Another perspective has emerged on how former President, Olusegun Obasanjo actually escaped the impeachment moves made against him by the National Assembly more than a decade ago.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, spoke how himself and another military leader, Abdulsalami Abubakar, saved the ex-President from the impeachment hammer during his tenure.
Obasanjo, had had a serious battle with NASS, especially the House of Representatives under former Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, with the anti-climax being a move to secure his impeachment, which he later escaped, with the now famous quote: I dey kampe.
However, Gowon, at a public lecture tagged: Nation Building or Nation Fragmentation: Reflection on 20 years of Post-Military Rule in Nigeria, narrated how his intervention, together with Abubakar, the last military Head of State from 1983, who actually brokered the transition that put the current democracy in place in Nigeria and handed over power to Obasanjo in 1999, did the magic.
Speaking at the event, which held in Abuja on Saturday, was organised in honour of late Emmanuel Abisoye, a retired major-general, Gowon took told his story in the presence of Na’Abba and former Senate President, Pius Anyim at the time of the impeachment move, who were also at the event.
Hear him: “If the action of the legislature, which was to embarrass Chief Obasanjo was allowed to be implemented, those who succeeded him would have faced similar fate. I can see Alhaji Ghali Na’Abbah here and I can assure you we had some very important discussions and I know that we had to appeal to him and the president of the senate not to impeach Obasanjo and of course, because of the respect they had for us, they listened to us.
“If we had allowed them impeach the president at that time of our democracy, no president in Nigeria would escape being harrassed.”
Gowon, who serves as chairman, board of trustees (BoT) of the Abisoye Foundation, on the same day he eulogised the former military top brass, whom he said gave his all to the country, argued that if Obasanjo had been impeached, those who succeeded him would have faced a similar fate.
He said of the regime he ran together with Abisoye: “As young as we were then, our ideals were not self-seeking. Rather, they were focused on the growth and development of a strong, stable, viable indivisible and indissoluble nation.”