Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has responded to the allegations made against him by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, in his book launched recently.
The monarch, in the book, titled, “Awujale: The Autobiography of Alaiyeluwa Oba S. K. Adetola, Ogbagba II”, insinuated that Obasanjo, among other things as Nigeria’s president, played a major role in the travail of Globacom Chairman, Chief Mike Adenuga, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2006.
Oba Adetona also accused the former president of squandering the enormous goodwill he had “with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements.”
But Obasanjo, in a letter dated December 30, 2016 and made available to reporters in Abeokuta yesterday, insisted that the monarch’s assertions were a “tissue of lies and untruths.”
On the allegation he requested Adenuga to contribute to the construction of a multi-billion naira library at the Bells University, Sango-Ota, Obasanjo said he was not aware that the former vice chancellor, Prof. Julius Okogie, wooed Adennuga “until Mike pulled out. And that I have not and I will not talk to Mike about it should convince you that I know nothing about its genesis.”
He went on: “Under my watch, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was free to do its job as it saw fit. Common sense would suggest that wild rumours should not be perpetrated by an Oba of your calibre. Kabiyesi, your cousin did not tell you that my Chief of Staff, Abdul Mohammed, put his reputation on line by assuring EFCC that Mike would go nowhere and they should trust him to give him his passport. I did not even know that Abdul had done that until the Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, reported the case of my Chief of Staff seemingly colluding with Mike to run out of the country.
“On several occasions, Ribadu has asserted that, under my watch, he was a free agent to do his work as he deemed fit.
“Mike did not need to send anything to me to satisfy me, he needed to satisfy EFCC and so your sending any documents to me was insinuating that I am the one to be satisfied rather than the EFCC. So, such documents were not paid any attention by me. You, as the cousin and part beneficiary from Mike as you have told me in the past, would not be able to see the tree from the forest as far as the mode of operation of Nuhu Ribadu was concerned vis-à-vis Mike. If the EFCC was investigating anybody, I did not consider it right for me as the President of Nigeria to be undermining EFCC by hobnobbing with that person. EFCC must be given free hand to do its work.”
On the alleged rumour of owing the Obajana Cement facility, the Owu, Ogun State high chief recalled that was not be only case peddled against him by the traditional ruler, stating that, “the latest one you did in 2016 was you telling me that you heard that I had gone to Rasak Okoya to seek to marry her daughter, Abiola, when it was the girl that came to me to reconcile her with her father.
“I did and the father and daughter were reconciled. I told you even then that it was unbecoming of an Oba. Of course, I am used to such rumours, slandering and insinuations since my days as a unit commander in the Nigerian Army and I have developed thick skin. If 10 per cent of the rumours ascribing businesses and properties I know nothing about were true, I would be the richest man on earth.”
Obasanjo added: But recently, when Aliko, yourself and myself were together, he assured you that I never ever had a single share in any of Aliko’s business interests but whenever he called me to help within and outside to promote his business interest, I have always helped.”
On the squandering of his goodwill, Obasanjo said: “Kabiyesi, if I have squandered all the goodwill I had, you would not have contacted me on behalf of the All Progressive Party (APC) to receive them in 2014 and you would not have been personally present when I received them as I demanded. I probably have greater goodwill today internally and externally than I had in office.
“Kabiyesi, the total sum of what you have put down in those pages of your book is that I dislike Mike. Maybe I need to remind you that if there were any iota of truth in such a position or mindset, Mike would not have been granted the mobile telephone licence which made him a billionaire. It was my prerogative as the President so to do.
“It was a deliberate action on my part that a Nigerian should own one of the licences. Anybody else but Mike could have been that Nigerian.
“I owe nobody any apologies in the course of doing my work as I believe I should do it or in the course of defending the interest of Nigeria and my integrity. As I could not open the treasury for S. O. Bakare for your so-called political support to me, I did not regard that as an offence. To the extent that I believed and regarded as proper, I instructed Tony Anenih as Minister of Works to patronise S. O. Bakare as a Peugeot car dealer. I will not comment on Atiku issue that you touched upon in your book because I have dealt with that elsewhere.
“However, I still accord you the respect which I believe an Oba should be accorded and one for that matter who I presume to be a friend. In spite of your unfortunate projection, my position remains the same – respect for you as an Oba and a friend.”