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Obasanjo’s Unfounded Fear



It is a platitude the saying that “the evil that men do live after them.” The former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is being chased by his own shadow. He raised an unfounded alarm last week that his life is in danger for opposing President Mohammadu Buhari’s second term bid. But who is after Obasanjo, and what motivated such hype?

Obasanjo or Baba, as he is often called, is the architect of any perceived maladministration of Nigeria. After ruling Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, his third time as the head of state, he had every opportunity to have created an enduring political system, with a nurtured successor, buthe failed to do that. Instead, he was, with absolute nostalgia, interested in succeeding himself— theunpopular third-term attempt. Once that failed to sail through, with vengeance, he declared his deputy, Abubakar Atiku, corrupt and inept. He rhetorically and loudly declared to the press that he didn’t know who would succeed him, but he knew those that would not be allowed to the exalted position—referring to Atiku.

Less than two years into his hand-picked successor, Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration, the same Baba became Yar’Adua’s number one critic. His inability to remotely control the late President graduated into outright admonition of the government, until Yar’Adua’s demise.

When Goodluck Jonathan constitutionally succeeded the late President, Obasanjo was the first to announce, from Ethiopia, during an annual meeting of the African Union head of states, that Jonathan had confided in him to only serve a term in office. For Chief Olusegun, he had found a puppet that could dance to his tune. He rained praises on Jonathan for such a courageous decision.

Half-way through Jonathan’s officially elected first term in office, Baba started a nationwide crusade to dissuade Goodluck from deviating from the promise he, Goodluck,had made earlier– that is, to serve just a term of 4 years.Jonathan’s team of loyalists viciously responded with serial attacks on Baba. They even questioned his assertion and demanded a written document or any form of agreement to substantiate the claim that Jonathan made such a daunting promise.

Since there was no visible document to ascertain Obasanjo’s claim, the fire works between Goodluck’s team and Baba erupted into another national political discourse about Jonathan’s ineptitude and cluelessness. No one was surprised when Jonathan lost the election because, at this time, Obasanjo had pitched his tent with Mohammadu Buhari. It was a sweet victory for Baba, who was conspicuously available at all the inauguration events.

Obasanjo had stamped his first authority on the nation after his retirement. His whim and caprice would be achieved through coercive diplomacy on any futureelected Nigerian President—so he thought. Unfortunately, Obasanjo has easily forgotten that the power of a Nigerian or any third-world President is unlimited. There is no constitutional boundary that is impenetrable to the ruler of Nigeria, who is usually ordained beyond humanity.

Although this is Buhari’s second time as the head of government of Nigeria, it is his first democratically elected assignment. His first time in office was truncated by military coup of which he lavished in jail. Now, again, the same group of ex-military juntas is canvassing his removal from office, through orchestrated political smears. No rational individual will not fight back. Buhari wields enough power and authority to challenge, and even denigrate anyone with inimical intention to thwart his legitimate political aspirations.

Has President Buhari performed abysmally? The answer depends on one’s angle of evaluation. There is no doubt that the situation Buhari met the economy of Nigeria was very bad. Yes, he has made decisions that, otherwise, could have changed the course of our economy for the better, if he had acted swiftly. But is he to be blamed for the current economic woes? I am opposed to anyone whose irrational blame is against Buhari on the state of the nation. His plan for Nigeria seems sincere in the evolving tapestry.

Nigeria’s greatest problem is the impunity of corruption in the land. Very few past leaders have been able to challenge corruption head-on; it is the most dangerous task. Corruption or illegality of doing things is ubiquitous, with corrosive infectious outcomes. Today, Nigeria is ranked at the top spot on the world’s corruption index by the Transparency International—– a watch-dog.

While President Buhari has made the fight against corruption his pivotal agenda, it is needless to explain to him that his success will be very marginal because he is surrounded by the same perpetrators. Therefore, they will do anything to thwart his efforts. What I find very weak in Buhari’s government is his inability to act when necessary.Delay is dangerous, and he has remained delayed. There is a saying that knowledge without action is irresponsible, and action without knowledge is dangerous. I do not know which of the two is the reality of this administration. Is it that Mr. President is unware of the looters, ineffectual lieutenants within, or is he simply overwhelmed by the colossal rots in the system?

There are visible acts of sabotage within Buhari’s government, especially the service chiefs and the security agents. The level of crime against humanity, perpetrated every day, in various states of Nigeria, cannot be overlooked with mild reaction. This is where the core issue lies. If the President cannot sack an incompetent officer, who has failed to live up to his assigned responsibility, then the larger blame rests on Buhari’s leadership acumen. He will be constantly challenged, which is the current political backlash.

The question on everyone’s mind is: at what point will the President realize that safety and security of life and property of Nigerians are in more doubt at this time than ever. He has the absolute responsibility to create safe and secure environment for all Nigerians. The current level of disunity is as a result of his weakness, which is orchestrated by the lousy foot soldiers in his domain.

Is Obasanjo sincere about the threat to his life for trying to crucify President Buhari’s administration? The answer is no. I believe that the former President, in his usual nuisance character, is trying to spur sentiments— another political tactic. There is no threat to Baba’s life, and this gimmick carries very little weight to sensitize Nigerians into an undue revolution.

Again, in reality, Baba’s foul play will not add any medallion to his antecedents, which are already visible to anyone living in the polity. If he had employed justice and fair play, maybe Nigeria would have excelled better than the current situation. Obasanjo failed to take the right steps, and the missteps are hounding him now.

He has practically decimated the political career of his former vice, relegated the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the political platform that brought him to prominence. He cannot cajole Nigerians to support his African Democratic Congress (ADC) through sheer mischief. If Obasanjo wants to maintain the imaginary myth he has created, he should keep to his promise to desist from partisan politics. So far, he has failed to obey his conscience, if, indeed, he has one.