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Obasanjo’s message in a bottle

Trust former President Olusegun Obasanjo to pick his vintage moment and distance when he stalks his prey. The maxim is fire only from killing zone. He is a political predator who seeks to devour his prey of Nigerian leaders in office, with critical appraisal. Often, he asserts himself as the best leader that Nigeria ever had. It must be obvious to Obasanjo that President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress are now all but nervous, wobbling through insecurity worse than was inherited in 2015, threatening the very stability of the nation, Obasanjo in typical fashion made matters worse with his conclusion on Boko Haram, farmer – Fulani herdsman conflict, killings in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Plateau State.

According to President Obasanjo, Boko Haram and all its outcrops of violent criminal activity namely human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change “is now West African fulanization, African Islamization.”

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Critical as I have been of President Muhammadu Buhari’s management of insecurity in Nigeria, in fact his mismanagement of it is to my mind the reason the country is tottering on the edge of the precipice, I did not put it to former President Obasanjo to vent this type of opinion publicly because of the potential for such a voice behind such a thought to worsen matters, bad as they already are. I am the more angered by the fact that Obasanjo chose a low ebb moment and rather than bring help, made such remarks that could set the nation ablaze. I am disheartened that former President Obasanjo played to the gallery of his hosts speaking as he was, at the second session of the Synod held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State. That contention he tabled is now up for debate and the noises as expected, drown the salient practical ways through which Nigeria could escape the destruction it is headed towards that he suggested in the same breath.

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And it is for good reasons. The former president has wasted every modicum of respect he deserves by his already known partisan posture especially with intent to determine who became President and successor to Buhari at the 2019 polls.

Sometime I ask myself if President Obasanjo ever does a self-check, a soul searching look at himself in the mirror, or does he consider himself so infallible that he is beyond reproach for some of the overarching moves he has made to derail many ambitions including that of his now protégée Atiku Abubakar? Does Obasanjo ever imagine that but for him, Atiku Abubakar may have been President in 2007?

Obasanjo upset the wagon of natural transition when he, after failing his 3rd term bid chose to derail Atiku Abubakar his Vice. Not to say that Atiku would have defeated hopefuls at the time, yet he deserved a fair chance from fair play that Obasanjo denied. Obasanjo foisted Yaradu’a on the nation with little known Goodluck Jonathan as his Vice. If Obasanjo had allowed a clean democratic process, he would have been the hero, and blameless. Sadly, quite against Obasanjo’s run of scheming, President Yar’adua died and ill prepared Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded him, left the tatters that became of the nation by 2015. To me Obasanjo is culpable in all the woes that befell the nation including his disappointment with the current regime. In or out of power, OBJ wants to keep swashbuckling and calling the shots, something he let no one do to him when he held sway as the helmsman. Did Obasanjo not see Fulanization when Northerners approached him to lead the country and indeed funded his trajectory to power from Yola prison. At his thank you cocktail party in Yola before assuming office, Senator Silas Zwingina then pleaded with Obasanjo that his second coming should serve as a good opportunity to nurture democrats and democratic institutions decimated by twenty five years of military rule.

Obasanjo’s Fulanization is the effect of his very failure in eight years of ruling Nigeria, to build of viable and sustainable democratic institutions that ensured transparency in the democratic process and accountability in governance. He did nothing to strengthen political parties in ways that enabled them to engage in open competitive primaries for their flag bearers to emerge, giving due respect to the wishes of the electorate. Obasanjo under his watch saw to the imposition of Governors and Senators and indeed all political office seekers, without primaries. Today ‘s failed state he is decrying is a natural outcome.

His reading of Boko Haram is faultless that “they have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control.”

But Obasanjo blames not himself as he should when he asserts:- “Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier, and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.” Whose misread of Boko Haram was this but Obasanjo’s first?

“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.” Was this not the reason General TY Danjuma quit Obasanjo’s cabinet? When we ever write the story of how we got this bad, methinks Obasanjo would be half the book.

I agree with the former President that “Government must appreciate where we are, summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot. There should be no sacred cow.”

But all this and more coming from politically compromised Olusegun Obasanjo, is a mere message in a bottle brought ashore by sea waves of his frustrating political outing. Nigerian leaders must preach good governance, social justice, adherence to constitutional tenets, and tolerance in the interest of peace and not join in the drumbeats of war and strife.

 

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