Obasanjo’s Letter To Jonathan


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His Excellency,
Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan, GCFR,
President and Commander-in-Chief
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Presidential Villa,
Asokoro, Abuja.

Dear Mr. President,

BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

I am constrained to make this an
open letter to you for a number of
reasons. One, the current situation
and consequent possible outcome
dictate that I should, before the door
closes on reason and promotion of
national interest, alert you to the
danger that may be lurking in the
corner. Two, none of the four or
more letters that I have written to you
in the past two years or so has
elicited an acknowledgment nor any
response. Three, people close to you,
if not yourself, have been asking,
what does Obasanjo want?
Four, I could sense a semblance
between the situation that we are
gradually getting into and the
situation we fell into as a nation
during the Abacha era. Five,
everything must be done to guard,
protect and defend our fledgling
democracy, nourish it and prevent
bloodshed.
Six, we must move away from
advertently or inadvertently dividing
the country along weak seams of
North-South and Christian-Moslem.
Seven, nothing should be done to
allow the country to degenerate into
economic dormancy, stagnation or
retrogression. Eight, some of our
international friends and development
partners are genuinely worried about
signs and signals that are coming
out of Nigeria. Nine, Nigeria should
be in a position to take advantage of
the present favourable international
interest to invest in Africa – an
opportunity that will not be open for
too long. Ten, I am concerned about
your legacy and your climb-down
which you alone can best be the
manager of, whenever you so decide.
Mr. President, you have on a number
of occasions acknowledged the role
God enabled me to play in your
ascension to power. You put me
third after God and your parents
among those that have impacted
most on your life. I have always
retorted that God only put you where
you are and those that could be
regarded as having played a role
were only instruments of God to
achieve God’s purpose in your life.
For me, I believe that politically, it
was in the best interest of Nigeria
that you, a Nigerian from a minority
group in the South could rise to the
highest pinnacle of political
leadership. If Obasanjo could get
there, Yar’Adua could get there and
Jonathan can get there, any Nigerian
can.
It is now not a matter of the turn of
any section or geographical area but
the best interest of Nigeria and all
Nigerians. It has been proved that no
group – ethnic, linguistic, religious or
geographical location – has
monopoly of materials for leadership
of our country. And no group solely
by itself can crown any of its
members the Nigerian CEO. It is good
for Nigeria. I have also always told
you that God has graciously been
kind, generous, merciful and
compassionate to me and He has
done more than I could have ever
hoped for. I want nothing from you
personally except that you should
run the affairs of Nigeria not only to
make Nigeria good, but to make
Nigeria great for which I have always
pleaded with you and I will always do
so. And it is yet to be done for most
Nigerians to see.
For five capacities in which you find
yourself, you must hold yourself
most significantly responsible for
what happens or fails to happen in
Nigeria and in any case most others
will hold you responsible and God
who put you there will surely hold
you responsible and accountable. I
have had opportunity, in recent times,
to interact closely with you and I
have come to the conclusion
painfully or happily that if you can
shun yourself to a great extent of
personal and political interests and
dwell more on the national interest
and also draw the line between
advice from selfish and self-
centered aides and advice from those
who in the interest of the nation may
not tell you what you will want to
hear, it will be well.
The five positions which you share
with nobody except with God and
which place great and grave
responsibility on you are leadership
of the ruling party, headship of the
Federal Government or national
government, Commander-in-Chief of
the Military, Chief Security Officer of
the nation, and the political leader of
the country. Those positions go with
being the President of our country
and while depending on your
disposition you can delegate or
devolve responsibility, but the buck
must stop on your table whether you
like it or not.
Let me start with the leadership of
the ruling party. Many of us were
puzzled over what was going on in
the party. Most party members
blamed the National Chairman. I
understand that some in the
presidency tried to create the
impression that some of us were to
blame. The situation became clear
only when the National Chairman
spoke out that he never did anything
or acted in any way without the
approval or concurrence of the Party
Leader and that where the Party
Leader disapproved, he made
correction or amendment, that we
realised most actions were those of
the Chairman but the motivation and
direction were those of the Leader.
It would be unfair to continue to level
full blames on the Chairman for all
that goes wrong with the Party. The
Chairman is playing the tune dictated
by the Paymaster. But the Paymaster
is acting for a definitive purpose for
which deceit and deception seem to
be the major ingredients. Up till two
months ago, Mr. President, you told
me that you have not told anybody
that you would contest in 2015. I
quickly pointed out to you that the
signs and the measures on the
ground do not tally with your
statement. You said the same to one
other person who shared his
observation with me. And only a fool
would believe that statement you
made to me judging by what is going
on.
I must say that it is not ingenious.
You may wish to pursue a more
credible and more honourable path.
Although you have not formally
informed me one way or the other, it
will be necessary to refresh your
memory of what transpired in 2011. I
had gone to Benue State for the
marriage of one of my staff, Vitalis
Ortese, in the state. Governor
Suswam was my hospitable host. He
told me that you had accepted a
one-term presidency to allow for
ease of getting support across the
board in the North. I decided to
cross-check with you. You did not
hesitate to confirm to me that you are
a strong believer in a one-term of six
years for the President and that by
the time you have used the unexpired
time of your predecessor and the four
years of your first term, you would
have almost used up to six years and
you would not need any more term or
time. Later, I heard from other
sources, including sources close to
you, that you made the same
commitment elsewhere, hence, my
inclusion of it in my Address at the
finale of your campaign in 2011 as
follows:
“ … PDP should be praised for being
the only party that enshrines federal
character, zoning and rotation in its
Constitution and practises it. PDP
has brought stability and substantial
predictability to the polity and to the
system. I do not know who will be
President of Nigeria after Dr.
Goodluck Jonathan. That is in the
hand of God. But with PDP policy and
practice, I can reasonably guess from
where, in term of section of the
country, the successor to President
Jonathan will come. And no internal
democracy or competition will
thereby be destroyed. The recent
resort to sentiments and emotions of
religion and regionalism is self-
serving, unpatriotic and mischievous,
to say the least. It is also preying on
dangerous emotive issues that can
ignite uncontrollable passion and can
destabilise if not destroy our country.
This is being oblivious of the
sacrifices others have made in the
past for unity, stability and
democracy in Nigeria in giving up
their lives, shedding their blood, and
in going to prison. I personally have
done two out of those three
sacrifices and I am ready to do the
third if it will serve the best interest
of (the) Nigerian Dream. Let me
appeal to those who have embarked
on this dangerous road to reflect and
desist from taking us on a perishable
journey. With common identity as
Nigerians, there is more that binds us
than separates us. I am a Nigerian,
born a Yoruba man, and I am proud
of both identities as they are for me
complementary. Our duties,
responsibilities and obligations to our
country as citizens and, indeed, as
leaders must go side by side with
our rights and demands. There must
be certain values and virtues that
must go concomitantly with our
dream. Thomas Paine said “my
country is the world”; for me, my
country I hold dear.
On two occasions, I have had
opportunity to work for my
successors to the government of
Nigeria. On both occasions, I never
took the easy and destabilising route
of ethnic, regional or religious
consideration. Rather, I took the
enduring route of national, uniting
and stabilising route. I worked for
both President Shagari and President
Yar’Adua to succeed me not just
because they are Moslems,
Northerners or Hausa-Fulani, but
because they could strengthen the
unity, stability and democracy in
Nigeria. We incurred the displeasure
of ethnic chauvinists for doing what
was right for the country. That is in
the nature of burden of leadership. A
leader must lead, no matter whose ox
is gored.
In the present circumstance, let me
reiterate what I have said on a
number of occasions. Electing Dr.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in his own
right and on his own merit, as the
President of Nigeria will enhance and
strengthen our unity, stability and
democracy. And it will lead us
towards the achievement of our
Nigerian dream.
There is press report that Dr.
Goodluck Jonathan has already taken
a unique and unprecedented step of
declaring that he would only want to
be a one-term President. If so,
whether we know it or not, that is a
sacrifice and it is statesmanly.
Rather than vilify him and pull him
down, we, as a Party, should applaud
and commend him and Nigerians
should reward and venerate him. He
has taken the first good step.
Let us encourage him to take more
good steps by voting him in with
landslide victory as the fourth elected
President of Nigeria on the basis of
our common Nigerian identity and for
the purpose of actualising (the)
Nigerian Dream …”
When you won the election, one of
the issues you very early pursued
was that of one term of six years.
That convinced me that you meant
what you told me before my Speech
at the campaign. Mr. President
whatever may be your intention or
plan, I cannot comment much on the
constitutional aspect of your second
term or what some people call third
term. That is for both legal and
judicial attention.
But if constitutionally you are on a
strong wicket if you so decide, it will
be fatally morally flawed. As a leader,
two things you must cherish and
hold dear among others are trust and
honour both of which are important
ingredients of character. I will want
to see anyone in the Office of the
Presidency of Nigeria as a man or
woman who can be trusted, a person
of honour in his words and character.
I will respect you for upholding these
attributes and for dignifying that
Office. Chinua Achebe said, “One of
the truest test of integrity is its blunt
refusal to be compromised.” It is a
lesson for all leaders including you
and me. However, Mr. President, let
me hope that as you claimed that
you have not told anybody that you
are contesting and that what we see
and hear is a rumbling of overzealous
aides, you will remain a leader that
can be believed and trusted without
unduly passing the buck or engaging
in game of denials.
Maybe you also need to know that
many party members feel
disappointed in the double game you
were alleged to play in support of
party gubernatorial candidates in
some States where you
surreptitiously supported non-PDP
candidates against PDP candidates in
exchange for promise or act of those
non-PDP Governors supporting you
for your election in the past or for
the one that you are yet to formally
declare. It happened in Lagos in
2011 when Bola Tinubu was
nocturnally brought to Abuja to strike
a deal for support for your personal
election at great price materially and
in the fortune of PDP gubernatorial
candidate. As Chairman of BOT, I
spoke to you at that time. It
happened in Ondo State where there
was in addition evidence of cover-up
and non-prosecution of fraud of fake
security report against the non-PDP
candidate and his collaborators for
the purpose of extracting personal
electoral advantage for you.
In fact, I have raised with you the
story of those in other States in the
South-West where some disgruntled
PDP members were going around to
recruit people into the Labour Party
for you, because, for electoral
purpose at the national level, Labour
Party will have no candidate but you.
It also happened in Edo State and
those who know the detail never
stopped talking about it. And you
know it. Ditto in Anambra State with
the fiasco coming from undue
interference. If you as leader of the
Party cannot be seen to be loyal to
the PDP in support of the candidates
of the Party and the interests of such
Party candidates have to be
sacrificed on the altar of your
personal and political interest, then
good luck to the Party and I will also
say as I have had occasions to say
in the past, good luck to Goodluck. If
on the altar of the Party you go for
broke, the Party may be broken
beyond repairs. And when in a
dispute between two sides, they both
stubbornly decide to fight to the last
drop of blood, no one knows whose
blood would be the last to drop.
In such a situation, Nigeria as a
nation may also be adversely
affected, not just the PDP. I wish to
see no more bloodshed occasioned
by politics in Nigeria. Please, Mr.
President, be mindful of that. You
were exemplary in words when
during the campaign and the 2011
elections, you said, “My election is
not worth spilling the blood of any
Nigerian.” From you, it should not be
if it has to be, let it be. It should be
from you, let peace, security,
harmony, good governance,
development and progress be for
Nigeria. That is also your
responsibility and mandate. You can
do it and I plead that you do it. We
all have to be mindful of not securing
pyrrhic victory on the ashes of great
values, attributes and issues that
matter as it would amount to hollow
victory without honour and integrity.
Whatever may be the feud in PDP and
no matter what you or your aides
may feel, you, as the Party Leader,
have the responsibility to find
solution, resolve and fix it. Your
legacy is involved. If PDP as a ruling
Party collapses, it will be the first
time in an independent Nigeria that a
ruling political party would collapse
not as a result of a military coup. It
is food for thought. At the prompting
of Governors on both sides of the
divide, and on encouragement from
you, I spent two nights to intervene
in the dispute of the PDP Governors.
I kept you fully briefed at every stage.
I deliberately chose Banquet Hall at
the Villa to ensure transparency.
Your aides studied all the recordings
of the two nights.
But I told you at the end of the
exercise that I observed five
reactions among the Governors that
required your immediate attention as
you are the only one from the
vantage point of your five positions
that could deal effectively with the
five reactions, which were bitterness,
anger, mistrust, fear and deep
suspicion. I could only hope that you
made efforts to deal with these
unpleasant reactions. The feud
leading to the factionalisation of the
Party made me to invite some select
elders of the Party to mediate again.
Since I was engaged in assignment
outside the country, I was not able to
join the three members of the elders
group that presented the report of
our mediation to you.
I was briefed that you agreed to work
on the report. It would appear that
for now, the ball is in your court as
the Leader of the Party. I can only
wish you every success in your
handling of the issue. But time is not
your friend nor that of the Party in
this respect. With leadership come
not just power and authority to do
and to undo, but also responsibility
and accountability to do and to undo
rightly, well and justly. Time and
opportunity are treasure that must be
appreciated and shared to enhance
their value and utilitarianism.
It is instructive that after half a dozen
African Presidents have spoken to me
to help you with unifying the Party
based on your request to them and I
came in company of Senator Amadu
Ali to discuss the whole issue with
you again, strangely, you denied ever
requesting or authorising any
President to talk to me. I was not
surprised because I am used to such
a situation of denial coming from
you. Of course, I was not deterred. I
have done and I will continue to do
and say what is first, in the best
interest of Nigeria and second, what
is in the best interest of the Party. I
stand for the aims, objectives,
mission and vision of the founding
fathers of the Party, to use it as a
wholesome instrument of unity, good
governance, development, prosperity
and progress of Nigeria and all
Nigerians.
I have contributed to this goal in the
past and no one who has been
raised to position on the platform of
the Party should shy away from
further contribution to avoid division
and destruction of the Party on any
altar whatsoever.
Debates and dialogues are necessary
to promote the interest and work for
the progress of any human institution
or organisation.
In such a situation, agreements and
disagreements will occur but in the
final analysis, leadership will pursue
the course of action that benefit the
majority and serve the purpose of the
organisation, not the purpose of an
individual or a minority. In that
process, unity is sustained and
everybody becomes a winner. The
so-called crisis in the PDP can be
turned to an opportunity of unity,
mutual understanding and respect
with the Party emerging with
enhanced strength and victory. It will
be a win-win for all members of the
Party and for the country. By that,
PDP would have proved that it could
have internal disagreement and
emerge stronger. The calamity of
failure can still be avoided. Please,
move away from fringes or the
extremes and move to the centre and
carry ALL along. Time is running out.
I will only state that as far as your
responsibility as Chief Security
Officer of the nation is concerned for
Nigerians, a lot more needs to be
done to enhance the feeling of
security amongst them.
Whether one talks of the issue of
militancy in the Niger Delta, the
underlying causes of which have not
been adequately addressed, if
addressed at all, kidnapping, piracy,
abductions and armed robberies
which rather than abate are on the
increase and Boko Haram which
requires carrot and stick approach to
lay its ghost to rest, the general
security situation cannot be
described as comforting. Knowing
the genesis of Boko Haram and the
reasons for escalation of violence
from that sector with the widespread
and ramification of the menace of
Boko Haram within and outside the
Nigerian borders, conventional
military actions based on standard
phases of military operations alone
will not permanently and effectively
deal with the issue of Boko Haram.
There are many strands or layers of
causes that require different
solutions, approaches or antidotes.
Drug, indoctrination, fundamentalism,
gun trafficking, hate culture, human
trafficking, money laundering,
religion, poverty, unemployment, poor
education, revenge and international
terrorism are among factors that have
effect on Boko Haram. One single
prescription cannot cure all these
ailments that combine in Boko
Haram. Should we pursue war
against violence without
understanding the root causes of the
violence and applying solutions to
deal with all underlying factors –
root, stem and branches? Nigeria is
bleeding and the hemorrhage must
be stopped. I am convinced that you
can initiate measures that will bring
all hands on deck to deal effectively
with this great menace.
President, the most important
qualification for your present position
is your being a Nigerian. Whatever
else you may be besides being a
Nigerian is only secondary for this
purpose. And if majority of Nigerians
who voted had not cast their votes
for you, you could not have been
there. For you to allow yourself to be
“possessed”, so to say, to the
exclusion of most of the rest of
Nigerians as an ‘Ijaw man’ is a
mistake that should never have been
allowed to happen. Yes, you have to
be born in one part of Nigeria to be a
Nigerian if not naturalised but the
Nigerian President must be above
ethnic factionalism.
And those who prop you up as of,
and for ‘I jaw nation’ are not your
friends genuinely, not friends of
Nigeria nor friends of ‘Ijaw nation’
they tout about. To allow or tacitly
encourage people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to
throw insults on other Nigerians from
other parts of the country and
threaten fire and brimstone to protect
your interest as an Ijaw man is
myopic and your not openly quieting
them is even more unfortunate. You
know that I have expressed my views
and feelings to you on this issue in
the past but I have come to realise
that many others feel the way I have
earlier expressed to you. It is not the
best way of making friendship among
all sections of Nigeria.
You don’t have shared and
wholesome society without inclusive
political, economic and social
sustainable development and good
governance. Also declaring that one
section of the country voted for you
as if you got no votes from other
sections can only be an unnecessary
talk, to put it mildly. After all and at
the end of the day, democracy is a
game of number. Even, if you would
not need people’s vote across the
country again, your political Party
will.
Allegation of keeping over 1000
people on political watch list rather
than criminal or security watch list
and training snipers and other armed
personnel secretly and clandestinely
acquiring weapons to match for
political purposes like Abacha and
training them where Abacha trained
his own killers, if it is true, it cannot
augur well for the initiator, the
government and the people of
Nigeria. Here again, there is the
lesson of history to learn from for
anybody who cares to learn from
history. Mr. President would always
remember that he was elected to
maintain security for all Nigerians
and protect them.
And no one should prepare to kill or
maim Nigerians for personal or
political ambition or interest of
anyone. The Yoruba adage says, “The
man with whose head coconut is
broken may not live to savour the
taste of the succulent fruit.” Those
who advise you to go hard on those
who oppose you are your worst
enemies. Democratic politics admits
and is permissive of supporters and
opponents. When the consequences
come, those who have wrongly
advised you will not be there to help
carry the can. Egypt must teach
some lesson.
Presidential assistance for a
murderer to evade justice and
presidential delegation to welcome
him home can only be in bad taste
generally but particularly to the family
of his victim. Assisting criminals to
evade justice cannot be part of the
job of the presidency. Or, as it is
viewed in some quarters, is he being
recruited to do for you what he had
done for Abacha in the past?
Hopefully, he should have learned his
lesson. Let us continue to watch.
As Head of Government, the buck of
the performance and non-
performance stops on your table and
let nobody tell you anything to the
contrary. Most of our friends and
development partners are worried and
they see what we pretend to cover
up. They are worried about issue of
security internally and on our coastal
waters including heavy oil theft, alias
bunkering and piracy. They are
worried about corruption and what we
are doing or not doing about it.
Corruption has reached the level of
impunity. It is also necessary to be
mindful that corruption and injustice
are fertile breeding ground for
terrorism and political instability.
And if you are not ready to name,
shame, prosecute and stoutly fight
against corruption, whatever you do
will be hollow. It will be a laughing
matter. They are worried about how
we play our role in our region and
indeed in the world. In a way, I share
some of their concerns because
there are notable areas we can do
more or do better than we are doing.
Some of our development partners
were politically frustrated to withdraw
from Olokola LNG project, which
happily was not yet the same with
Brass.
I initiated them both. They were
viable and would have taken us close
to Qatar as LNG producing country.
Please do not frustrate Brass LNG
and in the interest of what is best for
Nigerian economy, bring back OK
LNG into active implementation. The
major international oil companies
have withheld investment in projects
in Nigeria. If they have not
completely moved out, they are
disinvesting. Nigeria which is the
Saudi of Africa in oil and gas terms is
being overtaken by Angola only
because necessary decisions are not
made timely and appropriately.
Mr. President, let me again plead
with you to be decisive on the oil and
gas sector so that Nigeria may not
Iag behind. Oil with gas is being
discovered all over Africa. New
technology is producing oil from
shale elsewhere. We should make
hay while the sun shines. I hope we
can still save OK and Brass LNG
projects. Three things are imperative
in the oil and gas sector-stop oil
stealing, encourage investment
especially by the IOCs and improve
the present poor management of the
industry. On the economy generally,
it suffices to say that we could do
better than we are doing. The signs
are there and the expectations are
high. The most dangerous ticking
bomb is youth unemployment
particularly in the face of unbridled
corruption and obscene rulers’
opulence.
Let me repeat that as far as the
issue of corruption, security and oil
stealing is concerned, it is only apt to
say that when the guard becomes the
thief, nothing is safe, secure nor
protected in the house. We must all
remember that corruption, inequity
and injustice breed poverty,
unemployment, conflict, violence and
wittingly or unwittingly create
terrorists because the opulence of
the governor can only lead to the
leanness of the governed. But God
never sleeps, He is watching, waiting
and bidding His time to dispense
justice.
The serious and strong allegation of
non-remitting of about $7 billion
from NNPC to Central Bank occurring
from export of some 300,000 barrels
per day, amounting to $900 million a
month, to be refined and with refined
products of only $400 million
returned and Atlantic Oil loading
about 130,000 barrels sold by Shell
and managed on behalf of NPDC with
no sale proceeds paid into NPDC
account is incredible. The allegation
was buttressed by the letter of
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to
you on non-remittance to Central
Bank.
This allegation will not fly away by
non-action, cover-up, denial or
bribing possible investigators. Please
deal with this allegation transparently
and let the truth be known.
The dramatis personae in this
allegation and who they are working
for will one day be public knowledge.
Those who know are watching if the
National Assembly will not be
accomplice in the heinous crime and
naked grand corruption. May God
grant you the grace for a least one
effective corrective action against
high corruption which seems to stink
all around you in your government.
The international community knows
us as we are and maybe more than
we claim to know ourselves. And a
good friend will tell you the truth no
matter how bitter. Denials and cover-
up of what is obvious, true and
factual can detract from honour,
dignity and respect. Truth and
transparency dignify and earn
respect. And life without passion for
something can only achieve little. I
was taken aback when an African
Development Bank Director informed
me that the water project for Port-
Harcourt, originally initiated by the
Federal Government to be financed
by the bank, is being put in the
cooler by the Federal Government
since the Amaechi-Jonathan face-
off.
Amaechi, whether he likes it or not,
will cease to be Governor over Rivers
State which Port-Harcourt is part by
the end of May 2015 but residents of
Port-Harcourt will continue to need
improvement of their water supply.
President Jonathan should rise above
such pettiness and unpresidential
act, if it is coming from him. But if
not, and it is the action of
overzealous officials reading the
situation, he should give appropriate
instruction for the project to be
pursued. And if there are other
projects anywhere suffering the same
coolness as a result of similar
situation, let national interest
supercede personal or political feud
and the machinations of satanic
officials.
Mr . President, let me plead with you
for a few things that will stand you in
good stead for the rest of your life.
Don’t always consider critics on
national issues as enemies. Some of
them may be as patriotic and
nationalistic as you and I who had
been in government. Some of them
have as much passion for Nigeria as
we have. I saw that among Nigerians
living abroad, hence, I initiated
Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation,
NIDO. You must also differentiate
between malevolent, mischievous
and objective criticism.
Analyses, criticisms and
commentaries on government actions
and policies are sinew of democracy.
Please, Mr. President, be very wary of
assistants, aides and collaborators
who look for enemies for you. I have
seen them with you and some were
around me when I was in your
position. I knew how not to allow
them create enemies for me. If you
allow them, everybody except them
will be your enemy. They are more
dangerous than identified
adversaries.
May God save leaders from
sycophant. They know what you want
to hear and they feed you with it
essentially for their own selfish
interest. As far as you and Nigeria
are concerned, they are wreckers.
Where were they when God used
others to achieve God’s will in your
life? They possess you now for their
interest. No interest should be higher
or more important than Nigerian
interest to you. You have already
made history and please do nothing
to mar history. I supported you as I
supported Yar’Adua. For me, there is
neither North-South divide nor
Christian-Moslem divide but one
Nigeria.
Let me put It, that talks, loose and
serious, abound about possible
abuse and misuse of the military and
the legitimate security apparatus for
unwholesome personal and political
interest to the detriment of the
honour, dignity, oath and
professionalism of these honourable
and patriotic forces. Let me urge the
authorities not to embark on such
destructive path for an important
element of our national make-up. The
roles of the military and the security
agencies should be held sacrosanct
in the best interest of the nation.
Again, let not history repeat itself
here.
I believe that with what Nigeria has
gone through in the past, the worst
should have already happened. It
must be your responsibility as the
captain of the ship to prevent the
ship from going aground or from a
shipwreck. For anybody close to you
saying that if the worst happens, he
or she would not be involved is an
idle and loose talk. If we leave God to
do His will and we don’t rely only on
our own efforts, plans and wisdom,
God will always do His best.
And the power of money and belief in
it is satanically tempting. As I go
around Nigeria and the world, I
always come across Nigerians who
are first-class citizens of the world
and who are doing well where they
are and who are passionate to do
well for Nigeria. My hope for our
country lies in these people. They
abound and I hope that all of us will
realise that they are the jewels of
Nigeria wherever they may be and not
those who arrogate to themselves
eternal for ephemeral.
Also to my embarrassment at times, I
learned more about what is going on
in the public and private sectors of
Nigeria from our development
partners, international institutions
and those transacting business in
Nigeria most times I was abroad. On
returning home to verify the veracity
of these stories, I found some of
them not only to be true but more
horrifying than they were presented
abroad. Other countries look up to
Nigeria for regional leadership.
Failure on the part of Nigeria will
create a schism that will be bad for
the region.
Knowing what happens around you
most of which you know of and
condone or deny, this letter will
provoke cacophony from hired and
un-hired attackers but I will maintain
my serenity because by this letter, I
have done my duty to you as I have
always done to your government, to
the Party, PDP, and to our country,
Nigeria. If I stuck out my neck and
God used me and others as
instrument to work hard for you to
reach where you are today in what I
considered the best political interest
of Nigeria, tagging me as your enemy
or the enemy of your administration
by you, your kin or your aides can
only be regarded as ridiculous to
extreme. If I see any danger to your
life, I will point it out to you or ward
it off as I have done in the past. But
I will not support what I believe is
not in the best interest of Nigeria, no
matter who is putting it forward or
who is behind it.
Mr. President, I have passed the
stage of being flattered, intimidated,
threatened, frightened, induced or
bought. I am never afraid to agree or
disagree but it will always be on
principles, and if on politics, in the
national interest. After my prison
experience in the close proximity of
and sharing facilities with an asylum
in Yola, there is nothing worse for
anyone alive and well. And that was
for a military dictator to perpetuate
himself in power. Death is the end of
all human beings and may it come
when God wills it to come. The
harassment of my relations and
friends and innuendo that are coming
from the Government security
apparatus on whether they belong to
new PDP or supporters of defected
Governors and which are possibly
authorised or are the work of
overzealous aides and those reading
your lips to act in your interest will
be counter-productive.
It is abuse of security apparatus.
Such abuse took place last in the
time of Abacha. Lies and untruths
about me emanating from the
presidency are too absurd to
contemplate. Saying that I
recommended a wanted criminal by
UK and USA authorities to you or
your aides to supplant legitimately
elected PDP leader in South-West is
not only unwise and crude but also
disingenuous. Nobody in his or her
right senses will believe such a story
and surely nobody in Ogun State or
South-West zone will believe such
nonsense. It is a clear indication of
how unscrupulous and unethical the
presidency can go to pursue your
personal and political interest. Noting
else matters. What a pity!
Nothing at this stage of my life would
prevent me from standing for
whatever I consider to be in the best
interest of Nigeria – all Nigeria, Africa
and the world in that order. I believe
strongly that a united and strong PDP
at all costs is in the best interest of
Nigeria. In these respects, if our
interests and views coincide,
together we will march.
Putting a certified unashamed
criminal wanted abroad to face
justice and who has greatly
contributed to corruption within the
judiciary on a high profile of politics
as you and your aides have done
with the man you enthrone as PDP
Zonal leader in the South-West is the
height of disservice to this country
politically and height of insult to the
people of South-West in general and
members of PDP in that zone in
particular. For me, my politics goes
with principles and morality and I will
not be a party to highly profiling
criminals in politics, not to say one
would be my zonal leader. It destroys
what PDP stands for from its
inception.
By the government not acting
positively and promptly in the case of
Kashamu wanted in the US for drug
trafficking and money laundering
crimes, it is only confirming the
persistent reports of complicity or
involvement of high-level political
figures in drug trafficking and
condoning of the crime for political
benefit. Whichever way, it is a very
dangerous development for Nigeria
Sooner than later, drug barons will be
in control of large real estates; banks
and other seemingly legitimate
businesses; in elections, they will
buy candidates, parties and
eventually buy power or be in power
themselves. It may be instructive if I
quote fairly extensively from Lansana
Gberie’s recent paper titled, ‘State
Officials and Their Involvement in
Drug Trafficking in West Africa’:
“ … The controversial and puzzling
case of Buruji Kashamu, a powerful
figure in the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), suggests
that a successful and wealthy
politician’s association with drug
trafficking is hardly disabling.
Kashamu was indicted by a grand
jury in the Northern District of Illinois
in 1998 for conspiracy to import and
distribute heroin to the United States.
The indictment named him under his
own name as well as two supposed
aliases: ‘Alaji’ and ‘Kasmal’. His
whereabouts were unknown at the
time, however, and his co-accused
were tried and convicted. Later that
year, he was found living comfortably
in England, and, on receipt of an
extradition request from the US, the
UK authorities arrested Kashamu.
After a very protracted proceeding
lasting until 2003, however, an
English Judge refused to extradite
Kashamu on grounds of uncertainty
about his true identity.
Kashamu triumphantly returned to
Nigeria and soon after became a key
political figure. He is now believed to
be very close to President Goodluck
Jonathan, because of his ability to
mobilise votes in key States in
Western Nigeria. The US government
reviewed Kashamu’s case, with the
famous Judge Richard Posner
presiding. Posner concluded that
while Kashamu’s identity remains
murky, there is little doubt that the
figure now exercising authority in
Nigeria’s PDP is the same as
Kashamu the ‘Alaji’ who was indicted
for conspiracy to smuggle illicit
drugs into the United States.
Despite this, the Nigerian government
has persistently ignored calls by civil
society groups to investigate
Kashamu and extradite him to the US.
On 2 July 2013, the Federal Court in
Lagos determined that Kashamu
should be extradited to the US.
Kashamu immediately appealed
against this decision, yet in
November 2013, a new Panel of
Judges constituted by the President
of the Court of Appeal unanimously
held that his appeal lacked merit, and
that Kashamu should be extradited.
His extradition to the United States
will certainly set an important
precedent… unless, of course, he
uses his political skills and contacts
to continue avoiding it … “
God is never a supporter of evil and
will surely save PDP and Nigeria from
the hands of destroyers. If everything
fails and the Party cannot be
retrieved from the hands of criminals
and commercial jobbers and
discredited touts, men and women of
honour, principles, morality and
integrity must step aside to rethink.
Let me also appeal to and urge
defected, dissatisfied, disgruntled
and in any way displeased PDP
Governors, legislators, party officials
and party members to respond
positively if the President seriously
takes the initiative to find mutually
agreeable solution to the current
problems for which he alone has the
key and the initiative. I have heard it
said particularly within the presidency
circle that the disaffected Governors
and members of PDP are my
children. I begin to wonder if, from
top to bottom, any PDP member in
elected office today is not directly or
indirectly a beneficiary and, so to say,
my political child. Anyone who may
claim otherwise will be like a river
that has forgotten its source. But like
a good father, all I seek is peaceful
and amicable solution that will re-
unite the family for victory and
progress of the family and the nation
and nothing else.
In a democracy, leaders are elected
to lighten the burden of the people,
give them freedom, choice and equity
and ensure good governance and not
to deceive them, burden them,
oppress them, render them hopeless
and helpless. Nothing should be
done to undermine the tenets, and
values of democratic principles and
practice. Tyranny in all its
manifestation may be appealing to a
leader in trying times of political feud
or disagreement. Democracy must,
however, prevail and be held as
sacrosanct. Today, you are the
President of Nigeria. I acknowledge
you and respect you as such.
The act of an individual has a way of
rubbing off on the generality. May it
never be the wish of majority of
Nigerians that Goodluck Jonathan, by
his acts of omission or commission,
would be the first and the last
Nigerian President ever to come from
Ijaw tribe. The idea and the
possibility must give all of us food
for thought. That was never what I
worked for and that would never be
what I will work for. But legacy is
made of such or the opposite.
My last piece of advice, Mr.
President, is that you should learn
the lesson of history and please do
not take Nigeria and Nigerians for
granted. Move away from culture of
denials, cover-ups and proxies and
deal honesty, sincerely and
transparently with Nigerians to regain
their trust and confidence. Nigerians
are no fools, they can see, they can
hear, they can talk among
themselves, they can think, they can
compare and they can act in the
interest of their country and in their
own self-interest. They keenly watch
all actions and deeds that are
associated with you if they cannot
believe your words. I know you have
the power to save PDP and the
country. I beg you to have the
courage and the will with patriotism
to use the power for the good of the
country. Please uphold some form of
national core values. I will appeal to
all Nigerians, particularly all members
of PDP to respect and dignify the
Office of the President. We must all
know that individuals will come and
go but the Office will remain.
Once again, time is of the essence.
Investors are already retreating from
Nigeria, adopting a ‘wait and see
attitude’ and knowing what we are
deficient of, it will take time to
reverse the trend and we may miss
some golden opportunities.
Finally, your later-day conversion into
National Conference is fraught with
danger of disunity, confusion and
chaos if not well handled. I believe
in debate and dialogue but it must
be purposeful, directed and managed
well without ulterior motives. The
ovation has not died out yet and
there is always life after a decent
descent.
Accept, Dear Mr. President, the
assurances of my highest
consideration.
PS
I crave your indulgence to share the
contents of this letter, in the first
instance, with General lbrahim
Babangida and General Abdulsalami
Abubakar, who, on a number of
occasions in recent times, have
shared with me their agonising
thoughts, concerns and expressions
on most of the issues I have raised
in this letter concerning the situation
and future of our country. I also
crave your indulgence to share the
contents with General Yakubu
Danjuma and Dr. Alex Ekwueme,
whose concerns for and
commitments to the good of Nigeria
have been known to be strong. The
limit of sharing of the contents may
be extended as time goes on.

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