Categories: ColumnsThoughts & Talks

Obasanjo, Nigeria’s political mind reader

There are many reasons people don’t like him. Yet, there are also some good reasons Nigerians like him.

President Olusegun Obasanjo has been around the power corridors and management of Nigeria longer than any Nigerian, living or dead, past or present. No doubt, he has accumulated enough goodwill and links and overlapping relationships to keep him more informed than most about Nigeria.

Obasanjo, the man who cherishes and values remaining in the limelight and always the issue of national discourse knows so well how to sustain his tempo or relevance. When he keeps quiet, it is not for want of what to say, but possibly strategizing on when and how best to strike again when it matters most.

Just to retain his tin god status, in 2015, he organized a media fair to tear his PDP membership card and spite the man in power. Don’t forget that was the membership that afforded him eight years of the nation’s presidency.

This week, he struck and sent panic like seismic shockwave racing through the fabric of the nation.

Once again, he has become the major issue. Just a week earlier, he had embellished his importance and dominance when he graduated with a PhD in Christian Theology at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)  He scored two points – first doctorate graduate of NOUN and very possibly, the oldest Nigerian to bag a PhD.

He chose the most auspicious time to drop a bombshell on President Muhammadu Buhari this week. The slightest of the content is that Buhari should honourably stand down and not contest the presidential seat in 2019.

His case is that of an Igbo adage that whoever started cooking before you must have more discarded utensils. It is also another case of the saying that the eze made charms to heighten his hearing of incidents and discussions about him his domain when actually it’s the subjects that hear and report back to the eze.

The last time Obasanjo used his pencil and paper to craft his traditional letter was in the days of President Goodluck Jonathan. I guess so well that it was after he had got underground information from his sources that Jonathan was steadily sinking that he rolled out his script. Because of the timeliness of his missive, when eventually Jonathan sank, Obasanjo went home to celebrate his superhuman status and adroitness and that he is the one with the ultimate word on Nigeria leadership and those that sit where he once sat.

Today, baba, as popularly called, has also weighed the standing of President Muhammadu Buhari with the hunger biting deeper, hardship, economic recession, the deceit, the lies and in fact the largest harvest of lies by any government in Nigeria and the cover-up of evils as sickening as ethnic cleansing, deep and incomparable nepotism and bias and hatred against some Nigerians, and found that Nigerians have lost confidence in this man that deceived them into a false change.

Obasanjo struck again at the right time to retain his trophy of the superhuman Nigerian. After his letter, Nigeria is divided into two unequal parts, the larger side standing with him on his allegations against Buhari.

When eventually Buhari is floored at the polls in 2019, Obasanjo again would be on swansong as the ultimate schemer and possibly self-acclaimed greatest patriot or lover of the nation.

Well, most of these could be self-serving stunts. But if Obasanjo’s ways are lacking in depth and conscience as many allege due to his personal records of failings while in power, what he lacks in credibility, that he compensates for with the timing of his vituperations.

The potency of his charm is that he knows when to put it to use and when the impact would make most news.

But in details, he letter utterly rubbished Buhari and his administration in very politely rude epithets.

For instance, a person of Obasanjo’s standing asserting that… “I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well,” is a weighty and scathing indictment of a man in power by another man who understands how that position works.

Again, he took another hard jab at the incompetence of the man in power and accused regarding the most volatile issue in the nation now – herdsmen killing of other Nigerians, rape and destruction of their farms and the lack of prosecution and seeming complicity of the government led by Buhari.

To this, Obasanjo cautioned Buhari that: “The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the federal government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some governors, a day after 73 victims were buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the federal government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.”

There is hardly any issue that nags the nation in the days of this administration that Obasanjo spared in his blast letter.

He moved from economy to herdsmen killing condoning of Nigerians of Buhari’s ethnic nationality in his touted fight against corruption and chided him on even his shoddy handling of Abdurasheed  Maina’s recall to civil service with all the attendant moral and legal encumbrances.

He also questioned the penchant of the man to handpick those he prosecutes for corruption and those he spares as untouchable and wondered the credibility of the approach.

In conclusion, like already drawing the line against a crashing government, Obasanjo affirmed that: “We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN.”

But those that oppose Obasanjo on his long letter do so just on grounds that when he was in power, he didn’t by his acts fare better. They accuse him of being one that glorified impunity, rascality and flagrant disobedience of the laws and even court decisions.

They question his credentials to dictate to an incumbent on good governance with a long list of his own failings.

This makes the matter interesting to Obasanjo and his ilk that to remain really relevant when out of power, power should be used conscientiously when it lasts so that one’s voice of dissent would be as loud as credible when out of power and issues as these arise.

But for me, I stand for discarding the messenger and taking his message that makes so much sense.

Uche Atuma :

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