At the time the renowned historian, Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, gave his unbeatable definition of history – no living soul in the world today was alive, let alone know anything about the concept of human history and its deep philosophical interpretation. Notwithstanding this asynchronous distinction, his incontestable definition of history absorbed the actions of actors of history across the ages in a wide spectrum of factual validity. In very simple but thoughtful phrase, Bossuet packaged every occurrence in history as drama vide his definition of history: “…The drama of history is written and directed by the sacred will of God’. In other words, events that are significant enough to alter and shape the destiny of a nation are inspired by invisible hands of history. Likewise, Raymond Aaron’s view on historical determinism adjoins the foregoing in agreeable cadency: “Social phenomena are subject to a strict determinism which operate in the form of an inevitable evolution of human society…”
Indeed , it was never for fun that it is said that some words and expression, on account of their truismatic significance, have the right to life. There is no denying the fact that the divisive inter-ethnic orthodoxy between the Hutus and Tutsis inexorably drove Rwanda into a genocidal conflict –yet it is this unfortunate part of its dark history that served as the pathway to the stability she enjoys today. In the doctrine of historical recitals, conflicts between opposing interests in human society are part of the processes of history that eventually ensure stability and balance in the system and constitute an integral part of the evolutionary cycle that societies go through in achieving a civilized society governed by responsible norms and values.
Every nation has its unique history but the laws that apply to historical events in human society are the same throughout the ages. What is relevant in our case is conflictual actions of opposing interests and state actors that threaten the polity but eventually serve as the rough pathway that leads to a stable polity. One of the most striking incidences in the current political dispensation is the reunion of Atiku and Obasanjo which answers to the description of an extraordinary piece of event by the size and depth of events that preceded the reunion as with the circumstances that birthed their conflict in the first place. Much before now, not a few would refuse to stake a dime on the possibility of a reunion of this duo knowing full well what transpired between them. In and out of office, Obasanjo had said much and written enough literature about the unfitness of Atiku for public office, of which even a kindergarten pupil would readily quote a few excerpts with least effort.
There is virtually nothing too dirty and objectionable for Obasanjo to say about Atiku when it comes to his suitability for public office: “How can I be on the same side with Atiku, to do what?” “If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” Atiku – being a smart cookie with an eye for tomorrow, had been careful not to push forth in equal measure of vehemence to Obasanjo’s accusations. He mostly dismisses them casually as untrue, and since the heft of the accusations settles on corruption his usual refrain is that he is the most investigated Nigerian alive and till date there is no shred of evidence against him let alone a conviction. In the eyes of the world, any redeeming feature in the Atiku’s damaged relationship with Obasanjo would be a lift from exceptional event and of historic proportion. Alas, the seeming unhealing disaffection which the world had been prepared for suddenly gave way to a new relation defined and conditioned by toxic disaffection with President Buhari who now bears the brunt of Obasnajo’s crucifying axe. Lately, Obasanjo has been struggling to explain to the public how years of sworn venomous rejection suddenly evaporated into thin air and the perfunctory identification of a new target of rejection –casting a huge question on motive, intention and the putative value of all that he would ever say about anyone. Needless to say that he is sure aware of this monumental contradiction
“I have been called names because of my position on Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa. Everything I have said as far as I have knowledge of Atiku, I have not retracted and I stand firmly by them because they are, to the best of my knowledge, true”
With the help of accurate reading of antecedents, one can never misjudge the exalted confidence of Obasanjo, the political Nostradamus of our time; he would always manoeuvre his way out of any crevices that his conflicting statements create.
“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and, subsequently, from Nigerians. He asked for forgiveness from me and, as a believer, a Christian, I forgave him.”
In between Obasanjo’s deeply contrasting standpoints lie the undisclosed element which he would not readily admit but rather have us believe that something more ominous had afflicted the nation to neutralise the ghoulish picture he earlier painted of Atiku with shuddering excruciating vigor in his relentless fault-searching-cum-president- recruitment adventure.
Beyond what Obasanjo wants the world to believe is responsible for his disaffection and consequent rejection of Buhari, it would be foolhardy not to explore and interrogate the real issue that squared him with Atiku in a bitter war of attrition that shook the system to the foundation, which the latter revealed in his letter to the European Union and United States at the heat of the crisis.
“Since I led the opposition against Obasanjo’s plot to amend the constitution to allow him run for an unprecedented third term of office, the president has sworn to frustrate my legitimate desire to contest the president election in April. He has used state institutions to harass, intimidate and humiliate me. He has erected several legal and political obstacles against me. As a democrat and a strong believer in the rule of law, I have confronted these vendetta-induced obstacles and challenges through our legal and political systems…”
The historical replay of this conflict in the current faceoff with Buhari, albeit under a different circumstance, is evidence–rich on Obasanjo’s tendency to afflict our presidential election with his peculiar taste for domination and suitability clairvoyance. As foretold earlier, conflicts between state actors have a unique way of advancing the cause of a nation and the nascent Obasanjo/Buhari conflict won’t be an exception. Lest we forget, the Atiku/Obasanjo conflict had its positive effect –it knocked out the third term quest and birthed a Locus Classicus in our legal system regarding the splitting of joint ticket in which a sitting vice president dumped the sponsoring party for another party due to political disagreement. For some time to come, the fallout from that attritional encounter (THIRD TERM) will continue to affect political relationship, ditto the complexion of the nation’s politics until the protagonist fade out from the political scene.
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