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‘Jonathan is afraid Buhari will jail him’, Ex-President says

Obasanjo stated this on Saturday, February 14, at his home in Abeokuta, Ogun State during a meeting with journalists.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of planning to obstruct the upcoming elections out of fear that he could be imprisoned by All Progressives Candidate (APC), Muhammadu Buhari if the latter wins.

“I believe the President’s fear is particularly motivated by whom he sees as his likely successor, that is, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. I believe people would have been telling him that Buhari is a hard man; he will fight corruption and he (Jonathan) may end up in jail if not in the grave. I think people would have told him that sort of thing and he is not the only one afraid of Buhari,” Obasanjo stated.

Obasanjo however stated that he does not expect Buhari to go on a revenge mission if he has learnt his lesson.

“If he has not learnt his lessons, he would be probably the most unlearning human being. Now if he has learnt his lessons, he will know that you do not fight corruption by putting people in jail for 200 years. This was done by my predecessor in office, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. He recovered over $750m from Abacha’s estate without putting anybody in jail and without harming or hurting anybody,” the former President said.

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“When I took over, we recovered over $1.25bn from the same Abacha without hurting anybody and without harming anybody. What is rather unfortunate is the fact that our lawyer who is still alive, who was chasing this money all over the world, said to us that there was still well over $1bn to be recovered from the Abacha estate,” he continued.

As regards the poll shift, Obasanjo also said that Jonathan had acted like former president of Cote d’lvoire, Laurent Gbagbo who had postponed elections to ensure that the results would favour him.

“President Jonathan has a grand plan to ensure that he wins the election by hook or crook and if he loses, he scuttles it and brings chaos and confusion in the whole country. It looks to me that the President is trying to play (Laurent) Gbagbo. Gbagbo was the former President of Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo made sure he postponed the election in his country until he was sure he would win and then allowed the election to take place. He got an inconclusive election in the first ballot and I believe this is the sort of thing Nigeria may fall into if I am right in what I observed as the grand plan,” Obasanjo said.

“Then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with 8 per cent behind (Alassane) Quattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading was rebuffed by him and he unleashed horror in that country until nemesis caught up with him. I believe that we may be seeing the repeat of Gbabgo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not,” he added.

Speaking further on the postponement of the elections, Obasanjo stated that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega must have been left with no other choice.

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“I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn what actually transpired and what was going on, and it turned out to be a forced decision on the INEC, because it was alleged that the security chiefs were unable to provide security and as a result, the Chairman of INEC had to postpone the elections, in accordance with the dictates of the so-called security chiefs,” Obasanjo said.

“For me, that was a bad precedent for democracy in Nigeria. It meant it doesn’t matter what preparation or lack of preparation any electoral body could make in Nigeria, the final decision on whether election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in the domains of the security, it is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria,” he added.

Obasanjo also stated that he was surprised when Jonathan claimed not to know about the poll shift beforehand.

“It was even made worse when the President in the media chat on the 11th of this month claimed not to have knowledge or not to have authorized it. I get worried, very worried that if the President of Nigeria is not in charge of security, maintenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, assuming that it is true, then the President must be reigning and not ruling,” Obasanjo said.

The former President also faulted claims that the war against Boko Haram, which has been on since 2009, could be won in six weeks.

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Jega, on February 7, announced the postponement of the elections, which were originally slated to hold on Feb. 14.

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