Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Sunday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him and “his hatchet men” of running an autocratic government similar to the administration of the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Obasanjo stated this in his 16-page statement titled, “Points for concern and action,” given to journalists in Abeokuta.
Nigerians witnessed imprisonment of the opposition and a vicious self-succession plan by Abacha between 1993 and 1998, when the dictator died.
Obasanjo said, “It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the judiciary to cow them to submission.
“I was a victim of Abacha’s atrocities against Nigeria and Nigerians – high and low. At the height of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual power, he did not brook any criticism because Nigeria was seen as his personal property.
“You must go along with him or be destroyed. All institutions for ensuring security, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians particularly the police, the military and the Department of State Services were abused and misused to deal with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.
“Today, another Abacha era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. The EFCC, the police and the Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trademarks of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians.
“God of Nigeria is a living God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians must cry out to God to deliver Nigeria. Here again, I have been threatened with arrest and extermination but I will not succumb to intimidation or threats.”
But the All Progressives Congress said Obasanjo was being haunted by his past when elections were rigged and government institutions were denied independence.
The National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stated this at a media interaction in Abuja on Sunday.
He said, “For eight years of President Obasanjo, all the elections he held…in fact government policies were determined by whatever mood he found himself. All the institutions of government were heavily influenced by Obasanjo. What he did for those eight years is what is haunting him. He cannot imagine it is possible for a government to allow INEC the statutory independence that it has.”
Onilu said elections conducted under the APC government so far were credible. He said the APC should be commended for allowing institutions to perform their duties without interference.