Obasanjo unfair to Jonathan on Boko Haram, say Monguno, Kashamu

Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno

Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno

Elder statesman Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Chief Buruji Kashamu, at the weekend, criticised ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan on corruption and his handling of Boko Haram.

Obasanjo spoke during the event marking the 40th anniversary on the pulpit of clergyman, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Monguno, one of the Borno elders nominated by the sect to moderate their proposed talks with the government, told reporters in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital that he had no moral right to criticise his successors.

He said: “Somebody who wanted to extend beyond the constitutional term, tried his very best to extend but was rejected is now advising government to do the wrong thing”.

The former Minister of Petroleum said Obasanjo’s prescription of military action, the type of which he unleashed on the Odi community would only compound the problem.

“I do not agree with our former President that the President should use force, use the military to crush what they always call the Boko Haram,” Alhaji Monguno said, adding that though he does not believe what he sees, hears or reads in the media, describing the President as weak does not even arise. He said even in the military, soldiers do not want to go to war unless it is absolutely necessary.

He noted that even the United Nations does not believe in using force in such situations and advised Obasanjo to look back on his military and political days.

Monguno said rather than use force, President Jonathan should explore peaceful means of resolving the Boko Haram threat

“The President could come out and still employ the same tactics, which he and the late president (Umaru Yar’Adua) employed to have persuaded the militants in the southsouth. He could have employed the same methods for the Boko Haram of the north. The northerners were expectant that he was going to use that,” Alhaji Monguno said.

He urged government to realise that every child born belongs to Nigeria and attention should be given to all to improve the standard of living.

Kashamu, in a statement, said it was wrong of the former president to have said Jonathan was slow with Boko Haram.

He urged Obasanjo to purge himself of his messianic postures. “He is quick to recount his “exploits” while in office. But the truth is: the foundation of some of the challenges that we are grappling with today were laid during his last years in office.”

Kashamu said: “Obasanjo regaled us with his efforts at brokering truce with the Boko Haram, but we were all witnesses to what happened to his host, Babakura Fugu. He was killed two days after he met with Obasanjo. What does that suggests? It is my humble view that the swift reaction of the Boko Haram sect was a vote of no confidence on his “peace mission”. Obasanjo had hoped to pull the strings from behind. But, as they say, man proposes, God disposes. Yar’Adua died and providence threw up President Jonathan. Boko Haram is perhaps partly a response in the North to Obasanjo’s politics of imposition and dictatorship.

“Now, Northern leaders are made to appear in the eyes of their people like insensitive leaders leading to a growing challenge to their vision for the development of their region and peoples. I would implore them not to allow this internecine restiveness to continue to develop and further impoverish and disillusion the Peoples of this region. The indices already show that the North has a lot of catching up to do in various areas, including education, social and economic development.

“There is no doubt about the immense resources with which the North has been blessed, including the most fertile arable land, solid minerals and perhaps hidden reserves of petroleum resources under the now encroaching dessert lands. It is time the leaders recapture the old unity for which the region was known and take necessary steps to harness these resources for the benefit of the region and the country as a whole.

“Those who aspire for leadership in the South must not think that weak Northern unity and leadership is necessarily an advantage. The problems faced by our own President Jonathan in executing his plans for National development as a result of the erosion of unity in the north by politically motivated sectarian violence is sufficient evidence that no region of Nigeria can develop as an Island on its own.

“The secessionist notions behind some of the regional integrationists in the South are part of the results of failed leadership in the past, which President Jonathan is now saddled, with the unenviable task of resolving. Now, some historical revisionists wish to place the blame upon the victim of his misrule.”

On corruptin, he said: “Former President Obasanjo wastes no time in flaunting his anti-corruption achievements while in office. His recent comment on the anti-corruption war is coming on the heels of a similar one he made last year in Geneva, Switzerland, but we all know that his so-called anti-corruption war was selective. He only unleashed the EFCC upon persons who were not in his good books. Many of the nouveau riche billionaires that his administration produced are now facing trial for one economic crime or the other. It has been said that “those for whom palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble”. Simple discretion dictates that they should be humble and allow the people who have come in with fresh and more workable ideas to do their work.

“After all, the same Mallam Nuhu Ribadu that Obasanjo constantly claims the praise for appointing as EFCC Chairman, described corruption under Obasanjo as worse than that of late General Sani Abacha, according to a United States cable obtained by Wikileaks.

The report stated that at a meeting which the former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, had with Mallam Ribadu to discuss his removal from the EFCC, Ribadu told the US ambassador that Obasanjo was good at covering his tracks while admitting that corruption was worse under Obasanjo.” The Nation reports.

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