A new book published by the media aides of Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has detailed the high handedness and the corruption of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, under whom Atiku served for eight years.
The new book is entitled "Atiku Media Office: The Wars, The Victories" and presents the grim details of how Obasanjo crippled his deputy, Atiku, in office at the height of their disagreement in 2003. The book also speaks about how Obasanjo who “in 1999 had less than N20, 000 in his bank account” grew to acquire monumental assets.
The former vice-president’s spokesman, Mallam Shehu Garba "and others" authored the book.
On Obasanjo’s assets, the authors wrote: "It is, however, ironic that the same EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), whose only allegation against Atiku Abubakar is authorisation of placement of deposits in interest-yielding bank accounts, failed to see anything wrong or even curious is a situation where Obasanjo who in 1999 had less than N20,000 in his bank account managed to acquire several highly mechanised multi-million naira farms in all the six geo-political zones of the country; Obasanjo palm oil farms in Calabar; his farm at Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, the biggest of its kind in Africa; big fish farms in Lanlate and Ota; a big poultry farm in Ibogun and oil palm and estate at Ehuuagie, Rivers State.
"As if that was not enough, Obasanjo’s investments allegedly stretch across all sectors of the economy with such ventures as the multi-million naira Temperance Hotel, Ota; the Bells Secondary School and University; Transcorp, which owns the Abuja Hilton, NITEL, oil blocks; steel company, as well as a speculated interest in the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot-Abasi, which was allegedly sold to foreign interests allegedly at a price believed to be far below its actual value."
In a revealing chapter titled, "Constitutional and Political Background to the Obasanjo/Atiku Conflict," the authors also traced the history of Obasanjo’s emergence as president in 1999 to the efforts of some retired military generals who collaborated with the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) machine of the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, then being led by Atiku.
Although Atiku would later emerge Obasanjo’s running mate and subsequently vice-president, General Ibrahim Babangida, Lt. General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd) and a few Northern leaders who supported Obasanjo did not take kindly to this arrangement, according to the authors.
The problem between Obasanjo and Atiku, the authors said, started with the 2003 presidential election against an earlier alleged expectation that the former president would spend only one term.
The authors detailed how Obasanjo deployed EFCC to fight the ex-vice president on charges of corruption and how the former president took over the Peoples Democratic Party and appointed his men as party leaders.
According to them, the former president began to cripple Atiku by moving to control such petty things as allocation of staff vehicles, office and residential accommodation or determine who should be entitled to lunch at the State House.