Home » Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-79, 99-07), Presidency » Obasanjo under attack for calling lawmakers robbers

Obasanjo under attack for calling lawmakers robbers

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was under attack yesterday over his comment that “there are more rogues and armed robbers in the State Assemblies and the National Assembly”.

Obasanjo spoke on Tuesday at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Academy for Entrepreneur Studies Nigeria (AES) at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos.

Former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon and former Interim National Government (ING) head Ernest Shonekan also spoke at the conference.

The Senate requested Obasanjo to name the rogues in the National Assembly. The House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the statement.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a news conference, challenged Obasanjo to name the rogues and criminals – in the spirit of transparency and openness.

Obasanjo, according to media reports, descended on the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Police, describing them as corrupt.

Obasanjo was quoted as saying: “Integrity is necessary for systems and institutions to be strong. Today, rogues, armed robbers are in the State Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly. What sort of laws will they make?

“The judiciary is also corrupt. During my tenure, many of the corrupt judges were removed, some are still there.

“If the judiciary becomes corrupt, where is the hope for the nation? Justice, no doubt, will go to the highest bidder. The judiciary did not see anything wrong with a former governor but the same set of evidence was used to sentence him in the United Kingdom.

“The police are even worse. Well, I will not lament. I will only say let us understand our problems and emphasise the good ones.”

Abaribe said the Senate had been inundated with inquiries over the statement credited to Obasanjo.

He noted that the National Assembly has great respect for the former President and “the National Assembly can never engage in any talk back to the President.”

He said: “But we actually feel that the former President would help the National Assembly and, indeed, also help Nigeria in the new spirit of transparency and openness by assisting the National Assembly to name those he knows in the National Assembly as either rogues or criminals.

“That would help us to be able to sanitise the polity and we sincerely thank him for his role in Nigeria, someone who cares very deeply about the Nigerian state and how it is at the moment.”

Abaribe said the appeal also goes not just to Obasanjo, but to other Nigerians who are concerned about the country.

He said: “We also urge other Nigerians who are concerned about Nigeria to also in the spirit of transparency, let us know whatever information that they have so that we could use it to check ourselves and to make Nigeria a better place.”

The House of Representatives ordered an investigation into the Obasanjo statement after Speaker Aminu Tambuwal stopped what would have turned a hot debate on the issue.

He referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges because members agreed that their privilege had been infringed upon.

Deputy Minority Leader Suleiman Kawu Sumaila moved a motion under order of privilege. He said Obasanjo should be called to order over his comment

Tambuwal ruled against the motion.

Kawu, moving the motion, said the former President had infringed upon his image and privilege.

According to the lawmaker, the Obasanjo statement could bring disrepute to him (Kawu) as a member of the National Assembly.

“Enough is enough,” Kawu said in an emotional voice.

  The lawmaker added: “I am raising this point of Order under matters of personal privilege because the former president called us rogues and armed robbers, but I am not an armed robber. Neither I’m I a rogue.

  “His greatest grouse against us is that we refused him third term in office and since then, we have become his enemies.

“But Obasanjo does not have the credibility in Nigeria.”

Many members who were eager to speak on the issue raised their hands for recognition.

But Tambuwal intervened, believing the debate on the issue might go out of hand. He said the matter should not be further debated.

“I believe this is not a matter that should be debated. It will be referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Privilege for investigation. We cannot go into the foray and begin to discuss this matter. The matter is hereby referred to the Committee on ethics and Privileges for investigation,” Tambuwal said.


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Posted by on May 24 2012. Filed under Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-79, 99-07), Presidency. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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