Nobody can save Obasanjo from prosecution –Sagay

The Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has said that no individual or group can give cover to former President Olusegun Obasanjo against the law if found culpable of corruption during his tenure as president.

Sagay, who spoke to New Telegraph, while reacting to the recent fence-mending visit by Obasanjo to the leadership of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, in Lagos and Akure, the Ondo State capital, said the former president is running from pillar to post, seeking tribal shield against his past.

His words: “What has happened recently was that after Obasanjo launched an endless series of attacks on the current president (Muhammadu Buhari), they too started doling out at intervals some of his shenanigans and gross misconduct, that is what has made him uncomfortable.

“Why should anybody be rallying anyone who is not in danger? And if he is in danger; what type of danger is he in? What did he do that is now haunting him? He is running from pillar to post, looking for the Yoruba to gather together. The whole thing, for me, is an admission of things that we are not aware that he is looking for advanced protection against the consequences of his sins.”

Obasanjo, had on June 8, raised the alarm that the Buhari administration is plotting to slam false charges on him, to pave the way for his indefinite detention.

The former president said plans to silence him were in two-fold, among which is a plot to cause the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to reopen investigation into the activities of his administration.

He added that the Buhari administration had also perfected a plan to use fake documents and witnesses against him. According to him, this will be a re-enactment of the Abacha era during which he was detained on trumped up charges.

Sagay, who is a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, dismissed those Obasanjo has met with, describing their gathering as irrelevant ahead of the 2019 elections.

“I have gone through the list of the people there; I don’t think they are going to make any difference at the election. That is the truth.

“This country is a nation of law. If anybody has done anything that is criminal, there is no gathering that can save him from that. It is his innocence and moral authority that can save him, not a gathering of people who can’t give an account of his activities or can establish his innocence.
“These are not the people who can save him even though they gathered around him. For me, that gathering on Saturday was just for show; it has no relevance.”

But, Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in his reaction to Sagay’s claim, said members of the group, who are in their seventies and nineties are ready to go into the trenches in order to protect Obasanjo against possible arrest by the Federal Government.

According to him, “Obasanjo is a leader in his own right; he has served this country creditably well. Once a leader, will always remain a leader. What he is saying now is very important, people have taken notice of it and we are prepared to protect him. He cannot be paid back in bad coin by the country he served.”

Fasoranti said even if Obasanjo has not mend the fence with the Afenifere leaders, he still remained a leader of the Yoruba race by the virtue of the position he had occupied in the country.

His words: “The fact that Obasanjo is not a member of Afenifere does not take the fact that he is a leader of the country. It does not negate his contribution to the development of the country. There is no point rubbishing him.

“We still recognise him as a leader in this country. He was a Yoruba person before he became a national leader. He will always remain a Yoruba and national leader. First and foremost, he is a Yoruba man; secondly, he will always remain a leader by the virtue of the position he held.”

On how they will protect Obasanjo, the nonagenarian said: “We will stand solidly behind him and be very watchful. We don’t want anything to touch him. You know what they call public opinion; we will muster public opinion in his support. I am sure if it is well organised and sustained, it will work. He has a problem with the powers that be because of the way he has been talking. It is likely they will move against him, but we don’t want him to be victimized.”

Reminded that Obasanjo detested the group when he was in the saddle as president by seeing himself more as a national leader than Yoruba leader, Fasoranti said the former president has since mended fence with them.=

A source, who was privy to the meeting between Obasanjo and Afenifere leaders at Chief Ayo Adebanjo’s house in Lagos, said the group had a fruitful discussion with the ex-president, but some of them are still not comfortable with Obasanjo’s olive branch.

He said: “When he was in power, he had contempt for us; some of us believe that he came to meet us because he is scared that they might arrest him. It is not about President Buhari or anything, these are people he had contempt for when he was in power and he even said he was not a Yoruba leader in his book. But, he has suddenly become an Afenifere chieftain. We are taking his interest in us with a pinch of salt.”

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