How Obasanjo, Sirleaf-Johnson Betrayed Taylor – Fani-Kayode
Amidst controversy over the ongoing trial of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, at the International Court of Criminal Justice, The Hague, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, former presidential spokesman, has described Taylor as "a man betrayed".
Fani-Kayode, a former minister of Aviation, who blamed his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Liberian president Sirleaf-Johnson and the United States for Taylor's present predicament said, "This was the betrayal of the century."
In a statement entitled, 'Charles Taylor, Naomi Campbell, Blood Diamonds And A Man Betrayed', Chief Fani-Kayode said the agreement with Taylor - not to do anything to him - was put in place before President Sirleaf-Johnson was elected and she was fully aware of its terms from day one.
According to him: "This was the betrayal of the century and, in my view, those that should have known better panicked at the last minute and broke ranks.
"Ironically, the real traitor was not Obasanjo, but rather President Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia. The agreement with Taylor was put in place before she was elected, but she was fully aware of its terms from day one. She was actually the American and Nigerian candidate for that election and she worked very closely with the Americans, Obasanjo and Nigeria before she was elected to power."
Chief Fani-Kayode, who was a member of former President Obasanjo's kitchen cabinet said that the deal with Taylor was that he (Taylor) would be persuaded to step down as president of Liberia by the ECOWAS leaders and the African Union and would be given a "safe haven" in Nigeria after doing so.
Fani-Kayode added: "He (Taylor) would not be harassed; he would not face prosecution in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or at the International Court at The Hague and Nigeria would not be pressured or harassed by anyone to extradite him to anywhere.
"On his part, Taylor was expected to live quietly in Calabar with his relatives, under the direct supervision and care of Donald Duke, the then governor of Cross River State and he was to stay out of Liberian politics and not in any way interfere with what was going on over there."
He said African leaders - including Chief Obasanjo-endorsed the agreement and seven African leaders later went to Liberia and accompanied Taylor to Nigeria, which was to be his new home and final point of destination for many years and possibly the rest of his life.
The former special assistant (Public Affairs) to Obasanjo added that it was the deal with Taylor that led to a free and fair election in Liberia, which brought President Sirleaf-Johnson to power.
"However, after the lady came to power everything changed. She ditched Obasanjo and Nigeria, turned her back on the ECOWAS leaders and the African Union and she became even closer to Bush and the Americans," Fani-Kayode added.
He said Taylor's present problems started when Obasanjo went on a state visit to America and Bush put suffocating pressure on him to release Taylor to enable him face criminal trial.
Fani-Kayode said that although his former boss fought the matter out long and hard, he later succumbed to pressure from the US and President Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia.
He said Obasanjo should have resisted the pressure, because all African leaders at that time were supported him on the matter.