After reflecting on the intents and motive of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s book tagged: “My Watch”, I was tempted to ask the following thought-provoking questions: what does Obasanjo want again from Nigeria, after taken more than his fair share of this country? Who would tame this man’s insatiable hunger for power and relevance? Was this new book written out of political frustration of being in oblivion for years now? Why launching this venom-filled and highly controversial book few weeks to 2015 general elections? Whose script is Obasanjo acting? Who will remind Obasanjo that he is no longer the president of Nigeria, therefore should not play God? Is Obasanjo prosecuting this unjust war against President Jonathan, simply because he refused to be tele-guided from Ota farm?
In the book, Chief Obasanjo said after observing Jonathan and listening to him and people around him, he came to the conclusion that the president lacked the capacity for the number one job in the country and had not surrounded himself with those who could help him. “Although he might wish to do well, he does not know how nor does he have the capacity to. To compound his problem, he has not surrounded himself with aides sufficiently imbued with the qualities and abilities to help him out. Most of them are greedy hangers on or hungry lackluster characters interested only in their mouths and their pockets,” said Obasanjo.
In continuation of his hypocritical fireworks and vituperations, he said “After watching, reaching out to, studying, talking to, and listening to the president himself and the people around him, I came, sadly, to a number of conclusions that mark Jonathan out as a man of adequate intelligence to run the affairs of Nigeria but lacking in broad vision, knowledge, confidence, understanding, concentration, capacity, sense of security, courage, moral and ethical principles, character and passion to move the nation forward on a fast trajectory”. If Obasanjo is to be believed that President Jonathan lacked all these qualities as highlighted in his book of vengeance, why did Obasanjo impose an “incompetent and ill-prepared” individual on Nigerians as vice presidential candidate to former president Yar’Adua? was this a selfish plot to rule Nigeria forever via his cronies (like Tinubu is currently doing in Lagos), by installing a “robot” as Nigerian President in Aso Rock, while controlling him from the convenience of his Hilltop mansion in Ogun State? Is Obasanjo attacking President Jonathan because his ill-conceived plan of securing a third term through a “weakling” failed?
There is no doubt that Obasanjo will be more remembered for his personal quarrels than for the quality of his ideas or ideals. I thank God I was not a baby during Obasanjo’s tenure. The man suffers from selective memory. Nigerians can still recall all the scandals including Siemens and Halliburton issues. Nigerians are flabbergasted and puzzled, that Obasanjo who has no respect for constitutionality and rule of law, and possess a track record of human rights abuses, is now posing as a saint! In furtherance of his ignoble quest for relevance, Chief Obasanjo said that “there were five Presidents in Nigeria, and these were his wife, the first lady, Diezani (Alison-Madueke), Stella (Oduah), Ngozi (Okonjo-Iwela) and the President himself, and that he was the weakest of the five. I understand the president to tried to make excuses for everyone, but President Jonathan is not too weak to be able to butter his bread and, if necessary, to engage the services of Satan to achieve his self-centered interests on the altar of all else.” In the foregoing, Obasanjo is yet to come to terms with reality, that Nigeria of 21st century has outgrown having a dictator as its leader. It is pathetic that the qualities Obasanjo used to portray President Jonathan as a “weakling” in his book of vengeance were the same qualities that endeared him to Nigerians as a true democrat; who understands the nitty-gritty of decentralization of political power, which is the bedrock of democracy! The National Assembly, for instance, got its essence and independence back only with the emergence of Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Jonathan. Were a person of Obasanjo’s dictatorial nature succeeded him in 2007, Nigeria would have been a jungle by now. President Obama had warned African nations that what we need for our development is strong institutions not strong personalities, here euphemism for autocrats and depots like Obasanjo himself.
My warning to dear compatriot is that the freebooters, whose only achievement is fighting and winning a war (the Nigeria civil war they, the freebooters, caused) are hell bent on controlling the affairs of this nation from their nostrils to their graves. They manipulate us with religion and feigned piety; they manipulate us with anti-corruption clichés even though they swim in the pool of corruption. They are baring fangs on like wounded cobra because the polity and the world will not accept military coups from them again. Now, the choice is ours whether to surrender to their goading and manipulations as is evident in Obasanjo’s shenanigans. For me, Obasanjo is the exact opposite of all that he sermonizes. Belief in his sermons is the domain of those bereft of sanity. Every other person but himself is to be blame for country’s woes. He may castigate President Jonathan all he likes, but never would it be said of Jonathan that his own daughter was paid to publicly condemn and denounce him, never would it be said of President Jonathan that he went on his knees, in desperate plea for political support from his own deputy. Objectively, President Jonathan has shown more purpose in his first term than Obasanjo (with all his experience) ever did in first term as a democratic leader! With his anti-democratic and dictatorial tendencies, Nigeria would had been the second Zimbabwe of Africa, had it been Obasanjo succeeded in his ill-fated third term agenda, which he is now blaming the then governors for it. It is now obvious that it took divine intervention of the Grand Architect of the Universe whose supreme intelligence is beyond the epistemology of human knowledge to save Nigeria from the jaws of Robert Mugabe we never had.
Nwobodo Chidiebere is a Public Affairs analyst, writes from Abuja.