Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I’m ready to meet PDP BoT members –Obasanjo


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo  on Tuesday  said  he was not losing sleep over recent attacks on him by presidential aides and a former Federal Commissioner  for  Information, Chief Edwin Clark,  because of the letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Obasanjo, who spoke with The PUNCH   through his media aide, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye, also said he was ready to meet with the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees members, over his reported feud with the President.
Insisting  that he was not at war with Jonathan, Obasanjo said he  was unfazed by the letter written to him by Clark  and the rantings and abuse by the President’s aides.
The  Ijaw national leader had in his letter  dated January 3, described the former President as an unrepentant troublemaker,   liar and manipulator.
In the 10-page letter titled, ‘Let The Truth Be Told Before It Is Too Late,  Clark   said, “Mr. former President, I will also like to use the language of your daughter, Iyabo, to describe you to Nigerians.
“You are ‘a liar, manipulator, two-faced hypocrite…. You  have egoistic craving for power and live a life only men of low self-esteem and intellect thrive.”
But Oladunjoye said that Obasanjo was not disturbed by insults and abuses being hauled at him because of the December 2, 2013 letter to Jonathan.
The media aide said, “I was with him (Obasanjo) this (Tuesday) morning in Abeokuta for about five hours. He received some visitors. He was full of life. He was in high spirits. He was playing  Ayo game.  He bears no one no grudge.
“After being with him for about five hours, he told me, ‘Tunde I want to go and sleep.’ That means he has not lost sleep, regardless of abuse, rantings and insults. If I am to use his words,  I will tell you that Baba still dey kampe.
On the plan by the PDP’s BoT to settle the rift between Obasanjo and Jonathan, he said that the ex-President had received the BoT members in the past, adding that he was ready to receive them  again.
Oladunjoye said,  “I want to tell you that Chief  Obasanjo   is not at war with anybody, including President Jonathan.
“He has always maintained that his doors are open to all Nigerians, regardless of political affiliations. If members of the BoT decide to visit him, it will not be the first time. If he is in the country, he will receive them.”
Meanwhile, the  governing board of the National Human Rights Commission will meet not later than two weeks from now  to consider major issues before the body.
One of the  issues   is a memo from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammad Adoke (SAN), asking for an investigation into    Obasanjo’s letter.
Adoke  had in the   December 23 memo addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, requested the commission to investigate the allegations bordering on human rights violations contained on pages 9 to 10 of the letter.
The commission’s  chairman,  Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, told one  of our correspondents on Tuesday, that  the board had yet to meet over the memo  because some members travelled abroad.
He said, “I want to ensure that everything is done under the authority of the council. That is what we proposed to do. We will meet not later than two weeks from now. Some of our members are not in the country.”
Odinkalu also  debunked insinuations that the commission had received a contrary order from the Presidency not to investigate the letter again because the PDP wanted an amicable resolution between Obasanjo and Jonathan.
Besides, he explained that the NHRC was an independent commission not subject to the control of the President.
Odinkalu said, “To begin with, we have not received anything from the President. What we have received is a referral from the office of the AGF on a matter of public interest. It is important for people to understand.
“Our rules provide for possibilities of receiving referrals from the AGF, state Attorneys-General or high courts. What we are dealing with is well provided for in our rules.”
Referring to Section 6(3) of the NHRC Act 2010, Odinkalu maintained that the commission was not under the directive or control  of the President.
The section provides that, “In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person.”
In the memo, Adoke had asked the commission to investigate the allegations  snipers were being trained by the government   to terminate  the lives of Jonathan’s political opponents.
The PUNCH also  gathered on Tuesday  that security agents had not begun investigations into Obasanjo’s allegations.
A senior police officer confided in one of our correspondents in Abuja   that the police did not have record of investigations of the allegations made by Obasanjo.
The officer described the issues as political which, according to him,  will   be resolved by the parties concerned.
He said, “Do we have any record of such an investigation of Obasanjo’s  allegations? I will say we don’t have such information with us. In any case, there is no way we can investigate the former President and those close to him would not know. Such an investigation cannot be hidden and the police will have to comment on it publicly if it is true, but for now, no information or record on any probe against Obasanjo.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, could not be reached for comments  as he did not respond to calls to his telephone. He also did not respond to a  text message sent to him.

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