Just days after publicly endorsing APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo is making additional controversial statements.
During a meeting with journalists at his Hilltop presidential residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Saturday, Obasanjo stated that President Goodluck Jonathan has a grand plan to disrupt the elections because he is scared that if Buhari wins the elections, he may jail him, Punch reports.
“I believe the President’s fear is particularly motivated by whom he sees as his likely successor, that is, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. I believe people would have been telling him that Buhari is a hard man; he will fight corruption and he (Jonathan) may end up in jail if not in the grave. I think people would have told him that sort of thing and he is not the only one afraid of Buhari,” he said.
Obasanjo also noted that on the other hand, Buhari may have changed his mindset of sending people to jail as a means of fighting corruption.
“If he (Buhari)has not learnt his lessons, he would be probably the most unlearning human being. Now if he has learnt his lessons, he will know that you do not fight corruption by putting people in jail for 200 years. This was done by my predecessor in office, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. He recovered over $750m from Abacha’s estate without putting anybody in jail and without harming or hurting anybody.
When I took over, we recovered over $1.25bn from the same Abacha without hurting anybody and without harming anybody,” he said.
In addition, Obasanjo remarked that Jonathan was trying to pull a “Gbagbo” by shifting election dates until the odds were in his favour.
“President Jonathan has a grand plan to ensure that he wins the election by hook or crook and if he loses, he scuttles it and brings chaos and confusion in the whole country.
It looks to me that the President is trying to play Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo was the former President of Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo made sure he postponed the election in his country until he was sure he would win and then allowed the election to take place. He got an inconclusive election in the first ballot and I believe this is the sort of thing Nigeria may fall into if I am right in what I observed as the grand plan.
Then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with 8 per cent behind (Alassane) Quattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading was rebuffed by him and he unleashed horror in that country until nemesis caught up with him. I believe that we may be seeing the repeat of Gbabgo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not,” he said.
The former president also alleged that Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Attahiru Jega, was bullied into postponing the elections by “the powers that be.”
Obasanjo also expressed dismay at the fact that Jonathan in his recent media chat, stated that the decision to postpone the elections was made without his consent.
“…it was even made worse when the President in the media chat on the 11th of this month claimed not to have knowledge or not to have authorised it. I get worried, very worried that if the President of Nigeria is not in charge of security, maintenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, assuming that it is true, then the President must be reigning and not ruling.”
Presidency responds to Obasanjo’s Allegations
In reaction to Obasanjo’s allegations, the presidency on Saturday dismissed his claims, stating that Obasanjo and other unnamed individuals are plotting to thwart the elections and force an unconstitutional Interim National Government, which Obasanjo hopes to head, on the nation.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said this in a statement:
We find the false claims and allegations reportedly made against President Goodluck Jonathan by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday in Abeokuta very odious and repugnant.
As we have had cause to say before, it is most regrettable indeed that a man like Chief Obasanjo, who should know better, chooses to repeatedly, wantonly, and maliciously impugn the integrity of a sitting President of his country for the primary purpose of self-promotion.
It is obvious from Chief Obasanjo’s serial vituperations against President Jonathan who is doing his best to positively transform Nigeria for the benefit of all of its people that he has willfully chosen to close his eyes to the present administration’s good works and intentions. For reasons best known to him, Chief Obasanjo has set his mind on regime change by fair or foul means.
Otherwise, it would be completely senseless, irrational and out of place for Chief Obasanjo, who still claims to belong to the same party as the President, to accuse President Jonathan of plotting to win the rescheduled presidential elections by ‘hook or crook’ and planning to plunge the nation into crisis if he loses the election.
For the record, President Jonathan has no such intention and will continue to give the greatest possible support to INEC and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the rescheduled elections are successfully conducted.
Chief Obasanjo’s plot with others within and outside the country to thwart the general elections and foist an unconstitutional Interim National Government, which he hopes to head, on the nation is well known to us, but by the Grace of God Almighty, his odious plan to return to power through the backdoor will fail woefully.