Severe Association with Obasanjo, CoalitionTells UN

Olusegun Obasanjo

Martins I jeh

Following the appointment of former President Olusegun Obasanjo into membership of the United Nations Advisory Board, a non-partisan coalition, Progressive Minds in Nigeria and South Africa, has called on the Secretary General of the United Nations, Anthonio Manuel De Oliveira to severe the appointment.

It said the UN must be protected from contamination from the likes of Obasanjo, whom they said has had a life career that is antithetical to the charter of the organisation, and has undermined the ethics and values of the global body,

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday and jointly signed by the former Head of Of ce, Consolidation of Democratic Governance (United Nations Mission In Liberia, UNMIL), Dr. Ademola Araoye; former Minister in the Presidency, South Africa, Dr. Essop Pahad; Executive Editor, The NEWS/PM NEWS, Kunle Ajibade; and former

Executive Director, Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa, Prof. Garth, Le Pere, the group said UN was in great danger with the sordid pro le of Obasanjo.

“We af rm that Obasanjo’s association with the UN is a grave error fraught with potentially incalculable harm to the already fragile ethical fabric and upended value systems of not just Nigeria but the totality of the African society. And in view of the dangers implicit in the association, it is our hope that as Secretary General, you would, as a matter of priority, nullify this unmerited association of your highly valued organisation and historic partner of Africa with an immoral man possessed of stout anti-democratic credentials.

“Under Obasanjo’s watch, over eight high pro le national political actors were assassinated across Nigeria in yet unexplained circumstances. Among them were the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and the National Chairman of another party, Chief Harry Marshal.

The assassinated were seen as obstacles to electoral victories in regional constituencies considered critical for Obasanjo’s aspiration to a second term in of ce,” the group said.

The international coalition said before then, in 1978, under Obasanjo’s watch as military head of state, military command killed over 300 unarmed Nigerian university students and innocent civilians across the nation, adding that the crime of the students was protesting increases in tuition fee.

“About the same time, Obasanjo’s ‘unknown soldiers’ raided and burnt down to rubble the home of iconic cultural figure, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, whose octogenarian mother, Mrs Funmilayo Ransom Kuti, an icon in the pantheon of historic anti-colonial figures in Nigeria, died of wounds sustained from that incident. The deployment of mindless violence has since become Obasanjo’s default approach to crisis management in all settings.”

Listing other ‘crimes’ of the former president, the coalition

said under his watch, a gory massacre of civilians took place as the Nigerian military descended on Zaki-Biam, a community in Benue State in 2001 when soldiers from the 23rd Armoured Brigade of the 3rd Armoured division of the Nigerian army rounded up residents in Gbeji village for a “meeting.”, adding that this made the unarmed civilians sit on the ground, separated the men from the others, and then opened re upon the men indiscriminately.

It explained that witnesses reported that some of the victims’ bodies were then set ablaze while further killings took place as soldiers invaded the villages of Vasae, Ugba, Sankera and Zaki-Biam, all located in the two local government areas of Logo and Zaki-Biam.

The group therefore called on the Secretary General to go in search of authentic heroes to lead the charge to rectify the devalued codes of decency in its violently abused societies, stressing that Obasanjo does not belong to the rescue vanguard brigade.