In the past few days, many Nigerians and our foreign friends have been bombarding me with calls and visits to ascertain the authenticity of a report by the Sahara Reporters to the effect that I attended a meeting in Saudi Arabia where a plan was hatched to remove the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
My first reaction was to ignore the report as it fell within the genre of yellow journalism that has become the hallmark of Sahara Reporters. Besides, I did not think it was necessary to dignify my political opponents, those cowards and some traitors, who are afraid of a frontal confrontation, with any reply.
However, following considerable introspection, and in consultation with my political associates across the country, I decided that these are times when silence may not be golden and when, for the sake of our dear country and the future survival of democracy, patriots must lend a voice to douse the simmering political crisis that is trending towards a conflagration. For these reasons and the grave concern expressed by well-meaning Nigerians, I have decided to issue the following statement:
- I did not attend a meeting where the fate of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was discussed, let alone decided. To claim that I attended any such meeting is a figment of the imagination of the authors of that story. My sojourn abroad did not go beyond my spiritual obligation which has become part of my life in the past 35 years or so.
- I was not invited to such a meeting, if it held at all. And even if I had been invited I would not have attended for reasons that are all too obvious. My antecedents are so well established that to associate me with a clandestine parochial project aimed at subverting the constitution will negate everything that I stand for and cherish. As everyone knows, throughout my political career, I have stoutly defended the constitution at similar moments in the past when, as a serving senator, I spearheaded the National Integrity Group (NIG) in the Senate that paved the way for then vice President Goodluck Jonathan, to ascend to the position of acting president as required by the constitution. I wish to recall with nostalgia the statesmanship of the Senate as an institution which provided the political solution, by way of the novel “Doctrine of Necessity”, to rescue the country from the precipice. Why would I then descend from that high moral pedestal, from the status of a statesman, to the nadir of political juvenility and rascality at a time that summons all patriots, to join forces to stabilize our tottering nation-state? No matter how anybody feels, it must be acknowledged that Yemi Osinbajo is today occupying the position of acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the grace of God. Therefore, political opportunists and agent provocateur especially those of his All Progressives Congress (APC) should spare the nation this embarrassing conspiracy narrative that is domiciled in their party.
- What is playing out, with respect to the President’s health, is a painful and sordid illustration of the desperation of some members of the political class and the complete loss of humanity by some politicians that, rather than pray for the recovery and return of our President, they are busy plotting how to replace him. Is it not shameful that they are displaying such morbid desperation that negates both religious and traditional values to even allow their treacherous thoughts to filter out? How much more unconscionable can we be as a people to show such great disrespect for anybody, let alone our President? If Sahara Reporters and its heartless sponsors do not mind, I do and plead to be spared the agony of dignifying the treacherous politicians with any further reply.
- Contrary to the falsehood painted in the Sahara Reporters story, I wish the President speedy recovery. And that is for very good reasons. First by my cultural and religious orientation, I would not wish any other human being to die, not even my traducers because life and death are in the hands of Allah. Second, President Buhari has been one of my leaders since my days in the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) when, riding on his popularity and the grace of God, I won election to represent Bauchi South in the Senate. That was the pedestal that launched the dizzying political trajectory that those who smuggled my name into that gathering are trying desperately to scuttle. They will fail. For now, my main preoccupation is to join all those patriotic Nigerians who have been praying for the recovery and return of our President. If there was any time he was needed most, that time is now: his presence and leadership are required at this challenging crossroads in the history of our country.
- I wish to conclude by making two very important points:
- One, at a time like this, when tempers are flaring up dangerously and fear has become the order of the day, what is required is for all stakeholders, notwithstanding personal ambitions, party affiliation or sub-national interests, to join hands with the Acting President in stabilizing the ship of state. Unless we are being hypocritical, Professor Osinbajo is doing his best to bridge the leadership vacuum created by the absence of the President, a vacuum that has triggered all kinds of dangerous political permutations. This is rather unfortunate. However, let it be sounded loud and clear that, at a time like this, the country’s leadership is expected to galvanize all stakeholders while the political class is expected to rally behind it to fashion a way out of the present crisis. I would want to say that Professor Osinbajo has demonstrated courage in the face of danger, commendable sobriety in spite of provocation and focus in the midst of distraction to the extent that, I am confident, President Buhari will be very proud of him. I make this comment with every sense of responsibility and without prejudice to my loyalty to my party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and my personal ambition and aspirations as a politician!
- The second point is that my detractors and political opponents should not waste their precious resources on devious plans to destroy me through campaigns of calumny and false accusations because like all false witnesses, God will cut them down at the point of their successes. In this regard, my faith in God remains unshaken and my commitment to a united Nigeria anchored on equity, justice and fair play as bedrocks of a true federation remain sacrosanct. Consequently, it is therefore axiomatic that, no amount of cheap blackmail, no level of persecution and no subterfuge by Sahara Reporters and its promoters will diminish my resolve to continue to play constructive and patriotic roles in serving the good people of Bauchi State and our dear country Nigeria.
Finally, I implore all Nigerians to continue to pray for the good health of our President and for God to grant Acting President Osinbajo the wisdom to lead the country in the right direction until the President returns.
Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT