Stop insulting Nigerians, Falana tells Obasanjo
Famous legal practitioner in Nigeria, Femi Falana(SAN) has called on ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo to stop insulting the collective intelligence and memories of Nigerians, saying that he instituted the culture of impunity under the democratic dispensation while serving as President.
Falana gave the advice in Benin yesterday while reacting to the former President’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari .
He stated that Obasanjo had the opportunity to have made the country great by providing good leadership, getting rid of corruption when he was the President but he failed to do so.
He said, “If President Obasanjo who ruled this country for eleven and half years has institutionalized democracy, rule of laws, respect for human rights, we will not be in this mess and the control of Nigeria by the Nigerian people, we will be having an Eldorado by now.
“So, please, let Obasanjo and others be honest to admit that they brought us this shameful episode. So, nobody should grandstand when it comes to the mis-governance in Nigeria.
“Nobody has apologized. The fact that between 1999 to 2007, this country, made close to 100 billion US Dollars from the sale of one commodity, oil. What is there to show for it rather than permanent darkness.
“The more you spend on energy, the more darkness you get. What is there to celebrate? Mass unemployment, sales of the assets of the country to a few boys who were close to the presidency, rigging of elections.
“You have all forgotten that the results from Delta, Ondo and others were announced in Abuja and in those states in order to rig them. What is there to celebrate?
“President Obasanjo is entitled to form his own political party or his own movement but he should please desist from insulting the collective intelligence and memories of Nigerians.
“When Sharia started, the Federal government did not challenged the unconstitutionality. Under that era, we had ethnic religion violence that claimed over 20,000 lives of Nigerians.
“So, there is no member of the Nigeria ruling class that can really grandstand”, he said.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said apart from the allegations of nepotism and clannishness leveled against President Muhammadu Buhari by Olusegun Obasanjo, both are as guilty as charged.
“With great respect to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, apart from the allegations of nepotism and clannishness, which cannot be disputed, every other allegations made there, is nothing to write home about. In another words, all the other allegations took place under president Obasanjo and in fact, he institutionalized the culture of impunity under the democratic dispensation in Nigeria.
“Many of us have forgotten the adoption of governor Chris Ngige, many of us have forgotten that the fact that the national assembly, the house of representatives displayed bales of naira with which it was alleged that the presidency wanted to bribe the legislators.
“Many of us have forgotten about the third term agenda or the fact that many people who were also close to the seat of power were treated like sacred cows even in the fight against corruption but I do not want to join issues with Obasanjo for now on his letter so that one is not seen as endorsing impunity in our country but other than the allegations of nepotism and clannishness which the presidency is notoriously noted for, I think, they are birds of same feathers” Falana posited.
On the case of Ibrahim Magu, Falana said the court never ever made any pronouncement on the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC. No statement was made to that effect adding that there is nothing to celebrate.
“It is not a judgement to celebrate with great respect. I have read the judgement of the case filed by a private lawyer based in Abuja, Mr. Tolu Ajaomo against the attorney of the federation and the senate. Mind you, EFCC is not a party, Mr. Ibrahim Magu was not a party, so no court in Nigeria can make order against a person who was not joined in any suit.
“But having read the ruling, with great respect the case was stroke out. If a case was stroke out, you cannot rely on it. The court held that the lawyer has no locus astandi to have filed the action and therefore stroke it out.
“However, in an academic exercise, the court said, having regard to section 2, 3 of the EFCC Act, the senate has the power to confirm or reject the nomination of the president. The court never ever made any pronouncement on the appointment of Mr.Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC. No statement was made to that effect.
“So, there is nothing to celebrate in the judgement. So, I was therefore flabbergasted this morning when I read that the senate was asking the president to bring a fresh nomination.
“It is the prerogative of the president. He cannot act more than the tenure of the substantive chairman. He cannot act in perpetuity”, he explained.