By Marok Nuhu Haruna, Kaduna
The last may not have been heard of the face-off between two Nigeria leaders: President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as one of his cabinet members said the incumbent begged his former boss not to prosecute him over missing billions of dollars in Nigeria’s Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
Buhari stated the week with a planned probe of the $15 billion spent on power by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo, in his response, said he is ready for the probe. Both Obasanjo and Buhari are military generals who ‘served’ the country as head of State.
Obasanjo and other retired military generals are against the second term bid of Buhari because of his inability to tackle insecurity, poverty, unemployment and hunger.
Buhari, a former Nigeria Military ruler, while campaigning to be the country’s civilian president, promised to fight corruption, insecurity and fix infrastructure but have spent over 100 days outside the country for a medical vacation. With herdsmen on a killing spree in many parts of the country, he has extend the tenure of his service chief several time.
Some analysts say the economy is in bad shape while data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that thousands of Nigerians lost their jobs since 2015 when Buhari came to power.
As it is common with Nigerian politicians, the Obasanjo’s open rejection of Buhari’s second term bid might have tipped the presidency against the former president.
But former Minister of Aviation during Obasanjo’s tenure as civilian president, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who is currently defending himself at a Lagos High Court over sharing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 2015 campaign fund, said Buhari is not a saint as his supporters want Nigerians to believe.
Fani-Kayode said Bubari misappropriated billions of dollars as PTF chairman and had to begged Obasanjo like a baby when he realised he was going to be prosecuted.
Even though some Nigerians are asking the former minister of Aviation to make the report public, he said: “The greatest mistake that OBJ (President Olusegun Obasanjo) made was not to prosecute and jail @MBuhari (President Muhammadu Buhari) for looting PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund) funds,” Kayode said in a tweet through his handle, @realFFK.
“I saw the report and it was shocking. Billions of dollars had vanished. OBJ (Obasanjo) summoned him (Buhari) and showed him the damning report. Buhari begged like a baby. Sadly OBJ (Obasanjo) let him off the hook,” Fani-Kayode said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he don’t care about the opinion people have about Abacha but that he knows why he agreed to work with him.
Buhari who was PTF chairman under Abacha, was earlier quoted as saying that Abacha was not corrupt.
But under Buhari’s ‘leadership’ the Swiss government and other countries have returned to Nigeria, million of dollars of “Abacha Loot.”
Buhari said: “One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion USD on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?”
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja said those who mismanaged Nigeria’s economy in the past, through fraudulent electricity projects and misuse of revenue earnings from oil, had no love for the country.
Receiving members of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) led by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, at the Presidential Villa, the President urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that only “people of conscience are in-charge of governance at all levels,” as the nation prepares for general elections in 2019.
“I challenge anybody to check from Europe, America and Asia; between 1999-2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil per day at an average cost of 100 USD per barrel and it went up to 143 USD.
‘‘When we came it collapsed to 37 – 38 USD and later was oscillating between 40 and 50 USD. I went to the CBN Governor, with my cap in my hand, and asked if we had savings. He told me we had only debts, no savings,” Buhari was quoted as saying.