*Says no regret putting Jonathan forward as
By Gabriel Olawale, with agency repiorts
LAGOS — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
has expressed angst against those asking him to
account for recovered Abacha loot, describing them
as illiterates and silly people.
He also said there was nothing wrong in President
Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent trips as, according
to him, Nigeria needs to be in touch with important
centres of the world.
Obasanjo, who stated this in an interview, weekend,
said the role of his office was to facilitate the
recovery process and not how it was put to use.
He said: “They said the money recovered from
Abacha, I should account for it. What stupidity! The
man who asked for it, the man who gave the
judgement or who answered them are all silly,
with due respect.
“I don’t keep account, all Abacha loots were sent to
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and every bit of it was
reported to Minister of Finance. My job was to write
where we can get help to recover the money.
“Every penny that comes out of it went to CBN, so if
they want to know what happened to the money,
they should call CBN governor or call the Minister
“But again, it shows ignorance, total ignorance,
which is lacking and you wonder, are these people
educated? They can also approach the man who
helped us in recovering process to give the list of
money recovered and where he took it.”
On fluctuating oil price
On fluctuating oil price, Obasanjo said President
Buhari was lucky than he was, saying: “When I
assumed office in 1999, I inherited $3.7 billion in
reserve, while Buhari met $30 billion, almost 10
times of what I met then, and the price of oil then
was $9. When it got to $20, I was dancing.
“I know the price is down now and with time, it will
jump up again. What Buhari is doing currently is
preparing ground for Nigeria to take advantage
when it goes up again.”
Justifies Buhari’s frequent foreign trips
Obasanjo, who justified Buhari’s frequent foreign
trips, said President Buhari needed to get involved
in the world.
He said: “He needs to be known and to know
people. How do you make friends and influence
people except you know them and this cannot
happen if he sits in Aso Villa, especially in a
situation that we found ourselves, a situation where
we have bad image in the world, a situation where
we need to play leadership role, especially in Africa,
because during Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria
was not on the table.”
On Biafra agitation
Obasanjo, who described the Biafra agitation as a
platform for people of the South East to make their
voices heard, insisted that Biafra was dead.
He said: “I sympathise with people agitating in the
country, but what Nigeria needs to do now is to get
our economy back on track. When you have a bad
economic situation, such is expected. So I did not
see their cause as a threat but I see it as a platform
to get their voices heard.
“Like I said on January 15, the important, authentic
leaders of the South-East are concerned about
economic situation of Nigeria and I believe when
the situation changes tomorrow, these young
people will sing a new song.”
No regret putting Jonathan forward as President
While expressing no regrets in facilitating the
emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan
as President, Obasanjo said his objective had been
achieved by making a minority group to produce
the president of Nigeria.
He said: “I believe that Nigeria politics will be
strengthened even more if we have the opportunity
to allow the minority in its own right to emerge as
President, and I do not have any apology for
anybody because the purpose I wanted Nigeria to
achieve had been achieved.
“That any Nigerian can become president, it is not a
regret for Nigeria and for me because Nigeria gave
him that opportunity, he used, abused, misused as
he wished and at the appropriate time, Nigerians
said thank you for what you have done and what
you have not done and Nigeria said bye bye, which
is the beauty of democracy.”