, while N-Power has created jobs for 500,000 young Nigerians graduates, besides non-graduates. Also, almost 300,000 Nigerians have benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which is given to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and over 9.2 million school pupils are being fed a free meal daily in 26 states under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

It bears repetition that higher economic growth potentials are associated with lower income inequality. This makes a most overwhelming case for welfare payments like the social investment schemes like the TraderMoni/MarketMoni schemes. Such a micro-credit scheme provides a higher rate of inclusion into the financial bracket and is crucial in lifting hardworking people out of poverty as has been the case in other countries like India and Brazil.

Fourthly, the former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.

Let me, therefore, state again that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Personal Voters Cards (PVCs) or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.

Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.

When President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, one of the major hinges of this administration was to uplift the common man out of poverty and ensure the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. TraderMoni is one of such schemes conceived in 2016 under the Social Investment Programme of this administration.

Being a former president, Chief Obasanjo ordinarily should appreciate the impact of such far-reaching social investment schemes, which has provided what is now the largest social safety net for millions of Nigerians and is unprecedented in the nation’s history.

Again, the former president’s attack on TraderMoni and the person of the Vice President is an indicator that he may be wittingly or unwittingly playing to the sinister script of the opposition party to spread falsehood and attack the social investment programmes of the Buhari administration, which champions such impactful schemes, and which is now attracting the praise and commendation of Nigerians everywhere.

It is pertinent to state that the false allegations against TraderMoni raised again by the former president is sadly a rehash of baseless claims previously made by leading chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, whose record of profligacy, corruption and mismanagement clearly show it has no agenda to uplift the common man or improve the lives of Nigerians.

Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. As is already now obvious, the generality of the Nigerian people will not only reject that attack but will also condemn its source. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward.

January 21, 2019”