Former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo has made his front pages again. In the past year, he has been quite vocal in his criticism of the current President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
He has accused the President of trying to subvert the electoral process and has warned on more than one occasion that Goodluck Jonathan is arming a private army to ensure he wins the March 28 2015.
He has come under a lot of criticism from his party members seeing as he belongs to the same party as the President, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Matters came to a head today as Olusegun Obasanjo tore his membership card to shreds in view of leaders of the party at his Hilltop mansion in Ogun state.
Obasanjo alluded to the case of disgraced Ivorien President Laurent Gbagbo who was forced out of office after trying to entrench himself in office. Obasanjo claimed that Goodluck Jonathan is setting himself up for a similar situation.
Feni Fani Kayode, the media and publicity secretary for the Goodluck Jonathan campaign in his rebuttal said that; “Jonathan has re-affirmed his commitment to the democratic process over and over again and he has also said that the handover date of May 29 is sacrosanct. In view of these assurances, one wonders why Obasanjo is creating such a hue and cry over nothing. What has he seen that no one else can see? One wonders what his motives are. Does he have to rule every government by proxy? Must every leader take instructions from him? Is it a case of ‘’if I cannot control you and tell you what to do then you must go?’’
“President Obasanjo spoke about President Gbagbo and he claimed that President Jonathan was attempting to do a Gbagbo in Nigeria. The question that must be put to him is this: ‘Who got Gbagbo out?’ Was it not Jonathan’s government that played a key role in ensuring that democracy was fully established in the Ivory Coast and did he not play a key role in ensuring that the Gbagbo plan to ‘’stay in power forever plan’’ did not work?
“If anyone doubts this they should ask President Alhassan Outtara of Cote d’Ivoire the role that Jonathan and Nigeria played in helping to restore democracy and stability to his country.
“They should also find out the role that Obasanjo played in attempting to keep President Gbagbo in power at all costs and the deep friendship that exists between the two men. It is a matter of fact and public record that when he was President, Obasanjo, perhaps more than any other African Head of State with the exception of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, propped up and supported President Gbagbo and it is an irony of fate and history that he is now condemning the actions of his old friend and accusing others of trying to emulate them.”
“Again it is ironic that Obasanjo has accused President Jonathan of having a grand plan to stay in power at all costs and by all means yet it is the same Obasanjo that tried to stay in power for a third term even though the Nigerian constitution specifically forbids it. He tried all he could to change the constitution but the whole thing failed and he was compelled to leave power.”
On Obasanjo’s alleged demands from Jonathan, Fani-Kayode stated:
“After Jonathan came to power, Obasanjo not only tried to control and teleguide him, but he also asked him to do a number of things that were simply wrong and unacceptable. It is for Jonathan himself to divulge those things and I am sure that he will do so at the appropriate time. Needless to say Jonathan refused to be teleguided and told what to do even though at all times he showed Obasanjo maximum respect and accorded him all the privileges, access and courtesies that is due to a former Head of State and a father and mentor. This continued to be the case even after Obasanjo consistently attempted to undermine his government and ridicule his efforts.
“Yet Obasanjo could not be appeased and was not satisfied. As far as he was concerned, he must either control Jonathan or Jonathan had to go. That is why he decided to secretly support the APC and became their ‘navigator- in-chief’. He was determined to pull the whole house down rather than allow Jonathan to return to power. This is simply because he believes that if he cannot control someone, that person must be destroyed. Control and domination is an obsession for Obasanjo. That is the bottom line. He is prepared to put even the devil in power provided he can control him. That is why he is so determined to stop Jonathan and put in place an interim government which he, or one of his surrogates, will head. That is his plan and he is determined to achieve it no matter what it takes.
“Obasanjo does not want genuine democracy. He only pretends to want it. What he wants is control and a stooge in power. It does not matter what type of government it is as long as he controls it and it is headed by his puppet. It can be a military government, a civilian one, a democratic one, an interim government or a government of National Unity. To Obasanjo it does not matter as long as he can control it. That is his objective. That is why he hates Jonathan so much and that is why he wishes to stop him at all costs.”
“The bottom line is this: “Obasanjo’s grouse with Jonathan is personal and it has nothing to do with Nigeria. He should leave Nigeria out of it and let us all be. If he has a personal score to settle with Jonathan, he should not do so at the expense of the peace and stability of Nigeria. If he wants to stop Jonathan then let him attempt to do so through the democratic process and through the ballot box and not through foul and unconstitutional means. We said it before and we will say it again: gone are the days that any president can be teleguided and controlled, because we have all come of age.”
“?It is very difficult to say that he (Obasanjo) is a member of the PDP and he is saying these sort of things and doing these sort of things it makes things very difficult for us and I think with this, it is left for the party chairman and leaders to make their own determination on our part as the Presidential campaign organisation to ensure that President Jonathan gives a good fight in terms of the elections. That is our job, we need to take on anybody…. or any institutions or…but he has made his choice and we have made our choices and we intend to stand where we stand nobody will be pushed around or intimidate us.
“I sincerely hope and pray that Obasanjo pulls back and rethink and join forces with us against the opposition. It is never too late even if it will be on the eve of the election, to have him on our corner will be great privilege and honour. As long as he stands on the other side and continues to cast aspersions on the character of the president and raise questions on him, what the president wants to do and suggesting that the president wants to stay in power by hook or by crook and all that sort of stuff, we cannot possibly expect us to keep quiet. We have to set the records straight. We have to stand with our president and with our party.”