No doubt, luck isn’t the only endowment that Obasanjo has in reckless abundance. His penchant for evil machinations is also becoming legendary. A quick perusal of his record, reveals a man whom providence has been so charitable to. With little investment of effort compared to his peers, Obasanjo is always absent when hard work is required but equally present whenever the work is done, not as a party to, but a sole beneficiary of results. His bond with the scene of victory has become mythological.
Even though there were better warlords on the Nigerian side, Obasanjo was the one who received the Biafran surrender and went on to write My Command. Even though he wasn’t visibly involved in the July 1975 Coup, Obasanjo was invited to join Murtala Mohammed as the second in command. Even though, he evidently ran away and got hidden out of fear on hearing the murder of his boss – General Murtala Mohammed, in the February, 1976 Coup, Obasanjo was physically fetched out of his hideout and forced to take over as head of State and Commander-in-Chief. Even though he was in prison, at the time when PDP was formed, Obasanjo came out to be the greatest beneficiary of the party. Perhaps, the only position Obasanjo ever struggled for in his life was his second term, when Atiku Abubakar – his own Vice President, made him realise in 2003 that the crown wasn’t a right but a treasure that must be worked for. He was forced to the point of humility to comprehend that. This too was fought at a very vantage position with him as the incumbent. Atiku was also to throw a spanner in the wheel of his most cherished project – the Third Term. For all these, Atiku has committed a sacrilege that must never be pardoned.
In 2014, when it was apparent that the APC was coasting home to victory in the 2015 election, Obasanjo wined off his political son – Ex-president Jonathan and even abandoned the PDP, in a dramatic fashion. Alluding that tearing the membership card of the PDP was a heroic symbolism that signified his retirement from politics and his elevation to the league of statesmen. For students of Obasanjo, we knew, that was another ploy. That drama succeeded in defaming Jonathan and the PDP and giving the APC a mileage, however minimal. For Obasanjo, it was a strategic way to displace all the owners of APC and the Buhari brand. He has swiftly arrogated to himself the stature of the maker of a Buhari victory in a style that has dwarfed all the efforts of the heroes of APC and its Victory. What a way to retire from politics!
One thing that will continue to block Obasanjo’s route to statesmanship is his crafty attempt to play God all the time. His attempt to manipulate Buhari through his numerous visits to the Villa does not seem to be yielding fruition, even though he is basking as if he was the one who made the president, not the votes of 15,427,943 Nigerians. With his recent outburst at the 1st Akintola Williams Lecture, it is very clear that Buhari has lost him and Baba is out on rampage.
As usual, anytime he is angry with the political class, he has developed a way of transferring his aggression by punching Atiku Abubakar, who has developed thick jaw to his punches. The recent story line in Thisday, December 6, 2016, giving the condition for his support to the mega party as a promise that such a party must not field Atiku Abubakar, as its presidential candidate is one of such expression of anger taken too far and the continuous attempt at playing the God by a man, who is supposedly in political retirement.
Isn’t Obasanjo not brandishing an over exaggerated opinion of himself? What makes him think that the next president of Nigeria must be endorsed in his farm at Otta? What has Atiku done to him all these years that he can’t pardon him, even though he himself is a beneficiary of a state pardon? Isn’t he not enveloped in self-conceited envy that brooks no decorum for nationalistic maturity? There is indeed something deep beyond Obasanjo’s fabled tale of Atiku’s corruption profile, which has remained at the realm of unsubstantiated speculation after so many enquiries and probes instituted by Obasanjo himself.
Think of it, between Atiku and Obasanjo, who wears the serge of corruption shamelessly? This is a tale of two friends, who walked into a store with one holding a bag and the other one empty handed. When they came out, the one with the bag came out with his bag even emaciated, while the one without a bag came out with a larger bag. Between these two friends who shall we ascribe as a thief?
In 1999, Atiku walked into the Villa, a self-made billionaire and Obasanjo was a bankrupt ex-convict, who just benefitted from an arranged state pardon. In 2007, Obasanjo came out of the Villa as the unofficial richest living Nigerian, but busy accusing others of alleged corruption and theft. It is on record that Atiku has been thoroughly investigated by Obasanjo, but who investigated Obasanjo?
It is apparent that Obasanjo’s punishment to Nigeria and Nigerians for denying him the Third Term has consistently been the installation of inept governments that cannot surpass the performance of his era, as a president. Having known Atiku as a builder, he is scared that an Atiku presidency will outperform his era. In his inner heart, except that conscience is what Obasanjo is robbed off by the duo of pride and ego, if there is anything he selfishly regrets after his eight years of presidency, it was blocking Atiku from succeeding him.
One thing is certain, for men like Obasanjo, God will always make them live long, to reap the fruits of their evil machinations. They will never die until they get used to knowing they are not omniscient or omnipotent. That’s the only way humanity can value humility.
• Umar G. Pella, is a lecturer with the Department of Political Science, Adamawa State University, Mubi.