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Why Obasanjo wants to die – Balarabe Musa

Posted by By KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2006/03/07 | Views: 1414 |

Why Obasanjo wants to die – Balarabe Musa


Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and Second Republic Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, has lent his voice to public reactions to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s declaration of his preparedness to die for Nigeria.

Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and Second Republic Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, has lent his voice to public reactions to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s declaration of his preparedness to die for Nigeria.

Musa says rather than be a show of patriotism, what Obasanjo meant was that he prefers to die in office than to hand over in 2007, out of desperation.

President Obasanjo had told a delegation of Chinese investors, which visited him, that he was ready to die to ensure the country’s development.

“Everything I do now is to protect Nigeria’s interest and if that will cost me my life, so be it,” he said.
The President said no obstacle would stop him from developing the country, adding: “We believe we can grow our economy by 10 percent every year and if we sustain that for 15 years, we will become a middle strength country industrially.”

He said all efforts would be made to check smuggling, corruption as well as ensure that other people respect the nation, adding: “We shall woo all investors and create a conducive atmosphere for them to make a profit, but they should respect our law.”

But Musa said Obasanjo’s ambition was to become Nigeria’s life president, adding that the quest was because of fear of the unknown, after vacating office in 2007, having stepped on the toes of many Nigerians.

Musa, one of President Obasanjo’s closest allies before the 2003 elections, said the President has betrayed the hope and trust of Nigerians who had staked so much on him.
He spoke in an interview with Daily Sun, recently in Kaduna.
The fiery politician, who is the chairman of the unregistered Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), says Obasanjo’s failure in his second time to govern Nigeria was because he is surrounded by corrupt men and ex-convicts, some of whom are ministers.

He criticised the President for failing to address the cries of marginalisation by various sections of the nation, particularly the Igbo while favouring the South-West where he hails from.
Specifically, he said the Igbo were marginalised in key national appointments – security, military and police–saying: “he (Obasanjo) can’t justify this because of the Civil War. “The Civil War took place how many years ago? By now, we should put it behind us.”
Musa spoke further:

What do you make out of the statement by Obasanjo that he is ready to die for Nigeria. This is a show of patriotism. Don’t you think so?
No. This is not patriotism. This is desperation. If Obasanjo said this in 1999 before he was sworn in, we could have believed him and we could have challenged anybody who disbelieved him. But after having betrayed everybody, including his conscience, we can now decode who Obasanjo is. Let me tell you. What he meant is this; he prefers to die in office than to hand over in 2007 only to be arrested by the same EFCC because by that time, he would lose his immunity. And there is sufficient credible evidence to investigate him.

You claim Obasanjo is working for foreign imperialists, but America, which is part of the foreign imperialists, have warned Obasanjo against a third term. How can you reconcile this?
He is working for them; but he is not a good worker for them. He is messing up. He has no standard. He is not bringing about stability. For instance, the way he is allowing legitimate protests against his policies actually threatens their interests.

They have no substitute for him. That is why they are warning him. And if he doesn’t listen to them, they will work for a substitute and dump him later. Certainly, they are not happy with the level of corruption and the fact that he has not been able to do anything about it. Remember, you the media reported that 60 percent of the corruption originates from the presidency. And this is a report from a body of the imperialist countries. They are imperialists. They are capitalists. But they also have enlightened self interest.

They want to see a standard which can protect their interest while at the same time does not ignore the interest of the people to the extent that the people will revolt. They will like to see safety values always being used. Obasanjo is not using any safety values. For instance, Obasanjo, since 1999 has not attempted, at all, to reconcile with his friends. Look at this situation which is mindless, which is something that America and Britain, definitely, do not want. He has allowed the factions in the PDP to such an extent that the PDP has broken into five factions. One PDM led by Atiku, MDD led by Abubakar Rimi, MRD led by Alhaji Gambo Jimeta and of course another one.

Then, the PDP led by him. And you know, he has declared himself the leader of the PDP, which means, the chairman of the PDP is just a clerical officer under him. Now, the result is that all these four factions, have now left the PDP completely and have founded three new political parties that have been registered. MRP, ACP, APC. Certainly, they (imperialists) expected him to reconcile with these factions so that the PDP can remain a strong party. As it is now, PDP has now become only one-fifth of what it was. And this one-fifth under Obasanjo is only sustained because he is the president of the country. Immediately Obasanjo hands over in 2007, it would disappear. America and Britain do not want this. They want to see a stable subservient system, but he is running a system which is called Bureaucratic Anarchy. And they don’t like it. They want a stable, dependent, neo-colonialist capitalism and capitalist state.

From your knowledge of the president and the corruption that has been traced to the presidency, would you say pointblank, that the president is corrupt?
There are reports in the media that indicate that he cannot be disassociated from the corruption. Quite a number of reports. One, reports with regards to what went on during the privatization. There are allegations that, even he bought some of the companies through agents.
I am talking about your knowledge of Obasanjo. Let’s forget about the reports…
(Cuts in), No. no. My knowledge of him has never been to the extent that I will know, at personal level, whether he is corrupt or not. All that happened was that I was inspired by him because of the way he handled governance when he was a military Head of state in 1979.

Since the hand over in 1979, he really behaved like a nationalist. He also behaves like a statesman. He has his African Leadership Forum. I attended one or two of its meetings at Otta. His conduct up to 1999 gave the impression of a nationalist who cares to much about the unity of Nigeria and who was transparent.
From what he is today as opposed to a man you thought as a nationalist, have you any regrets that you supported his candidature in 1999?

I am not regretting that I supported him, but I am regretting that he betrayed. In 1999, there was every evidence that Obasanjo was far ahead all those who competed with him for the Presidency. In fact, what I said when I declared my support for him……… and remember the PRP was not registered at that time to contest elections, I said every leader in Nigeria was a risk because of the deciding role of money in politics. Therefore, if you have to identify the president that you will support, you should look for someone who constitutes the least risk. In other words, every Nigerian leader was a risk because of the commercialized politics.

And, therefore, we should look for somebody who constitutes the least risk. At that time, taking into account all those who are contesting with him, Obasanjo constitutes the least risk and was credible. There was no doubt about that. We all agreed and supported him. Many of us went with him and supported him for even three years, even though we saw evidence of his failure. For instance, the talk about marginalization, started right from day one. It was quite clear that he was not doing anything about the allegations of marginalization. And it was this issue of marginalization that Obasanjo was expected to solve.

He was unable to solve it so much that by the time he spent 100 days in office, the majority of Nigerians were accusing him of marginalization. He, himself, admitted it. For instance, there were allegations that he was favouring the South West. He came out and agreed; but said he was doing so to reconcile the South West with the rest of Nigeria. Even if people have no basis for the allegation, that statement, coming from him was sufficient enough to make them believe there was marginalization. Up till now, people can get concrete evidence of marginalization. I can clearly show evidence of marginalization against the Ibos, which is completely unnecessary. He did not start it. he fuelled it.

What are the evidences of marginalization against the Igbo?
So many. Take national appointments, they are out of it. I mean so many, particularly in security and so many things. In military, security, police and everything. They are definitely out of it. He can’t justify this because of the civil war. The civil war took place how many years ago. By now, we should put it behind us.

At what point did Obasanjo start betraying?
Almost from day one; immediately after he was sworn in on the 29th of May, 1999. First, the choice of his ministers. He, literally went to the market to chose his ministers. Now, a person who inherited massive problem needed people who could make all sacrifices to help him succeed, but he went to the market and picked just anybody. He picked Murtala’s people. He picked Gowon’s people. He picked Babangida’s people. He picked Abacha’s people. He picked Shagari’s people. He picked Abdulsalam’s people.

It’s alright. But he should have discriminated, in the sense that not everybody could help him to succeed. He was aware of the antecedents of each and everyone he could bring on board as ministers. He didn’t care about that. That is the beginning of his problem. He had a big problem of bringing about the unity, development of the country. He had the problem of the sovereignty of Nigeria; all these problems. Not everybody in Nigeria can help him solve all these problems. Particularly, he brought people with bad records; some of them even ex-convicts. That was the beginning of his problem and we told him.

Even before he was sworn in, we told him the level of corruption, and stealing of corporate property in this country. And we advised him to probe everyone and everything because the corrupt leaders in this country cannot tolerate any credible government. Therefore, if he wanted to run any credible government, he should deal with them; otherwise they will deal with you. We told him quite clearly. When we said probe everyone, we did not mean, that he should send everybody to detention. No. At one time, we even said take the worst 10 corrupt Nigerians from each state. It was easy to take 10 most corrupt Nigerians from each state. That meant 370 Nigerians. Ten in each of the 36 states, plus Abuja.

That is a manageable number. Investigate them quietly like Murtala did without humiliation and face them with their crimes. If he had done so, he would have restrained them and they would have given him peace to lead the country, but he left them. Certainly, they will continue with their old ways. Secondly, he brought about this privatization, a new, colonialist, dependent, capitalist system which transferred the economy of the country to foreigners. Let me give you example with oil, crude oil provides 90 percent of the Federal Government’s revenue and 90 percent of foreign exchange. Do you know that this oil resources is not controlled by Nigerians? It is controlled by foreigners. And the evidence is this:

Who does the exploration? Foreigners with their equipment and expertise. Who produces the crude oil? Foreigners with everything and their men. Who exports the crude oil? Foreigners. Who decides where the crude oil should go? Foreigners. Who refines the crude oil into various products? Foreigners. Who decides how much of the crude products should return to Nigeria as import? Foreigners. At what price? At a price decided by foreigners. So, where is the control by Nigeria? Our oil resources is controlled by foreigners.

They know more of our oil resources than we know. They benefit more from our oil resources than we benefit. Even the Niger-Delta people who are calling for resource control are wasting their time. This is because no Nigerian controls the oil resources. It is controlled by foreigners. Obviously, he (Obasanjo) is a foreign agent. If not, why should he do this. He is an experienced person and he has been there before. He did well. Why is he changing. It means what he suffered in prison has made him want to kill.
Your reference each time you respond to questions has always been “we”. Who are the “we”?
Nigerians.

If Obasanjo had done well and he had done all the things you wanted him to do, would you have supported him for another term?
As far as I am concerned, third term is only a problem of Obasanjo. If he had performed as we expected in 1999, believe me, people wouldn’t have been talking about whether he had third term or not. People would have wanted him to go through a free, fair, legitimate, acceptable, transparent election. People would have been calling for that. But now, people are not doing so. People are saying no third term because, first, they cannot trust Obasanjo. He has failed. Secondly, they know that under Obasanjo there cannot be a free, fair and transparent election. They also know, no matter how long the term you give to Obasanjo, he is only going to make things worse because the problem of the country has made him relevant.

In other words, if he had performed, you would have supported him for a third term?
The idea of third term, wouldn’t have arisen. People would have expected him only to go through free, fair and transparent election.

For a third term while he remains as president?
There is no question of remaining. It is simply contesting election and winning election. If Obasanjo had not failed, there wouldn’t have been the problem of third term. Remember in 1999, Obasanjo was not just any Nigerian. Obasanjo was a special, capable Nigerian. People run down other aspirants because of their confidence in the capability of Obasanjo. I am one of them.
What is the danger of the National Assembly foisting the president on Nigeria for a third term despite the people’s opposition.

We believe Obasanjo is committed to having a third term and the governors, the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly will give him unless Nigerians stand up against them. It is safer for Nigerians to assume that Obasanjo, the governors, the National Assembly, the state Houses of Assembly are together and they will support Obasanjo for third term for a number of reasons. There are, of course exceptions. But the exceptions will not make the difference.

Maybe, seven governors are opposed to a third term. May be nine or 10 State Houses of Assembly are opposed to his third term. Maybe, 50 members of the National Assembly are opposed to the idea of a third term, but this cannot change anything. Why are so many of those I listed in support of third term for Obasanjo? First, there is the issue of greed for power and what goes along with power. Secondly, most of them are hostages. Most of them have been involved in this level of corruption and Obasanjo has that evidence. He can take hostages among them anytime.

He has the information and he can use it against any governor that does not toe the line. And he can always use it against any member of the National Assembly. He can use it against any one of them; even councillor. He can set EFCC on a councillor and deal with him. That is why they will support him. Also, because they also will enjoy the third term. They will continue to accumulate wealth for themselves and continue to be in power because they have the same predicament. They are afraid of what will happen to them if power changes hand. EFCC, some people allege, is set against opponents of third term. The same EFCC will be used after they might have handed over. That is what they are afraid of.

What is the way out of this problem?
With this situation whereby leaders of the country are the thieves and the killers. With this situation, the only way out is what we have called for in CNPP since after the 2003 election. And that is an Interim Government of National Unity to bring about a new constitution for Nigeria and conduct free and fair election. Now, time is running out even for that. As it is now, even the interim government can only come about in serious confusion and would not have time to prepare elections in 2007. They will have to shift the election because there wouldn’t be enough time. For instance, the election is supposed to take place this December, according to INEC. But have you seen any preparation on the ground for that?

This means until three or four months to the election, there will be no credible thing on ground and then we will go through the 2007 elections in confusion and using the electronic voting system which people say has already been programmed to double the votes of the PDP. For us, we are heading towards anarchy and time is running out on us. People cannot tolerate this. This public hearing was conducted with limited franchise. It was not conducted at the ward level, as it ought to. It was not conducted at local governments and state level, it was conducted at zonal level. But in spite of the limitation, 72 percent of those who participated said no third term.

Now, the National Assembly will be bought to say Obasanjo has third term. And you know what will happen. Let me tell you. This man Nzeribe has already said he is sure if the issue comes to the senate today, the Senate will okay third term. And you know this man has been a Senator, consecutively, four times. He knows what he is talking about. Forget about what you feel about him. He has manipulated national affairs. He can do it again and we are really heading for trouble.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.