*Says Executive colluding with INEC to rig elections
*OBJ haunted by his past – APC
*Statement vindicates us – PDP
By Ezeocha Nzeh and Myke Uzendu
Tension in the country is gathering momentum with former President Olusegun Obasanjo alleging that Nigeria has returned to the dark days of late Gen. Sani Abacha with the actions and pronouncements of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Obasanjo insists that with Buhari’s style of leadership coupled with what he described as his desperate efforts to win the 2019 presidential election at all costs, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies have become terribly compromised to return fake election results in his (Buhari’s) favour.
The former president therefore urged the International community and “all people of conscience both locally and internationally to rise up and halt a growing culture of impunity, lawlessness and insecurity in the country”.
Obasanjo made these statements while addressing the press on the “State of the Nation” at his Abeokuta, Ogun State, home.
According to him, apart from engaging in unparalleled plot to rig the forthcoming election, the Buhari administration had engaged in assorted impeachable activities, including payment of N10,000 through the Trader moni, which he maintained was enough for the impeachment of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The ex-President who played pivotal role in Buhari’s election in 2015, had earlier in 2017 advised Buhari not to seek re-election, accusing him of nepotism, incompetence and shielding corrupt individual.
He explained that in a democratic setting there must a redline beyond which the executive cannot operate but regretted that the incumbent administration has degenerated to the era of dictatorship.
He said: “Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order, and in his interest, and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians, maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.
“From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count.
“It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.
“His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
“His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him.
“It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha.”
He also insisted that Mrs. Amina Zakari should take an honourable bow from INEC since become too controversial to be able to give assurance of free, fair and credible election for INEC.
He also called on the international community to deny persons he described as “antidemocratic individual” visa along with their children and possibly prosecute them at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
However, the Natoinal Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in dismissing Obasanjo said that the party was no longer concerned with his vituperations, stating that Obasanjo’s full support for Atiku was to see if they could sell off the remaining national assets they could not sell in their eight years regime as President and Vice-President respectively.
According to him, “He (Atiku) has connived with Obasanjo to sell the country’s remaining national assets to friends and cronies.
“He has agreed with Obasanjo who has earlier described Atiku as being terribly corrupt to sell the remaining assets they could not sell between 1999 – 2007, when they joined hands to rule Nigeria as a private company”.
He maintained that rigging of elections had been Obasanjo’s trademark, which is why he is still being hunted by such misdeeds.
“Obasanjo cannot imagine that it is possible for a government to allow INEC statutory independence that it has. We have had 93 elections since APC came to power and we are sure that all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government.
“In fact, if there is anything you want to credit this government with, it is the fact that institutions are allowed to fulfill their mandate without anybody’s interference. So, we can understand where the former President is coming from; his past is haunting him.
“For us in APC, votes must count. We are going to have a free, fair and credible election. We have no reason to want to rig elections because our achievements speak for us. So, President Obasanjo should adjust to the reality of imminent defeat that is staring him in the face.
“He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destinies and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky and the favour God has done for him, he has now considered them as things that come from him.
“We advise OBJ to re adjust himself with the realities on ground. He would realize himself after February 16.”
Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the concerns raised by Obasanjo, as further vindicated its stand that Buhari is out for a self-succession plot.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbodinyan, the submission has also reinforced their position that President Buhari and the APC cannot win in “a free and fair election”.
In a statement, Ologbodinyan said “the whole world can see how President Buhari and APC’s desperation for power is putting the lives of over 200 million Nigerian citizens at great risk as their actions stoke violence and push our dear nation to the precipice”.
He said APC’s defense of Buhari proves further that “it is completely anti-people, and a deceptive soulless mob that would rather have our nation burn than to be out of power”.
He added that former President Obasanjo’s concern was a clarion call to all compatriots, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations to rise in defence of our democracy.
“We must eschew all our differences and unite in using our votes to take back our country from this dwindling, incompetent, ineffectual, corrupt and anti-people administration.
“If we don’t take action with our votes, we would be giving up our nation to totalitarian forces at our own peril and those of generations yet unborn”.