By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has denied allegations that he influenced the arrest of the Chairman of Globacom Telecoms Limited, Chief Mike Adenuga, by the EFCC in 2006.
Obasanjo’s denial is contained in his letter to Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu land, who had made sundry allegations against the former president in his recently published autobiography.
A copy of the letter dated December 30, 2016, was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
Obasanjo said that while he was Nigeria’s civilian president, the EFCC was free to do its job as it deemed fit.
“On several occasions, the then EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, had asserted that under my watch, he was a free agent to do his work as he deemed fit. Where it was necessary, he reported the outcome of his work to me and the subsequent or follow-up actions he intended to take. On no occasion did I guide, lead or direct him on what to do.
“If the EFCC was investigating anybody, I did not consider it right for me as the president of Nigeria to be undermining EFCC by hobnobbing with that person. The agency was given free hand to do its work.
“Even if such a person was my child, the best I could do would be to secure a good lawyer to handle the matter before the EFCC for that child. Kabiyesi, the total sum of what you have put down in those pages of your book is that I dislike Mike.
“May be I need to remind you that if there was any iota of truth in such a position or mindset, Mike would not have been granted the mobile telephone licence which made him a billionaire. It was my prerogative as the president so to do.
“You may also be reminded that in the first round of the auction which Mike did not make, the country earned US$285 million for each licence. The country earned only US$200 million from the licence transaction with Mike and in the subsequent transaction with Etisalat, the country earned US$400 million.
”It was a deliberate action on my part that a Nigerian should own one of the licences. Anybody else but Mike could have been that Nigerian,” Obasanjo said in the letter.
The former president also disagreed with the monarch over his claim that he (Obasanjo) “squandered the enormous goodwill he carried into office with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements.”
“I probably have greater goodwill today internally and externally than I had in office,’’ Obasanjo said.
The former president maintained that inspite of the allegations, he would continue to accord Adetona the respect due to him as a monarch.
I had no hand in Adenuga’s travails with EFCC in 2006, says Obasanjo
By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos