BY JOHN UCHE MADU
Former President Chief Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, (OBJ) thinks his greatest treasure and legacy to bequeath to Nigerians is the prowess of letter-writing. Maybe, his admirers are impressed by it. But as a person, it does not make sense to me, because, at least in recent times, his motivation for open epistles is usually ego.
I may be wrong or correct, depending on which side of the coin you wish to place your bet. But for me, I insist to always reject any side of the coin with OBJ’s fragrance. Anyway, I still somewhat admire him for his delight in enlivening his name in the psyche of Nigerians.
OBJ is lettered and so, his ability to write open letters on national issues is unbeatable. He does it freely. But before I proceed, let me congratulate him for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree acquired recently from NOUN.
The issue now is his advisory epistle to President Muhammadu Buhari. He was clear and emphatic that President Buhari should step aside the “leadership horse” of Nigeria. Stepping aside from the leadership of Nigeria is a problem in itself. Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida stepped aside and it sprouted leadership anarchy.
But OBJ is insisting that Buhari should handover the reins of power to a more energetic Nigerian in 2019, who can work 25/7, instead of the normal 24/7 per day; while he relapses into the bench of former leaders of Nigeria to render counseling on the sidelines. So, he reeled out President Buhari’s “shortcomings” in a manner that would magnate every soul to his gospel. OBJ flaunts the tag of an opportunist and does not miss any chance of exploring it to his advantage.
Had OBJ as President worked 25/7 as he is proposing now, Nigeria would have experienced milestones in development and progress long before the advent of the Buhari Presidency. He wants someone to do what he could not do as Leader of Nigeria.
OBJ feels a perfect President of Nigeria must not only be a personality who works beyond the natural rounding hours of the clock, but someone who must necessarily go the extra mile in leading Nigeria. Failure to do this, means he is unfit to govern Nigeria.
Perhaps, it could pass as good advice, except that he harped so much on President Buhari’s ill-health and failing strength. It’s like he is tacitly exploiting the President’s health as it were as a condition for political bargain.
In OBJ’s crooked senses, he thinks a Nigerian leader must be traversing the world, gyrating on the dance stage, in every state in Nigeria, while donating artificial praises to his hosts like he did in Benue and Ebonyi states last year. The failure of President Buhari to behave in like manner is enough reason to scoff at him. It is the spirit behind the “advice” to Buhari to “unmount the leadership horse” and operate from the sidelines.
But such advice coming from a personality like OBJ has failed to impress the masses of Nigeria. Like his Christian name Matthew, the first gospel in the New Testament, suggests, he is usually the first to see any “evil” in every government. And he is always the first to speak out against it. But he is always despised and detested, just like the symbolism of tax collectors associated with the name “Matthew, ” of the ancient times, OBJ rather inspires hatred against himself, each time he vomits his balderdash.
So, Nigerians have held him suspect even in the open to President Buhari. They heard his message, but have not trusted him. They believe his anger is not genuine and possibly, he must have been stabbed at the back by President Buhari to wail this loudly. So, the loud wailings and discontentment are about himself and how much personal capital he can pull from any leader of Nigeria.
This suspicion may not be far from the truth. Former President Umaru Yar’Adua (of blessed memory)did not live long enough to taste OBJ’s bile temperament. But his successor, former President Goodluck Jonathan, OBJ’s political godson failed to decode OBJ’s mindset. He failed to respect the self-acclaimed oracular myth around OBJ and so, incurred his wrath very carelessly.
Jonathan bruised OBJ’s ego by failing to consult him before making pronouncements on major national policy issues. OBJ’s was incensed that Jonathan, a naiveté in leadership, could make certain sensitive federal appointments without seeking his inputs.
I still remember the brawl Jonathan stirred with OBJ when he independently appointed Professor Attahiru Jega as INEC chairman. But the climax was when Jonathan in an obvious innuendo to OBJ, berated so-called elder statesmen who behave like garage touts. It was the last bombshell that severed the cord between the political godson and the godfather.
The dumping of PDP and public tearing of party membership card and the verbal vows of quitting partisan politics , the stiff opposition campaigns against Jonathan stemmed from this act of commission.
President Buhari has palpably courted the anger of OBJ. Informed sources are claiming Buhari has refused to respect the oracular prowess and counseling of OBJ. I am not aware that President Buhari has for once visited Otta Farm to consult with OBJ, since he mounted the horse of leadership in 2015. OBJ is sad that the APC national leader, Senator Ahmed Tinubu is still the voice consulted by Buhari in the Southwest.
Furthermore, OBJ is aggrieved that Tinubu is deciding all the appointments from the Southwest. OBJ is piqued that President Buhari is not ready to respect his status as former Nigerian President to accord him the respect of conceding appointment slots to him so that he could dash to characters like Femi Fani Kayode (FFK) and the likes.
It is giggled in public domain that OBJ is extremely pained that his nominee for the position of the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was rejected by President Buhari . OBJ’s grudge is also fired by the unwillingness of President Buhari to send Vice President Yemi Osinbajo packing for a fresh choice of a running mate in 2019 to be proposed by him from the array of his political godsons.
The game is quite complex and intricate. OBJ’s demonic castigation of the administration of President Buhari and the eventual “advice” not to contest in 2019 is also linked to his desire to crown former Jigawa state Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido President of Nigeria at all cost. He has been passionate about a Lamido Presidency of Nigeria, since the days of Jonathan.
OBJ has hurled the leadership war against President Buhari on several fronts and he is prodding many interests to rise up for the 2019 combat. The sudden indication of interest in Nigeria’s Presidency by former Senate President David Mark is also linked to OBJ’s prodding.
The former President is already making spirited efforts to market their candidatures to some external forces. He believes they can provide the needed fillip to oust President Buhari in 2019. The open epistle conveyed all in connotations.
So, President Buhari has sinned; he is a sinner and an inept leader who cannot continue beyond 2019 for daring OBJ. It is the reason OBJ strongly exploited President Buhari’s minor loopholes in the open epistle to instigate public anger and resentment against the Buhari Presidency to hoodwink the rest of us.