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Falana: Obasanjo’s, Atiku’s Pensions Can’t Build Primary Schools Yet They Own Varsities

May 26, 2017

Femi Falana, a human right lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the pension of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, is not enough to build a primary school, yet they own universities.

Obasanjo is the owner of Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun state, while Abubakar is the founder of American University of Nigeria in Yola, Adamawa state.

Speaking at the launch of Sahara Reporters’ civic media lab, Falana queried where they got the money from.

He said the new advocates of restructuring are the same men who restructured the economy of Nigeria against the people.

“These guys who have restructured the economy of Nigeria. Or you are not aware that these guys restructured the economy of Nigeria to the extent that Nigeria is the only country today where former heads of states openly own universities,” Falana said.

“Have you ever heard of that anywhere in the world that the likes of Obasanjo, Atiku, Babangida and others, own universities, and of course, the man who is now pushing for restructuring, Atiku, has a university as well.

“None of these guys worked outside the government. One was a customs officer, the others were soldiers; their pension cannot establish a primary school, not to talk of a university. For young people, I think there is enough provocation on the part of the ruling class.”

Falana spoke to the youth present at the launch about the emergence of Emmanuel Macron, and said rather than draw lessons from the French president, Nigerians are querying his decision to marry a 64-year-old woman.

“In this part of the world that is something very serious. A 39-year-old man marrying a 64-year-old woman? And so what? Assuming it was the other way round like Macron asked, nobody would have made any noise.

“Let us address the substance; how did a 39-year-old man emerge? Through the social media. How did Obama emerge? When Obama came out, we all said why is this man disturbing Mrs. Clinton?

“Where is this black man coming from? He can't go beyond Jesse Jackson. But before you know it, through the social media, young people volunteered and they were spreading the message, and Obama said yes, we can and yes they did.

“In our own case we can say today, in 2019, and we can start the mobilization today, and in 2019, insist and demand the qualifications of those who are going to govern the country.

“If we start that campaign now before you know it, the organisation is so important. Once these people know you are organized, they can negotiate that you don’t jail them.”

Falana lauded Sahara Reporters and its founder, Omoyele Sowore for the work being done, but said Sowore has “incited us sufficiently to get organized” to demand accountability.