‘I Wrote 4 Books In Prison’ – Obasanjo Says Abacha Shaped His Life

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, says his incarceration by the late military dictator, Sani Abacha, shaped his life

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, says his incarceration by the late military dictator, Sani Abacha, shaped his life and made him a better leader.

He said this on Saturday, May 19, 2018, while speaking at the maiden edition of ASIS International, ASIS 206 Lagos Annual Leadership Retreat, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.

The event was organised by ASIS to find ways of bringing all private security outfits in the country under an umbrella. According to the former President, his prison experience enriched him and it was one of the factors which immensely contributed to his achievements as President.

He said, “My prison experience enriched me. In fact, it contributed to my performance while I was in office. A leader must learn from every situation. “Although, nobody wants to go to prison but I was in prison when I started learning and keeping myself occupied. I wrote four books while I was in prison rather than become a moron and doing nothing.

“But I was sure that the man who kept me in prison will not bring me out and I was as well sure that I will get out of prison. Honestly, the prison experience has enriched my life.”

He restated his support for a move to review the Act setting up the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, to check security threats in the country. Obasanjo’s administration in 2005 transformed the civil defence from a voluntary organisation to a para-military group. He said there was nothing wrong in seeking improvement for the NSCDC, especially in accommodating the private security professionals in the country.

However, he warned that such review should be supported by effective monitoring and control, and it would have to also go through the National Assembly.

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Obasanjo Replies Buhari, Denies Spending $16bn On Power

Former President Obasanjo and President Buhari   Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted to the claim by President Muhammadu Buhari

Obasanjo Rates Buhari's Govt As 'Ineffective And Incompetent'
Former President Obasanjo and President Buhari

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted to the claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that a past administration spent more than $15bn on power projects, with no power to show.

President Buhari made the claim on Tuesday while addressing members of the Buhari Support Organisation, who were led by the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali, to visit him at the State House.

“One of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, on power,” the President said.

“Where is the power? Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debts.”
Although President Muhammadu Buhari did not directly mention the name of the former President he was talking about, the Obasanjo administration has been repeatedly accused of spending up to $16bn on power.

The former President also believe the criticism was targeted at his administration and reacted to it in a statement a few hours after President Buhari’s comments were published.

In the statement signed by Mr Akin Osuntokun, Director of Strategic Communications of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, which he founded, Obasanjo accused President Buhari of playing politics with statistics.

The statement read in part, “A presidential panel headed by the then VP Goodluck Jonathan set up by the Umaru Yar’Adua government put a lie to this after the same administration had sacked one Engr F. Somolu the then Secretary of NIPP who first drew attention to the lie: that $16 had been spent on power project.

“The Panel made up of so many actors including CBN officials then found out that only $3.7 billion was disbursed out of the $10 billion budgeted and the balance was kept in an escrow account at the CBN.

“The CBN confirmed this to the panel and it was published…It was then found out that Tanimu Yakubu then Economic Adviser to President Yar’Adua began the propaganda against former President Obasanjo and Engr. Somolu then with Yar’Adua wrote a secret memo inside the statehouse to correct the wrong notion about $10 billion.”

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I never describe Malabu as presidential scam, mischief-makers after me — Adoke

By Mohammed Bello Adoke My attention has been drawn to the above captioned publication by one Samuel Ogundipe in the

By Mohammed Bello Adoke

My attention has been drawn to the above captioned publication by one Samuel Ogundipe in the Premium Times of May 5, 2018. The publication which can at best be described as ‘fake news’ is nothing but an elaborate attempt at dressing up falsehood to pass as truth and substituting reality with fiction in order to misinform undiscerning members of the public, denigrate my person and cause disaffection and ill-will between me and my principal, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR who gave me the rare opportunity to serve this great country in the capacity of Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The false and malicious publication by Samuel Ogundipe placed heavy reliance on a so called recorded telephone call placed by one Carlarmaria Rumor of RAI Television in Italy on November 5 2015 wherein I was quoted to have stated that:” Dan Etete collaborated with some Italian Oil workers to divert some funds to foreign accounts in an illegal move that betrayed the spirit of a tripartite agreement which the Nigerian Government entered into with Italian oil giant Agip-Eni and Royal Dutch Shell on the one hand and Malabu Oil and Gas limited on the other hand.”

I want to place it on record that I did not grant any telephone interview to Carlamaria Rumor or any other person in respect of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement. The said Carla Maria is unknown to me, has never spoken to me and I could therefore not have granted her a 1 hour 17 minutes phone interview. I have checked RAI Television website, but the said Carla maria Rumor is not listed either as a TV or print journalist with RAI Television. This is clearly a case of a phantom RAI journalist that exists only in the figment of the imagination of Samuel Ogundipe. Furthermore, Micheal Nomah whom Ogundipe claims to have contacted to react to his fake story is also unknown to me and has never represented me on any legal issue.

Ogundipe’s malice and mischief became quite evident when he stated in his publication that: “Mr Adoke, AGF from 2010-2015, admitted that Mr Etete, an ex-convict, was actively involved in the talks held between Nigerian government officials, representatives of Agip-Eni, Shell and other players. This indicates that Mr Adoke recognised Mr Etete as the owner of Malabu Oil and Gas and dealt with him accordingly, thereby sidestepping Mohammed Abacha and other beneficial owners of the controversial oil firm, “thereby giving the impression that I deliberately choose to deal with Dan Etete to the exclusion of other known beneficial owners of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

He however did not reckon with the fact that since 2001, Dan Etete had been the only person that engaged successive governments on behalf of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited. He was effectively the alter ego of the company to knowledge of all government officials involved in the negotiation and implementation of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement. Mr. Mohammed Abacha only appeared on the scene when the Settlement Agreement had been executed and implemented. However, realising that his claims to part ownership of the shares in Malabu Oil and Gas Limited amounted to a shareholder dispute, I accordingly advised him to go to court to assert his claims as the court was the only proper forum to effectively resolve such shareholder dispute.

Mr Ogundipe also went to great length in the publication to impute improper conduct on my part by alluding to the so-called “cozying up and offering Millions” to the phantom Ms Rumor. However, any discerning mind would see through his tissue of lies. What will be the motive for asking for a ‘relationship’ from a person that I have never met or spoken to in exchange for information that was not exclusive to me and already in the public space? Nigerians know that I am not a stakeholder in Malabu, Agip-Eni or Shell, neither did I benefit from the proceeds of the sale of OPL 245 by Malabu Oil and Gas limited. If indeed if I was given 2.2 million Dollars for the OPL 245 transaction as alleged by the EFCC, why would I be offering to give the money to the imaginary journalist? How on earth would any one believe that I could talk so carelessly and recklessly to a journalist that I had never met in person, when indeed, I am fully aware of the clandestine plans to nail me at all cost? It is simply incredulous.

Mr Ogundipe also alluded to the existence of a tape, which according to him forms part of the Exhibits in the Milam/Italian proceedings. I first heard of the existence of such a tape in a publication by Vrij Nederland 26th October 2017 with the caption: “Shell in Nigeria: Corrupt Constructions.” I caused my Solicitors to write to Vrij Nederland protesting the libelous publication and requested that they disclose the tape, and details where the alleged interview took place, including relevant date. Vrij Nederland declined to name their sources and the disclosures requested by me on the alleged tape despite my absolute denial of the interview alleged.

The disclosure requested was to afford the parties interested in the tape recording to subject it to forensic analysis to determine the genuineness of the recorded tape and of the telephone interview alleged. I am informed by objective sources as well as sources from the Italian proceedings that the content of the alleged tape recording of the supposed interview on many aspect of the interview with the “Report” ‘appears (on the face of it) wrong and out of question to such a point,’ to the extent many top ranking officials of the party engaged in the current Milan/Italian proceedings, believe my voice/content of the tape recording of the interview alleged have been manipulated by the Report Journalist cited in the Premium Times Publication. The Party referred is understood to be currently seeking technical expertise from phonic court experts to test whether the voice in the file of the interview as utilized by the journalist has been fabricated. This is in addition to my absolute denial of the tape recording and the telephone interview with the Report journalist as alleged. But Ogundipe did not deem it necessary to exercise such caution in his publication because of his burning desire to satisfy his paymasters. He threw caution to the wind and made sweeping statements and conclusions that not only defy logic, but also cannot stand objective scrutiny.

It is clear to me that Journalists in the mold of Ogundipe have taken the seeming inertia on the part of our courts to grant punitive damages as a licence to libel and defame people at will. One is minded to caution that the consequences of this kind of yellow journalism will not go unpunished for long. Our Courts are gradually waking up to this challenge and before long; the likes of Ogundipe and those who offer them platforms to carryout their nefarious activities will be held accountable through the legal process.

I therefore want to appeal to well meaning Nigerians especially my colleagues, friends and family who read the fake story and were alarmed by the extent of malice and falsehood therein to disregard the story in its entirety and be mindful of the fact that Ogundipe’s publication was only designed to achieve the followings:

(a) pitch me against my Principal, His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR whom I hold in high regard with a view to causing ill will and disaffection between us;

(b) down play the significance of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja Coram Hon. Justice Binta Murtala Nyako which upheld the extent of presidential powers under our Constitution and declared that I acted within the confines of the Presidential Directives/ approvals given to me as a Minister of the Government of the Federation and therefore incurred no personal liability for implementing the OPL 245 Settlement Agreement, and

(c) denigrate my person, attract public opprobrium and lower my estimation in the eyes of right thinking members of society.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

But since his publication is based on malicious falsehood, he has failed to achieve his objectives and has in the process opened himself and the Premium Times up for a libel suit.

I therefore give Samuel Ogundipe and the Premium Times 48 Hours notice within which to retract the offending publication, tender an unreserved apology in the Premium Times and two other National Newspapers with wide circulation in Nigeria, failure upon which I shall not hesitate to instruct my Solicitors to immediately commence legal action against them to redress this unacceptable conduct.

Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, CFR

Obasanjo, Atiku, Abdulsalami Meet In Lagos

Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdulsalami Abubakar and Vice President Atiku Abubakar today converged in Lagos for a programme to

Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdulsalami Abubakar and Vice President Atiku Abubakar today converged in Lagos for a programme to commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the death of prominent Yoruba leader, Abraham Adesanya at Muson Centre in Lagos.


‘Get Ready To Sack Buhari Come 2019’ – Obasanjo Tells ‘Third Force’ Members

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, on Saturday,April 28, 2018, called on members of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement,

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, on Saturday,April 28, 2018, called on members of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, CNM, to be battle ready to take over power in 2019, stressing that they should propagate the need for all qualified electorates to obtain their Permanent Voters Card, PVC, ahead of the poll.

Obasanjo made this known at the inauguration of the Oyo State Chapter of the movement, held at Trans Amusement Park, Ibadan, stressing that the members should have it in their hearts that in the struggle to redeem Nigeria, they would be threatened.

“Everybody must be determined to rescue Nigeria, it may not be easy, however, the God who performed wonders sometime ago, will again perform wonders. We have (seen), in this country, where five political parties endorsed a single person and God was laughing and knew what he would do. If we are leaving everything to God, we must do our best. Get your PVCs and encourage others.”

He emphasised that in view of this, they should be focused and determined, stating that only cowards run away from the war front. He, however, assured them that as the founder of the movement, he would not neglect them when he is needed.

“Take note, they will threaten you, but don’t be discouraged. It is only cowards who run away from the war front. Having gone this far, I won’t leave you dry. Get your PVC. I don’t think anybody can threaten me again. Remember I have been to prison for an offence I do not know anything about,” Obasanjo emphasised.

The founder of the movement reiterated that the group was established to rescue Nigeria from its present worrisome condition after deep thought and reasonable consultation, stressing that “this time we have started to do things right.”

Obasanjo had urged President Muhammad Buhari in a public letter not to seek reelection in 2019, saying the president had failed.

The former leader said the ruling APC and main opposition PDP were no options for the country, and vowed to lead a “third force” to put a new administration in place.

“I don’t think at my age, I should continue to complain and not find solution. It came in my statement on the 3rd of January that CNM was made out of the reality of the situation in Nigeria, deep thought, and reasonable consideration. CNM is to find solution to the situation we have found ourselves.”

Obasanjo also noted that if anybody wants this situation to continue, such person needs his head examined, pointing out that such characters should not be seen as friends of the masses nor of the country at large.

“If anybody wants this situation to continue, his head must be examined. Those of you who have been victimized by the situation and want the situation to continue can’t be friends of Nigeria.”

He also disclosed that at the appropriate time the movement will go into alliance with other movements of like minds. He tasked the executive of the movement across the country to ensure that the youth are given pride of space, with a view that they should be given 30 percent and women 30 percent in all organs of the movement.

In his welcome speech, Olayiwola Olakojo, the state coordinator of the movement, noted that Mr. Obasanjo is a force to be reckoned with in all ramifications, one who loves democracy and Nigeria as a nation, with his heart.

‘He is indeed our Messiah. Kindly reflect on all his involvements in all governments, globally and nationally. He is indeed the father of modern Nigeria. As the foremost statesman, he has always wanted the best for Nigeria. His comments and observations on the past and present administration are just for the progress and development of our country,” Mr. Olakojo, a former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, said.

Read more at Premium Times

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Why I didn’t reply Obasanjo’s letter – Buhari

Julian Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja Four months after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘letter’ to President Muhammadu Buhari listing his alleged failures and

Julian Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Four months after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘letter’ to President Muhammadu Buhari listing his alleged failures and advising him not to seek re-election in the 2019 polls, he has given reasons why he did not reply or allow his aides to make a direct response to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘letter’ to him chronicling his alleged failures and advising him not to seek re-election in the 2019 polls.

Obasanjo had last January in a strong worded statement circulated to the press, led to several reactions, which the President tried to wade through before he eventually declared his intention to run for a second term earlier this month.

Speaking in Bauchi during a state banquet in his honour, on Thursday night, President Buhari as part of his two-day official visit to Bauchi State, Buhari said he opted for a complete silence to Obasanjo’s letter in the process resisting attempts by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed to make a response.

He told the dinner guests that included Governor Abubakar, his wife; the State Deputy Governor; some Ministers and other top officials of the Bauchi State government, how the information Minister convinced him to respond without mentioning Obasanjo’s name by outlines the achievements of the administration thus far.

Buhari said, “tonight, I want to remind the people of what Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information did against my wish, in the sense that when a letter was written containing our failures as an administration, Lai Mohammed agitated that he should reply and I said no.

“I said no for two reasons: He is much younger than the person who wrote the letter and myself; two, he is from the same constituency as the person who wrote the letter.

“But when Lai Mohammed came, I said he should go out but he said he won’t go. I asked why and he said let me give him a chance to say what he wanted to do. I said go on.

“He said in what he would do, he would not mention names but only try to remind Nigerians what the country was when we came in, where we are now, and what we have done with the resources available to us.

“Eventually, I had to admit that he was right and I was wrong because a number of people who could get in touch with me have said that Lai had done a good job. A lot of them are in the media who I don’t have time to see – but of course, they are very busy people. Therefore, I am very happy with the performance of our party, the All Progressive Congress.”

Buhari also went down memory lane to narrate how the betrayal of some of his former political associates informed his insistence on finding credible platform that would enable him rescue the country from sinking as he said it would have if the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continued ruling Nigeria.

“I will like to go down some historical antecedents so that people can assess. When we were in the APP, I went through an impartial primary and I won the ticket. I think for the third or fourth time and while I was in court, because I felt I was ready to be president, the person who was to be my vice-president, allowed himself to be appointed by the presidency.

“The chairman and vice-chairman of the party accepted; even when I was still in court as a presidential candidate. That’s why I got out and formed the CPC; when we realised that if we don’t work together, that is the opposition parties, and wrestle power from the PDP, this country is going to sink,” the President recalled.

Buhari reiterated his position that between 1999 and 2014, crude oil prices were quite high above $100 per barrel, yet the PDP administrations could not leave legacies of infrastructure and enduring national development as sectors like the railways and power, were allowed to decay or remain stagnant.

He also highlighted his concern for the large number of young Nigerians, 90 percent of them below 30 years, who poured into the streets, when he visits different parts of the country, as they yearn for a change of the way things had been done in the past and which left the country in a sorry state.

The President therefore challenged leaders at all levels to make sure their conscience is clear in taking actions, to make sacrifices for the people, and to make special efforts in providing the people access to education, which he stressed was critical to national development, and above all, never mislead the people.

The President thanked the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar for being a good host, and the people of the state for their large turnout wherever he went during the visit.

He said: “Thank you very much for the turnout of the people. I never hired any crowd because I was not in a position to hire crowds. But I am very pleased that people voluntarily turned up, challenged the weather in the heat for hours, just because they wanted to see me and say hello, nagode”.

The post appeared first on The Sun News.

JUST IN: Obasanjo, Olu Falae in closed door meeting

Laide Raheem, Abeokuta Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu

Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, are currently meeting behind closed doors at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.

The meeting, our correspondent gathered, is also being attended by a two-time governorship candidate and 2019 gubernatorial aspirant in Ogun state, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.

A former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Ogun state, Shina Kawonishe, is also said to be at the meeting, while the former Special Adviser on Public Communication to former President Goodluck Jonathan and a chieftain of the Accord Party, Dr. Doyin Okupe, was sighted rushing into the venue of the meeting, 30 minutes after it had commenced.

Meanwhile, efforts by journalists to get close to the meeting venue was prevented by armed policemen.

 

_________________

Details later…

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Obasanjo, Falae, Others In A Closed Door Meeting

A closed door meeting between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Chairman of Social Democratic Party, PDP,  Chief Olu

A closed door meeting between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Chairman of Social Democratic Party, PDP,  Chief Olu Falae is currently going in at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOPL, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Also at the meeting is a two time governorship candidate in Ogun State, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka; a former spokesperson to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe; a governorship aspirant of SDP in the state, Sina Kawonise, amongst others.

South West Muslims warn Obasanjo, Babangida, Danjuma, others against setting Nigeria on fire

Muslims in South Western part of Nigeria under the auspices of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), on Sunday

Muslims in South Western part of Nigeria under the auspices of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), on Sunday sent a strong warning to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo; former Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, General T.Y. Danjuma, religious leaders and other elder statesmen to watch their actions and statements which are capable of “setting the country on fire.”

MUSWEN in a press statement signed by its Executive Secretary and CEO, Professor Dawud O. S. Noibi; President-General, League of Imams & Alfas, South West, Edo & Delta States, Shaykh Jamiu Kewulere Bello; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prince Judge Abdul Jabbaar Bola Ajibola, (SAN) and President, MUSWEN & Deputy President-General (South), (NSCIA) Alhaji (Dr) Sakariyau O. Babalola (OON), a copy which was sent to DAILY POST, said it was “worried by the undue politicisation of many issues by certain religious, ethnic and political leaders.”

The group while appealing to the trio of Obasanjo, Babangida, Danjuma and others to thread with caution, warned them “not to throw the country into further confusion.”

MUSWEN said, “Against the background of recent political developments, we use this opportunity to call on past political leaders especially Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Theophilus Danjuma to thread with caution as elder statesmen and not throw the nation into further confusion.”

The group while declaring that it was disturbed that Boko Haram group has continued to hold Leah Sharibu hostage for refusing to convert to Islam, remarked that, “We want to reiterate the fact that Islam forbids forceful conversion of non-Muslims to Islam and enjoins respect for People of the Book – Jews and Christians. Indeed, Allah explicitly directs Muslims to provide refuge to even idol-worshippers who seek shelter in our abodes and grant them protection to safety! As Allah says: “If anyone among the pagans asks you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are a people who know not.” Qur’an 9:6”.

MUSWEN, however, said it was surprised that some christian leaders and elders have allegedly politicised the matter.

The group said, “Against this background, we condemn the action of some Christian leaders and elders who have politicised this sad development which has nothing to do with Islam. We declare for the umpteenth time that the Boko Haram group does not represent Islam and the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria.

“We, therefore, call on members of the Boko Haram group to release the girl forthwith without any further delay. It is unimaginable how far the group could go in its acts of mindless disservice to Islam and Muslims. Islam stands for humanity, not against it.”

MUSWEN while calling on Nigerians to bear in mind the need for them to continue to live together in peace and harmony, however warned politicians that “Contest for political positions should not be a do-or-die affair. It should rather be a contest of ideas about building a better future for Nigeria and Nigerians.

“Our politicians must conduct themselves in a decent manner and not turn Nigeria into a battle zone. They must remember that only Allah can grant power and authority to whoever He wills. As such, we call on all politicians and the electorate to eschew violence in whatever form. The nation can only make progress in an atmosphere of peace.”

Full statement…

The Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), as part of our civic and social responsibility, continues to monitor issues of national and regional importance, especially as they affect the Muslim Ummah. In the past, we intervened on a number of issues that we considered fundamental to the continued peaceful existence of our nation and our region.

Since the beginning of the year, several issues have dominated public discourse across the nation. While we appreciate the quality of some of the debates, we are worried by the undue politicisation of many of these issues by certain (especially Christian) religious, ethnic and political leaders. It is for this reason that the Central Working Committee (CWC) – the executive arm of MUSWEN – considers it appropriate to hold this press conference and thereby project our position on the issues to the public.

Forthcoming Elections: As we are all aware, the 2019 general elections will hold in less than a year from now. However, preceding these national elections are the gubernatorial elections which hold in Ekiti and Osun States in July and September respectively.

Against this background, MUSWEN wishes to use this medium to call on all Nigerians, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to bear in mind the need for us to continue to live together in peace and harmony. Contest for political positions should not be a do-or-die affair. It should rather be a contest of ideas about building a better future for Nigeria and Nigerians.

Our politicians must conduct themselves in a decent manner and not turn Nigeria into a battle zone. They must remember that only Allah can grant power and authority to whoever He wills. As such, we call on all politicians and the electorate to eschew violence in whatever form. The nation can only make progress in an atmosphere of peace.

What’s more, MUSWEN enjoins all Muslims of voting age to get duly registered and actively participate in all the stages of the election process as part of their civic responsibility. We all have genuine stake in the future of Nigeria. In doing this, they must avoid all actions that may run contrary to the law.

Against the background of recent political developments, we use this opportunity to call on past political leaders especially Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Theophilus Danjuma to thread with caution as elder statesmen and not throw the nation into further confusion.

Release of Dapchi Schoolgirls: On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the nation woke up to the cheering news of the release of most of the Dapchi schoolgirls that were abducted by members of the Boko Haram group on February 19, 2018. We thank Allah for His Divine intervention. We also appreciate the efforts of President Buhari-led Federal Government as well as the support and prayers of well-meaning Nigerians in ensuring the safe return of the girls. We pray for the repose of the souls of the five girls who lost their lives during the abduction saga.

We are, however, disturbed by the report that the Boko Haram group continues to hold hostage the only non-Muslim girl among the abductees, Leah Sharibu, who is said to refuse to convert to Islam. We want to reiterate the fact that Islam forbids forceful conversion of non-Muslims to Islam and enjoins respect for People of the Book – Jews and Christians. Indeed, Allah explicitly directs Muslims to provide refuge to even idol-worshippers who seek shelter in our abodes and grant them protection to safety! As Allah says: “If anyone among the pagans asks you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are a people who know not.” Qur’an 9:6

Against this background, we condemn the action of some Christian leaders and elders who have politicised this sad development which has nothing to do with Islam. We declare for the umpteenth time that the Boko Haram group does not represent Islam and the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria.

We, therefore, call on members of the Boko Haram group to release the girl forthwith without any further delay. It is unimaginable how far the group could go in its acts of mindless disservice to Islam and Muslims. Islam stands for humanity, not against it!

In the same vein, we appeal to the Federal Government to do all it can to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls who have remained in captivity almost four years after their abduction by the Boko Haram group in April 2014.

Hijab Controversy and Justice for Firdausa Amasa: On Wednesday, 13th December, 2017, a Muslim female University of Ilorin law graduate, Miss Firdausa Al-Jannah Amasa, was denied her call to bar by the Body of Benchers owing to her refusal to remove her hijab at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the venue of the call to bar ceremony.

Many informed members of the public agreed with Miss Firdausa and considered the action of the officials of the Body of Benchers a violation of her right to freedom of religion which is protected by Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).

It later came to the fore that a number of other Muslim ladies were made to pass through some humiliating moments in the attempt by some officials of the Law School to force them to remove their hijab. One of such victims, Miss Aisha Zubair, was forced to remove her hijab after she had been called to bar a day earlier on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017. A Law School lecturer who had ordered her to remove the hijab rubbed the hijab on the floor and kicked it around.

Not a few Nigerians considered the above action of the said official of the ‘temple of justice’ unjust, provocative, reprehensible, obnoxious, inhuman, unacceptable and condemnable.

Against this background, it was a relief when the House of Representatives, acting on a petition by Hon Damburan Abubakar Nuhu from Kano State, mandated its Committees on Justice and Judiciary to look into the issue.

We are, however, disappointed that the public hearings which the Joint Committee had planned to hold in February and March this year were aborted owing to the attempt by some Christian lawyers to scuttle the cause of justice for Miss Firdausa Amasa as they succeeded a court order which restrained the House from carrying out the public hearing.

We, therefore, call on the House of Representatives to do all it can to ensure that it exercises its constitutional powers as guaranteed by the principle of separation of powers by conducting the public hearing. We also reiterate our call on the Body of Benchers to reverse the suspension of Firdausa’s call to bar and do the needful by calling her to bar forthwith with effect from the date on which she ought to have been called to bar.

General Danjuma’s Call for Self Defence and National Christian Elders Forum’s Drum of War!

It will be recalled that in July 2017, MUSWEN addressed the media in Abeokuta, Ogun State on the need to refute the needless allegation of Islamisation levelled against Muslims by the National Christian Elders Forum. It was agreed by consensus that the allegation was not only false but also amounted to lack of respect for our country’s religious plurality and a threat to peaceful co-existence. Sadly, it seems that nothing has changed with regard to the poisonous narrative that NCEF puts to the public space since last year.

We have watched with disbelief how General Theophilus Danjuma and the National Christian Elders Forum have continued to propagate fear mongering as the basis of their contributions to national discourse in recent times. Our understanding is that wisdom and self-restraint come with age. On the contrary, it is not difficult for any discerning mind to see that the Forum is simply looking for ways to set the country on fire. God forbid! As Yoruba say, agba kii se langba langba (an elder does not behave wildly). We are deeply worried that some elders are pursuing a destructive agenda.

While we are deeply concerned by the continued clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country, we are, however, equally concerned by the ethnic and religious bigotry that has attended this sad development. Rather than see the crisis which has claimed many lives as a national emergency, some opinion leaders have, in an inexplicable manner, feasted on the chance that this affords them to spew in the public space their deep-seated primordial sentiments.

Most worrisome is the ‘call to arms’ declaration by General Theophilus Danjuma when, at the Convocation ceremony of Taraba State University on Saturday 24th March, 2018, he called on Nigerians to defend themselves against what he regarded as the complicity of security forces and the so-called Islamist terrorists in the country.

The retired General has been widely quoted to have said inter alia:
“The armed forces are not neutral… They collude with the armed bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians… If you wait for the armed force to stop the killing, you all die one-by-one… The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State and other parts of Nigeria. Otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play. I urge all of you to be at alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state,”

As an elder statesman and a former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence, we consider it a gross disservice for such a personality who made his name as a respected army officer to openly discredit the Nigerian military – an institution which must operate as a symbol of our unity and strength as a nation – and accuse it of working in collusion with criminal elements!

We were shocked that the National Christian Elders Forum led by Chief Solomon Asemota, SAN openly endorsed General Danjuma’s call through its press statement issued on 31st March, 2018.

The body in its statement said it “salute the courageous and timely intervention of Gen. T. Y. Danjuma”. The Christian elders went further to state gleefully that “(T)he public statement is finally putting a seal on the long known conspiracy between the Islamists in the current Federal Administration and Islamist insurgents in the country.”

Without a doubt, this is not the first time NCEF would accuse the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government of harbouring those it labelled “Islamists”. We demand that NCEF stops its game of insinuation and name such elements. Besides, in a twist of reality, everybody knows how much influential many Christians, some of whom are ordained Pastors, are in President Buhari’s government. Yet, Muslim leaders never resort to name-calling and blackmail.

It is significant that the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is a well-known Christian leader, on several occasions, acknowledged the fact that President Buhari is fairer to the Christians.

NCEF in its demonstration of support for General Danjuma called on Nigerians to “make adequate arrangements to defend themselves since it is clear the security services have become tools of Islamists in the promotion of Sharia Ideology over and above Democracy”. (Emphasis ours). NCEF will do itself and the nation a lot of good if it comes out openly and defines what it meant by “adequate arrangements to defend themselves”.

In a dangerous twist of historical facts, NCEF declared: “With the overthrow of General Gowon in 1975, the Islamists launched stealth Jihad in Nigeria and the nation is witnessing the combination of stealth and violent Jihad geared to transform Nigeria into an Islamic Sultanate.” On this, NCEF would have a lot of questions to answer as General Danjuma, a celebrated member of NCEF, was himself a major actor in both the events that led to the emergence and removal of General Gowon.

While playing the ethnicity card, “The NCEF has stated repeatedly that it is not possible for three ethnic nationalities (Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri) to imagine that they could impose their religion, culture and political leadership on the remaining 386 ethnic nationalities in the same country.”

This, among other things, points to the undeniable fact that NCEF is simply looking for a way to set the nation on fire! May God stop them! We find it difficult to imagine that in today’s Nigeria the 3 ethnic groups disparaged by NCEF would be monolithic without a ting of diversity! It is difficult to imagine that the 3 ethnic groups are only composed of Muslims! This is against the reality. It is a well-known fact that there exist many prominent Christians among the 3 ethnic groups that NCEF detests.

However, most important to us is the fact that Islam abhors ethnicism and all forms of narrow tendencies. As stated in our press release last year, we once again recall the warning of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “He is not one of us who calls to tribalism; he is not one of us who fights in the cause of tribalism; he is not one of us who dies in the cause of tribalism; leave it, it is rotten” (Abu Dawud; al-Bukhari & Muslim).

It is disheartening that on the few occasions that the National Christian Elders Forum has commented on national issues since its establishment, their thoughts are usually not focused on healing, reconciliation, integration, unity and peace. Their press statements have always been full of bile, name-calling, blackmail and threat. We, therefore, wonder if these elders truly represent the mainstream Christendom in Nigeria. We are worried!

We wish to counsel members of NCEF to take a lesson from from Allah:
“When there comes to them some matter touching (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it.”
Qur’an 4:83

We wonder when elders across religious, ethnic and political divides would learn to reach out to stakeholders across the table with a view to finding solutions to our common challenges, especially sensitive issues that need to be handled with great caution and wisdom.

It is inconceivable that the members of NCEF would have no access to the President and other key political leaders to convey their grievances, if any. It is also inconceivable that NCEF members know no Muslim elders they can reach out to so that together, we can find lasting solutions to our common challenges.

We are, however, relieved by the matured way the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria is responding to the challenges. In an unusually courageous move, the group led by Bishop John Abu Richard reached out in solidarity to President Muhammadu Buhari a few days ago. We are shocked by the revelation made by the group of how many otherwise men of God use the Church to preach hate and violence. We, therefore, regard the body and similar groups that stand for peace as our partners for the unity, peace and progress of the nation.

We call on Nigerian youths to be wary of the ‘words of some elders’. Whenever elders choose to talk about war, the youths should ask them about their plan for peace. They should ask them about their plan for a better future for all.

MUSWEN shall continue to stand for justice, unity, peace and progress in Nigeria. May Allah guide our leaders and elders right. May He bless Nigeria.

Presidency Reacts To Obasanjo Labelling Buhari, APC As Failures

The Presidency, on Monday, April 2, 2018, made it clear that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would not join issues with

The Presidency, on Monday, April 2, 2018, made it clear that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would not join issues with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his latest comments

Obasanjo while addressing a group of youths who visited him at his country home in Abeokuta, described the Buhari administration as a failure.

He also asked the All Progressives Congress, APC, led government to stop complaining about the challenges it met on the ground.

“What we have now is a failure. Never you reinforce failure, let failure be failure… Those of you who are in business, your business could have been better today if we have a competent and effective and performing government,” he had said.

However, Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, who responded to Obasanjo’s comments in a telephone interview on Channels Television on Monday, said the assessment was not new.

“Already, the statement issued few months ago by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, in response to the earlier criticism made against the government by Obasanjo had adequately addressed the issues raised,” Adesina said.

He maintained that Buhari’s government would keep making reference to the failures of the past administration, with a view to guarding against such mistakes in future.

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