The federal government yesterday punctured former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegations of plots by President Muhammadu Buhari to frame him up, saying it is only those with skeletons in their cupboard that should be afraid of even their own shadows.
Obasanjo had earlier yesterday alleged that the Buhari administration had placed his name on a watch list and was planning to frame him up with a phantom crime just to jail him because of his recent “frank comments” against the government.
The former president, in a statement issued in Abeokuta by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, claimed that impeccable sources within the nation’s security system had informed him that his name was on the federal government’s watch list.
But in a swift reaction, the federal government said the Buhari administration would not be distracted by frivolous
allegations from any quarter, especially those cleverly choreographed to divert attention from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause.
In a statement issued in Lagos, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that while those who have skeletons in their wardrobes should be afraid, even of their own shadows, innocent persons need not worry about any investigation, whether real or imagined.
He said the administration is too busy trying to clear the mess of 16 years and build on its unprecedented achievements over the past three years to waste its energy and time on framing up anyone or dwelling on issues that are not grounded in fact.
Mohammed stated: “This administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens. That is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration. Only the guilty should be worried. To paraphrase an African proverb, a man who has no wife cannot lose an in-law to the cold hands of death.
“The administration is also strongly committed to the tenets of democracy, including freedom of speech and the right to dissent. But we understand that those who, in their time, were un-tethered to those principles would find it hard to believe”.
The minister added that it was curious that the frame-up and witch-hunt allegations came a day after a major presidential proclamation reversing some past acts of injustice was made, to the relief and acclamation of a long-expectant nation.
“Apparently, the impact of this proclamation was too much to bear by those who, through acts of omission or commission, helped to deepen the wounds inflicted by the blow of injustice that followed an election that was widely acclaimed to be free, fair and credible; hence they felt the need for a red herring that will distract the nation.
‘’Added to that is the frustration brought about by the fact that the contraption they have so much hyped as a freeway to power has failed to gain traction. Faced with this double tragedy, even the strongest of men may begin to succumb to a figment of their imagination. They may start crying wolf where there is none”.
Mohammed said the unprecedented achievements of the Buhari Administration are also enough to cause sleepless nights, with the attendant symptoms that include phantasm for those who had better opportunities to make the country great but floundered on the altar of narcissism.
Obasanjo had alleged yesterday that since his declaration in State-of-the-Nation special statement he issued on January 23, 2018, the desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into abandoning his divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living has continued unabated and has even taken a bizarre dimension.
In the statement issued by his media aide in Abeokuta, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former president said that impeccable security sources have informed him of the emergence of his name on their watch list and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.
Obasanjo noted that his informants, many of whom are in
the top echelon of the nation’s security management and close to the corridors of power, informed him that security the operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail his personal liberties and hang a crime on him.
Akinyemi noted: “Ordinarily, we would not have dignified these reports with a response but for the fact that many of these informants are not known for flippant and frivolous talks. Secondly, this government has demonstrably exhibited apathy, and in some cases, encouraged by its conduct, daily loss of lives and property in many States of the country, the office cannot be indifferent.
“We are currently in a nation where the number three citizen is currently being harangued and the number four citizen is facing similar threat within the same government they serve. There is a groundswell of our nationals that live in fear that they could be hounded, harassed, maimed or even killed as the battle for 2019 takes this worrisome dimension.”
“The content of the alleged beastly designs, it was learnt are two-fold for now. One, to seize his international passport and clamp him into detention indefinitely in order to prevent him from further expressing angst on the pervasive mediocrity in the quality of governance, economic management and in the protection of lives and property by the government.
“But since that could expose the government to a swath of
international condemnation, embarrassment and outrage, it is said that another plot being hatched is to cause the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open investigation into the activities of Chief Obasanjo’s administration using false witnesses and documents. This will be a re-enactment of the Abacha era in which Chief Obasanjo was one of the principal victims”.
Akinyemi alleged that the same EFCC that had conducted a clinical investigation on the activities of Obasanjo in and out of government would now be made to stand down the existing report that gave Obasanjo a clean bill of health on the probes are now to get him indicted, fair or foul for possible prosecution and persecution like it is being done to real and perceived opponents, enemies and critics of this government.
Dogara, Atiku React
In his reaction to the development, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara said he was not aware of an alleged plot to implicate him, as hinted by former President Obasanjo.
Speaking through his special adviser on media and public affairs, Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said he was not aware of the plot.
“I am not aware that there is a plot to frame the Speaker of involvement in any criminal offence. I have not even read the statement you referred to,” Turaki said.
On his part, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar expressed concern over the purported alert by former President Obasanjo of an alleged plot by the government to arrest him on trumped up charges.
In a statement he personally issued yesterday, Atiku said he was disturbed by the turn of events the country considering the huge price that was paid to bring democracy back to the country.
The former vice president advised government and its agents to retrace their steps to avoid aggravating the already overheated polity.
He noted that the alert by Obasanjo was coming against the backdrop of earlier alerts by some leaders, especially those of the opposition, of deliberate and orchestrated attempt to intimidate and frame them up.
Atiku said, “I wish to state, without equivocation, that President Obasanjo is a historical figure in Nigeria’s democracy and that the primary purpose of government is to provide security of lives and property of all citizens and residents irrespective of their status, political affiliation, religious inclination and ethnic leanings.
“Our nation has lost so much precious lives and property that we can no longer afford to travel that road again. I wish to appeal to President Buhari to call the security agencies to order in order to douse the tension in the land.”
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