Why Jonathan, Obasanjo Are At Loggerhead-Shehu Sani

By Tony Colins, Kaduna

Civil rights activist and President of the Civil Rights Congress, Mallam Shehu Sani has said that the handling of the current insecurity in the country occasioned by the Boko Hartam Islamic insurgency group was responsible for the current faceoff between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, Mallam Sani said the former President made far reaching recommendations to the government on how to end the crisis, pointing out that rather than implement the recommendation, the government set it aside believing that military force will end it.

Last year, the former President visited the families of the leader of the Boko Haram group and gave them the assurance that he will pass their requests to the government for possible implementation.

Sani expressed the believe that if the Jonathan administration had implemented the recommendations made by Obasanjo after the visit, the current insecurity would have been a thing of the past, adding that rather than do that, the government believed that the use of military force will bring the insurgency to an end.

He said “the problem between President Jonathan and Obasanjo actually started with the issue of Boko Haram, when I facilitated a dialogue with the former president. And we went to Maiduguri to meet the families of Boko Haram members.

“During the visit, they gave out a list of suggestion which they thought if the government had carried out it would have brought an end to the violence and crisis in this country. We sat down with them in the Mosque of the founder, Mohammed Yusuf and they brought out photographs, documents and evidence on why their kins took up arms against the state.

“Former President Obasanjo promised them that he is going to do everything possible to convince the government to concede to the issues and see that justice is done. And he wanted to extract a commitment to them that they would work towards ending the violence and bring about peace in this country”.

“I was there with former President Obasanjo, they (Boko Haram ) brought pictures of their members and gave it to Obasanjo; they brought several documents of military and police brutality against them and the members of their families where they were molested and killed, they gave them to Obasanjo.

“The former president then gave them his words and his honour that he would do everything possible that justice is done.  The same day we left Maiduguri in a helicopter, he went back to Abuja and I knew very well that he was able to deliver such demands.

“From that point it was thrown away. And I think the person that has played a key role dismissing that effort was no other than the late Andrew Azazi. Because he, at that time believed that the Nigerian security force would silence the group once and for all.

“He misinformed the President to go to South Korea during a nuclear summit and tell the whole world that by June last year that the problem of Boko Haram would come to an end. While actually, they miscalculated, because up till today the insurgency persists. As I am talking to you violence is going on in Kano, Gombe and Maiduguri.

“I believe that was the beginning of their problems because from that point I have not seen any cordial relationship between Jonathan and Obasanjo. Thereafter the issue of Obasanjo’s resignation of the PDP Board of Trustee came in.