Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging some parts of northern Nigeria on the Niger Delta amnesty programme, as he described the programme as a failure.
The ex-president also stated that President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s approach to curbing the activities of the Niger Delta militants “had taken the form of throwing money at the problem, particularly stuffing the pockets and bank of the militants’ leadership with obscene cash in reckless and unsustainable manner”.
These views were expressed by Mr. Obasanjo in his controversial autobiography, My Watch, a three-volume memoir, which was launched in Lagos Tuesday.
According to the outspoken former president, the way and manner in which the militants were enriched by the federal government fuelled the Boko Haram insurgents.
“The idea is that ‘what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’. After that (Niger Delta amnesty programme) is accomplished, I suppose the Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the South-East will make their own demand, which of necessity must be heeded. And finally, Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the South-West will not be left out”, he stated.
Obasanjo also lashed out at his successor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua and the present administration on security under their watch, stressing that it was one of the things that “got me worried”.
Commenting on President Jonathan’s response to the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, Obasanjo said “the one incident that overtly and graphically exposed the ineptitude, ineffectiveness, inefficiency, carelessness, cluelessness, callousness, insensitivity and selfishness of Goodluck Jonathan was the abduction of about 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State by Boko Haram.
“The reaction and attitude of our president and his household was that of non-belief, to the extent that 18 days passed before he grudgingly conceded to accept the reality of the abduction. If serious action had been taken within 48 hours, the story could have been different. Seventy-two hours was, for me, too late. After all, there would have been logistics required for moving almost 390 girls through the bush and small settlements by the Boko Haram”.
In the third volume of the book entitled ‘Now and Then’, Obasanjo described President Jonathan as a failure to the country.
He said: “After watching, reaching out to, studying, talking to and listening to the president himself and the people around him, I came, sadly, to a number of conclusions that mark Jonathan out as a man of adequate intelligence to run the affairs of Nigeria but lacking in broad vision, knowledge, confidence, understanding, concentration, capacity, sense of security, courage, moral and ethical principles, character and passion to move the nation forward on a fast trajectory”.
The former president also decried what he described as the selfish interest of Mr. Jonathan, saying he places his personal interest far above both national and party interests.
Referring to the 2011 general elections, the former PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman claimed that heavy financial prices were paid to Lagos and Ondo states’ opposition to secure votes for President Jonathan against the interest of the PDP at the state levels.
“I had watched Jonathan and stood close to him in picking the national chairman of the party and chairman of board of trustees that succeeded me. What I saw and heard from him disgusted me to no end. Where Jonathan’s interests are concerned, there can be no decorum. Everything can be ‘rofo rofo’ and no party or national interests matter”.
He, however, restated his “unrepentant optimism” that Nigeria will once again remain united and regain its lost glory.
“When I became president in 1999, some people told me that I will be the last president of Nigeria, but there have been many presidents after me up until now and there will be many more presidents for Nigeria in many years to come. Nigeria has many challenges, but if we are determined we will make right everything that had gone wrong”.