A shocking letter purportedly written by Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in which she mocked her father as a liar, an abuser and a hypocrite, is fake, family members, and aides to Mr. Obasanjo have revealed.
In the 11-page letter, published by Vanguard newspaper Wednesday, Ms. Obasanjo-Bello denounced her father as a self-seeking man lacking in all key expectations of a father and a leader, but often appearing quick to accuse others of the same ills.
Mrs Obasanjo-Bello, a former senator, purportedly said her father confirmed to her his failed effort at securing a third term as president. She spoke of her father’s “stupidity and cruelty”, and deplored him for all the “many atrocities” he has been able to get away with.
“Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them,” Ms. Obasanjo-Bello was quoted as saying by Vanguard.
She said the letter came in the spirit of open letters since Mr. Obasanjo had last week penned an acerbic piece to President Goodluck Jonathan. But she made it clear her writing was not in support of Mr. Jonathan, or the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, but an “outpouring from my soul to God.”
But in multiple interviews early Wednesday, close family members of Mr. Obasanjo, who claimed to have spoken to the former President about the matter, and two of his close aides called the letter a forgery and vowed Ms. Iyabo-Bello would not write to her father that way. One family member said Mr. Obasanjo spoke with Iyabo only two days back and apparently both related as cordial as always.
“I can tell you that such letter never existed. I can tell you authoritatively that it only existed in the imagination of those who forged and published it. It the height of desperation by those who masterminded it,” Tunde Oladunjoye, an aide to Mr. Obasanjo, said.
Mr. Oladunjoye said he could confirm that Mr. Obasanjo had not received any such letter from his daughter.
One senior family member, refusing to be named for security reasons, said with all of Mr. Obasanjo’s faults, he knows his children and their likely behaviour, and that the letter does not fit into any of their behavioural pattern.
A former aide to Mr. Obasanjo and former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, said based on his knowledge of the two individuals, it was impossible for Ms. Obasanjo to have sent her father such mail.
“I can tell you the so-called letter was forged by those in government,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said. “They think they can get at Baba that way. But they are mistaken. One thing is that if they want to fight Baba, they should face him and leave his family out of it. Baba has spoken the truth and they should respond to the issues he raised.
Ms. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello could not be immediately reached. She is yet to respond to multiple emails sent her by this newspaper.
It was learnt that she is currently in the United States.
However, all family members and aides who work closely with Mr. Obasanjo quickly placed the blame for the allegedly “forged” letter at the doorsteps of the presidency as a desperate response to Mr. Obasanjo’s own stinging letter to President Jonathan last week, in which he accused the president of being inept, corrupt, and clannish.
In the 18-page letter exclusively published by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Obasanjo accused Mr. Jonathan of making plans for a violent election in 2015 and preparing to launch snipers against the opposition and critics, of whom at least 1,000 are currently on the government watch-list.
Mr. Obasanjo’s letter has stirred a swell of reactions with calls for investigation into the many allegations. Many Nigerians have also dismissed the former president as lacking the moral authority to condemn his successor.
Beyond asking Mr. Obasanjo to substantiate his claim that the government is training snipers, the presidency has yet to fully respond to the letter. An earlier statement said Mr. Jonathan had directed aides not to respond, as he will personally do so at the “appropriate time.”
Regardless of the directive, groups believed to be loyalists of the president have in the past days launched what appears to be a massive campaign of calumny against Mr. Obasanjo.