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Jonathan Fires Back At Obasanjo
President Goodluck Jonathan has publicly unbottled his anger at former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the series of accusations heaped on him in an 18-page open letter dated December 2, 2013.
Responding to Obasanjo’s letter, Jonathan said the intent of the former President was to cause disaffection and overheat the polity, saying all the accusations levelled were baseless and false.
He said in his 11-page letter that it was very unfortunate for the former President to turn around to accuse him of destroying the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, knowing that he contributed to inciting the “seeming crisis” within the party.
“Instigating people to cause problems and disaffection within the party is something that you are certainly familiar with,” Jonathan wrote.
He said in spite of the troubles, the party remained united and that as leader of the party, he will continue to do his best to unite the party and hoped that it would “recover” as it had always done in time past.
Reacting to the allegation of encouraging corruption through his body language, the President noted that the seed of corruption had been sown for a long time now and that his administration was doing the best it can to curb it.
“That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup,” he reminded Obasanjo.
“We are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress. I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption,” he added.
Jonathan said as much as he would not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption, his actions against the virus must be seen to follow due process.
“Whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping with the dictates of extant laws and procedures. You cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that several highly placed persons in our country, including sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country,” he said.
Commenting on another letter written by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, where he alleged that $49.8 billion were unremitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which Obasanjo also mentioned in his letter, Jonathan said “I am amazed that with all the knowledge garnered from your many years at the highest level of governance in our country, you could still believe the spurious allegation…”
He said having served for many years as minister of Petroleum Resources, the former President ought to very well know the workings of the corporation.
“You made a lot of insinuations about oil theft, shady dealings at the NNPC and the NNPC not remitting the full proceeds of oil sales to the of CBN. Now that the main source of the allegations which you rehashed has publicly stated that he was “misconstrued”, perhaps you will find it in your heart to apologize for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score,” the President said.
Jonathan also denied putting over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list and training snipers and other militia to assassinate people as alleged in Obasanjo’s letter.
He dared the former President to support his accusations with facts or swear with a Bible that he himself truly believes the allegation.
“The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence. I have been a President for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty,” Jonathan stated, adding “Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof.”
Jonathan said he has nevertheless, directed the security agencies and requested the National Human Rights Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of the allegations and make their findings public.
On the issue of investors being scared to come to Nigeria, due to economic dormancy, and stagnation, Jonathan said statistics from the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI between 2000-2013 show that Nigeria has emerged as the preferred destination for investments in Africa.
According to him, “For the second year running, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments (UNCTAD) has ranked Nigeria as the number one destination for investments in Africa, and as having the fourth highest returns in the world.”
He added that the country currently holds 18 percent of all foreign investments in Africa and 60 percent of all foreign investments in the ECOWAS Sub-Region.
Comparing achievements in this regard, the President wrote: “Kindly note also that in the seven years between 2000 and 2007 when you were President, Nigeria attracted a total of $24.9 Billion in FDI. As a result of our efforts which you disparage, the country has seen an FDI inflow of $25.7 Billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination.”
In concluding his letter, Jonathan said: “Let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills.”