A pro-democracy group, Leadership Rescue Initiative (LRI), has written to the National Assembly to take advantage of the power of the constitutional separation of powers and set up an ad-hoc committee to scrutinize the events of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration so as to grant democracy room to flourish.
In a strong petition to the President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, the Chairman of LRI and a one-time close operative of Chief Obasanjo, Mr. Richard Odusanya, traced the present socio-econo-political crisis in Nigeria to the maladministration of the past, particularly the arbitrariness and corruption in all ramifications of the Obasanjo administration.
“It is highly ironical when these leaders are now grandstanding, heating-up the polity and playing the ostrich,” LRI said, indicating the readiness of its members to assist such an investigation of the National Assembly motivated by the need to prevent a repeat of the past. “The future of Nigeria neither be secure nor prosperous if the defects of the past are not highlighted for necessary corrections to serve as deterrence.”
Among those defects, the petition drew attention to such specific issues as corrupt enrichment by proxy; high-profile assassinations by proxy; and criminal imposition of the personal will on Nigeria by Chief Obasanjo.
“Your Excellency’s intervention is of tremendous importance as the investigation of some of these issues by the police and EFCC have been jaundiced e.g. Chief Bola Ige murder and the cases of corrupt enrichment by proxy,” the petitioners said.
“The constitutional Separation of Power provisions will prevent the use of frivolous court injunctions to prevent the investigations. This would ensure fairness and transparency as well as deepen our democratic values/institutions.”
The petitioners, two of whom appeared on Sahara TV at the weekend to discuss their mission, also pointed out that such a process would afford Obasanjo and his associates the golden opportunity publicly to justify and earn the most often flaunted credentials that are now being put to question. They rejected the suggestion that they were motivated by politics, arguing that the time has come to be motivated by anything other than patriotism, and asserting that they have no fear of anything but God.
With reference to the many high-profile assassinations that took place during the Obasanjo Years, LRI drew specific attention to that of Chief Bola Ige, who was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice when he was mysteriously killed.
Ige, the petition recalled, had uncompromisingly resolved to work to sustain the control of Southwest Nigeria by his party, the Alliance for Democracy. Ironically, the complaint noted, President Obasanjo was bent on capturing the same geo-political area by all means and Mr. Odusanya himself was actively involved in delivering direct bribes from the Obasanjo government Chief Ige.
“The last [of such bribes] being a N50 million cash, Odusanya gave to Chief Ige days before his assassination, at the instance of his principals. The Greek gifts or bribes seemed not to have swayed Chief Bola Ige as he still embarked on the consolidation trip where he met his untimely death,” the petition said.
Similarly, it said of the late Chief Harry Marshal, a frontline opposition leader who was also killed, “Somehow, one of the petitioners (Odusanya) was instructed to deliver gift of money to him similitude of Chief Ige’s case. Instructively, Chief Marshal chose to collect the money at Agura Hotel and it became a surprise that he lives within the vicinity when he was assassinated few days later. Only him could know why he got a hotel room rather than collect the money in his house, but he died.”
Turning to the issue of corruption, the petition described as “laughable” the fact that former President Obasanjo’s is now posing as an anti-corruption figure, saying that as President, he “surpassed the grandiose Babangida’s Hilltop mansion and made Abacha’s love for monetary acquisition a child’s play.”
The former insiders said that Obasanjo was only cleverer than those predecessors of his because he engaged close aides and associates as proxies, a weakness in his plan which is not without traces that they, as petitioners, will willingly provide in the interest of the Nigerian people.
In that regard, the petitioners drew attention to the case of Senator Nnamdi Uba, who was during the period President Obasanjo’s Special Assistant, and now a man of tremendous wealth. They expressed the view that taking advantage of the Freedom of Information law, it should be possible to compare what he declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau when he was appointed the domestic aide and what he declared upon becoming governor of Anambra, as well as when he became Senator.
“The difference will shock and embarrass their greatest admirers,” they said of people such as Mr. Uba. “We can then help him in explaining the riddle including the “nationalistic sale-off” of Ajaokuta Steel Company/Oku-Iboku Paper mill and Nigerian properties sold abroad including those that benefitted in the commission of US $12.5 Billion loan repayment etc.etc.”
The petition also drew attention to the curious statement by Bodunde Adeyanju, another former Personal Assistant of President Obasanjo that he admitted to the police over the Halliburton scandal that he collected US$6 million but that he made sure he did not implicate Baba Obasanjo, and questioned whether Adeyanju, a lowly presidential hand, have collected such a vast amount of money without Obasanjo’s cover, let alone his knowledge.
The LRI petition, copies of which were also sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, as well as the Inspector-General of Police, also dwelt on such issues as the scandalous Police Equipment Fund, which it described as “a disgrace to the sovereignty of Nigeria as a national entity,” and to Otunba Oyewole Fashawe, Obasanjo’s close friend and the dedicated trouble-shooting proxy MOFAS account he ran for Obasanjo at the defunct Trans International Bank (TIB).
Stressing that they are ready to provide authentication of their claims, the petitioners asserted that the inflows and outflows of that account will speak volumes, as it involves Halliburton, NNPC, PTDF, National ID Card Scheme, among others.
According to them, “Interesting disclosures in the [account] that will be difficult for OBJ to disown include serial bribery of House of Reps members with N4 million each to impeach Ghali Nabba leading to the celebrated Ghana-must-go money display at the hallowed chambers. In his erratic decision to detain and prosecute Otunba Fashawe, President Obasanjo ran into problems when EFCC investigations implicated him. Not even with a N700 million OBJ directly paid into the account.”
The petition further noted that the MOFAS account subsequently ran into a N7billion deficit, which contributed to the collapse of Trans International Bank and the loss of jobs to workers. “Acting in concert with Otunba Fashawe to run this account are Bodunde Adeyanju, Pariya Umar and one of the petitioners – Richard Odusanya.”
Calling on the National Assembly to take advantage of the separation of powers to ensure that the errors of the past are corrected, LRI said the kind of investigation it is asking for will prevent the use of frivolous court injunctions to prevent the investigations, but also provide Obasanjo with room to demonstrate that he has not been misrepresented.
“This would ensure fairness and transparency as well as deepen our democratic values/institutions. Importantly, it would also afford President Obasanjo and his associates the golden opportunity publicly justify and earn the most often flaunted credentials that are now being put to question.”
According to LRI, declaring its intentions, “For a nation to be great, the leadership must submit to the rule of law. Whenever illegal activities are committed, leaders must use the authority arising from their exalted positions to further the cause of justice and adherence to the obedience of laws of the land regardless of who is involved.”
JD:I saw the interview with these two guys on Sahara TV andI was completely irritated by the show they were putting up.Simply put the whole scenario smells of blackmail and business deals gone bad.These two virtually confessed to having participated in corrupt practices and by implication other practices bordering on crime.By their own admission they were used as fronts by both Obasanjo and Fasawe and are therefore to my mind equally guilty.Why did they go all the way to the comfort zone of New York to make these allegations in such a sensational manner?They could have gotten a FESTUS KEYAMO to swear an affidavit on their behalf and fight the cause here.A lot of what they said was disjointed and incoherent.One could see that the primary and propelling reason was to nail Obasanjo and Fasawe,most likely because there was a re negation on some deals gone bad.But having said that,their claims call for a thorough investigation and resolution which would put both them and their masters in the slammer where they all belong.But guess what,like my American friend would say,”it ain’t gonna happen”