Open Letter: Issa Aremu slams Obasanjo, advises him to lead like Mandela

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Comrade Issa Aremu mni


The former Deputy National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu mni has advised former President Olusegun Obasanjo to lead like Nelson Mandela and stop fanning ember of war and crisis in the country.

Comrade Aremu who reacted to former President Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, described his serial open letters to his successors as unhelpful, saying that his letters open more wounds making healing of exiting ones difficult.

Aremu who is the former Labour Party gubernatorial candidate stated this in Ilorin at an event he organised to commemorate this year’s 10th Nelson Mandela Day, themed “Action Against Poverty”.




“I suggest OBJ should redeem his wading statesmanship by following the foot steps of Nelson Mandela. Like Nelson Mandela OBJ should be measured and balanced in his assessment of the state of the nation.

“Nigeria needs sobriety for both the leaders and the led alike. Of course there are Challenges of governance. But it is wrong for OBJ to smear Nigeria with Rwanda and Yugoslavia brush of disintegration and genocide while addressing Nigerian problems.

Nigeria is work in progress. OBJ should walk his talk that “We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government”.

“This calls for measured and balanced views like Mandela did in and out of office. In 1993, when Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) was assassinated Mandela did not say SA was going to collapse but rose to the challenges of statesmanship” Comrade Aremu added.

He said after Mandela left the office in 1999 after one term (unlike OBJ who wanted third term!) former President Mandela never grandstand to openly harass his successors such as former President Thambo Mbeki or President ZUma as OBJ has casually done with President Musa Yar Adua, President Jonathan and now President Buhari.

Aremu, who is the Vice President, IndustriALL Global Union urged OBJ to take a cue from Mandela’s approach to conflicts resolutions.

“In year 2007, late Nelson Mandela set up an Elders forum, an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elderstatesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates.

The goal Mandela set for the Elders was to use their “almost 1,000 years of collective experience” to work on solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems such as climate change, HIV/AIDS, and poverty, as well as to “use their political independence to help resolve some of the world’s most intractable ” he said.

I recall that Chief Bola Ige, SAN was brutally murdered on the eve of Christmas in 2001. He was a serving Federal Minister of Justice for Nigeria under President Obasanjo. Despite the scandal and the conspiratory theories, nobody doubted Nigeria survival as OBJ does now over security challenges.

On the contrary, the nation demanded for justice for the murdered Minister which OBJ never ensured for as long he was in office. It is therefore wrong for OBJ in his letter to betray statesmanship by mischievously quoting Prof. Anya, that “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”.

“We commiserate with the Chief Fasoranti who in mist of tragedy betrayed no emotion but demanded for an end to insecurity in the nation” he added.

“Former President Obasanjo is our elder statesman; somebody I respect very well. In fact, when you talk of those people who fought for the liberation in South Africa, he was also there. He was a member of Eminent Persons Group, which was formed in the 80s. He had done a very good job and he was also our two terms president.

“But there is something wrong with President Obasanjo of today; he has a withdrawal syndrome. This is because he stayed too much in power. He wanted to do third term until we said no.

Aremu therefore advised Nigerians to honour Mandela, saying that the only way to honour him is to end poverty in Kwara and in Nigeria as whole.

Comrade Aremu suggested stated that the key to prosperity is revival of industries especially textile, even as he commended President Buhari and CBN under Emefiele in reviving the textile industry and called on all state governments to as a matter priority implement the new minimum wage as President Buhari has also directed the federal civil servants to be paid the new minimum wage.

The renowne labour leader in the country also used the forum to call on President Buhari to expedite action onbthe release of the names of Ministers that will form his cabinet so as to hit the ground running.

Aremu urged the federal and state governments to encourage politics of inclusiveness and give room for inclusion of people  of different classes and women articipationin governance .

Speaking on Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Comrade Aremu called on the South African authorities to take immediate measures to protect and safeguard the lives and properties of all nationals resident in South Africa and ensure that real compensations are paid to the families of all who lost their family members and relations.

He also called on the Nigerian government through relevant Ministries and security agencies to carry out thorough investigation into the death of Elizabeth Ndubuisi Chukwu and all Nigerians murdered in South Africa.

Speaking at the event, the Kwara State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Works and Transport, Dr Garuba Yusuf Manjo, said the story of Kwara state shared semblance with South Africa where Mandela hailed from, alleging that while institutions serving the state were left to collapse, a tiny few shared the people’s patrimony.

The Governor, who eulogised the late former South African leader, told the gathering that the “Ise Ya” mantra of his administration was to resuscitate Kwara from the intensive care unit it found self.

“Our story in Kwara has some semblance to that of South Africa. For a very long time, our people went through socio-economic and political hemorrhage that put Kwara at the lowest rung of development. People’s patrimony was shared among a tiny few while institutions that served the majority and the helpless were left to collapse.

“The March 9, 2019 ended all of that and Kwara, I can assure you, is now on the path to recovery. Our pace may be slow but I assure you we will rebuild this state to the glory of God and the people of Kwara State.

“This task is so enormous that we don’t have vendetta or petty politics on our plate. This is one of the reasons we chose to reinstate the salary of the so called sunset workers, who many had thought we would sack from the civil service.

“Our Iseya mantra means that we have to work round the clock to resuscitate Kwara from the intensive care unit it has found itself. In doing that, we won’t pursue vendetta” he said.

In his remark, the state Chairman of APC, Hon Bashir Bolarinwa who was represented on the occasion by Mr Abdullateef Godado assured kwarans of the party’s commitment to fulfill all APC’s electioneering campaigns by making life more comfortable for the masses.

Hon. Gidado appreciated labour party in the state and other like mind parties in the state for their amazing inputs in the otoge movement that gave birth to the emergence of Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq as the Executive Governor of this state.

The event was attended by some eminent personalities among whom were National Chairman of LP, Alhaji Abdulquadri Abdulsalam, state LP Secretary Comrade Rotimi, former Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Information Chief Ajayi, Alhaji Ore among others.


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