Obasanjo’s probe, effort in futility – Babatope

  • Saturday, February 02, 2008 - By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
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A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trutees, Chief Ebenezer Babatope has warned against any attempt at probing former President Olusegun Obasanjo, stressing that such an effort would amount to exercise in futility.

Babatope, who was a former Transport Minister under Sani Abacha regime however admitted that the call for Obasanjo’s probe was part of the beauty of democracy, pointing out that since Obasanjo is a human being, not all his action in office could be without errors.

His words: “That is the beauty of democracy if some people are calling for Obasanjo’s probe. You see, I am not saying that everything Obasanjo did was beautiful or rosy. I mean, he is also a human being, so those calling for his probe are acting within their democratic rights.
“You cannot say they are wrong. As long as you are in public office, of course, your life is an open book which can be examined by Nigerians any time.”

However, the die-hard Awoist was of the belief that it would be a frivolous action probing Obasanjo just as he wished the new administration well if it was its design to probe Obasanjo, citing an example of the stand of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo on such an exercise which he said would, at the end of the day became a fruitless exercise.

According to him, “Papa Awolowo, when he was contesting in 1979 said; ‘I will erect a thick wall between the events of the past and present. I will not bother myself probing those who have gone because it is going to be a useless exercise. The police will do their job.’ That was what Papa Awolowo said and I still believe entirely in that.”

While advocating fortification of the police to be able to do their job properly, the social critic and newspaper columnist emphatically stated that “if Ebenezer Babatope is found guilty of corruption or any other offence, let the police do their job and jail Ebenezer Babatope,” just as he supported the idea that police should be able to jail any corrupt office holder without giving room for sacred cows.

“So, to me, this call for probe is a fruitless exercise. When you probe, you will have a probe committee. Then you start to serve tea and biscuits to those who are probing. At the end of the day, they give you a probe reports that are neither here nor there. And the people being probed would easily escape from being brought to book.

“But if we have a strong police force like Awolowo said, of course, it would ensure that the man who has stolen public funds must be taken to court and jailed. That is my stand,” Babatope submitted, urging Nigerians to go back to Papa Awolowo’s stand by erecting a thick wall between the events of the past and present and ensure that the police do their job well.

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