By Kola Amzat in Lagos
In the chequered history of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo remains the luckiest man ever, having ruled the nation for 11 years; 3 years as military head of states(76-79) and 8 years as civilian leader(1979-2007). At both times, he was an unwilling and reluctant leader, when the leadership of the nation was thrusted on his path by the then top military brass and political elites. His case was unlike the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, both of who toiled several years to assume nation leadership, yet, the exalted office eluded them.
Chief Obasanjo actually burst into national consciousness when Leaders of Biafra surrendered to him at Asaba in the twilight of Nigeria civil war. After this life-time achievement, providence favored him with other first-time achievements. He was the first military head of states to hand over to civilian leader. This he achieved when in 1979, he handed over to Alhaji Sheu Shagari, a democratically elected president. He was also honored by nature as the first civilian leader to pass baton of nation leadership to another civilian leader. This, he also achieved in May 29, 2007, when he handed over to late Umar Yar’Adua.
But, his outbursts on the nation political developments over the past few years eloquently suggested that the Owu High Chief has mis-judged the honor done on him by provident, as an indication of his superiority over other Nigerians. The following events give credence to this: During the reign of General Abacha, Chief Obasanjo was unrelenting and ceaseless in his criticism of that government, until he was taken of out circulation by Abacha. It’s only God who spared his life, as his compatriot, General Sheu Yar’Adua who suffered the same fate couldn’t come out alive from prison. Obasanjo later emerged from prison to become Nigerian president, an office he held for 8 years. When Yar’Adua succeeded him, he continued the barrage of attacks on government policies until the demise of Yar’Adua. The trend continued unabated during the regime of Goodluck Jonathan. In fact, it was his acerbic and mindless criticisms of Jonathan that principally sent that government packing.
On assumption of office, President Buhari was mindful of Obasanjo’s self-appointed role of CIA to all successive administrations and in fact, accommodated him for the better of his first term in office, until when Owu high Chief got unto his nerves, through series of provocative and selfish letters, in the name of unwanted and unsolicited advice on how to run government. This created a wide gulf in relationship between the two leaders. So, how come the Owu chief’s instinct refused to alert him that this president has closed his chapter and wouldn’t further tolerate an inch, any of his shenanigans? How come Gen Obasanjo couldn’t acknowledged that at 80+, rather than be an irritant, his home at Ota, Abeokuta, Abuja etc ordinarily supposed to be the meeting points for ex-president and even, the incumbent, for economic and political discourse, considering all his awesome achievements in Nigeria?
From the look things, the ex-president seems to have lost this honor and it’s a tragedy of immeasurable proportion that, this is happening at this very important point in his life time. Must Professor Wole Soyinka needed to encourage President Buhari not to ignore Obasanjo’s letter before the former knows what to do? This is the horrible point the former president has found himself! Nigerians need to recall that nobody had that gut and effrontery of critiquing Obasanjo anyhow, during his 8 years reign as civilian president, how much more, when he presided as military ruler. How many Nigerians did, he even had temperate to accommodate their views? Was it that his government had it perfect in all fronts? Was it not him that reduced Odi community to rubbles? Was it not his government that berthed the $16 billion Malabu Oil scandal? Was it not his government that organized the most rigged Nigerian elections, so much that the biggest beneficiary of that election confessed that, the election that brought him to power was flawed? Was it not during his regime that federal lawmakers were mindlessly corrupted, all in bids to ensuring that his selfish policies were scaling through? And of course, his term agenda, scuttled at the last moment by Ken Nnamani led national assembly would remained ever green in Nigerians memory. The people of South West geo-political zone remembered with nostalgia, the heinous rigging perpetrated by him, when in 2003 he mindlessly rigged out five unsuspecting governors of that region from office. Only Asiwaju Bola Tinubu survived the onslaught on account of his political know-how and dexterity, as well as massive support that people of Lagos rendered unto him, consequent upon the fantastic jobs he did in the office as governor.
I am of the strong view that, the ex-president should encourage himself to vacate the stage, now that the ovation is loudest, otherwise, he would continually be an object of derision and opprobrium. He should cultivate virtue of let go, and leave this president to run his government, rather than continually constituting unnecessary distraction to the smooth running of the government. He needs to come to terms that; this president doesn’t reckon with his advice in form of letters and therefore, should stop dissipating energy needlessly. At 80+, he should preoccupy himself with giving praises and thanking God Almighty, for so much that Lord has done to him.
*A political analyst, AMZAT(FCA,FCIB,ACS,ACTIN,MBA) can be reached through 09077509348