At the maiden edition of the Akintola Williams Annual Lecturewhich held in Lagos on Wednesday, Obasanjo criticized President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly
Obasanjo called the National Assembly the “den of corruption”run “by a gang of unarmed robbers.’’
According to Obasanjo, “Once you are a member (of the National Assembly), you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15m a month for a senator and N10m a month for a member of the House of Representatives.
“If the judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians. Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of a whistle-blower is deplorable and undemocratic,’’ he said, referencing Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin who was banned from parliamentary duties for 180 days for accusing his colleagues of corruption.
Obasanjo also alleged that lawmakers steal from Nigerians in the name of constituency projects.
“These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time,” Obasanjo added.
But his comments have stirred an angry response from the House of Representatives.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, in a statement made available to Pulse, said Obasanjo introduced corruption to the National Assembly.
”Undoubtedly, the former President Obasanjo is understandably angry with the National Assembly as an institution having foiled his ambition for a third-term in office even after trying to corrupt the members with a bribe of at least N50m each.
“Lest we forget, the person who introduced corruption to the National Assembly is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He birthed the 4th Republic National Assembly with corrupt practices from day one; indeed the first day of the Republic, he bribed both PDP, ANPP and AD legislators on their inauguration in 1999 to vote against the majority candidate of PDP, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. That was how Senator Evan Enwerem became Senate President.
“Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some Honourable members to impeach Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ghali N’abba?
Have we forgotten that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo used his position as President to extort money from businessmen and contractors with his government to build his presidential library?”
The House also called the former President the most corrupt person to ever hold office in Nigeria.
“The list of his corrupt acts while in office is endless. Unquestionably, he is the greatest corrupt person ever to hold office in Nigeria. He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or indeed abuse of office in Nigeria as he remains the most corrupt Nigerian on record,” the lawmakers said.