In Defense of Olusegun Obasanjo
By Paul Omoruyi
Let me be clear and very clear – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) in my opinion has his hand in Nigeria's proverbial cooking jar. Undoubtedly, as it is becoming obvious daily, history will judge him for his role in Nigeria's political quagmire and economic quandary. Nigerians are all too aware of what transpired from the ignominious regime of IBB to the current lack luster government of GEJ.
Nigerian unborn will tell you that our beloved country has not been very lucky with visionary and revolutionary leaders that can change the status quo of incompetence, low expectation, financial misappropriation and rapacious greed. Every Nigerian knows what is killing us as a nation and a people and can very well articulate it!
In the last couple of days as OBJ's open letter to GEJ hit the newsstand, majority of Nigerians characteristically resurrected out of their cocoon and blasted OBJ in one form or fashion. Rightly so, they expressed their opinions. If OBJ is wise enough, he would take some time to read the reactions of Nigerians and gauge the legacy he has left behind. Maybe he still has some time for redemption!
In his article “Jonathan's 'Killer Squad' And Obasanjo's Amnesia-Letter from the Pot to The Kettle” Kayode Ogundamisi wrote “Obasanjo is that man who betrayed every known good cause, he his the cunning fox that would arrive when a war had been won and claim victory, when it comes to 'playing both sides' OBJ is the master of the game. Here is a man who punished hi Yoruba people for democratically rejecting his candidacy knowing fully well how evil he could be…..Obasanjo will go down in Yoruba history as an 'akotileta' a traitor and no matter what others see him for, a real Yoruba would always place him in the darkest side of our history”.
Chido Onumah in his article “Obasanjo's 'Satanic' Letter” said (referring to OBJ) “in his warped thinking, Obasanjo must have reasoned that his only option was to foist on Nigerians the very worst amongst us; people so inept and incapable that after a while we'll be hankering after Obasanjo. Looking back now, that theory has worked well as Nigerians now look with nostalgia at the Obasanjo era….But we can say the same and even more about the two Obasanjo's administrations, 1976-1979 and 1999-2007.
Obasanjo seems to have forgotten too soon his squabble with his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, that made nonsense of governance, the political assassinations (including that of Bola Ige, his attorney general and minister of justice) during his macabre rule, the massacres in Odi and Zaki Biam. The less said about corruption (who could forget the wholesale pillage of our patrimony in the name of privatization) the better. Obasanjo laid the foundation on which President Jonathan is building and consolidating. He is acting out the PDP playbook.”
On the other hand, there are few Nigerians that still hold very favorable view about OBJ for his role in aggressively canvassing for foreign investments in Nigeria, opening Nigeria's ICT market, and the way and manner he managed the Islamic north agitations for Sharia laws. To these Nigerians, OBJ left something that Nigerians are enjoying today knowingly or unknowingly.
After three days of archiving the OBJ's letter in my hard drive, I decided to sit down and read line by line so I can form an educated opinion. My intention here is not to take sides but to think outside the box.
I will let Nigerians judge the issues OBJ raised in his letter. However, I like to state unequivocally that I respect OBJ for having the courage to write such a letter to GEJ. To me, it shows he's a man who is bold enough to express his views without fear or favor. Such boldness is hard to find among Nigeria political class and citizenry. While the others were expressing their views behind close doors (not to offend the new king on the block from giving them “food”), like Nike advert, OBJ did it!
Like the letter I wrote to Governor Oshiomhole on November 16 th , 2012 widely published online titled “An Open Letter to Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole of Edo State” I like this letter because it is good for Nigeria. It is high time that those that are occupying the highest position of power in the country started to scrutinize one another. It is part of the democratic process and has a tendency to keep them in check. It is same reason that most American politicians try to stay as clean as possible. Because too many eyes watching them are ready to dig out their dirty linen and display it in public. Checks and balance in government 101!
My expectation is that GEJ should also display his patriotism for Nigeria and manly prowess by writing OBJ to express his views. There is nothing wrong with having divergence of opinion about issues affecting the nation. There are times one cannot help but love America. I am enthralled when Americans will look into the eye ball of their president (whoever) and say with grace and civility “I disagree with you Mr. President because……”
With all the accusations against OBJ coming from the political elite after he wrote his letter, I was wondering why they were not men enough to publically do the same to OBJ while he was running the country? I am just thinking here. To me, it shows they are bunch of self-serving mama's boys.
In fact, if APC is not full of same recycled political milksops, they should be looking for all the dirty linens of PDP and displaying it for the Nigerian people to see.
Also, if PDP wants to show that they are not political cowards and namby-pambies, they should go after all the “bad bad things” APC party is doing against Nigeria people and present them in Nigeria's public domain. Nigerians know that looting is the only thing that binds both party members together.
Please Nigerians pray and encourage them to write one another. They know where all the money went and its going. They know who supplies the arms to terrorist, kidnappers and political thugs. When all the letters are in, it will help us to prosecute them and hold them accountable.
Thank you OBJ for writing the second letter. I am waiting for GEJ's letter, Tinubu's letter, IBB's letter, Atiku's letter, Buhari's letter and all the others. 2014 should be the year of letters for them. May God bless Nigerians and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.