Mallam Nasir el-Rufai the former FCT Minister, has alleged that President Umaru Yar’Adua is desperately looking for reasons to send former president Olusegun Obansanjo to prison. Chatting with newsmen at the Nigeria High Commission in London on Tuesday, shortly before submitting his application for the renewal of
his passport, el-Rufai claimed that Yar’Adua has been looking for any excuse to send the former president to jail.
“It is just that Yar’Adua has not got enough proof to send him (Obasanjo) to prison. What do you think the power probe was all about? They want to get him. I know Yar’Adua very well. He is vicious and unforgiving”.
El-Rufai said when the fall-out between him and Yar’Adua started, he told Obasanjo that he did not want his intervention or reconciliation, stressing that President Yar’Adua was a person who will only reconcile when he is down on his knees. “As President, he is not going to be on his knees”.
“Obansanjo hand-picked Yar’Adua as president. Yar’Adua was his project and now he is after him. You can’t create a problem and then intervene. I would rather Obansanjo spends time saving himself than saving me”.
On his declared intention of going home to Nigeria, El-Rufai said: “I intend to spend my Christmas in Nigeria by God’s grace, but I haven’t fixed a date a yet”.
He said many people have told him not to go because they were concerned about his safety and security, but he insisted that he was more concerned about his safety that anyone else.
He said he was very much aware of the risks he would face if he went home, but stated that he was prepared to take the risk for the sake of Nigeria and his desire to bring about positive change in the governance of the country.
“You can’t change a bad system without taking risks”, he said. “If we all keep away from Nigeria, the country will not change (for the better) and the criminals will continue to dominate”.
El-Rufai said Nigerians must learn to stand up and fight for their rights, lamenting that Nigerian liked blaming others for their problems instead of standing up to challenge those responsible for their woes.
“Nigerians should group together and put pressure on President Yar’Adua to make him wake up to his responsibilities”.
He blamed Yar’Adua for the waning of influence Nigeria used to have on issues and events in Africa and the world at large. “Under Obansanjo, when Nigeria goes to summits, it speaks for Africa, but under Yar’Adua, Nigeria sits in the back row.
The former FCT minister who stated that he had no immediate plans to vie for any elective position in the near future however said he was ready to team up and work with anybody to change the way things were being done in the country.
Ibrahim Chonoko – Daily Trust