The story of Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar
Atiku and Obasanjo
In any case, pray, Could an enemy have visited an adversary to warn him about the imminent risks to his life or freedom? Could an enemy also have extended such goodwill fraternal visit? How many years would an individual need to know a man who had wanted to put him out of harm's way? Yet again, destiny played a fast, very fast one on both men.
Sunday Vanguard learnt from very authoritative sources that Atiku it was who arranged for and warned Obasanjo, as an inmate (a prisoner), not to allow himself to be injected or his blood taken. Sunday Vanguard gathered from very impeccable sources that “this warning became necessary following confirmed reports that the late Major Akinyemi and Shehu Musa Yar'Adua were both injected with lethal viruses that eventually led to their untimely deaths”.
In fact, dependable sources close to the family of Major Akinyemi confided in Sunday Vanguard that the sentiments being expressed in favour of those who operated at the very top echelon of the security machinery of the late General Sani Abacha junta is misplaced because the officers devised very sinister ways of eliminating those they considered as troublesome subjects.
In the instance of Akinyemi, the now infamous military medical doctor through whom a series of eliminations was carried out, walked into his cell in the company of another serving military officer and demanded to extract blood from the incarcerated Major. He refused. They pressed him. “But he maintained”, according to a source close to the family, “that he had neither complained of any ailment nor was he afflicted by any. His refusal almost led to a scuffle.
But the serving military officer simply looked outside the cell, nodded to two body guards who were waiting in toe, and gave them instructions to subdue Akinyemi. “Worse still, rather than extract the so-callled blood from the Major, the military doctor brought out a syringe that was almost filled with some form of solution. Having been held down by the bodyguards, the doctor injected the Major”.
Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that it was later learnt that the solution injected into the body of Major Akinyemi was nothing but the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, otherwise known as HIV. By the time the Major was released from prison, it had developed into almost full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS. He gave his life to Christ afterwards and began a ministry which ministered to prisoners. Sunday Vanguard was told that during one of his ministrations, Major Akinyemi returned to Kirikiri where he again met with the serving military officer who superintended the administration of the lethal injection on him but was now doing his own time.
The officer saluted Akinyemi in military style and apologized for what had happened about a decade earlier. The Major was said to have laid his hands on the now-jailed officer, prayed for him and told him that he was forgiven of the dastardly act.
It was gathered from multiple sources last week that had Obasanjo “not heeded Atiku's warning, only God knows how they would have dealt with him too”. At least, if they could do that to Yar'Adua, they could do it to anybody. God used Atiku's to save Obasanjo's life”, the source concluded. Beyond that, however, Sunday Vanguard learnt of the details of how Atiku and some associates engaged a strategy that ensured that Obasanjo was moved from Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos to far away Yola Prisons.
The thinking of those in the corridors of power at that time was that Yola, considered distant, would serve a more punitive purpose. However, what Atiku and his people actually schemed was for Obasanjo to be close to the former's base in Yola, Adamawa State.
Indeed, there were reports that there was a systematic engagement strategy that was perfected by that regime to eliminate known opponents of the military junta.
According to mutual friends of both Atiku and Obasanjo, the claim by the latter that he did not know the former until a year into their tenure of office is equally beyond comprehension, considering the facts as written in at least two earlier unchallenged books that Atiku and others made life easier for the former the President in his stay in prison by arranging his meals and doctor's visits. Obasanjo's late wife, Stella, was said to have been privy to these arrangements.
In truth, Atiku got ever closer to Obasanjo in 1999 when his Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, threw its weight behind Obasanjo to become the PDP presidential candidate. Obasanjo invited Atiku to become his running mate immediately after the Jos convention of the PDP.
He sought reassurance from Atiku that he would be loyal if he made him his running mate and the Turaki Adamawa, who was then a governor-elect of Adamawa State, pledged his allegiance. Perhaps, Obasanjo should have told Atiku that loyalty included supporting constitutional breaches. Indeed, Obasanjo, in a self conceited manner, junked an earlier consensual agreement by leaders of the PDP on how to select his running mate, by unilaterally picking Atiku.
The beginning of the distrust between both men started with the botched impeachment attempt on Obasanjo – an attempt which was alleged to have been masterminded by Atiku.
Then came Atiku's politics of attrition which dragged into the eve of the presidential primaries of the PDP sending jitters down Obsanjo's spine when he threatened contest for the ticket against his boss – Atiku actually set some state governors against Obasanjo and the agenda to dump the then President almost succeeded. But the third term agenda of Obasanjo in 2006 brought their mutual disdain into full public glare. Atiku openly disagreed with his boss over the attempt to extend his constitutional term limit of eight years.
It remains plausible that any other Vice President could have faced the same hostility from Obasanjo once he had opposed the idea of the third term project. However, Obasanjo had always been a very rambunctious individual who, in the process, does himself in. A sample: Just about six years ago, a summit was held in South Africa where leaders came together to jaw-jaw about global issues.
They were called the ELDERS. Obasanjo was not deemed fit to be invited. Reason: He had taken a tumble from the high pedestal of grace to the abyss of irrelevance on account of that single- most destructive thing which he did to himself – lust for power and more power. He attempted to elongate his tenure as President. It failed.
A Man of Might
As President and Commander-in-Chief, from his early days in office, Obasanjo caused his party and the Senate to pick a wrong choice for the Senate presidency – Evan(s) Enwerem was made Senate president against the party's position that Dr. Chuba Okadigbo should be the one; Obasanjo launched an onslaught against opposition; he captured the South West geo-political zone states except Lagos; when his Third Term bid failed, he paid the polity back by imposing Umaru Musa Yar'Adua as the PDP candidate and then made him President; when the Yar'Adua illness saga started, Obasanjo it was who, after obtaining incontrovertible evidence that Yar'Adua would not survive, played on the polity by coming out to admonish Yar'Adua to resign if he knew he could no longer discharge his responsibilities as President and Commander-in-Chief; once Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan became first, Acting President and later President, Obasanjo moved to take charge as godfather. But Obasanjo it was who told Emeka Offor, at the height of the Anambra PDP crisis in 2002, that he was behaving like a man with an elephant on his head but who still wanted to catch a cricket.
The same Obasanjo, during the first term of Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, insisted that his choice must be the Olowu of Owu, allegedly tearing to shreds the paper on which votes of the king makers were recorded. He had his way as he always did. Goodness, Once Upon a Time To be fair, Obasanjo is not a totally bad man.
He had (yes, had) his qualities. Here was a man who has accomplished much more than most African leaders. Here was a man who, while the great Nelson Madiba Mandela was in prison, bestrode the African continent and the globe like a colossus.
Here was a man who, as co-chair of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, EPG, a journalist had thought he could embarrass Obasanjo by accusing him of bias in the report of the group sometime in the late 1980s, citing Obasanjo's nationalisation of British Petroleum, BP, (which became African Petroleum, AP), but got more than what he bargained for. Obasanjo's response was simply that had he seen and known what he saw and got to know during the tour by the EPG, while he was a military head of state, he would have done more to hurt the British. That was the end of the discussion for the journalist.
Again, here was a man who could have refused to hand over power but did so – even if under duress – to the consternation of his peers in Africa in 1979. The question to then ask is: What happened? And how did a man so accomplished drop so low? He had his own construct of how everything must work.
He allowed himself to fall into that trap which fuels a feeling of omnipotence and omniscience. But talk about staying power, Obasanjo had it. One way or the other, Obasanjo's selfishness has robbed Nigerians of great deeds. Because Obasanjo was selfish even to himself, he became selfish to the whole of Nigeria. Till date, no Nigerians leader, dead or alive, has had the opportunities Obasanjo has had.
Yet, he continues to conduct himself in a decidedly shambolic manner. Former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, once described Obasanjo as the Ebora Owu – the spirit of Owu – an allusion to his sometimes indecipherable disposition.
Well, it is hoped that the gods would guide and help him guard against outbursts that only ridicule the former President.