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Obasanjo Had 11 Years To “Do The Needful” But Failed Nigeria – Ameh Ebute

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Former Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute yesterday took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying he failed to use his three years as a Military Head of State and eight years as an elected president to do the needful in solving the nation’s problems, just as he said if the former president had done his best in addressing some of these sectoral problems, Nigeria would have been better for it.
According to Senator Ebute, former President Obasanjo could not fix critical roads like the Benin-Ore road; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Kano-Maiduguri road; the East West Road, just as he said that even his Otta-Abeokuta dual carriage were recklessly abandoned and could not be fixed in all his eight years as President, despite having more oil money from the Petroleum Ministry over which he personally superintended as President and oil Minister. Why should a President double as the Petroleum Minister of a country?
In a 6- page letter to Former President Obasanjo and made available to Vanguard yesterday Ebute said that for Obasanjo to draw Nigerians attention to the problems confronting the country was an indictment on him, having failed Nigeria as a past leader who was opportuned to rule the country as a military man and as a democrat.
He said that Chief Obasanjo was unable or perhaps unwilling to unbundle the PHCN and privatize the power sector for efficient management during his eight years as President of the country, alleging that he made superficial attempt to improve power supply in the twilight of his administration by committing Nigeria to spend a colossal sum of 16 billion dollars which was paid upfront to import gas turbines for the NIPP projects.
Senator Ebute said, “While agreeing with you that these are indeed problems that ought to be firmly addressed by the leaders of our country, it is rather unfortunate that you had an unusual opportunity of making impacts in these areas for three years as a Military ruler and then eight years as a civilian President but you either forgot that posterity would call you to account as the longest serving leader this country has ever had or you simply neglected to “do the needful” as you now advise others to do.
“Baba, “you said in that same Press statement that “Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck to deal with our pressing problems of widening inequality, infrastructure, impunity, corruption, poverty and youth education, skill-acquisition, empowerment and employment” and that this accounts for part of your anger against the PDP. This, with all sense of responsibility appears to me as the biggest self-indictment ever written by a Nigerian leader.”
The former Senate President who urged the former Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to stop insulting Prince Buruji Kashamu, a man with whom he had a very robust personal and political relationship up till 2011, stressed that he should remember their daily feast on Pounded yam and how used Buruji to fight former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State where he formed a parallel PDP in the State.
According to him, Chief Obasanjo should also remember how Buruji Kashamu helped him to win the case then, adding that his statements on him smack of what he termed, great hypocrisy and apparent insincerity.
Senator Ebute said, “I am writing this open letter in response to your most recent Press statement where you reacted to apologies purportedly offered by the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party to you.
“I am constrained to employ this Medium since most of the issues I intend to raise are already in public domain and deserve a whole hearted attention of discourse-friendly members of the Public.
“In that Press statement, where you referred to the PDP gesture as a “cacophony of appeals and pleadings”, you stated that one of the reasons why you were angry with the party is the fact that a certain drug baron was made the leader of the People’s Democratic Party in your Zone which is understood to be the South West Geo-political Zone.
“Your Excellency was quoted as saying inter alia “For instance, as a former President of Nigeria, the chairman of West Africa Commission on Drug and a member of Global Commission on Drug, I cannot accept that the zonal leader of my political party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America.”
“You went further to ask rhetorically “How do I explain that to friends outside Nigeria? This is only one of the many issues that I have pointed and still pointing out. I have national and international standard to maintain and reputation to keep and sustain.”
“With due respect baba, this assertion of yours smacks of great hypocrisy and apparent insincerity. Even though you never mentioned the fellow you were referring to by name, it is common knowledge that the alleged drug baron is no other person than Prince Buruji Kashamu, a man with whom you had a very robust personal and political relationship up till 2011.
“I wish to recall sir that when the former Governor of Ogun state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel seized the PDP structure from you in 2008/2009, it was this same “drug baron” whom you aligned with to create parallel party structure and institute legal action against the party. It was this same man who secured the court judgment that eventually got your faction of the PDP recognized by the National leadership ahead of the 2011 General elections.
“Your daughter, then Senator Iyabo Obasanjo worked closely with this same Prince Kashamu to protect and defend your sagging and diminishing political interest and relevance in your local turf in the state.
“This was a period when Buruji’s frequent visit to your Abeokuta Hill top residence was always greeted with celebrative feasting on bowls of pounded yam and egusi soup! The question is what were you telling your “foreign friends” about this man then?
“While I do not intend to hold brief for Prince Kashamu, I am constrained to ask how come you just suddenly realized that this was a notorious drug baron unworthy of being associated with? It will appear sir, that the post 2011 election squabbles when you characteristically decided to selfishly appropriate political appointments slots given to Ogun state to the exclusion of your former allies was the only reason why you so much want Prince Kashamu excommunicated by the PDP leadership and not the “honor and integrity” mantra you have put forward in your public posturing.
“Furthermore baba, you said in that same Press statement that “Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck to deal with our pressing problems of widening inequality, infrastructure, impunity, corruption, poverty and youth education, skill-acquisition, empowerment and employment” and that this accounts for part of your anger against the PDP. This, with all sense of responsibility appears to me as the biggest self-indictment ever written by a Nigerian leader.
“While agreeing with you that these are indeed problems that ought to be firmly addressed by the leaders of our country, it is rather unfortunate that you had an unusual opportunity of making impacts in these areas for three years as a Military ruler and then eight years as a civilian President but you either forgot that posterity would call you to account as the longest serving leader this country has ever had or you simply neglected to “do the needful” as you now advise others to do.
“Baba, if I may ask, what better definition of impunity can one have than the gale of orchestrated impeachments (some carried out with less than ten legislators in hotel rooms) and serial violations of civil liberties orchestrated by you during your tenure as civilian President? You will recall that the National Assembly, because of your unrelenting and undemocratic actions embarked on a process of impeaching you. It took the intervention of my humble self and few of other compatriots to save you and keep our nascent democracy on course. For this, you personally thanked me in writing!
“Weren’t the Halliburton and Siemens scandals part of your legacies to the Nations corruption index? Are you aware that the National ID card project which resulted in the Siemens scandal has been successfully undertaken by the Jonathan administration without any form of under-hand dealings? Didn’t you refuse all pleas to sign the Freedom of Information Bill into law? Which of the poverty and human development indices recorded any improvement while you held sway as Nigerian President for eight years?
“Talking about infrastructure, one may want to ask why critical roads like the Benin-Ore road; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Kano-Maiduguri road; the East West Road and even your Otta-Abeokuta dual carriage were recklessly abandoned and could not be fixed in all your eight years as President despite having more oil money from the Petroleum Ministry over which you personally superintended as President and oil Minister. Why should a President double as the Petroleum Minister of a country?
“Why were you unable or perhaps unwilling to unbundle the PHCN and privatize the power sector for efficient management and output all of your eight years?
As typical of you baba, you made superficial attempt to improve power supply in the twilight of your administration when you committed Nigeria to spending a colossal sum of 16 billion dollars which was paid upfront to import gas turbines for the NIPP projects.
“You neither made plans whatsoever to evacuate the turbines from the ports, nor made provisions for the road infrastructural upgrade to transport them to the desired locations. No land was acquired for the installation of the imported turbines neither was a right of way for execution of the project acquired. Also, you made no effort to align the gas national gas pipeline network with the locations of the turbines. The resultant effect of this shoddy approach to National development was an unmitigated disaster and a colossal loss of a whopping sum of nearly 16 billion dollars as many of these turbines rotted away at the ports until the intervention of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
“Prior to your emergence as President and considering your antecedents as a farmer, one would have expected that you would use your position to reduce Nigeria’s huge food import bills, boost food production and help reduce poverty in Nigeria. Alas, you government did absolutely nothing in this critical sector!
“Rather, you introduced policies that impoverished farmers and increased poverty, hunger and starvation among the populace.
“Baba, you are one of the African leaders that came up with the idea of the Great Green wall from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. While your friend, President Wade did well in Senegal to drive the project, what did you do in Northern Nigeria to bring this vision to reality? Please go and see what the Jonathan administration is doing on the Great Green Wall project.
“It amazes some of us that a person who had been so favored by God and man should refuse to heed the simple words of the elders that those who have had the fortune of having their palm kernel cracked for them by some benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.
“Sir, with all your failures, self- righteousness, hypocrisy and other shenanigan, Nigeria has left you alone. Please baba, leave Nigeria alone.
Yours truly.”
Credit: Vanguard

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