- An associate of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo has scored President Buhari low in terms of performance
- Professor Banji Akintoye who narrated his experience with the president said late Ondo state governor, Adekunle Ajasin, was jailed by Buhari despite his innocence
- He said many people had believed that Buhari would rid Nigeria of corruption
83-year-old historian and associate of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Professor Banji Akintoye, has recounted how President Muhammadu Buhari arrested him and jailed respected leaders like late Michael Adekunle Ajasin.
Akintoye, who had, three years ago wrote two separate open letters to president Muhammadu Buhari while the latter was the presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) accused the president of arresting him for not committing any crime of which he was alleged.
In an interview with Punch, Akintoye scored the president low and declared that Buhari has performed extremely poor in all departments of governance.
Narrating his experience of Buhari, he said: "When he seized power in December 1983, he detained a large number of politicians. He said he was detaining people because of corruption and so on. But it was very strange that he would arrest someone like me and those of us in the Unity Party of Nigeria, who were known all over Nigeria as corruption fighters. Not only were we not involving ourselves in corruption but we were fighting it. I was a senator and we were fighting it in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, and the states – everywhere.
"We were known as a party dedicated to the welfare of the people; therefore, we were vehemently opposed to corruption. So if you said you wanted to fight corruption, then why were you arresting who had been fighting it? But he just put us in prison and began to treat some of us as if we were corrupt. I wasn’t one of those treated like that because my life was too open for anybody to treat me like a corrupt person, but there were people whose cases were not that clear, people who were governors, for instance.
"There was someone like Chief Adekunle Ajasin, unfortunately. He was an old man who had become governor. He was absolutely opposed to corruption. There were stories about him. This new thing called security vote, which didn’t exist before but was established by the military – a very corrupt idea of voting a large sum of money for security available only to the governor and which nobody could audit. Chief Ajasin said no, this is a corrupt thing. He didn’t want to touch it. People told him that was the way it was done. He said well not everywhere, we are Yoruba people and Ondo state is in Yorubaland, and we don’t do such here.
"His life was open; he didn’t have much in life in terms of physical wealth. He had one house in Owo – the old house he built when he was the principal of a school. And he never added to it or expanded the same old house. There were jokes in Ondo state that he came with a given number of Agbada and returned when he left with the same number of Agbada.
"You know, he always wore Agbada. He had no additional car. I was a commissioner in his government. The day the (1983) coup occurred, I was packing my things into my car to leave Akure and one of our most senior officials said, ‘Banji, don’t put your things in that car’. I said, ‘Why sir?’ He said, ‘We would need another car for the governor – Ajasin’. He was that poor! You (Buhari) arrested a man like that, put him in detention, took him to the worst prison available in the country and set up a committee to investigate him.
"They said they didn’t find anything on him, you said they should dig more. You set up another group to try him and they didn’t find anything and you set up a third group to still look. Why did you want to treat people like that?"
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Speaking on the level of progress since President Buhari became president, he said:
"Actually, I wouldn’t say that I supported him when he was campaigning. I wasn’t even in the country so I wouldn’t have been able to vote. But I was surprised that our people were supporting him at all. But then he won and then the question was no longer about what he had done in the past but what he should do in the future.
"He came to the US where I was living and addressed a large crowd of Nigerians at the Nigerian embassy in Washington, D.C. And even before he had finished his speech, people were calling me to say this man would rid our country of corruption and many of us would be able to return home. I saw a great deal of excitement. So I wrote an article which was published in which I said in spite of what happened in the past, this is a great moment for Nigeria, do it well. I wished him luck and said he should clean up our country for us.
Asked to rate Buhari's performace, Akintoye declared that: "He has done extremely poorly in every department of governance."
NAIJ.com had reported three years ago, despite the fact that Akintoye got jailed at the time of Buhari's military regime, the professor gave up on his past experience for the sake of change in 2015.
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