Retrieve $1b Loot From Abacha Family, Obasanjo Urges Jonathan

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FORMER
President Olusegun Obasanjo wants President Goodluck Jonathan to do what he
couldn’t do, by recovering the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot He acknowledged
that recovering the funds was a hard task that he could not accomplish while he
was in office, but he wants President Jonathan to do it. There is at least $1 bil-lion Abacha loot still lying in Swiss accounts,
Obasanjo said.

Effort to retrieve funds stashed in foreign countries by Nigerians was not an
easy task for him. Obasanjo spoke yesterday at a Public Lecture or ganized
by the Members of the Word of Life Bible Church, Warri, Delta State, in honour
of the founder of the Church, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor as he mark his 40 years in
the Ministry.

The
theme of the public lecture was “The Nigeria of My Dreams:Towards the
Consolidation of National Unity.”
According
to Obasanjo, the issue was not easy for him while he was in office as all
entreaties made to unravel all those involved in looting the country’-fund did
not yield the de sired result.
He
said that if President Jonathan works harder, Nigeria can still get at least
one billion dollars from the late Abacha’s family alone.
He
said: “When I was President, I called the World Bank. I said, please give me
the list of the amount  that  have  been stolen, where they are
kept and who the beneficiaries are”.
“I
never got anything from the World Bank thereafter. We have on our own
investigated and recovered some.
“From
Abacha family alone, we recovered mil-lions of dollars. I got 1.2 billion Dollars
(100million Pounds) and the lawyer in Switzerland (he is still there) who was
doing it for us when I was leaving, said that if we work harder, there was
still at least one billion dollars that we can get from that family alone”.
Taking
a swipe on the World Bank, the three-time Commander-in-Chief, said “It is
the same World Bank who came to us and said ‘Structural Adjustment Pro-gramme
was good.’ Of course, it only made us poorer.
“We
said SAP would make us poorer, they said ‘No.’ We went for it and we are poorer
today. And then they came to tell us that we did not do it the way they wanted
us to do it. Many years later, they accepted that we were right and they were
wrong.”
Besides,
he queried the inability of anti-graft bod-ies in the country to bite as it
happened during his regime.
“I
am not saying we are not corrupt. As a nation, we are corrupt, but are we doing
something about it? I once heard people, during my regime, saying that the fear
of Ribadu was the be-ginning of wisdom but today, there is no longer any
wisdom,” he averred.
Obasanjo
also spoke on insurgency of the Boko Haram sect in the country. He said that
Boko haram is an ill wind that blows no-body any good.
He
urged the Federal Government to look at the best ways the problem of Boko Haram
could be permanently solved. He said: “Whichever way, don’t leave any problem
that is bad unattended”.
“If
you say you don’t want a strong leader who can have all the characteristics of
a leader, then you have a weak leader and the rest of the problem is yours.”
He
said he decided to take some drastic steps dur-ing the time he was the
President when there were problems in some part of the country to save the
country from disintegrating even though some people blamed him for taking such
actions.
He,
however, charged Nigerians to stand up and work for the unity of this country.
Obasanjo, who acknowledged that leadership remains the biggest problem of
Nigeria, said that it will remain so except the elec-torates decide to change
the pendulum by deciding who leads them or not.
He
said that doing that is the beauty of democracy.
He
enumerated the characteristics of leadership to include courage, knowledge,
doggedness, fairness, justice and fear of God.
According
to him, any leader who does not have the fear of God should not be followed.
“Within
ourselves, let us see what we can do for ourselves. I didn’t say that we are
not corrupt but let us do something.
“Every
country must design a way on which they must strengthen their unity. I don’t
see anything intrinsically wrong with Federal Character, the problem is how we
have applied it”, he added.
“The
beauty of democracy is that you have power as electorates. Every elected leader
wants to have opportunity to come again and if you say to him you will not
come, he will not come.
“Leaders’
failure is because we are shying away from our responsibilities. You have to
stand out for something.
“We
have a saying in my place that if you say some-thing you will die, if you don’t
say you will die. Say something and die.”
The
former president said he sees Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s forty (40) years in the
ministry like the biblical Moses preparation towards the liberation of the
Israelites in the hands of their Egyptian slave masters.
He
charged him no to re-lent in his advocacy for what is right, saying “I pray
that those flocks who love you and those of your friends who believe in you
will be with you all along the way.”
Speaking,
the guest speaker, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi lampooned the political elite, who
held sway in early post independence era, blaming them for not making efforts
to “reach a broad consensus on the fundamental values that should be the
overriding principles of governance in order to make life more abundant for
all, cater for the poor, increase opportunities for all, provide safety net for
the widow and the orphan and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor,
between the south and the north and between the haves and the have notes,”
which, he said if done, would have laid a solid foundation for the stability of
the nation.
According
to the diplomat, leaders after leaders have refused to learn from the mistakes
of their predecessors thereby trivializing public offices.
Source: Compass

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