2007: Let Obasanjo Run


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2007: Let Obasanjo Run




Uchenna Richard Akwiwu




December 20, 2005


Love or hate IBB, there is one thing you cannot argue about him:  he is the quintessential high-stakes political maradona.  A maradona, by my definition, is one who in an attack mode and under intense pressure in a high drama, stays ahead of his opponents by inventing a move on the play or run.  Check out all IBB political moves during his military presidency and you would no doubt agree with me for calling him a maradona.  The problem the maradona is always having is with his motive in his inventive play.  When the motive is ill the inventive play is a bad one and never stands the test of time.  Hence, at the close of the drama when the curtain falls, the audience comes away with a good approximate feeling that he is an evil genius.  That is IBBís current lot and you have to pity the rich guy for that kind of public tagging and everlasting notoriety.  On the other hand, heroes are made when the motives are pure.  Nigerians are really begging:  when, in the current political scene would a heroic political maradona show up!


The high-noon drama in Nigerian politics today is on whether Obasanjo should be allowed a third term via constitutional amendment.  The political system is well heated up and yet is thick in tension that you could cut a knife through it.  The North says NO to OBJ and that they must have the Presidency 2007.  The South-East with boy Orji as the arrowhead says not so fast to the North and that it is their turn.  Political jobbers who Baba fired or eased out of the political scene are busy, in a vengeful mood, forming political movements to swat Babaís third term bid.  In the churches, the true pastors and their congregations are praying real hard and crying out to God: Away with these evil politicians.  The grinding poverty, the wasting and ravaging pestilence or diseases, the bloody rituals and the wicked idolatrous practices have a merciless chokehold on the populace.  You can sense the mood: our democracy, if we are true to our backward culture, is gearing up for an assault by the worst kind of mayhem or bloodshed.


Now is the time we need a true heroic political maradona.  And God knows we do.  And for the sake of the masses, He would make one available.  Frankly, I do not care if OBJ wants a third time.  I would not give a hoot if IBB wants to be our next president.  It would not concern me that the mamaís boy-hypocrite Orji wants to ascend to the throne of Nigeria.  What I am very much concerned about and nobody is talking about is that these guys have not articulated a serious aggressive ambitious and realistic vision of where they want to take Nigeria during their term in office.  2007 should be a good fight about ideas and vision in a battle for the heart and soul of the future of Nigeria.  It should not be a battle of the tribes; it should not be a battle of the geo-political zones; and it definitely need not be a bloody one.  The kind of heroic political maradona we expect is one who has the best fresh, unique ideas and vision of where this country should be headed to better compete with the best, say China, in a global economy.  The masses are tired, really tired of the on-going wicked political brinkmanship being egged on by the selfish tribal entrepreneurs.


 For heavenís sake let us stop this huffing and puffing and shrieking about Objís third term bid.  If Obj has a plan for 2007 other than NEEDS let us see it.  If it is the best then let us amend the constitution and give the old man a third ticket.  However, if it is just about the same old NEEDS then he should start making his way back to the Otta farms for he has run out of ideas.  The only thing NEEDS has benefited Nigeria is mainly on governance and institutional reforms.  On infrastructure and physical economy, NEEDS has woefully failed.  The Economic Management Team (EMT) has failed in her fight against inflation.  Inflation is still in double digits.  In order to create an excuse for their failure they invent a cute economic statistic called point-to-point inflation which is incredibly lower than the real inflation.  What we have is not inflation but stagflation.   We are yet to see the FDIs they promised us would be flooding into this country.  All we have are third rate investors in the very non-productive tertiary sectors.  What of NEPA?  Breaking it up has not made much difference.  New NEPA even in its new constituent parts is still useless, inefficient, top-heavy and corruption-ridden.  The high energy cost, which should not be and is due to the inefficiency, is deterring FDI inflow.  The guys at NEPA still have the guts to ask for more money when all they do is engage, like their sister-parastatal NNPC in those days in their famous refinery turn-around-maintenance (TAM) games, in spare-parts round-tripping!  It is this kind of nonsense that goes on and on. 


How could we accept a strategy that would have us wait 30 years to achieve a minuscule per-capita income of $1031.  They cite NEEDS targets as very conservative and yet they are not able to meet the inflation target.  For sure and likewise, we should regard the per-capita income target as unachievable and unrealistic.  They should give us a good reason why a per-capita income of $5000 is not achievable in 15 years.  IDOLS?  Lee Kuan Yew was able to take Singapore from an income per-capita of an underdeveloped country to $30,000 in 30 years.  How many heads does the guy have as against our guys that Nigerians should settle for anything less?   O well, that is what we get  when we pay  someone a tenured salary of $245,000/year only for the EMT to miss prime targets.


Obasanjoís economic stargazers keep telling us to hold on for the economy is coming!  Nigerians are like a woman who has been violently penetrated in a sexual rape where the assailant asks his victim to relax and enjoy instead of kicking and fighting.  She wonders when he would finally exhale and be spent so that she can possibly retrieve her life.  She has been had.  We are in an endless rape by a visionless NEEDS and the economy is never going to come!  Why then should Baba want us to have a repeat performance in a 3rd term.  It ainít fair, we are badly hurt as it is and walking very wobbly from a violent abuse.  He should be consoling and wooing us with a better idea and vision and not rape us again with the violent weapon called NEEDS as it is.  You can bet we shall fight against this abuse this time around!


Somebody should please tell Baba to ask his minions to shut up and stop making their boss look like the Biblical tin-dictator called Rehoboam who lost the kingdom his wise father bequeathed to him by promising to violently abuse his people.  They should be thinking of how to come up with an innovative and visionary infrastructure-driven, industrial-led, efficient economy blueprint.  If they cannot come up with one then they should say so and stop heating up the body polity and, finally, advice Baba to start packing his bags for the Otta farms come 2007.  A heroic political maradona would make a very deft move by coming up with that kind of a killer awesome vision that would wow Nigerians and deflate the huffing and puffing of his political opponents.  I have the same advice for IBB, Buhari and Orji.  They should all come up with and put their ideas and vision on media print and on the table and then engage in a serious debate on the issues involved among themselves for the sole purpose of winning the hearts and soul of Nigerians.  That is what we want!  The guy with the best idea and vision shall be our heroic political maradona.


Babaís problem has always been with having no vision.  Hence, he cannot be a good leader but an efficient manager.  The opposition to his third-term bid would keep on mounting till he resolves this vision problem.  He really has to find a way to disarm his political opponents Ė all of them.  Political intrigue and intimidation would not get that done.  It would only set up the system for bloodshed and consequent truncation of our nascent democracy.  I really do not know why he has to exert so much energy to grab a third term bid.  He has done quite well in governance and institutional reforms for a start.  He has capable processors, not visionaries, at the helm of the economy.  He has gotten the much needed debt relief.  The basis foundation for his third term bid has been laid.  All he needs now is a new ideology and vision and a succession scheme and a little tinkering in his cabinet by replacing some of the administrative airheads who parade as ministers to convince Nigerians he means better business that would offer them better livelihoods come 2007.  On the other hand, why does the North or the South East want the Presidency now?  Selfish tribal interests!   If they are serious, we want an innovative and unique economy blueprint from them.  And why not, if he has a blueprint, let Baba run for a third term come 2007!





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