Olalekan Adetayo, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Adelani Adepegba, Olaleye Aluko, Ihuoma Chiedozie, Alexander Okere and John Charles
Opinions of some Nigerians appeared divided on Saturday on the allegations by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that President Muhammadu Buhari had perfected plans to incarcerate him over trump-up charges.
While some asked the ex-President to be prepared to answer any invitation to defend himself against any alleged wrongdoing, others argued that Obasanjo had a reason to be afraid judging from the current experience of Senate President Bukola Saraki in the hands of the police.
Prepare to clear your name, Fayose tells ex-President
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and an ex-Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Abubakr Tsav, advised Obasanjo to be bold enough to clear himself of any allegation.
Fayose and Tsav stated this in separate interviews on Saturday with SUNDAY PUNCH.
The Ekiti State governor said Obasanjo should be ready to clear his name of any allegation against him and stop raising the alarm on plot to arrest and try him.
Fayose submitted that Obasanjo deserved whatever “humiliation” he got, advising Buhari to, however, remember that he would one day leave the office.
“The President can go ahead and arrest Obasanjo if he desires but he should remember that what goes around comes around. He won’t be President forever too.
“After all, they have been intimidating and humiliating former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife.”
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose made a reference to Page 96 of Obasanjo’s book, ‘My Watch’, in which he claimed Obasanjo wrote; ‘…I prefer him (Buhari) to jail me to Jonathan to return to destroy this nation…,’
He added, “Since Obasanjo himself said he preferred to be jailed by Buhari and worked for his enthronement, the president can hasten his arrest and imprisonment. Obasanjo should not be afraid to go to prison now.
“Where was he when Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was arrested and detained since 2015 despite court orders for his release? When over 1,000 members of the Nigeria’s Islamic Movement were killed in Zaria and their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, arrested and dumped in detention since 2016 despite court orders. What did Obasanjo do?
“Where was Obasanjo when armed men of the DSS (Department of State Services invaded the Ekiti State House Assembly and abducted one of its members? Did Obasanjo travel out of Nigeria when judges were being arrested in the night in a Gestapo manner?”
Obasanjo crying wolf, should be prosecuted — Brig.-Gen. Idada
Also, a former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Ikponmwen Idada (retd.), faulted the alarm raised by the ex-president on Buhari’s alleged plot to silence him.
Idada, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH in Benin, on Saturday, stated, “I know Obasanjo more than most Nigerians and Obasanjo is one man who deserves to be behind the bars. He is one of the greatest causes of our woes in this country.
“He does not see anything good in anybody. He believes that he alone is the messiah in Nigeria.
“A man like that should be kept off the scene, honestly. He is definitely crying wolf. Maybe he is aware of what he has done that is making these people (Presidency) want to go after him.
The retired army office, however, advised the Federal Government not to hesitate to prosecute anyone who had gone against the law and the aspiration of the citizens.
Idada added, “Obasanjo is coming back in his same old ways – always wanting to produce a person of his choice and he will invariably turn back to condemn the same person. Why should Nigerians believe such a person, seriously?”
Obasanjo, afraid of his shadow –Tsav
In the same vein, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos state, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said the former President was raising dust because he was afraid of his own shadow.
He added, “Obasanjo is afraid of his own shadow. He did so many evils when he was in power. He had the opportunity to immortalise Abiola; but because of his selfishness, he lost it, whereas he benefited from the supreme price Abiola paid to entrench democracy.
“Now that Buhari has done this for Abiola and this seems to have frustrated his agenda against Buhari’s second term bid, he has to look for an escape route.”
While reeling out some allegations against Obasanjo, the social crusader advised the former president to be bold enough to present himself for investigation.
Tsav stated, “If I were him, I will present myself for investigation; but you know that as former president, he is afraid of entering the witness box where he will be cross-examined.”
Sheathe your swords, Bode George tells Obasanjo, Buhari
But a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, urged both Obasanjo and Buhari to sheathe their swords.
READ ALSO: APC parallel excos plan mass defection
George, in a statement in Lagos on Saturday, stated, “Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a man of towering distinction and excellence who ruled this country both as a military head of state and as a civilian president. He is an international figure who is motivated by patriotic fixity.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is equally a patriot, a gentleman and an officer whose totality of vision is about the growth and welfare of our commonwealth.
“As a military man, I know these senior officers very well. I have worked closely with the two of them. I have no doubt about their selfless commitments to our nation.
“I am appealing to the two personages as a junior officer to sheathe their swords and resolve their differences behind the curtain. That is the military style. We don’t wash our dirty linens in the open.”
Afenifere cautions FG against heating up the polity
In its own reaction, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, cautioned the Federal Government against heating up the polity, noting that politics in the country was taking a dangerous turn.
Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said, “Nothing can be ruled out in this moment where the government is in overdrive, where politics has taken a dangerous turn and perceived opponents are being hounded here and there.
“Don’t forget somebody said he was going to be framed for cult killings and shortly after, he was being invited over bank robberies. We are moving towards elections and we need a conducive atmosphere; so, enough of this high-wire politics to heat up the polity.”
Obasanjo has reason to fear Buhari’s govt –Yakasai
On his part, a northern elder statesman and National Chairman of the Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said Obasanjo’s allegations against the Federal Government would have been easily dismissed, but for the ongoing “police harassment” of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Yakasai stated, “You see, if what happened to Bukola (Saraki) did not happen, I would not have believed Obasanjo. But I and many Nigerians recall how the Senate President, the number three citizen, some weeks ago, raised the alarm that the police were about to hatch a plot to implicate him in robbery and murder cases. It was published nationwide and many people did not believe his statements.
“But now, we have seen the plot playing out. But every Nigerian knows that a man of Saraki cannot be involved in armed robbery. If he wanted to steal money, he could steal in the Senate and the money in the legislature he is heading is larger than the money in all the banks in Offa put together.
“And so, because of this, I will not dismiss the fears expressed by former President Obasanjo on the threats by the Federal Government to implicate him.”
But the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Achi-Okpaga, said the association would not want to “get involved” in the “war” between Buhari and Obasanjo.
I stopped my men from replying Obasanjo’s letter –Buhari
Meanwhile, Buhari stated that he stopped his men from replying a scathing letter Obasanjo wrote about his administration in January.
He, however, said while his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, followed his instruction, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, held the view that the Federal Government must reply the former President in order to put the record straight.
Buhari said this while receiving members of the Buhari Support Organisation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday night, a few hours after Obasanjo alleged that the present administration was after his life because of his anti-government posture.
The President added, “We were constraint to explain our position when a former Head of State wrote a letter. Adesina, my Special Adviser on Media, was agitated and wanted to reply immediately.
“I stopped him for two reasons; firstly, he was much younger to both myself and Gen. Obasanjo.
“Secondly, we came from the same constituency with Gen. Obasanjo. So, I wouldn’t know how it will affect him if I allow him to go wild or to go public. But when Lai Mohammed came, I said he shouldn’t; he insisted, he said ‘no’. He disobeyed me.
“And I understand he did a good job because a number of people rang me and said Lai Mohammed has done a good job.”
The leader of the delegation, Senator Abba Ali, said the purpose of the visit was to further assure Buhari of their support.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.