Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan have been accused of failing the nation when they held sway.
Obasanjo led Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 while Jonathan was in charge between 2010 and 2015.
A civil society organisation known as Coalition for Nigeria Movement said the duo milked the nation’s treasury dry during their tenures.
Sabo Odeh, national convener of the group, said under the governments of Obasanjo and Jonathan, Nigerians were almost misled to believe that democracy is synonymous with corruption.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Sabo recommended that the federal government should conduct a comprehensive audit of government funds by probing national finances from 1999 – 2015 so as to bring the ex-leaders to book.
Odeh’s speech below:
Gentlemen of the press, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement congratulates Nigerians on the attainment of 20 years of uninterrupted democracy. Considering our history of truncated democracy and aborted republics, our successfully keeping at democracy for upwards of two decades is a feat that is worth celebrating, which the country has rightly celebrated.
Thankfully, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has woken up to the realization that we must as a people go beyond merely celebrating our achievement. He has taken steps to stamp the significance of our commitment to democracy by institutionalizing the day in our consciousness by documenting June 12 as Democracy Day, in recognition of the importance of the election of June 12, 1993 to where we are today.
President Buhari has further broken away from the denial syndrome of his predecessors, who refused to recognize and honour the heroic role of late Chief MKO Abiola as the catalyst of what the country enjoys today.
Mr. President’s choice of actions has placed Abiola on the list of Nigeria’s past presidents as of today, which is something that will encourage even more patriots to be willing to lay down their lives to defend democracy.
These developments that have elated Nigerians cross class, ethnic, religious and political divides. It is however alarming that there is a pocket of evil people that are saddened by the very fact that Nigeria’s democracy have survived their repeated assault on it, which has made their intentions to abort two decades of continued democracy to fail serially. So toxic is their bad wish for the country that they are unable to hide their disappointment and anger that the country is on the path of thriving in spite of their willful acts of sabotage against the nation.
These axes of evil have in recent times spoken through two former presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. It is interesting that these are men that Nigerians have the misfortune of enduring as leaders for fourteen out of the twenty years of democratic rule. These are men under whose administration Nigerians were almost misled to believe that democracy is synonymous with corruption.
There is a long list of national assets that were fraudulently privatized against the interest of the country. Proof that these entities were sold under questionable terms is in the very fact the sectors are being held hostage while the supposed buyers are unable to meet basic benchmarks.
One would have expected that the disgrace of being found to have looted the collective treasury would have forced these men to seek out the path of honour but it appears they are too far gone to the dark side for them to be remorseful. Instead of finding ways to atone for their sins in the hope that they will one day be considered in the light of legends like MKO Abiola and President Buhari, they have rather resorted to piling more sins on their existing transgressions. Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan have decided to continue assaulting the country on several fronts and in various guises.
We are of the opinion that their resort to attacking the integrity of Nigeria while making it appear as if their target is President Buhari is a strategy to draw attention away from the years of bad governance that they inflicted on Nigerians. It is a concept of making the current state of affairs appears dismal so that the horrible foundation they had laid for our democracy can be forgiven.
While they are free to attempt exonerating themselves of their misdeeds, what they are not allowed to do is to go about it in a way that further does damage to our body politics. The utterances of Obasanjo and Jonathan in recent weeks are capable of sparking off ethno-religious crisis in the country because they continue to speak in ways that pitch one section of the country against the other.
The Coalition for Nigeria Movement will not stop at just making these demands but will begin a nationwide mobilization and contact activities to get more Nigerians on board in the quest to properly criminalize the theft of public assets and running subversive activities against the country irrespective of who is involved. We shall also be mobilizing Nigerians to join us on piling pressure on the government of the day not to shy from its responsibility of defending Nigeria’s democracy against subversive past leaders.
We want Nigerians to remember that it a sacred duty for all of us to ensure that our democracy survives into perpetuity. This is a task that requires that all sentiments are discarded while national interest takes primacy.