Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Obasanjo/Atiku Faceoff - A Smokescreen?

Last night I commented to "Political Deathmatch" a posting at the Ijebuman's Dairy on the face-off between The Nigerian president and his deputy. I find strange the timing of the release of the ECFF's investigation of Abubakar Atiku, and wondered why almost everyone investigated to date have some attachment to the anti-Obasanjo's camp. I also mused why none of the presidential candidates haven't made political statements of the crisis in the presidency. It is strange that none of the contenders have failed to capitalize on this excellent opportunity to offer some constructive insight or atleast put their spins on the issue.

A statement credited to Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, aligns with some of my thoughts, particularly the unethical ownership of Transcorp stocks by the President. Though the stock has been hurriedly sold off, it is widely known that Obasanjo used his presidential powers to create the conglomerate, it is also on record that major shareholders of the company are close associates of the president.

The addition Umar made was the possibility that the faceoff between the president and his deputy might be a smokescreen for the former to extend his tenure. Thought I do not share this view, but why would president Obasanjo want to extend his stay, again after the failed third term bid?

Here is an excerpt from Umar Abubakar statement (On Thisday Newspaper):
"Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure is marked by an all-time high government revenue earnings but a tenure, which coincides with an unprecedented destitution among the broad masses.

"The minimum action a successor government would take is to ask Chief Olusegun to proffer some explanation. So, presumably, it is likely that the President would rather die in office than face the disgrace of justice which his successor may have to dispense for his ineptitude and his many transgressions...

"In the six years while Chief Olusegun Obasanjo doubled both as president as well as Minister of Petroleum, he disallowed access to the books of the NNPC, not even to the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, RMFC. However, early this year, against sustained pressure, when the HART Group, the international firm of auditors, looked into those books, what they found was mind boggling."
Umar's statement gives an interesting and constructive insight into the presidential crisis that the national assembly and presidential aspirants are scared to address, and ordinary Nigerians have come to appreciate purely for its entertainment value.