Though I’m startled and distressed, but I want to fly into a rage of letters. Our light has lost its status, but let’s makes our path right. And if after this, we trade our might to the exhausting sun, then we‘ll be translated into slaves of defeat, and all will become a nightmare.
Dear Readers, I am tempted by the current state of the Nigeria nation to explicitly coin this piece. I am angered by the attitude of a creature who God had favoured with long live and prosperity despite his many sins against Nigeria and her people. The Owu, Ogun State born former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo who certainly needs no much introduction in the political firmament of Nigeria and outside the shore is the man.
From a relatively unknown Soldier, he rose to become the number two citizen of Nigeria in 1975. In 1976, God extended the tentacle of his mercy to him by promoting him from number two to number one citizen of the most populous black nation on the surface of earth. In 1999, he was catapulted through the support of the majority of Nigerians from Prison into the Aso Villa by some leaders of thought such as Generals Ibrahim Babangida, T.Y Danjuma, Chiefs Alex Ekwueme, Orji Uzor Kalu, Atiku Abubakar, etc.
Today, Obasanjo is known globally for always resolving international disputes most especially on the continent of Africa. Obasanjo is also known for his unique speeches at both local and international events. He is also reputed for constantly writing emotion-provoked and controversial letters to Leaders within and outside the country.
However, let me confidently state clearly that Obasanjo has not done much for Nigeria despite miraculously risen through the rank and file of the country’s military and democratic institutions to become a crème-de-la-me. Obasanjo has impoverished Nigerians more than any other Nigerian leaders via his impious policies and actions.
Prior to 1979 presidential election, most Nigerians preferred the revered late political sage, Obafemi Awolowo to be their President, but Obasanjo as the Military Head of States, through the assistance of some internal and external forces, foisted an unpopular intellectual Lilliputian operating in the unbefitting office of a secondary school principal in Shagari Village, Sokoto State on Nigerians. Awolowo and Obasanjo hail from the same state in Southwestern Nigeria.
As a result of Obasanjo’s action, Nigeria went up in political and economic flames. I had not been born then but history has it that Obasanjo perceived Awolowo as a hard nut that would be too hard to crack for him if he’s allowed to be the President, hence, his decision to impose a Lilliput on Nigerians. Obasanjo was apparently scared Awolowo would probe his failed Ajaokuta Steel project. He was scared Awolowo would probe the billions of Nigeria his Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) has gulped from the treasury.
In 1993, when most Nigerians within and in Diaspora were agitating for the affirmation of the results of June 12 Presidential election believed to have been won by MKO Abiola, Obasanjo conspired with his clan in the North to ensure that the struggle to actualize the lawfully given mandate of Abiola never materialized. Abiola died in prison.
In 1999, upon the return of the country to civilian rule, the South Western Nigeria was ceded the presidential slots of the two political parties in the country. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) handed its presidential ticket to Obasanjo and went on to triumph over his opponent, Olu Falae of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). However, for the eight uninterrupted years Obasanjo ruled Nigeria, a single street was not named after MKO Abiola whose glory he (Obasanjo) rode to power. Instead of empowering Abiola’s clan, Obasanjo strangulated his family, killed all his business empires. Under the watchful eye of Obasanjo, the once happy home of Abiola became a history. He got power and betrayed all his benefactors.
In 2007, well-meaning political actors with sound minds; blessed with intellectual sagacity and erudition, grounded and rooted, suave and courteous; signified their interest to run for the Presidency of Nigeria. However, like he did in 1979, Obasanjo imposed a visibly unfit and weak late Umoru Musa Yar’adua on Nigerians. His target was however not met as the physically unfit yar’adua distanced himself from him. As usual, Obasanjo joined opposition forces to declare war against Yar’adua when the latter was terribly ill. The tenure of Yar’adua was terminated through the help of a civilian coup called DOCTRINE of NECESITY.
In 2011, when Nigerians agitated that for the sake of peace, fairness and natural justice, the North is allowed to produce the presidential candidate of the PDP, Obasanjo kicked; he colluded with his foot-soldiers across and outside the shore of Nigeria to impose Goodluck Jonathan on Nigerians thinking that he would be able to remote Nigeria from his farm in Otta. But Obasanjo met a stiff resistance from Jonathan and his crew. Obasanjo’s move to neo-colonize Jonathan’s administration was rejected, hence, the beginning of another war.
Between 1999 to 2007, Obasanjo had a golden opportunity to write his name in gold among his Yoruba ethnic nationality but failed. He fought Nigerians from the south of the Limpopo to the desert of the Sahara. He sent his snipers in army uniform to Odi village in Bayelsa State to roast the community. The offense of the people of Odi was that they killed an armed soldier on duty in the town. Odi people were wrong but Obasanjo goofed.
Obasanjo gave Nigerians GSM but he didn’t end his tenure without killing the Nigeria Telecommunication (NITEL), sending thousands of bread winners to the labour market without terminal benefits. Many died in the process while those still alive among ex-NITEL staff lives in squalor and starvation. Instead of re-organizing NITEL, Obasanjo sold Nigeria to a South Africa owned company (MTN). Obasanjo ensured that FSTV is killed for another South Africa owned firm, DSTV to take over Nigeria’s market. What a leader!
Furthermore, as a President for eight years, Obasanjo had an opportunity to reconstruct Lagos-Ibadan express way but he did not. Being an Owu born, he failed to rehabilitate Lagos-Abeokuta road. Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin roads were death traps during Obasanjo’s reign. Ikorodu-Sagamu road was a no go area when Obasanjo held the insignia of power. Ibadan-Ife, Ilesa-Akure and benin-Ore-Ijebu Ode roads were left untouched by Obasanjo despite being the Nigerian’s Minister of Works for about 3 years. Obasanjo awarded the dualization of Lokoja-Abuja road without mobilizing the Contractor.
Obasanjo would always be remembered for how he subjected Lagosians to hardship for 3 years. As a sitting President, Obasanjo disregarded the ruling of the Nigeria’s apex court that the Lagos State Local Government allocation which he withheld be paid. Obasanjo and his Deputy, Atiku Abubakar sold virtually all the Nigeria’s public properties and corporations to their cronies. All what the founding Fathers of Nigeria labored to build went into the flame of few pockets. He spent $16billion on power without giving Nigerians the power proper.
More also, Obasanjo increased the price of petroleum from N11 to N70. He met a US dollar at N83, but left it at N150. He liberalized trade a policy which made multi-national corporations turned Nigeria to a dumping ground. Also, without creating an enabling ground for automobile companies in Nigeria to innovatively and productively operate, Obasanjo banned importation of fairly used cars into the country.
Corruption during Obasanjo’s presidency was very mega. As a sitting president, Obasanjo, in flagrant disregard of the cold of conduct rules, tactically summoned all the stakeholders in Nigeria’s economy and politics to Abeokuta to donate to his personal Presidential library.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which Obasanjo established, directly and indirectly became a tool used between 2004 to 2007 to wage war against those against the interest of Federal Government. Nigeria was ranked by Transparency International as the second most corrupt country in the world during Obasanjo’s presidency.
Let me also remind Nigerians that the 2007 election that Obasanjo supervised has been declared by the United Nations as the worst in the anal of democratic governance in Africa. Obasanjo’s Military training could not save the people of Niger/Delta when he was ruling Nigeria. During his reign, Militants operates unhindered on the streets of Portharcourt, Warri, Yenogoa, etc. Then, there were rumblings in the region.
The level of political killings, assassinations and human rights abuse during Obasanjo’s presidency was second to none. Under Obasanjo, a sitting Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige was gruesomely murdered inside his bedroom at Ibadan. A sitting Nigerian Governor (Dr. Chris Nigie) was kidnapped for three days without traces. A prominent Lagos Politician, Engineer Funso Williams was gunned down inside his bedroom at Ikoyi. A Journalist, Mr. Gbenga Aruleba of the African Independent Television (AIT) was locked inside Police custody for two weeks for daring to criticize Obasanjo’s administration while on air. Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo) and Peter Obi (Anambra) were controversially and allegedly impeached on the instruction of Obasanjo. He awarded contracts to his cronies without monitoring them leading to non-execution of the jobs.
However, despite Obasanjo’s countless sins against Nigeria and her people, today, he is regarded as a pro-Nigeria by some hypocritical elements in the political firmament because he has agreed to be recruited as an advocate of CHANGE being echoed by the opposition’s All Progressives Congress (APC). With due respect to the ranks and files of APC leaders and its Presidential candidate, General Muhammad Buhari (Rtd.), I want to expressly declare without any fear of intimidation that the open endorsement of Buhari’s candidacy by Obasanjo is an automatic indictment of the party and an affirmation that APC was the one who mis-governed Nigeria between 1999 to 2007.
As a Nigerian, I am against any attempt to return Nigeria to Obasanjo. Obasanjo and his trusted allies do not deserve top leadership positions again in Nigeria. He’s one of the major architects militating against Nigeria. Therefore, I see the battle that Obasanjo has declared against the incumbent President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a battle against the nation of Nigeria which must be repelled by all means necessary.
As a General and @78, this is certainly Obasanjo’s last political battle. Those that love Nigeria must join hands together to ensure that the coming battle is pursued and fought by all means necessary.
Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, Magodo, Lagos.