Ahead of the 2019 presidential polls, former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, took a jab at incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging plans by the President to rig himself to power by adopting tactics favored by former military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha.
In the 16-page statement titled ‘Points for Concern and Action’, Obasanjo hammered Buhari on four main issues:
1. The return of the Abacha era: Obasanjo was a victim of former dictator Sani Abacha’s ruthlessness when he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995. On Sunday, he directly likened the incumbent president to Abacha. “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. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticizing him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results,” he said. “Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.”
2. Election Interference: Obasanjo, who conducted some of the worst elections in this country, questioned INEC’s integrity and impartiality. He however said even if INEC is willing, “will the ruling party and government allow it?” He cited the disputed Osun State gubernatorial polls and the controversy surrounding Amina Zakari, who is set to Head the Collation Centre for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as evidence.
He stated that the elections may experience, “Incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favor the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment.”
On Amina Zakari, the former Head of State, urged the INEC official to recuse herself from the elections in order to avoid further complications.
3. Osinbajo attack: Obasanjo didn’t mince words when attacking Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who has been distributing money around the country to traders and artisans in a TraderMoni program. Obasanjo said the timing of the scheme seems a little bit off and suspicious. He said Osinbajo’s explanation that it was their government’s program is shallow and lopsided.
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, ‘Any hope?’ Yes, for me, there is hope,” he said.
“What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10, 000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that,” he said.
4. The harassment of Onnoghen: The former president said the prosecution of the country’s chief justice, Walter Onnoghen, without following the constitution and the law is part of a plot to prime the judiciary in Buhari’s favor and rig him in. He said if indeed the president was unaware of the prosecution of the CJN as claimed by VP Osinbajo, then this means “the president is not in charge, let alome being in control.”