Dino Melaye lambasts Obasanjo over letter to National Assembly

Dino Melaye
Dino Melaye

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Dino Melaye, on Thursday reacted to the letter written by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, describing it as “a misplacement of anger.”

Arguing that Mr. Obasanjo’s regime exposed the National Assembly to corruption and easy money, Mr. Melaye (APC Kogi West), in a statement in Abuja, said he expected the former resident to have forgiven all those who “defrauded him in 2007, those who collected his money and refused to implement the 3rd term agenda.”

He said, “I have tremendous respect for President Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo. Elder statesman, respected pan Africanist and committed patriot. I went through the letter written to all senators and members of the House of Representatives. The letter I can see is a misplacement of anger.

“Our leader is mistaking the 8th National Assembly as the same Senate Assembly that defrauded him in 2007: Those who collected his money and refused to implement the 3rd term agenda. I appeal to Baba that we are not the ones please. After nine years of that bribery saga, the first of its kind, I expect forgiveness to have taken place.

“There was the case of bribery introduced by the Obasanjo’s regime in the desperate attempt to remove Speaker Ghali Umar Na’abba from office then. In fact, there was open display of that bribery money on the floor of the house.

“That government exposed the National Assembly to corruption and easy money. I hope this is not an attempt to cover up and distract attention from the Halliburton and Siemens corruption allegations.

“While I am against corruption anywhere in Nigeria, I will not support accusations based on anger and vindictiveness. The 8th Senate should also look inwardly and purge herself of all the deliberate misgivings of the past. Nigeria must work and we must support the anti corruption stand of the Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.”

Mr. Obasanjo had written the National Assembly accusing federal lawmakers of corruption, impunity, greed and of repeatedly breaking the nation’s laws.

In a letter dated January 13 and addressed to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the former president specifically accused the lawmakers of fixing and earning salaries and allowances far above what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission approved for them.

He also alleged that most of the 109 senators and 369 members of the House of Representatives were receiving constituency allowances without maintaining constituency offices as the laws required of them.

Mr. Obasanjo was president between 1999 and 2007.

In the letter, exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the former president said on a few occasion, both in and out of office as president, he had agonised over the massive corruption and lawlessness at the National Assembly and other arms and tiers of government.

He said he had reflected and expressed, outspokenly at times, his views on the practice in the National Assembly “which detracts from “distinguishness” and “honourability” because it is shrouded in opaqueness and absolute lack of transparency and could not be regarded as normal, good and decent practice in a democracy that is supposed to be exemplary.”

While referring to the issue of budgets and finances of the federal legislature, Mr. Obasanjo said the present economic situation that the country has found itself in is the climax of the steady erosion of good financial and economic management which grew from bad to worse in the last six years or so.

Read full letter here