Ex-wife of President Olusegun Obasanjo and a political activist, Mrs. Taiwo Obasanjo, has dismissed the new coalition against President Muhammadu Buhari, being engineered his her former husband, saying it would backfire.
In this interview in Lagos, Mrs. Obasanjo talked about Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, the polity, his son and others.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a letter to President Buhari, advising him not to seek re-election and accusing him of nepotism and poor performance. Do you have to say?
I genuinely love Buhari as a father, but I am also not in support of him seeking re-election in 2019. It is unfortunate that Buhari is dealing with a problem that did not originate from him. However, Obasanjo should not be the one writing letters all the time. He should not be the one forming a political coalition for Nigerians. I do not know why Nigerians cannot think. Whoever Obasanjo supports to emerge as President would also give us hell, because they would certainly clash. He would want to control that person and there would be problems between them.
The coalition is a scheme, which would backfire on him and I would tell you why. Instead of Obasanjo to start a political coalition, he should rather lead a coalition for genuine repentance for the nation. He has a strong God-given spiritual influence on this nation but if he continues with the coalition, there would be a big storm because he has offended God. He is over 80; so he should forget about any coalition and focus on bringing Nigeria back to God. God has given him more than enough grace to function as a leader and a father of the nation to lead the country to repentance.
Nigerians should not allow Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to give us any coalition. He is part of the problem in Nigeria, not Buhari. Nigerians all over the world should say a big “NO” to his leadership. He has failed God and he is the troubler of our nation and his family. Let other leaders and elders take over from him. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has not made peace with God. He has not genuinely repented of his disobedience.
A prayer coalition, as you are proposing, is already being done by Gen. Yakubu Gowon through his Nigeria Prays progamme. Is that not enough?
Everyone has a God-given assignment. God has deposited too much authority in Obasanjo to liberate Nigeria because the country is under serious affliction. Buhari is honest, but he is overwhelmed because there is a spiritual governing power that is subjecting the nation to hardship and problems.
Other countries are prospering. Are you saying there is no demonic powers in them? Do we need prayers before we pay civil servants their salaries or to build infrastructure? Don’t you think our problem is that of incompetence?
A nation can be destroyed or liberated on account of one person. God has revealed the problems caused by Obasanjo and he knows that he has done a number of things wrong. God has also given him the solution to the problems. Even if we elect one million leaders, we would still have problems, unless we do what God wants us to do. Buhari didn’t start the problems of Nigeria. A man can mean well for this nation, but forces beyond his control would not allow him function. Obasanjo should not even be a part of that coalition. He should leave Nigerians to elect its own leader because he is not doing the right thing. He was president for eight years and he even wanted a third term.
Obasanjo should have built a solid, glorious and powerful foundation for other leaders coming behind him to work on. He should have turned Nigeria into Dubai, turned the Niger Delta into a beautiful city. He should have greatly industrialised our economy, should have built networks of roads all over the nation, should have given us 4th and 5th mainland bridges in Lagos and ring roads of overhead bridges for easy access and exit in Lagos. He should have given us bigger, better airport, should have given us electricity 24 hours non-stop with cheap tariff, like it is being done in Germany, where they beg their people to use energy at cheap price. He should have given us ultra modern and fast railway transportation, mechanised farming everywhere with good access roads for the farmers. He should have built biggest ranches for the herdsmen long before now, with railway transportation connected to the ranches for ease of bringing the cows down to the city etc. Obasanjo should retire from directing the affairs of our land
Obasanjo has denied that he wanted a third term…
It’s a lie, he wanted a third term. Everyone knows that he wanted a third term but God aborted it. Let me illustrate my point using Oshodi, in Lagos, as an example. Oshodi used to be a den of robbers, but when former Governor Babatunde Fashola came, he cleared the place; now, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is improving on what Fashola did and is upgrading that place. If Obasanjo had given us good infrastructure, like roads, 24-hour power supply, railway and other infrastructure during his eight-year tenure, Buhari would not be having these problems. It would then have been easier for Buhari to improve upon what Obasanjo did if he had left a powerful structure on ground. He has been all over the world and seen the best places. He had the opportunity to make Nigeria an industrial nation, but he didn’t do that; so he does not have the moral right to start forming any coalition. Forming a coalition is hypocritical.
You have been at loggerheads with your son’s wife over his alleged sudden disappearance and he purportedly wrote a letter recently asking that he be left alone and accusing you of embarrassing him. What do you have to say?
My son cannot write that sort of letter and for anyone to say that the letter is from him is a big lie. One of the ways I can confirm that my son did not write that letter is because he does not and has never addressed me as Taiwo Martins at all. He always calls me Mrs. Obasanjo, even though I remind him that I am no longer married to his father, but he still insists on calling me that. So, it is obvious that it was someone that wrote the letter and not him.
I will report to the police and tell them to investigate the letter; I will not stop there. I will also go to the courts and ask the court to compel him to come out and address the world, since he has said that he is not being held against his will. I will go as far as the ECOWAS court to ask that my son be compelled to tell the world if I am a publicity hungry mother or if I am embarrassing him. The issue on ground is not about whether one is a publicity hungry mother or nor, it is about the welfare and the state of health of my son. The life of my son is being threatened and I am not ashamed to speak out for him. Even if my son is 50 years old, I still have the right to be interested in his welfare without minding what people say.
My son has been trying to get out of that marriage but his father is the one that has persuaded him to remain. They say he is running away from his mother, but how can a man who lives in Abeokuta with his father be running away from his mother who lives in Lagos? Does it make sense? When Obasanjo was in prison, people campaigned for him to be released; likewise, I will continue to campaign until my son is released from the matrimonial hell in which he is being held.
When was the last time you saw your son?
The last time I saw him was on September 8, 2017. He used to call me occasionally and I do not see any crime in that because most men are not usually too attached to their mothers; they love their independence. My son is closer to his father than he is to me and I am not against that.
Have you reached out to any of his half siblings or friends to ascertain if they know his whereabouts?
I have done that, but they all said they have not seen him. They said he is running away from me, but how can a man who lives in Abeokuta in the same compound with his father and wife be running away from his mother who lives in Lagos? That is why I said the author of that letter misfired. My son is afraid of his father and that is one of the reasons he is running.
Why should a grown man be afraid of his father? Are his other siblings scared of their father too?
All of Obasanjo’s children are afraid of him and they cannot speak out. My son is a quiet person and that is why people always take advantage of him. He is a man of peace, tolerance and is not the loud type. I was not one of those that arranged the marriage for him but he has run away from his marriage more than three times now. Each time he runs away, they will phone me and say I am the one hiding him. If my son had peace in his home, will they phone me to accuse me of hiding him?
The father brought him back from England when he was through with his university education and since then, my son has not have peace. He studied International Relations in England and I was the one that paid for his education. The only time I didn’t pay my kids’ fees was when they were in Bells, which was free because it is owned by Obasanjo.
Did your son ever call you to complain that he was having issues with his wife?
He never told me because we do not speak very often. I heard about most of the issues he is having from family members and if I didn’t hear correctly, I would not have gone public with my concerns. His wife told me one-on-one that she has not seen him since November 1, 2017 and that was when I became afraid. Can a mother hear that her son’s wife has not seen her husband for over two months and then she would keep quiet? I blame Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for my son’s predicament.
Is it possible that he may have travelled out of the country?
I do not know where he is and that is why I’m crying out. My son is afraid. If a man is no more comfortable with his situation, he should be allowed to make a decision to leave or remain. Now, my son is like a fugitive and his father is not helping matters.
Why is your son not confiding in you or anyone else about the challenges that he is facing?
He is the type of person that easily recoils into his shell when faced with problems. I do that also, maybe that is where he learned it. How come my son is not coming out to speak for himself? It is because he has been threatened by those around him; so he is afraid.