Source: The Punch
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of having a “grand plan” to scuttle democracy based on the postponement of the general elections announced by the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, last Saturday.
Obasanjo said this on Saturday at his Hilltop presidential residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in an interview with newsmen.
The ex-President said he broke his promise not to talk till after the elections because the elections were postponed.
Obasanjo, who just returned from a trip to New Delhi, Rabat, Nairobi, Munich and London, said the incumbent president might become another Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Cote d’lvoire, who kept on shifting election dates until he believed the odds were in his favour.
Gbagbo lost the presidential election in 2010, refused to handover to the winner and was finally disgraced out of office in April 2011, after he had plunged the country into chaos.
Obasanjo noted that Jega must have been boxed to a corner by the powers that be before making the announcement postponing the polls, stating that insecurity in the North-East of the country could not be enough reason for such postponement.
He said Jonathan, as Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces, must provide adequate security for the citizens.
He said, “I was away because I had a number of assignments abroad which took me to Morocco, Munich, Nairobi, London and New Delhi. Exactly a week today, when we were in Munich for what they called Munich security conferences annual event; and all the people, who are in security community normally, you found them there.
“For this year, the Vice- President of America was there, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, was there, the Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany was there, President of Ukraine was there and many others.
“I was there with Koffie Annan; our side was to talk about peace and security in Africa. I was to handle the African perspective while Koffie Annan was to look at it from the global perspective.
“And suddenly, people started asking me questions about what was happening in my country; Americans, British, Germans and every other person. Koffie Annan was particularly agitated.
“While I was out, I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn at first hand what actually transpired and what was going on, and it turned out to be a forced decision on the INEC. 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 added, “I thought for me, that was bad precedence 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, whether election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in the domains of the security chiefs; it is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria.
“And I will say this, we must all feel concerned before democracy is killed. The observable and what would appear to be happening is that the president has a grand plan, a grand plan to ensure that by hook or by crook, he wins the election or if it all fails, they scuttle it and create chaos, confusion and unpleasantness in the whole country.
“Because it is the duty and function and responsibility of the security officers to provide security. The President is the chief security officer of the country and he is the Commander in Chief and if security is required anywhere, anytime, it is his duty to provide it. Failure to provide it is dereliction of duty, pure and simple.
“Either the President is following his own grand plan or his aides and associates are working out a script, they are playing a script which must have got his endorsement if not initiated by him.”
The ex-President likened the poll shift to the schemes of Laurent Gbagbo, when he was the President of Cote d;Ivoire.
He explained, “What again looks to me is that the President is trying to play (Laurent) Gbagbo. Gbagbo is 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.
“Then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with eight per cent behind (Alassane) Quattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading were 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 Gbagbo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria, I hope not.”