Obasanjo under attack over letter to National Assembly

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Obasanjo under attack over letter to National Assembly

Obasanjo under attack over letter to National Assembly
January 29
05:44 2016

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to the National Assembly over lawmakers’ “reckless spending” and insensitivity to the country’s economic downturn yesterday generated ripples.

The ex-President received knocks from the House of Representatives whose spokesman described his correspondence as “a distraction”.

Obasanjo, in a January 13 letter to Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, accused the lawmakers of reckless spending and abuse of office. He asked them to return to the path of honour.

Obasanjo also asked the lawmakers to open their financial records for external audit.

The leadership of the National Assembly acknowledged receipt of the latter and Saraki, in a “preliminary” response, said the 8th Senate was committed to transparency and accountability.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dino Melaye, accused Obasanjo of introducing corruption into the legislature. He described his letter as “a misplacement of anger”.

Vowing not to take up issues with Obasanjo over the letter, the House said it believed that it was not directed at it but at the 4th and 5th House that operated when Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007.

House spokesman Abdulrazak Namdas said: “We don’t want to join issues because we see the letter as a distraction. Moreover, we don’t believe the letter is directed to this Assembly but to the 4th and 5th Aseembly when he was the President.

“I say this because the subject of the letter is about tranparency and for us, we have keyed into transparency and very open about our activities.”

House Minority Leader Leo Ogor said buying vehicles for oversight functions is not in contravention of the constitution.

Obasanjo criticised the lawmakers’ planned purchase of vehicles for oversight functions after obtaining car loans.

Ogor said if the former President and Nigerians do not want oversight functions of check and balance against the executive, a process of amending the Constitution should be initiated.

Melaye, who represents Kogi West, wondered why Obasanjo should mistake the 8th National Assembly as the one that allegedly defrauded him in 2007 by collecting his money and refusing to actualise what he called his Third Term agenda.

He hoped that the letter was not an attempt to cover up and distract attention from the Halliburton and Siemens corruption allegations.

Melaye said: “I have tremendous respect for President Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo.

“Elder statesman, respected Pan- Africanist and committed patriot.

“I went through the letter written to all Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

“The letter I can see is a misplacement of anger. Our leader is mistaking the 8th National Assembly as the same Senate Assembly that defrauded him in 2007.

”I appeal to Baba that we are not the ones please.

“After nine years of that bribery saga, the first of its kind, I expect forgiveness to have taken place.

“There was the case of bribery introduced by the Obasanjo regime in the desperate attempt to remove Speaker Ghali Umar Na’abba from office then.

“In fact, there was an open display of that bribery money on the floor of the House. That government exposed the National Assembly to corruption and easy money.

“I hope this is not an attempt to cover up and distract attention from the Halliburton and Siemens corruption allegations.

“While I am against corruption anywhere in Nigeria, I will not support accusations based on anger and vindictiveness.

“The 8th Senate should also look inwardly and purge herself of all the deliberate misgivings of the past. Nigeria must work and we must support the anti-corruption stand of the Buhari Administration. God bless Nigeria.”

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