In his usual mischievous and nit-picking way, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made what he called a “state of the nation” address on Sunday January 20, 2019; about a month to the 2019 presidential election for which his ‘command’ is for one of the candidates, Muhammadu Buhari, to lose and must not win the election; a verdict that is naturally God’s prerogative. As a former president, Obasanjo has over the years worked desperately to create the impression that himself alone has the best solutions to the country’s challenges, which is why there hasn’t been any president after him that had not come under his attack including late Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonahan.
Obasanjo believes and wants all Nigerians to believe that he is a messiah and must be seen to be so! That, perhaps, substantiates his relentless attempts to control and craftily coerce every serving president to play his script even though no one including his special advisers had the slightest opportunity to indispensably influence his views during his 8-year (1999-2003) civil rule. In spite of the limited space available for this column, we shall analytically paraphrase parts of Obasanjo’s recent address with a view to demonstrating how three of his fingers (of the same hand) point back at him each time he points his index finger at President Buhari or other patriotic Nigerians who refused to be puppets of his whims and captives.
In the first sentence of the opening paragraph of his 4,024 words address, Chief Obasanjo describes himself as “a democrat who believes that with faithful and diligent practice of democracy, we can get over most of our political problems…” Even the weakest definition of the word “democrat” cannot admit Obasanjo as one. Democrat is simply a person who believes in democratic ideals. I will need some time to be able to scribble down any democratic ideal that Obasanjo represents.
In the second paragraph, Obasanjo states, “Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity, acting with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility”. He continued in the third paragraph, saying “I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election”. If Obasanjo is saying this of the present INEC, I wonder what he would say about Professor Maurice Iwu who under Chief Obasanjo presided over the most fraudulent elections in Nigeria’s history of democratic rule. If he has forgotten Iwu’s mendacious roles as the electoral umpire in the 2003 and 2007 elections, many Nigerians have not.
7It behoves relevant security agencies in the country including the DSS to invite Chief Obasanjo to verify some of the grave allegations made in his address which portrays him as been privy to what most Nigerians do not know. In paragraph 5, Obasanjo declares, “The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and how to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Commission is driving us into. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A battle long forewarned does not embroil the cripple nor catch him unawares. A word is sufficient for the wise”.
Obasanjo has so much lost confidence in the country’s judiciary that he is calling on the international community to “work out punitive measures against INEC and security officials especially the police and politicians who stand to gain from INEC’s misconduct, which is obviously encouraged by the Executive Arm of Government”. This means that Nigeria either lacks necessary laws to sanction electoral misconduct or that he has, once again (almost five decades after independence), transformed Nigeria into a colony of the international community which he is urging to enforce measures that “can vary from denial and withdrawal of visas from the people concerned and from their families to other more stringent measures including their accounts being frozen and taking them to International Criminal Court (ICC)”. Yes, we support that and Obasanjo will be the first to be prosecuted at the ICC for his electoral offences in the 2003 and 2007 general elections in which he was a candidate.
Nigerians have not forgotten how some governorship elections were upturned by election tribunals due to electoral fraud. After the 2003 general elections in which Obasanjo was PDP’s presidential candidate, the election of the PDP governorship candidate in Anambra state, Chris Ngige, was reversed and Peter Obi of APGA was declared winner. Following fraudulent complaints arising from the 2007 general elections also, the fraudulent victory of some governors elected on the platform of PDP was overturned by various election tribunals for reasons of rigged election results. They include those of Edo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states. As BoT chairman of PDP under whose leadership elections were fantastically rigged, Obasnajo would need to appear at the ICC to also explain his role, for example, in the rigged replacement of Rotimi Amechi as PDP’s governorship candidate in Rivers state.
Condemning the administration’s “Tradermoni” initiative, Obasanjo said “In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury”; contending that “corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption.” Obasanjo is talking of corruption? Obasanjo should tell Nigerians what happened to the $16 billion allegedly spent on the power sector under him; the $400 million rural telephony project; the Petroleum Equalization Fund; and the Police Equipment Fund.
Obasanjo’s allegation that “they” have intelligence on how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project and another insinuation that “violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State” should be investigated by the DSS and the NIA so that Obasanjo will prove his claims.
As a frustrated detractor of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, no good done by them would excite Obasanjo. The Nupe would say, “When a man dislikes you, he would say you are stirring dust at him even when he is drinking from the water you served him”. Baba-Iyabo has since become a bundle of contradictions as he says one thing now and reverses it afterwards. The same Obasanjo who once said God will not forgive him if he supports Atiku’s presidential ambition has since retracted this avowal.
The self-acclaimed messiah is, this time around, alone in his sophistry. The Patriotic Presidential Forum (PPF), comprising of 30 presidential candidates in the February 16 polls, has disowned Obasanjo for attacking the integrity of INEC. The PPF chairman and presidential candidate of Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Dr Onwubuya John Breakforth, declared on behalf of the forum. The Presidency’s response of “Get well soon” is indeed apt. May Allah (SWT) guide Nigerians to know those who are patriots from turncoats among their leaders, amin.