By Sadiq Umar, Abuja.
The Director of Publicity for the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, has said that the reason why President Goodluck Jonathan is constantly being attacked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was partly because of his refusal to accede to certain “wrong and unacceptable” requests by the latter.
The Presidential Campaign Spokesman who described the recent outburst by Obasanjo against Jonathan as “grave and serious” accused Obasanjo of wanting to stop the President from being elected simply because he could not exert control over his government.
Fani-Kayode who was a Special Adviser of Public Affairs and minister under Obasanjo’s administration said his former boss would stop at nothing to frustrate Jonathan’s re-election simply because he has failed in his bid to control the President.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on Sunday, Fani-Kayode, said Obasanjo entertains fear that Jonathan would be re-elected in the March Presidential poll and is therefore struggling to undermine the credibility of the forthcoming elections.
He said after Jonathan came to power, the former President not only tried to control and tele-guide him but he also asked him to do a number of things that were simply wrong and unacceptable.
He said Jonathan himself will speak on those things at the appropriate time, “I am sure that he will do so at the appropriate time”, he said.
According to him: “President Jonathan refused to be teleguided and told what to do even though at all times he showed Obasanjo maximum respect and accorded him all the privileges, access and courtesies that is due to a former head of state and a father and mentor.
“This continued to be the case even after Obasanjo consistently attempted to undermine his government and ridicule his efforts.
“Yet President Obasanjo could not be appeased and was not satisfied. As far as he was concerned, he must either control Jonathan or Jonathan had to go. That is why he decided to secretly support the APC and became their ”navigator in chief.
“He was determined to pull the whole house down rather than allow Jonathan to return to power. This is simply because he believes that if he cannot control someone that person must be destroyed.
“Control and domination is an obsession for Obasanjo. That is the bottom line. He is prepared to put even the devil in power provided he can control him. That is why he is so determined to stop Jonathan and put in place an Interim Government, which he, or one of his surrogates, will head. That is his plan and he is determined to achieve it no matter what it takes,” Fani-Kayode said.
“Obasanjo does not want genuine democracy. He only pretends to want it. What he wants is control and a stooge in power. It does not matter what type of government it is as long as he controls it and his puppet heads it. It can be a military government, a civilian one, a democratic one, an interim government or a government of national unity.
“To Obasanjo it does not matter as long as he can control it. That is his objective. That is why he hates Jonathan so much and that is why he wishes to stop him at all costs,” he said.
“He has raised issues and made assertions that are capable of derailing our democracy and creating chaos in the land. It is vital that we consider his motives for this latest outburst and his credentials as a leader and an elder statesman.
“The truth is that he knows that President Goodluck Jonathan will win next month’s presidential election and that is why he wants to destroy the credibility of the whole process right from the outset,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.
He said what Obasanjo was trying to say in his latest comments was that if President Jonathan wins, then the election must have been rigged right from the outset.
“This is not only wrong but it is also unfair and uncharitable. If President Obasanjo has any evidence to prove his weighty allegations, he ought to present it before the Council of State and take it up there,” he said.
He challenged Obasanjo to present any evidence he has to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Obasanjo, in a chat with newsmen had accused Jonathan of having a “grand plan” to scuttle democracy based on the postponement of the general elections and that Jonathan of ‘playing the Laurent Gbagbo saga’, alluding to former Cote’Ivoire president’s refusal to hand over power when he lost election in 2011, after series of election postponement.
Reacting to allegations by Obasanjo, Fani-Kayode said: “President Obasanjo spoke about President Laurent Gbagbo and he claimed that President Jonathan was attempting to do a Gbagbo in Nigeria. The question that must be put to him is this: Who got Gbagbo out?
“Was it not Jonathan’s government that played a key role in ensuring that democracy was fully established in the Ivory Coast and did he not play a key role in ensuring that the Gbagbo plan to stay in power forever plan did not work?
“If anyone doubts this they should ask President Alhassan Outtara of Cote D’Ivoire the role that Mr. Jonathan and Nigeria played in helping to restore democracy and stability back to his country,” he said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode also accused Mr. Obasanjo of working for the former Ivorian President during the country’s constitutional crisis.
He said efforts should be made to “find out the role that President Obasanjo played in attempting to keep President Laurent Gbagbo in power at all costs and the deep friendship that exists between the two men.
“It is a matter of fact and public record that when he was President of Nigeria, President Obasanjo, perhaps more than any other African Head of State with the exception of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, propped up and supported President Gbagbo and it is an irony of fate and history that he is now condemning the actions of his old friend and accusing others of trying to emulate them,” he said.
“He tried all he could to change the constitution but the whole thing failed and he was compelled to leave power,” he said.
Fani-Kayode also faulted Obasanjo’s claim on the reason for the postponement of the general elections, saying it is not the first time that INEC has postponed elections in Nigeria.
He cited the 2011 National Assembly elections, pointing out that INEC not only cancelled the elections just after they started but it also postponed them by two weeks.
“The heavens did not fall then and neither did President Obasanjo accuse INEC or the president of having any grand plan to stay in power by hook or by crook at that time. One wonders what has suddenly changed.
Fani-Kayode said postponement announced by INEC is firmly within the confines of the electoral law and it has saved thousands of lives by doing so and also offered the 34 per cent of Nigerians that had not collected their PVC’s as at the relevant time the opportunity to do so.
He argued that without this postponement all those people would have been disenfranchised and it would have placed a dark cloud over the whole process.
“Why should President Obasanjo have a problem with that?” he asked.
He reiterated the Jonathan administration’s commitment to the May 29 handover date as earlier assured by Jonathan.
“In view of these assurances, one wonders why President Obasanjo is creating such a hue and cry over nothing. What is he seeing that no one else can see? One wonders what his motives are. Does he have to rule every government by proxy?
“Must every leader take instructions from him? Is it a case of ”if I cannot control you and tell you what to do then you must go?,” he queried.