Late Former Minister Insists Obasanjo Ceded Bakassi For Personal Reasons

Late M.T. Mbu

Nigeria’s former Labour minister in the first republic, Mathew Tawo Mbu, has in a posthumous book alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ceding of the Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroon was not done in the public interest, but for personal glory.

Mbu maintained in the book,
“M.T. Mbu: Dignity in Service,” that “Obasanjo was hoping to impress the international community, the outside world and to be hailed as having avoided war. He was gunning for a Nobel Peace Prize to be in the same column as Al Gore and Nelson Mandela”.

When Obasanjo went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with Cameroun there was no need for it. “Nigerians have been occupying their land. Nigeria was not obliged to go to that court. With that judgement and our compliance with the jurisdiction, we have only postponed the evil day that a solution has been found. And what is annoying is our indifference to the optional clause of the statute of the International Court of Justice,” he wrote in the book.

In the book slated for public presentation in Abuja on April 10, 2018, Mbu also points out that “… it is clear that the judgement of the court is not binding on any member unless the member accepts its jurisdiction. What was it that compelled Nigeria to accept in such a hurry the judgement of the court? Yes, our government made terrible mistakes in law, whether history will forgive us, I don’t know.”

This memoir, written by the former minister before he died on February 6, 2012, also contains a startling revelation. “Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon, like most neighbours would, was interested in hydrocarbon resources. He promised me that he would not go to war with Nigeria over Bakassi. All he wanted Nigeria to do was allow Cameroon to participate in the development of the hydrocarbon resources in the area. This is on record, signed and published as a communiqué about agreement reached between Nigeria and Cameroon, August 1993”, he revealed.

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