ALL seems not to be well between former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, as Obasanjo openly advised the traditional ruler not to engage in unedifying rumour-mongering and falsehood.
The former president stated this in a letter addressed to Oba Adetona, dated December 30, 2016, in reaction to an extract from the autobiography of Awujale, which revealed the alleged role played by Obasanjo during the travail of the Chief Executive Officer, Globacom Telecoms Limited, Chief Mike Adenuga (Jnr), in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Obasanjo said the position of the traditional ruler in the book about his person was tissues of lies and untrue.
The Awujale, in the book, revealed the alleged role played by Obasanjo during Adenuga’s travails with the anti-graft agency in 2006, while also accusing him of squandering the goodwill he carried into office “with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements.”
On the donation of a building project by Adenuga to his university, Bells University of Technology, Obasanjo claimed that he was not aware that the former vice chancellor of the institution, invited Adenuga to contribute to the project.
“Under my watch, EFCC was free to do its job as it saw fit. Commonsense 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 that they should give him his passport. I did not even know that Abdul had done that, until the Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, reported my Chief of Staff seemingly colluding with Mike to run out of the country.
“On several occasions, Nuhu Ribadu had asserted that, under my watch, he was a free agent to do his work as he deemed fit. Where it was necessary, he reported the outcome of his work to me and the subsequent or follow-up actions. On no occasion did I guide, lead or direct him on what to do.
“Mike did not need to send anything to me to satisfy me, he needed to satisfy EFCC and so, your sending any document to me was insinuating that I am the one to be satisfied. 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 Ribadu was concerned viz-a-viz 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. Even, if such a person was my child, the best I could do would be to secure a good lawyer to handle the matter before the EFCC.”
Also reacting to the alleged rumour of owning the Obajana Cement, Obasanjo told the Awujale that the rumour was not the first against his personality, saying “the latest one you did in 2016 was that you told me that you heard that I had gone to Rasak Okoya to seek to marry his daughter, Abiola, when it was the girl that came to me to appeal to her father to forgive her for all her misbehaviours.
“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 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. But recently, when Aliko, you and I were together, Aliko assured you that I never had a share in any of his business interests.”
On 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 Progressives Congress (APC), to receive the party 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 was 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 to do so. You may also be reminded that in the first round of the auction which Mike did not make, the country earned $285 million for each licence. The country earned only $200 million from the licence transaction with Mike and in the subsequent transaction with Etisalat, the country earned $400 million. It was a deliberate action on my part that a Nigerian should own one of the licences.
“Kabiyesi, the type of hate propaganda you have tried to project in that section of your book against my person is grossly unbecoming of an Oba let alone an Oba of your status and stature.
“However, I still accord you the respect which I believe an Oba should be accorded and one for whom 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.
“Kabiyesi, I believe that I should set the record straight for posterity and to caution you from engaging in unedifying rumour-mongering and untruth.”