Obasanjo’s letter divides PDP

Obasanjo’s letter divides PDP

basaThere is disquiet within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the open letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which is currently attracting divergent comments from the public.

Obasanjo had in the 18-page letter, raised several allegations against Jonathan administration, which has drawn the ire of the Presidency and PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur.

The PDP as a party has not reacted officially to the letter, which went viral last week.

Obasanjo in the letter told Jonathan that he had failed as a President and may pull the country down with him into a repeat of history.

He said Jonathan had failed in all his five roles as leader of the ruling party, leader of government, Chief Security Officer of the country, political head of the nation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation.

He also accused him of tolerating corruption in government to the detriment of the nation’s economy.

However, while only the Presidency and Tukur had responded to Obasanjo’s vituperations, majority of PDP stalwarts are yet to say a word either in support of President Goodluck or former President Obasanjo.

Checks by Sunday Independent revealed that the issue has polarised the party, as majority of the party stalwarts are keeping silent not knowing who to support openly.

One of the party leaders who is also a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, who spoke with Sunday Independent on Saturday on condition of anonymity said, it will be unwise for any of the PDP leaders to openly comment on the content of the letter in the interest of the party.

He admitted that different party stalwarts definitely have their different opinions on the issues raised by Obasanjo, such he said, should be kept in their various cupboards for the sake of “unity, which the party desperately needs now”.

Asked his own opinion, the PDP stalwart, who is from the North Central geopolitical zone, said he believes that the allegations raised by Obasanjo are weighty and should be addressed squarely by the president.

However, another party stalwart from the South West geopolitical zone, who also wish to remain anonymous, differs, saying that the timing of the letter was wrong, just as he wondered why the letter was made public within few days of its delivery to the Presidency.

In his opinion, Obasanjo should have rather requested a meeting with Jonathan, with some other stakeholders and elder statesmen, to whom the letter was copied, and discuss his (Obasanjo) observations rather than “embarrassing the president in public”.

Obasanjo had, among other things, raised allegations of toleration of corruption in governance by Jonathan, just as he accused him of raising a killer squad, with intent to maim whoever raises a voice against him.

His words: “Corruption has reached the level of impunity… 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…

“The serious and strong allegation of non-remitting of about $7billion from NNPC to Central Bank, occurring from export of some 300,000 barrels per day…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.

“Allegations 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.

“Let me put it that talks, loose and serious, abound about the 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,”

However, though the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said in the past that 2015 would be the turn of the North to produce the

president, with Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan, the group has decided to play safe to avoid adding tension to the already heated polity.

When our correspondent sought the view of the ACF on the controversial letter as it has to do with the alleged pact that 2015 would

be the turn of the North, spokesman for the forum, Anthony Sani, said it was unfair to make the issue a regional one.

“Why do you people always give any political disagreement regional coloration? This is not good for politics,” he said.

But, radical Russian trained medical doctor and foremost voice in the North, Junaid Mohammed, pointedly said even though his views were strictly his and not that representing the northern region, any attempt by Jonathan to run in 2015 could destabilise Nigeria.

“First and foremost, I have never claimed to speak for the North on this or any other issue.

“As far as I am concerned, I am giving my own personal opinion and that personal opinion of mine still stands.

“I believe that the personal ambition of any individual or Nigerian should be second to the peace and harmony of this country more than anything else. I do not have any northerner in mind or anybody from the south.

“But its clear to me that any effort by Jonathan to repudiate, and that is the key word, repudiate the understanding they had in the PDP, will be disastrous for the country and will lead to massive instability.

“I don’t believe Jonathan presidency is worth that trouble for Nigerians. This president and this presidency and their party, the PDP, have not added any value to Nigeria.

“On the contrary, it has created serious problems in the National Security, national economy and the national polity.

PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, said he has distanced himself from the controversial letter written to Jonathan by Obasanjo.

Tukur, who was in Kaduna on Saturday for the one year remembrance of late Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, held at Murtala Square, Kaduna, said Obasanjo did not write him, so he would not be responding to a letter that was not meant for him.

According to him, he would not want to join issues with Obasanjo over the letter.

Even when press men insisted he should react to issues raised in the letter, Tukur only said: “The letter was not written to me, but to Jonathan and therefore I reserve my comment on it”.

He however stated that if Obasanjo had written him, he would have replied appropriately.

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