Elder Statesman and respected leader of Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark has opened what is believed to be a can of worms on former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo by outlining how the former president corruptly enriched himself during his eight year reign as President of Nigeria.
In his open letter to Obasanjo, Clark challenged him to tell Nigerians how he came about his stupendous wealth after eight years when he declared N20,000 in his bank account at the Code of Conduct Bureau in 1999.
“In 1999, it was widely reported in the media that you came out of Gashua prison very broke. As a matter of fact, it was stated you had N20,000 in your bank account as declared in your Code of Conduct Bureau Form. In just 8 years, as President of Nigeria, you metamorphosed from a struggling ex-head of state, into a life of opulence. You must tell Nigerians the magic behind the sudden affluence. When corruption is mentioned, informed Nigerians know those that foisted the malady on our nation.
“As a matter of fact, your eight years sojourn as President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 benefited you immensely. You acquired many mechanized multi-billion naira farms across the country. They include the Obasanjo Palm Oil Farm in Calabar, a very large multi-million naira poultry farm in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, another gigantic farm in Oke-Ogun in Oyo State, larger than any of its kind in Africa, Lanlate fish farm in Ota, a big poultry farm at Ibogun and an oil palm estate at Ehuagie in Rivers State, not to mention your past holdings in tea plantation in Adamawa State.
“Apart from the foregoing, OBJ, your other investments encompass every segment of the national economy and they run into billions of naira. Some of these include your multi-million naira Temperance Hotel in Ota, your multi-billion Presidential Library, Transcorp, which owns the Abuja Hilton Hotel, your juicy oil blocs and known interest in the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, Ikot Abasi. You barely survived on your pension as a retired army general and little earnings from your old Ota farm. Today, the spoils of office have altered your life-style. How dare you point accusing fingers at others when you have a cupboard filled with skeletons? You have forgotten the saying that “a man who lives in a glass house should not throw stones.
“In the brickbat between you and your deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, he revealed how you corruptly enriched yourself by buying over almost all the public enterprises so far privatized. Atiku even accused you of using PTDF money, including using the fund’s money to buy a car for your girlfriend. You introduced ‘Ghana Must Go’ bags on the floor of the National Assembly, the N50 million you later paid to some members of the National Assembly in order to support your third term bid, only to turn round last year to accuse the legislators or armed robbery. What a character you are! With all these corruption baggage as your albatross, you still keep a deceitful sanctimonious aura of innocence to make allegations against President Jonathan.
“The Halliburton bribe scandal and the Siemens case were lightly touched by President Jonathan in his open reply to you. These two high profile corruption cases happened during your tenure as President. Your assistant and right hand man Babatunde Adeyanju was fingered to have been involved in the collection of the Halliburton bribe money.
“You know over the years, I have always criticised you about your performance starting with the Ibori’s ex-convict case even though he may not have a good case. Your vindictive and mischievous attitude towards political opponents was unacceptable and very few of us were able to criticise you. You felt former governor Ibori of Delta State and Alamieyeseigha, his counterpart in Bayelsa State, were being used by the former Vice President Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, against you and you decided to punish them. But when Ibori gave you money he became your good boy, despite the position held by Delta elders against him.
“In the case of Alamieyeseigha, you tried to use his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, against him but he refused. You went on to use the Chairman of the EFCC to intimidate members of the Bayelsa House of Assembly and they carried out a kangaroo impeachment to remove him from office. You then immediately directed the security agencies after the impeachment to handcuff the governor and took him to Abuja for prosecution. I also criticised you when you asked your security men to arrest the candidate who was standing against your daughter in the senatorial election in Ogun State even though there was no case against him in Nigeria.
“You may also remember my open letter to you published in the Vanguard newspaper in which I ask you to leave Yar’Adua alone to run his government. That you attempted to rule Yar’Adua’s government from Ota farm is unacceptable. I quoted the example of France and Great Britain to buttress my case. I continued my attack on you and your cohorts when President Jonathan refused you to run his government from Ota farm. However, everything you asked President Jonathan, he gave to you. The first two important ministerial appointments, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who are no politicians were given to you for Ogun State.
“You had a hand in almost every appointment in the Southwest hence the party collapsed in the Southwest. El-Rufai said in his book “Accidental Public Servant” that you sent him to General Buhari inviting him to be the presidential candidate of the PDP in 2011 with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as his running mate. El-Rufai told the story of how together with Dr. Odimegwu, former Chairman of the NPC and two others, drove from Lagos to Ota in the night only for you to say that Jonathan should be given another chance. They discovered that your daughter, Iyabo, has won her senatorial case in a High Court. You can see how petty you are.
“Dear OBJ, you fed fat and harassed others with the EFCC. The anti-corruption apparatus became a coercive instrument in your hands to browbeat perceived political enemies. Your vendetta against political opponents and those you believe were working counter to your third term ambition knew no limits. You, however, received a moral indictment from the former EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as revealed through Wikkileaks. Ribadu was quoted as saying that while you were busy harassing and prosecuting others for corruption, ‘you were also busy covering up your own corrupt tracts”, he said, adding that it is unfortunate that Obasanjo could not emerge leader of the Yoruba nation even after serving two terms as President because he lacked virtues deserving of a Yoruba leader.
“As a Nigerian and an Ijaw man, i am proud to belong to both entities. Unlike you Obasanjo who is a Yoruba man first before being a Nigerian, I Chief E. K, Clerk is the accepted leader of the Ijaws, while unfortunately, you Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is not accepted a leader of the Yoruba despite being Head of State twice, because you lacked the virtues and honour deserving of a Yoruba leader”, Clerk said, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan is a detribalised Nigerian whom he said was even unfair to the Ijaw nation in his political appointment but that the Ijaw nation hold no grudge against him.