Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Sunday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him and “his hatchet men” of running an autocratic government similar to the administration of the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Obasanjo said, “It is clear from all indications that Buhari is
putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the judiciary to cow them to submission…
“Today, another Abacha era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. The EFCC, the police and the Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trademarks of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians.
“God of Nigeria is a living God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians must cry out to God to deliver Nigeria. Here again, I have been threatened with arrest and extermination but I will not succumb to intimidation or threats.”
Obasanjo, haunted by his past misdeeds – APC
But the All Progressives Congress said Obasanjo was being haunted by his past when elections were rigged and government institutions were denied independence.
The National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stated this at a media interaction in Abuja on Sunday.
He said, “For eight years of President Obasanjo, all the elections he held…in fact government policies were determined by whatever mood he found himself. All the institutions of government were heavily influenced by Obasanjo. What he did for those eight years is what is haunting him. He cannot imagine it is possible for a government to allow INEC the statutory independence that it has.”
Onilu said elections conducted under the APC government so far were credible. He said the APC should be commended for allowing institutions to perform their duties without interference.
Polls were marred by impunity under Obasanjo – Presidency
However, the Presidency dismissed issues raised by Obasanjo, alleging that security crises and impunity were rife under the ex-President’s administration between 1999 and 2007.
The Special Adviser to the President Muhammadu on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, while featuring on Sunday Politics, a news and current affairs programme of Channels Television, said thousands of lives were lost under the administration of Obasanjo.
Responding to Obasanjo’s allegation that Buhari and the APC planned to rig the general elections, Adesina said, “Imagine that kind of allegation coming from somebody who told us in 2007 that the election would be a ‘do-or-die affair. If somebody had said the election would be a ‘do-or- die’ affair and it was ‘do- or- die’ affair and the beneficiary of that election came out to say that the election that brought him to power was marred; now for that person to allege that elections were not going to be free and fair, were they free and fair when he conducted his own?”
On the allegation that the security crisis in the country was deteriorating, Adesina said, “Under Obasanjo was when we had the Odi massacre; under him was when we had the Zaki Biam massacre; under him there were lots of clashes involving the OPC and other ethnic groups, there were Shari’ah riots under him, and thousands of lives were lost even under his administration.”
Obasanjo dares Buhari: Probe Me
However, in the statement, Obasanjo said those who were using probes as threats should remember that he had been probed four times by the EFCC, the ICPC, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Obasanjo stated, “Buhari has access to reports of these probes. But I have also challenged Buhari and the criminals around him to set up a probe on the same allegations and I will face such a probe in public. But I know that these criminals cannot withstand a police inquiry let alone clinical probe on the past public offices they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria.”