Buhari and Obasanjo’s Letter

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
A former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Only Muhammadu Buhari would not take Olusegun Obasanjo seriously. And it’s nothing but pure familiarity. Out-of-barracks familiarity that breeds contempt. Obasanjo’s command ended the civil war. His watch made him the liberator of Odi and the saviour of Zaki Biam. If Buhari knows what is good for him, he’d tune his good ear and the antennae of his governance towards the biggest farm in Ota.

But for fear of how the Americans might have blocked his global junkets the Wizard of Ota would be doing time as life President. Buhari would have cried blood and infected his cows with brucellosis. He’d be having coffee with Yoweri Museveni, lunch with Paul Biya and evening strolls with Gabon’s Omar Bongo. The inscription ‘Leaders For Life, Unite!’ would be embossed on his presidential jet. In governance wisdom, outside office, nobody could beat Obj’s clairvoyance. Every government opens a huge file for his pesky letters. Some have to put him away, just to have a moment of peace. For a man on whose gates is written – No admittance to dogs and journalists, he is one indefatigable letter writer.

Twice he has led this nation, only Buhari is on track to beat his legacy. For a man who was rehabilitated from prison to take over his cousin’s mandate, Buhari is daily making failed Obasanjo a reference point in governance. The acts of Olusegun Obasanjo and all the things he did; behold they are written in his letters and his hagiographies. The truth remains at the back of our minds.

Safety and security were high on Obasanjo’s happy failures. In government, only residents of cemeteries were in peace. Under his watch, Odunayo Olagbaju, an Osun lawmaker was clubbed to death in front of a police station. Harry Sokari Marshall, a chieftain of his party was gunned down near Port Harcourt. His justice minister, Bola Ige, was gunned down at his residence in Ibadan.

Buhari is working hard to beat that record. He has fumbled through Boko Haram that he promised to exterminate in three months in office. Like a bad workman, he keeps blaming his tools. Badoo boys showed up in Lagos. Kidnapping became a menace. Even the famous Kaduna-Abuja road was so bad that when the Abuja airport was closed and planes diverted to Kaduna, passengers needed air patrol to reach Abuja safely. The police has just released a list of over two-thirds of federal roads that are unsafe for human passage.

Obasanjo is right to be afraid. His last governor, Ibikunle Amosun, surrendered hundreds of AK-47 that he was not authorised to acquire or keep. Hundreds of accompanying bullets are still missing. Just before his letter hit the hot press, a daughter of an elder-statesman of his home region had just been murdered in cold blood.

Obasanjo is well within his rights to shout plenty. This death that is killing his neighbours is speaking to him and us all in parables. Being born-again may have secured Baba Iyabo a seat in ruler’s heaven, he certainly is not eager to make the journey. It is obvious that a Buhari who is unable to secure his own relatives cannot secure the rest of the nation.

Obasanjo failed to get the killers of Olagbaju, Harry or Bola Ige. He has no assurance that someone would find the true killers of Funke Olakunri.

Obasanjo made his salient points. Points that eluded him in the eight years he failed to build an iron-clad security apparatchik to secure his own retirement. That’s why he is wailer-out-from-the-closet. Obasanjo is afraid of his own shadows.

Everyone knows how good a listener Bubu is. His wife exposes that. His serial errors expose that. His disdain for court orders he disfavours proves that. His inability to discipline his appointees underlines his lack of a security plan.

Generals know that fighting in the day is better than groping through dark unfamiliar terrain. Those who should know have argued, that in the digital age, there could be no security without electricity. Buhari is not a digital leader. He is yet to comprehend analogue indices of governance. Digitization is beyond his mental or governance capacity. Obasanjo and Buhari have invested heavily in darkness. Obasanjo sunk $16 billion into it and Buhari his subordinate is extending the frontiers of formlessness and void. Nobody can fight crime in a world of formlessness and void.

Insecurity is an ill wind blowing across the nation – from Zamfara through Borno, Plateau through Lagos; Onitsha through Port Harcourt. Buhari could strike at an Onitsha ant with a sledgehammer and a bazooka, but when it comes to taming a rampaging tiger in other parts of the country, his guns don’t fire. It is a recipe for disintegration. Buhari is a man who ruins the nation by wishes. He wished that his former IG went to Benue and it didn’t happen. He wished that Boko Haram is technically defeated, but it didn’t happen. He’s wishing that Obasanjo is crying wolf when there’s none. For his own sake, let’s hope he is right.

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