Prosecuting Obasanjo and His Men
Abbas A. Dikko
At different fora and, from various concern and patriotic citizens of the country, there came and still agitations and persistent calls for the probe and prosecution of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his men for the financial crime perpetrated in the oil, power and other sectors of the system as if, it were the only contraption committed in his eight years of democratic rule. People pay little or no serious emphasis on the destructions and damages done to our political, social and judicial system.
Analyst and experts, made us believe that corruption is not only attributable to monetary and financial issues, it incorporate all aspects of human endeavours. Therefore, one fined it difficult to understand the rational and basis for limiting these calls for probe and prosecution on the financial aspects of the abuses. Every informed in Nigeria and beyond today, can attest or testify of the consequential level of damaged done to our electoral system, subversion of the rule of law and by extension our legal system by the Obasanjo leadership.
In the last eight years of his rule, the only election adjudged fair, was the 1999 election which was never conducted by him. But, the 2003 and worst 2007 elections were so far, confirmed to be a sham, flawed and a clear demonstration of his administration's failure to execute a free and fair, credible and acceptable election by every standard. The judiciary that was presumed to be the hope of the aggrieved was deliberately denied its constitutional responsibilities to fairly and justly treat those election cases unbiased, his administration was dictatorial and always undermining their jobs, verdicts and pronouncements. To the last he left office, it was only the six months old tenure of Justice Alfa Belgore (rtd), the Judiciary was able to adjust and began to perform their civic duties in accordance with the enshrined laws of the land.
Our notorious electoral body (INEC) and, our nation's security operatives became the avenue, tools and apparatus used for perpetrating all manner of electoral frauds in the country. The political instability and uncertainties anchored by his administration left no one on doubt that, it will be a catastrophe and albatross to our political development and threat to our democratic culture. Further more, the infractions committed in our social system, begets moral decay and abuse of our value system, our ruling class and elite, no longer value dignity and integrity, always found in the vanguard and defence of several evils, our society's ethical conducts completely eroded, children and women became subjects of abuse and molestation because of material poverty and leadership inertia.
These are equally corruption at the highest degree seen to have been committed by Obasanjo and his men while in office, therefore, the calls for probe and prosecution should surpass financial crime. Today, in this country, nothing can be said to be working perfectly ok, everyday, we are confronted with one or series of problems in all sectors of our lives as a nation. Hence, for Yar'Adua's government to demonstrate its sincerity and commitment of redesigning and repositioning the Nigerian nation rid of all bad eggs and things as claimed, must be seen to penalize former President Obasanjo and his men for their ugly deeds against the country and its people.
Yar'Adua's loyalty and gratitude, should be tailored directly to the Nigerian people not his immediate past predecessor who by every stretch of actions or inactions does not mean well for this country and Yar'Adua's Presidency too. Reasons; how can Yar'Adua's government manage the crises in the oil and power sectors, sales of Federal government properties, FCT plots of lands scandals, Niger Delta militancy and, the voluminous outstanding billions of naira legal liabilities incurred by their negative tendencies while in power?
In similar manner, how does one imagine the existing system to manage the derailed internal democracy, aberration of our extant laws and judicial processes, contamination in the electoral processes and the election proper? Look at the moral burden heavily placed on the presidential election of 2007 and by extension, the legitimacy of the president itself. And, can this government and the nation at large, manage the dislocation in our social fabrics as a being, when our people in government and to a large extent, the society in general, subjected their moral rectitude to question, courtesy Obasanjo's misrule?
However, in spite of the gargantuan calls by the larger segment of the society on the ground of the glaring distortions in the polity, degradation in our core values and the recent unfolding revelations at the so far, public hearings conducted by the legislative arm of government of Obasanjo's financial innuendos, mismanagement and bad governance, yet, Yar'Adua's presidency was categorical in his not too long statement, to tell Nigerians and the world over that no amount of pressure and intimidation would make him prosecute the defunct government of Olusegun Obasanjo. This boldness, in my opinion and to certain level, the opinions of many, is nothing but, insincerity on the part of his government and, the Nigerian nation, ridiculing of his seven point agenda and more to speak, a gimmick to his much publicize social contract with the Nigerian people.
An advocate of rule of law and holistic corruption fight, a government in its first year adjudged to have performed woefully, not enough, still trying to quash the yearnings and expectations of its people. What are we about to experience, an in-active government or weak president under this volatile and cross-fire situation? How does his administration intend to achieve its target and objectives of cleansing the system from all rots? Could it be said that, Yar'Adua's aspiration was only to rule not laying a solid foundation for a new Nigeria with sound economic base and functional Institutions?
365 days into his administration, his government could not streamline its policy direction, focus or way forward because of the unprecedented level of bastardization and infrastructural decay in the system covertly or overtly orchestrated by his immediate past predecessor. Yet still, the Presidency is comfortable with the existing situation in the country as well, the people whose hand-works, were the architect of the draw backs, simply because, they corruptly stage-managed his success to presidency. And, is it good enough reason to shield them from these dastardly acts against the interest of over 140 million souls? No! This present government's commitment and sincerity must be put to scrutiny.
Only and except, the propose constitutional amendment or alteration as the case may be, went smoothly, free from sentiments and, with cooperation, understanding and commitments from the political and ruling class, more especially, state governors, else, our electoral system and election calendar had already been punctured. This would only come to fore and play in the general elections of 2011, hardly can there be any uniformity in our elections again, especially, that of the governorship and more likely the presidential. For this reason alone, Obasanjo and all the collaborates deserved to be brought to book, failure of Yar'adua's administration to act swiftly, would tantamount to a blasphemy against the mandate claimed to have been given by 26.5 million Nigerian voters as declared by Professor Muarice Iwu, Chairman of the electoral body (INEC).
Consequent upon these, the social contract between the government of Yar'Adua and the Nigerian people would remain a charade, unless if, he can have the liver and courage to take the bull by its horns and probe the past excesses of Obasanjo and his men that has been confirmed to be a monumental corruption in the history of our nationhood, these atrocities are too gory to just wish-away with a media statement that contrast with the presumption of even a layman on the street. This autocrat needs to squarely face the music if Yar'Adua candidly want to rid the country of all manner of ills, his lack-luster approach to issues of magnitude of this nature, would not lead his presidency and the country to their projected target of achieving the 20th economies of the world by the year 2020.