JA Control Panle

Peoples Daily

Home Opinion Discourse Obasanjo again: Who is Baba afraid of after all?

Obasanjo again: Who is Baba afraid of after all?

E-mail Print PDF

By Richard Ihediwa

Since he left office, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has never been lacking in controversy. When he eased himself out as Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustee, many thought that the former President, who was widely believed to have tried to elongate his tenure to a third term, would go into the shadows for sometime, but that was not the case.
Obasanjo was in the news again this week and federal lawmakers are calling for his head over his recent comment describing them and some judicial officers as criminals and rogues. He said the same goes to members of the state houses of assembly and the police.
That was on Tuesday, at the fourth annual national conference of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies in Lagos. The former President took a leave out of his retirement and lambasted the National Assembly saying there were criminals in the two chambers of the National Assembly and wondered what manner of laws they will be making for the nation.
Obasanjo had said; “Integrity is necessary for systems and institutions to be strong. Today, rogues, armed robbers are in the state Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly. What sort of laws will they make?
“The judiciary is also corrupt. During my tenure, many of the corrupt judges were removed. Some are still there. If the Judiciary becomes corrupt, where is the hope for the nation? Justice, no doubt, will go to the highest bidder.The judiciary did not see anything wrong with a former governor but the same set of evidence was used to sentence him in the United Kingdom.”
About the police Obasanjo said; “The police are even worse. Well, I will not lament. I will only say let us understand our problems and emphasise the good ones. The problem is that the diligence that was being undertaken before people are appointed or elected is no more today,”
Since then federal lawmakers have been calling the former President names and challenged him to be bold enough to mention names with the House of Representatives ordering an inquest into the issue. On the other hand the judiciary and the police had remained almost mum.
However, the questions some people ask are; is something wrong with the former President? Why should he not just keep quiet instead of always trying the foment trouble? Is his own hands clean?
On the other hand some other people ask; are there indeed criminals and rogues in the National Assembly? Are there such elements in the judiciary and the police? Are we at home with the realities if there are such elements in these critical institutions?
While the earlier batch of questions are representative of questions from politicians including members of the National Assembly, the later represents to a large extent, the questions ringing in the minds of ordinary Nigerians who see these institution in not so good lights.
However, Obasanjo’s statement is instructive as the nation is now in dire need of legislations that will enable anti-corruption agencies work effectively. This will not be the first time Obasanjo or a Nigerian of very high repute would accuse the National Assembly of being replete with people or questionable character.
It would be recalled that former Chairman, Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Nuhu Aliyu in 2008 threw caution to the winds to say that the National Assembly was replete with people of questionable character including those he said he had arrested and detained when he was in the police.
At the House of Representatives, the Obasanjo accusation was thrown up by the Deputy Minority Leader, Suleiman Kawu, who submitted that “Obasanjo lacked the moral authority to call lawmakers rogues and armed robbers.” Although Speaker Aminu Tambuwal initially obliged him, he quickly stopped Kawu when he started raining abuses on Obasanjo.
Kawu accused Obasanjo of being without a good reputation and that such a man had no “moral authority to call lawmakers armed robbers”. The House later resolved that its Committee on Ethics should look into the issue.
The Senate on its own part said it would not drag itself into any exchange of words with the former President but urged him to name the bad eggs.
Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, announced the Senate’s position at a news conference on Wednesday.
According to Abaribe, “The National Assembly has great respect for the person of the former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Assembly can never engage in any ‘talkback’ to the president.
“We actually feel that the former president would help the National Assembly and Nigeria in the new spirit of transparency and openness to assist the assembly by naming those that he knows as either rogues or criminals,” he said.
Critics are already looking at the issues critically even as some Nigerians insist that the matter must not be swept under the carpet. Some of them believe that Obasanjo, being a former President who had access to serious information about people and issues, could not have just spoken out of empty air.
They believe that Obasanjo has some hard facts and collaborate with the Senate in urging him to mention names.
On the other hand, some analysts opine that the House of Representatives is simply grandstanding instead of facing the facts especially as some members are now in court over allegations of fraud.
Currently, former Chairman House Committee on the Capital Market, Herman Hembe and his deputy Emeka Azubuogu have been charged to court over allegation by the Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, that he demanded for bribe of N44 million to influence the Capital Market probe as well as collecting huge sums of money for foreign trips he never made.
On the flip side, one is quick to remember that the former President has been having very high doses of accusations of corruption and it might be based on this that Kawu averred that he had no moral standing to accus the legislature. However, that Obasanjo had been accused of corruption in the past does not necessarily mean that he cannot point out rogues when he sees some.
Obasanjo is still to answer to the allegations of under-hand deals in the privatisation of government owned firms levelled against him by witnesses at the Senate privatisation investigation last year.
In any case, the former President is reputed to be fearless. Now there is a challenge for him to prove that as the Senate is still waiting for him the mention the names of the rogue legislators so that it can take it up from there. The take of Nigerians is that this matter must not be wept under the carpet.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



WEEKEND  Nigeria: The systematic reduction

POTS 'N' PANS  Extraordinary objects to ease your cooking

ICT ESSENCE  How to organize and backup files and folders

WELLNESS ZONE  15 simple rules for easy fat loss

GREEN PASTURES  Living as a citizen of heaven

Find & Follows Us