Atiku is a ‘shameless liar,’ Obasanjo says in new book

Obasanjo and Atiku
Obasanjo and Atiku

A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has described Atiku Abubakar, his erstwhile deputy, as a “shameless liar” who plotted against his infamous third term agenda.

At a public presentation of the book ‘Olusegun Obasanjo: My Watch,’ in Lagos, Tuesday, Mr. Obasanjo accused Mr. Abubakar of aligning with his detractors to spin his courageous effort at constitutional reform into myopic claims of tenure elongation.

Messrs Obasanjo and Atiku were Nigeria’s President and Vice President respectively between 1999 and 2007.

Mr. Atiku is contesting for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the 2015 general election.

“Those who can be regarded as influential and who have publicly accused me of allegedly manipulating a third term were Atiku Abubakar, who is a blatant and shameless liar, who was behind the whole episode of turning wholesome constitutional amendment efforts of the National Assembly to a futile exercise and as a means of riding on its ashes to be Nigerian President,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

“Third term was not my agenda or intention although I would not say I didn’t know about it. I didn’t mastermind third term. Those who were telling me to go on were the governors that were going to benefit from it.

“If I did not want tenure elongation when I was military Head of State and had need to, I see no reason why I should be falsely accused of coup planning by Abacha and tenure elongation by Atiku.”

An Abuja High Court had granted an order restraining Mr. Obasanjo from going ahead with the book presentation.

The injunction was sought by Buruji Kashamu, a chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, who accused Mr. Obasanjo of libelous accusations in the
book.

But the former president said that going ahead with the book presentation did not violate the court’s order since it had already been printed and published three months ago.

“I had given the book to my editors and to the publisher. As far as I am concerned, my job is done. I had written the book and printed before the court injunction,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

“In a normal judiciary, the judge should be sanctioned and I hope something will be done. We are here legally and lawfully and we will continue to act lawfully and legally.”

The Court on Wednesday found Mr. Obasanjo guilty of contempt and gave the former president 21 days to explain why he should not be punished.

Mr. Obasanjo also took a swipe at President Jonathan, describing the former as the “weakest” leader Nigeria had ever had.

“Although he might wish to do well, he does not know how nor does he have the capacity to,” Mr. Obasanjo said of President Jonathan.

“To compound his problem, he has not surrounded himself with aides sufficiently imbued with the qualities and abilities to help him out.

“Most of them are greedy hangers on or hungry, lacklustre characters interested only in their mouths and their pockets.”

In the book, Mr. Obasanjo also saved harsh remarks for Nasir El-Rufai, the FCT Minister during his administration, and Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and a leader of the APC.

While Mr. El-Rufai was described as “a brilliant man but economical with the truth,” Mr. Obasanjo said Mr. Tinubu is “definitely one of the worst cases in terms of corruption.”

“Nuhu Ribadu tried to investigate almost all of them to the best of my understanding,” Mr. Obasanjo said on the former Lagos governor.

“At a time, he publicly announced that 28 out of the 36 governors were either manifestly corrupt or had tainted in one way or another. He gave me a copy of his report on those governors. Bola Tinubu was definitely one of the worst cases.”

On Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Obasanjo described him as a leader who would “not be a good economic manager but who will be a strong, almost inflexible, and courageous and firm.”


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