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Politicians in army uniforms destroyed Nigeria, says Opadokun

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Political activist, Chief Ayo Opadokun, while recently reacting to the open letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo pointing out the ills of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, told Niyi Bello and Seye Olumide, that the former leader had no moral justification to call Buhari to order.

First of all I want to say that I have my respect for some retired Military Generals but I am also sorry for the larger population of the Nigerian Army over the activities of some despondent retired officers and politicians in military uniforms that have captured power in succession and have also done great damage to the Nigerian State.

This set of retired generals I am talking about has arrested the nation’s growth since they came into power in January 1966. The civilians, I mean the Premiers of the regions were doing a lot of good jobs in their different regions before and that was the reason Awolowo was able to create the firsts in many things like the first Television Station in Africa, Liberty Stadium, farm settlements, free education and many others. He was the first to establish the first minimum wage. He established university of Ife. But what did the military do, they took over all these institutions under Obasanjo and that is part of the evil the former president did while he was Military Head of State. He took over assets of these regions, which they used the sweat of the masses to establish and those institutions were rubbished under the military regime. They appointed characters that cannot run their homes to lead the institutions.

On Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, well I am not about to throw the baby away with the bath water and I am not about to kill the message because I hate the messenger. Note these two. Are there matters of significance in the letter?

One, the charge of nepotism against Buhari I believe, has been properly laid and this is totally against the constitution of the country. It is against the fundamental objectives and principle of state policy according to Section 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the Constitution. You don’t do what Buhari has done and he is doing without any remorse.

Another failure of Buhari according to the constitution is that the security and well being of the Nigerian masses shall be the primary responsibilities of government and the participation of the people in government shall be in accordance with the purpose of the provision. This leads to the present composition of the heads of the security agencies of the country, which from my observation, negates the principle of the constitution. The predominance of persons from a particular region in the security agencies as it is currently, negates what the constitution says. This aspect of the constitution has been totally breached by Buhari. What he is doing at present is illegal and he has to change.

For instance the current National Security Council is totally against the constitution. He is the head of the council; the head of DSS is from the same state with the President. The DG of NIA is also from Katsina. The Minister of Defence is from Kebbi, another Northwest; Minister of Internal Affairs is from the same region. When they sit down in the council and things are happening in the country, their reasoning and conclusion may be in accordance with their ethnic sentiment. It is unfortunate that the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Defence went out to tell Nigerians that the herdsmen ethnic cleansing that is going on in Taraba, Benue, Adamawa and others were as a result of communal clash. The fact that President Buhari allows those ones to remain in office shows the mindset of his presidency. If he were not in agreement with that, those ones ought to have lost their jobs that very day. So nepotism charge has been well laid by Obasanjo and we can all see that glaringly.

People will work with whom he or she knows and that’s reason I am not talking about what is happening in the Presidency but these ones are public officers and their loyalty ought to be to the Nigerian State and not to the president. Everything they have been doing is apparently signifying that the herdsmen are superior to others. Even the IGP unreasonably too told the Benue State governor and others that they must crate ranches before their laws can be effective, laws legitimately passed by the State of Assembly. No policeman has the right to pronounce such ridiculous statement. If we are running a federal constitution, such a man ought to have been fired immediately.

Secondly, there is no way that President Buhari can defend the current state of insecurity particularly, the manner, easy and open display, which the herdsmen now carry AK47 not only to kill, but to totally ravage communities is surprising and it was after they might have carried out their operations that you now send the police to see what happened. At the end of the day noting will happen. That is unacceptable and it has not also endeared him to people.

But besides that I am first a reporter before being a lawyer. I remembered Mark Leon Theory of the mass media, which says the medium, is the message. Is Obasanjo a fit and proper person to make such terrible charges against Buhari? I say no. I want to remind readers that in 1982 Obasanjo wrote a letter when he was no more comfortable with erstwhile President Shehu Shagari. His letter produced Buhari in office. When he was no longer comfortable with Buhari and said something should be done with a human face he wrote against him in 1985 and his letter produced Babangida. And when he got tired of him, he wrote a stinker in 1992 that Babangida has perverted everything noble in the country. He was forced to step aside, which led to the emergence of Gen. Sani Abacha.

Abacha didn’t allow him to go scot-free, he was sentenced to death but later commuted to life jail until Abacha died. The duo of Babangida and Gusau put great pressure on Gen. Abdulsalam to release Obasanjo from prison and also prevailed on the Head of State to pardon Obasanjo so that he could contest election and then ensured that the process favoured him to become president in 1999. He was foisted on Nigeria. The military could not even trust its former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae. And what would happen thereafter? The issue is all these governments that Obsanjo used his pen to bring into power, none of them improved the lot of this nation or lives of our people.

The question to ask Obasanjo when he had the opportunity to rule this country is what did he do? Before he got into office, I know that the New Generation Group provided him a blueprint on how power could be made available in the country within four years. He did something else. He spent, from document available; media reported $16 billion on power without achieving anything. We remain in darkness when he left. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua waited for about nine months before he started his own. He too spent about $8 billion without achieving anything too ditto former President Goodluck Jonathan. A total of about $32 billion was spent on power before Buhari came to power with nothing being achieved and nobody is being questioned for that.

Nigerians should stop being pawns in the hands of these Military Generals. That is part of what I want to bring out in this letter. It is important for Nigerians to stop dancing to the drumbeats of these retired military officers. They have already parceled Nigeria’s commonwealth among themselves so they are in the business of using non wary and non observing Nigerians to serve their selfish purposes. After that letter to Buhari, see what has been happening, never-do-wells, ex-governors ex-this ex-that who have failed in the former public offices they held are the ones ganging up, falling over each other as the nucleus of a movement Obasanjo started. We now have the likes of Professor Tunde Adeniran, I hope you remember what he represented as a minister. He has been giving kudos to Obasanjo because he did something great in their lives.

Such accolades from Adeniran on Obasanjo are not cheering news to me. The Nigerian Army has arrested Nigerians and they have also arrested the nation’s growth and development. It is them who have made it impossible for Nigeria from being a country to a nation. We have been the greatest disappointment to the black race. We have not responded to the manifest destiny that God appointed Nigeria to be to the black race. I did not see hope in what Obasanjo is doing. I am not a politician but a political activist, I belief that if Buhari can mend his ways in all the charges made against him and also show greater commitment to the prosecution of the war against corruption, put a stop to nepotism, he is a better thing to all these characters. As incongruous as his conducts are, one thing you cannot say about him is misappropriation of public funds.


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