FOR OBASANJO, A DOSE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE
The Yoruba have a rather trite but well proven saying: 'It is the God of yesteryears that is slow, the modern one travels by jet.' Well, I don't know whether there is a God of yore, and a modern God. What the Good Book says is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. In Him, there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He says of Himself in another place: 'I am the Lord, I change not, therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.'
Okay, what are you driving at, Mr. Preacher? God has not changed. He is still slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. But towards Olusegun Okikiolu Obasanjo, former military head of state, former two-term civilian president, God has shown that He is a true God of recompense. 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay.' And all within four years (even less), Obasanjo is reaping what he has sown. He sowed the wind, now he's reaping the whirlwind. What goes round comes round.
I nearly broke my sides in laughter last week as I read a report that Obasanjo stormed the Abuja national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to protest some alleged undemocratic acts in the party's congresses, particularly in Ogun State. Obasanjo's daughter, Iyabo, had wanted another shot at the Senate, where she's currently serving. But she happens to be in a faction of the party opposed to Governor Gbenga Daniel in Ogun State. She teamed up with the G15, the group that has fought Daniel to a standstill in the past two or three years.
In the beginning, Iyabo was Commissioner for Health in Daniel's cabinet. But things became awry, and they went their separate ways. They are now forsworn enemies. Obasanjo the father, and Iyabo the daughter, are in the vanguard of opposition to Daniel. But the latter has played better politics of survival. He found refuge under President Goodluck Jonathan, to whom he's South-west campaign coordinator. So, he has the politics of his state firmly in his grip. Obasanjo is sidelined, Iyabo is shunted aside. Both now belong to the camp that held parallel congresses in Ogun, and it remains to be seen what the PDP national headquarters does with them. But from all indications, father and daughter may have lost out in the politics of Ogun State, and Iyabo could as well kiss the Senate goodbye.
All these were what riled Obasanjo to no end, and he headed for the Wadata Plaza headquarters of the PDP in Abuja last week. It was no chummy courtesy call. He reportedly stormed in, and told off the National Working Committee members who were around. The National Chairman and other officers reportedly got the sharp edge of his tongue. He threatened to quit the party, if they did not reverse the injustice that was being perpetrated in Ogun State, and in other parts of the South-west particularly.
Obasanjo fighting injustice? Funny. The king of foul play posing as a champion of justice. Amusing. Both comical and ludicrous at the same time.
Flashback to this time four years ago. The country was preparing for the 2007 general elections, and parties were electing candidates via primaries, as the law demanded. When the exercise had been conducted nationwide, Obasanjo then began his one-man show. He proceeded to remove and replace. In Rivers, he said Rotimi Amaechi's candidature had k-leg.
He yanked him off. It took the Supreme Court to give the man back his dues later. In Imo, he threw out Ifeanyi Araraume, and got the PDP to opt out of the gubernatorial election, rather than have a man whose face he didn't like. In Oyo, he wangled out Rasidi Ladoja, the incumbent, replacing him with his yes-boy, Adebayo Alao-Akala. Dambaba Suntai was drafted in as candidate in Taraba, as the person originally pencilled down, Danladi Baido, was on the phoney EFCC corruption advisory list. Olusegun Mimiko had been told earlier in the race to step down for Olusegun Agagu, and the former took his fortunes to Labour Party, where he won the election. But Mimiko could only assume the mandate two years later, after the court sacked Agagu who had usurped the victory. There were many other anti-democratic acts.
In fact, Obasanjo became PDP's sole administrator, and contributed a great deal in messing up the 2007 polls. Even at the national level, he imposed an ailing Umaru Musa Yar'Adua as presidential candidate, knocking off all other contenders by artifice. Before all that, Obasanjo had seized his party by the jugular (let's not say by the testicles, it doesn't appear to be decent language). Audu Ogbe, party chairman had been forced to resign at gunpoint, and a pliant and malleable Ahmadu Ali installed in his place. A so-called re-registration exercise nationwide was used to kick out opposition figures like Atiku Abubakar, Orji Uzor Kalu, and many others, who moved to other newly formed parties. Obasanjo, a tenant in PDP, had succeed in sacking the landlords. He had ejected, disgorged them from the house they built. He became an army of occupation, and had the time of his life as Lord of the Manor.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. Less than four years later, the circle has turned fully round. Obasanjo is being forced to quaff his own hemlock, he is being force-fed with his own medicine. And he's protesting. But me, I dey laugh o. What goes round comes round. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, same shall he reap. Obasanjo sowed the wind, he's reaping a cyclone. The God of recompense has come in a supersonic jet, and it is time for holy vengeance. Should we then pity the malefactor? The Yoruba say the man that plants a wicked seed, even his children will eat from the fruit. Don't we see it happening to Obasanjo and Iyabo? The man who kills by the sword will not even like you to wave a key near his neck, but he that kills by the sword, dies by the sword. Immutable. Ineluctable. It is a divine law.
It was reported that Obasanjo threatened at the PDP headquarters that he would quit and possibly form another party. I still dey laugh o. Obasanjo, form a party? No, he can't. He's a scatterer, not a gatherer, so he won't be able to form a party. Who will join him? Not even Iyabo. Not even Jubril Martins-Kuye, or Adetunji Olurin, his current loyalists in Ogun State. Obasanjo is as unstable and as tempestuous as the sea. He can never put together a successful political party. He can only hijack and scatter the ones other people have built. So, if he leaves PDP now, he retires finally from politics, as I'm sure no other party will take him. They will promptly slam their doors shut when they see him approaching. Don't come and scatter us, o jare.
The mill of the gods may grind slowly, but it sure grinds finely. For Obasanjo, it has ground both fast and fine. He has got his just desserts, he is now a sufferer of the affliction he meted out to others less than four years ago. The modern God surely travels by jet. A year into the Yar'Adua administration, when the then president had begun to demolish Obasanjo block by block, I'd done a piece with the headline, 'What goes round comes round.' And I'd stated: 'A year ago, he was at the very apex of power and arrogance.
Today, he's in the valley. Valley of gloom, despondence, infamy. Be careful what you do to people on your way to the top, for you might need them on your way down. That was the lesson Obasanjo did not learn. And that is why today, in the words of John Keats the poet, he's 'alone and palely loitering' at his Otta farm.' You see that the scenario painted above has got worse for Obasanjo. He's now completely party-less, outsmarted at his own home base by the governor. Obasanjo is a king sitting on an empty throne. And I'm sure he is not laughing now.
From my mailbox
Lyndon, not Andrew Johnson
If I am aware that angels of God write articles, I would have said you exchange notes with them to make your articles always so revealing, so insightful and educative.
Thanks for the menu 'This time next week' of last Friday, January 7, 2011.
However, after President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was later shot by Jack Ruby, perhaps to cover up the details of JFK's killers, JFK's VP who completed the tenure and unsuccessfully sought a fresh mandate was Lyndon Baines Johnson. Even if he was Andrew as you called him, that name must have been unpopular and silent in those days that I studied, knew and discussed world current affairs the way I know your name as Femi Adesina. Joseph Okolo, Jos, 08057452745
*Thanks Mr. Okolo. It is Lyndon, not Andrew Johnson. The mistake is mine, probably due to old age.
Stick to your conscience
You are one of the few journalists that have arrested my attention since I first got to know about your column in 2005 (together with Eric Osagie and Usoro), first by your rich understanding of national issues, then your approach to them and also by your command of the English language.
I've been following all your write-ups about the rotation and no rotation; or is it zoning they call it? Well, we all as individuals, especially in a democratic setting are entitled to our opinions. I quite respect and in fact often align myself with you on most national issues, but I feel somewhat different on this rotation thing.
My major grouse with you is from what you insinuated last week, that when people do not respect agreement, consequences such as the bomb blasts may be the result. But does that justify you destroying a nation in which you claim to make good things happen? Anyway, keep up the good work and stick to your conscience (a good one I believe) even if dissenting voices be arrayed against you.
Femi Balogun, Yola
Re: This time next week
In the political calendar of Nigeria, next week (this week) will be historical. Historical because it should finally mark the end of the battle between the two PDP warlords from the south and the north. But I seriously pray that the same week will not be the make or break 2011 you have warned about.
My heart is furiously beating as I make silent meditations in my soul for my beloved nation.
Adewunmi Adesida, [email protected]
Heavens will not fall
By this time next week, Jonathan Goodluck must've won and the likes of Atiku and other myopic northerners would bury their heads in shame. This time next week, heavens will not fall and Nigeria will still be one. Thank you. Dave Nwankwo (JP)
Re: This time next week
You are a gift to this country. You have made a lot of us addicts of Daily Sun, especially on Fridays, because of your style of writing and your patriotism. You say the truth and the sincerity is so obvious. God is your strength. Remain blessed.
Dr Kelechi Nwagwu, Lagos
Let's push out PDP
Re: 'This time next week.' If we all blame PDP for running the country down since 1999, why do we still burden ourselves with who gets their ticket or not? Let's join hands to push them out of power. Tobias Igbokwe, Lagos
I pray for peace
Wherever the pendulum swings in PDP, I pray for peace. The way they've heated the polity unsettles me. Election should not be a do or die affair. Oscar Okhifo, Abuja
Not yet uhuru
This time next week, what should we expect? A free and fair PDP presidential primary or a magomago one? Not yet uhuru. God, we are counting on your choice. Ayo Moses, Ibadan
Nigeria will still be
Thanks for your highly revealing expose on the incumbency factor. All we know is that by this time next week, Nigeria will still be, Jonathan and Atiku will still be. God give us the man that will lead us out of the woods. Amen.
Pastor Livy Onyenegecha, Ibeku Okwuato, Mbaise
To Sule Lamido
Sule Lamido is a beneficiary of Obasanjo's do or die election. Anenih is not even worth mentioning. So what do you expect to hear from the two of them? Mafe A. J.