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Ali Baba, My Friend -----By Olusegun Obasanjo

By Alayande Dayo
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It is with deepest reservation that I am writing this foreword. First is to say that nearly all of the things the author of this book will say may not be the truth. But does he care?

This youngman has made so much money from picking on people, for a living for only god knows how long. So, after inflicting his reign of comic terror, what sane thing should he have done? Apologise to every single person he has maligned? So I thought too. What did he do instead? He went ahead to put the same things in a book form. Just so that the maligning will be of a permanent nature. Talk of everlasting rip off.

How on earth could you be charging people for yabbing them and enjoying it at the same time?

There should be a law tucked in somewhere in the Nigerian criminal laws that forbids this practice of living off people who pay you to enjoy yourself?

If there isn't this should be a good excuse to have one. I mean why should you be paid to entertain, you yab the person who paid you and during buffet, you join the guests, some of who you have also picked on, to queue for food. Such effrontery!

I'm sure by now, you can understand why I call him Olosha.

ALI Baba is another good example that democracy is working. In a dictatorship, he could only have imagined the hardship, he would have gone through. That is if he ever comes through it, ask my friend General Yar'Adua.

Why do I say this, you might ask. I will show you why. There is no name that I have not been called by those who do not like me. In the newspapers, on television, in the radio and even kpa kpa, to other peoples hearing. But only Ali Baba has dared to say it to my face that I, Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, is stingy. Did he stop there? Of course not, that will not make him Ali Baba. He went on to say, that once money enters my hand it sticks and nothing can get it out. Did he stop there? For wia? He went on to appoint me the chairman of Aradite Bank.

The one I cannot get over, although not true, was when he said that some top members of my cabinet, were planning to erect an effigy of me somewhere in the federal capital and they came to discuss it and possibly get my approval. Ali, said I asked how much the project will cost. They answered 35 million Naira. I then said they should give me the money that I would rather go and stand there.

The point of prudence in the story is a trick to hide the impudence.

DEMOCRACY is working. There is another story that Ali likes sharing. It goes thus, that during a visit to Zimbabwe, the President brought up an issue of diplomatic importance. That his High Commissioner reported a matter of grave sensitivity about a comedian in Nigeria who joked that he (Mugabe) was asked by the BBC, what the damage was after a fire outbreak that engulfed the headquarters of the Zimbabwean electoral office. That he responded by saying apart from structural damage the only thing that was loss was the result of next year's election. Naturally, I knew it was Ali Baba. I jumped to his defence; looking back now maybe I should not have. But I did. I told him Ali, was my friend, and that he meant no harm. I also added that I had even asked him to collect all the jokes that people were circulating about me. President Mugabe noted that Ali, was very lucky. That in his case, he is collecting all people circulating jokes about him

As I said, democracy is working. Ali, also agrees with me. Though he is not a man of his words. Several times we had as gentlemen, at least I thought he was one, we made a truce not to pick on ourselves at any outing, even when the other was not around. Reports will reach me, that Ali had gone to town again, breaking our gentleman's agreement even more.
THAT said, I am a great fan of Ali Baba. He is an example of why we should tap into our God given talent and use same to develop our society.

You will come across several things in this book, that will make you think, make you laugh and you cannot be blamed if any of them make you angry. All these can happen. But I would advise that you take them for what they are... just jokes and issues crafted just to provoke laughter. Really.

As for the jokes on me, Ali Baba and I have come to an agreement. An agreement to share the profit that he has made in the past 6 or more years, using my name. He even had the guts to say he spent it on my behalf in blind trust. Whatever that meant, it's only fair that he compensates me, having been used as a tool of his trade.

And it is only on the basis of our gentleman agreement on profit sharing that I recommend this our (Ali and I) book to the public, for the fun of it, for the historic value, for medical reasons and because Ali Baba is my friend.

- Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR
President & Commander-in-Chief
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Being the introductory note President Obasanjo wrote for Ali Baba's book, MY ORIGINALS