The President yesterday came under fire from the Action Congress (AC) over his administration’s decision not to probe former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The party said no matter the government’s position, the Obasanjo administration “cannot escape the judgment and probe of history, which is the ultimate”.
AC said the Yar’Adua administration goofed by saying it would not probe what the party called Obasanjo’s eight years of waste and maladministration.
Last week, presidential spokesman Segun Adeniyi, in his reaction to the controversy over the deployment of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chair Nuhu Ribadu to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru near Jos, Plateau State, said the action was not meant to bring in someone that would probe Obasanjo.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the government’s position was in bad taste, since several former governors are facing trial over their actions while in office.
“This administration has simply said, through the no-probe statement, that it is okay to investigate alleged corruption and abuse of office at the state level, as long as the Federal Government is left untouched, for whatever reason,” AC said.
It said the statement must have been made without being well-thought out, since it implied that certain categories of people were either above the law or could be exempted from probe as payback for the political patronage they dispensed while in office.
AC said the statement also meant that the National Assembly, which is imbued with oversight functions, could send its members home, since some people have been elevated to a status where their actions in government cannot be investigated.
“It means that if the National Assembly, in performing its oversight functions, stumbles on fraud in any area or sector, it should simply shut up!” the party added.
AC said there were many actions of the Obasanjo administration that called for a comprehensive probe, irrespective of what the Yar’Adua government thinks.
“A government that pumped over N300 billion into road rehabilitation and construction, even when the same roads are not motorable or are now death traps definitely deserves to be investigated.
“A government that spent trillions of naira on the power sector, after which the nation has now been plunged into unprecedented darkness, should definitely be probed.
“An administration that gave out hundreds of public enterprises to cronies in the name of privatization has only succeeded in selling the commonwealth at a mere pittance and should be questioned.
“A government that poured millions of naira and dollars into repairing the nation’s four refineries, none of which is presently functioning, has a question or two to answer in the spirit of fairness and probity.
“A sitting President, who acquired huge shares in companies that later got massive government patronage, like Transcorp, cannot be said to be above board, hence should be subjected to the dictates of the law on such issues,” the party said.
AC said the list it reeled out constituted only a tip of the iceberg and a part of why Obasanjo, who doubled as Nigeria’s Oil Minister for eight years, should be investigated.
It said, however, that whatever the decision of the Yar’Adua administration on the issue, the Obasanjo government cannot escape the judgment and probe of history, which is the ultimate.
“In God’s own good time, the truth about the years of locust under President Obasanjo, a self-acclaimed anti-corruption fighter and saint, will come to the open. Then, no administration, no matter its motives, will be able to stop it!” the party said.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, claimed that Obasanjo was the brain behind the disintegration of the Yoruba race during his eight years rule. It said he used the instrumentality of government to destroy the race.
Obasanjo’s action, the group said, was responsible for the weakening of political base of the region and its loss of relevance in the affairs of the nation and the South West geo-political group.
The acting leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti told reporters at the weekend that Obasanjo used the factional chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, to destroy the party and Afenifere.
According to him, the former president worked tirelessly to ensure that Afenifere was disintegrated because of the last elections.
His words: “President Obasanjo was instrumental to our disintegration because he held on to the AD to the last moment and Akinfenwa got the impression that he would release AD to him, until the very last moment.
“Most of our followers became confused and anxious that when the time came for elections we had nothing to use. They kept on mounting pressure on us that was why we floated Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA).
“Obasanjo knew that and he kept assuring Akinfenwa, ‘you will get today, tomorrow; don’t worry’, until the last moment when it was too late to get together and too late to restore the confidence of our followers.
“It was at the last moment that he said ‘you could have it’ and this was sometime in October and when Akinfenwa came, l said it was too late, we had decided to register DPA; ‘we have gone to Abuja and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given us approval to go ahead’.
“After the registration, there was a split. So, we are not together again. He was responsible and I think he likes it that way. Akinfenwa is now having problems in the AD because of internal disruption .Some other forces are working underneath within the AD. It is a pity that things got to this stage. It was the handiwork of Obasanjo.
On moves to reconcile the warring Afenifere members, Fasoranti said: “There is a move to bring everybody together and we have held some meetings under the chairmanship of Justice Kayode Eso.”
He said some younger elements in the group recently organised a meeting in Ibadan. The meeting, he said, would continue this month.
On why the group has not admitted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members into its fold, Fasoranti said it was because of the behaviour of the party, which does not have the interest of the people at heart.
He said the PDP has not imbibed the four cardinal programmes of Afenifere. “Although they pretend to be, they are not. Deep in their heart, they are not. PDP stands to copy, but from their operations, they are not Afenifere. They are rapacious, they are ruthless; it is a group of gangsters who got together to loot the treasury but in order to cover up, they say they want to practise free education,” Fasoranti said.
He added that some young elements in the group would also meet later this month to settle the crisis, which has destroyed the unity of the group.
– The Nation