Obasanjo Defies Court Order, Releases Memoir

Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo today presented his autobiography titled “My Watch” to the public today in spite of a court injunction restraining him from doing so.

The book presentation which was held at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, was well attended by notable personalities from across the nation.

A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court in Wuse Zone II, Abuja, on Friday gave an order restraining him from publishing the book.

Justice Valentine Ashi who gave the order had ruled that the three-volume book contained materials related to the issue of the N20bn libel suit instituted by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Buruji Kashamu, against Obasanjo.

The content of the book was said to be related to an open letter written by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, claiming that Kashamu was wanted for drug-related crime in the United States of America.

Kashamu had responded to the letter by suing the former president for libel earlier in January this year.

Several copies of the book have reportedly gone into circulation and an electronic version which is beyond the purview of Nigerian courts, is expected to be released soon.

The book details the life of the Obasanjo, highlighting his years as the nation’s military ruler and later, civilian president.

His account of President Jonathan’s stewardship of the nation as presented in the memoir is considered to be unflattering and heavily critical as he is said to have stated that Patience Jonathan, wife of the president, Deziani Alison-Madueke, Petroleum Minister, Stella Oduah, former Aviation Minister and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister are all ‘Presidents’ of Nigeria, noting also that Goodluck Jonathan comes behind the quartet and is the weakest of them all.

Obasanjo described Jonathan as selfish, weak-willed, callous and being unable of leading Nigeria, while also accusing him of surrounding himself with aides and political associates with corrupt tendencies.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has also commented on the highly-publicized 2013 open letter written to him by his daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, nearly a year after the letter was published widely in newspapers across the nation.

In his comments, the former president alleged that his daughter, Iyabo, had been manipulated by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to write the damaging letter.

Obasanjo revealed that he had received advance warning from some quarters that elements in the presidency was wooing two of his daughters to do ‘a dirty job’ and that he had confronted and warned both of them against it.

According to Obasanjo, Iyabo had eventually yielded to the presidency’s advances due to “the influence of her mother” and her (Iyabo’s) “character”.

Iyabo had questioned Obasanjo’s moral right to criticise others, given his (Obasanjo’s) failings as a father in the letter which was published on December 16, 2013.

“I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight. I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother later in this letter,” she wroe

“For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality. Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat like shit apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like others”, she added.

The letter had emerged on the heels of former president Obasanjo’s own controversial December 2, 2013 open letter to President Jonathan in which the former president accused the incumbent of aiding corruption and assembling a squad of snipers to eliminate key opposition figures and persons perceived to be highly critical of his administration.

In the lengthy letter to President Jonathan, Obasanjo had written:

“As Head of Government, the buck of the performance and non-performance stops on your table and let nobody tell you anything to the contrary.”

“Most of our friends and development partners are worried and they see what we pretend to cover up. They are worried about issue of security internally and on our coastal waters, including heavy oil theft, alias bunkering and piracy. They are worried about corruption and what we are doing or not doing about it. Corruption has reached the level of impunity. It is also necessary to be mindful that corruption and injustice are fertile breeding ground for terrorism and political instability.”

“And if you are not ready to name, shame, prosecute and stoutly fight against corruption, whatever you do will be hollow. It will be a laughing matter. They are worried about how we play our role in our region and, indeed, in the world. In a way, I share some of their concerns because there are notable areas we can do more or do better than we are doing.”

Commenting on the presidency’s response to his letter in his new book, Obasanjo wrote:

“I was warned about a former minister of finance, who wrote the reply for Jonathan, and about the writer of the letter to which E. K. Clark appended his signature. Iyabo’s letter and the response to it has been treated as a family issue, so that all the members of the family can be equipped with the other side of the story from me for posterity.






     

     

    “If Iyabo was childish and unwise enough to allow herself to be used, no other member of the family should allow himself or herself to be so used. Tolerance and acceptance of others must be practised in the face of any provocation, no matter how vile.”

    The former president also alleged that certain persons who had strong influence with late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adau had cooked up corruption charges against Iyabo when she was a senator in order to get back at him because of his personal views against them.

    “My adversaries tried other means to get to me,” he stated. “If Obasanjo could not be cut down to size, they must have thought, what about those close to him, including his daughter?”.

    The book presentation was reported to have been low-keyed even as Obasanjo declined to comment on his defiance of the court’s injunction.

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