Falana to Obasanjo: Stop insulting Nigerians

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Human rights activist and senior advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to stop insulting the collective intelligence and memories of Nigerians having instituted the culture of impunity in the country.

Falana spoke in Benin on Friday, while reacting to Obasanjo’s special statement last week, which asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election next year.

The human rights activist said Obasanjo had the opportunity to be great by providing good leadership and ridding the country of corruption.

But he chose instead to instal a regime of impunity and corruption in the country.

The lawyer stated that apart from the allegations of nepotism and clannishness Obasanjo levelled against President Buhari, “other allegations were nothing to write home about.”

“In other words, all the other allegations took place under President Obasanjo and in fact, he institutionalised the culture of impunity under the democratic dispensation in Nigeria.

“If President Obasanjo who ruled this country for 11 and half years has institutionalised democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, we will not be in this mess and the control of Nigeria by the Nigerian people, we will be having an Eldorado by now.

“So, please, let Obasanjo and others be honest to admit that they brought us to this shameful episode. So, nobody should grandstand when it comes to the misgovernance of Nigerians.

“Nobody has apologised. The fact that from 1999 to 2007, this country, made close to hundred billion dollars from the sale of one commodity, oil. What is there to show for it rather than permanent darkness?

“The more you spend on energy, the more darkness you get. So what is there to celebrate? What we have were mass unemployment and sale of national assets to few boys who were close to the presidency and rigging of elections.

“You have all forgotten that the results from Delta, Ondo and others were announced in Abuja and not in those states in order to rig those elections. What is there to celebrate?

“President Obasanjo is entitled to form his own political party or his own movement but he should please desist from insulting the collective intelligence and the collective memories of Nigerians.

“When Sharia started, the federal government did not challenge the constitutionality. Under that era, we had ethnic and religious violence that claimed lives of over 20,000 Nigerians.

“With great respect to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, apart from the allegations of nepotism and clannishness, which cannot be disputed, every other allegations made there, is nothing to write home about. In other words, all the other allegations took place under Obasanjo and in fact, he institutionalised the culture of impunity under the democratic dispensation in Nigeria.

“Many of us have forgotten the abduction of Governor Chris Ngige, many of us have forgotten the fact that the National Assembly and the House of Representatives displayed bales of naira with which it was alleged that the presidency wanted to bribe the legislators.

“Many of us have forgotten about the third term agenda or the fact that many people who were also closed to the seats of power were treated like sacred cows even in the fight against corruption. But I do not want to join issues with Obasanjo for now on his letter so that one is not seeing as endorsing impunity in our country but other than the allegations of nepotism and clannishness which the presidency is notoriously noted for, I think, they are birds of same feathers.”

Falana also spoke on the move by the Senate to replace Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He said he was surprised when he read that the Senate had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a fresh person to replace Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Falana’s interpretation of the EFCC act and his statement that Magu does not need Senate confirmation, which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a senior lawyer supported, triggered the stand-off between the Senate and the presidency over confirmation of nominees.

The Senate since March last year, resolved not to confirm nominees to positions not specified in the Nigerian constitution, until Magu was removed. And this has led to the non-confirmation of four members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria and two deputy governor nominees.

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