Obasanjo physically attacked me at Aso Rock – Col Nyiam

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Obasanjo physically attacked me at Aso Rock – Col Nyiam

Colonel Tony Nyiam, a military strategist, has sensationally revealed how former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, physically attacked him at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Colonel Tony Nyiam, a military strategist, has sensationally revealed how former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, physically attacked him at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Nyiam, the most senior military officer in the Gideon Orkar coup of 1990, said that Obasanjo was so furious that he advised him against dispensing with the services of General Theophilus Y. Danjuma that the ex-president went for his jugular.

He said: “He was so mad with me. I must say Gen. Obasanjo behaved like a child to me the way he reacted. I must say it was the wise counseling and humour of Osuntokun that prevented Obasanjo from attacking me, just because I told him not to fight Danjuma?”

Though he gave some commendations to the eight-year-old rule of Obasanjo as a civilian president, Nyiam is also quick to add that the regime failed to address the structural imbalances in the polity.
Bold as ever, Col. Nyiam also commented on the Umaru Yar’Adua presidency, anti-corruption war, probes by the National Assembly, constitution amendment and rotational presidency.

Good and bad things have been said about former President Olusegun Obasanjo. How would you sum up his eight years as a democratic president?
I think it is very sad and I do not want to make comments on President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is a man who played such a key role when I was a young officer. It is actually by virtue of President Olusegun Obasanjo that I was given the best education in the world by being sent to the UK and some of the best universities a man can get. Some of us came in with that spirit to serve Obasanjo. It is a pity that those who were ready to serve Obasanjo were pushed away. President Obasanjo was so much afraid of his shadows, as it were; he never liked those people, who were independent-minded or people who can think for themselves or who can even think. He liked sycophants, who would hang around him and call him, ‘Baba! Baba! Baba! Baba!’ And the fact that eight good years of opportunities were lost is such a big shame. That’s all I can say for now.

Having known him closely and this much, what kind of leader would you say he is?
What I would say is that I am at a stage where I like to praise rather than condemn people. Let’s be clear about it. Obasanjo did some good things. For example, he brought, for a first time, the issue of how our finances are run.

We now understood people who understood what it is to run finances. By bringing in the like of Iweala and Soludo, people who were not just theoreticians or bankers but knew how to follow the routines, he did well. These people were economists and experienced (I’m talking of Soludo and Iweala). They transformed our higher financial management from a mechanical approach to a thoughtful and a professional approach.

That Obasanjo created that enabling environment, he deserves some commendation. What is a pity, though, is that under President Obasanjo, the country was not re-structured to correct the imbalances in the polity.

Also, one also was sad that under President Obasanjo the biggest frauds were committed. One is the election. Two is the national population. That President Obasanjo can really look one in the eye and say that Lagos is less populated than Kano and to accept such figures is very sad.

People say he is vindictive. Do you know about that?
Yes, of course. I think one of the things which is sad is that I was part and parcel of trying to solve what I saw was a case of ingratitude to Gen. T. Y. Danjuma. Here is a man who had been loyal; who had been a close friend right from time to Gen. Obasanjo; a man who in fact, stood firm for Obasanjo to be made the first military Head of State; a man who went about campaigning for Obasanjo to come back into the limelight in 1999.

When I saw a case of ingratitude to such a figure, a General, a man who really fought the civil war, I was sad. Gen. T. Y Danjuma was being, as it were, alienated from government and I had a meeting with Obas

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