Obasanjo's Obsession And Nightmare


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Obasanjo's Obsession And Nightmare




Ibanga Essien


culled from VANGUARD, October 22, 2006


Without bothering the reader with countless dictionary definitions, let me just say that to be obsessed with something is really to be crazy about it.  And nearly all  Nigerians who pay attention to public affairs would agree that President Olusegun Obasanjo is obsessed with Atiku Abubakar, the Vice President.  He is obsessed  with stopping Atiku from becoming the next President of Nigeria.  Of course his first obsession is with power and remaining President for life. His obsession with  Atiku is tied to that main one. In the past, when the President had not stretched his luck too far, many Nigerians outside government and who did not know Obasanjo  well actually thought that he was an anti-corruption crusader. In fact, they were willing to believe that his problem with his deputy was the alleged corruption of the  latter.


But thanks to his boundless obsession which has led him to take quite suicidal measures, his mask has been removed.  Nigerians now see that they were almost  conned into believing this big lie that their President is a clean man of God.  They have now been enabled to see that those early-morning prayer sessions at the Villa  Chapel are a smokescreen intended to blindfold Nigerians.  For if Obasanjo is not fixated on Atiku, he would not have driven the man into revealing for us the true  Obasanjo, a man who has been busy amassing so much wealth in the last few years as if he still has another 70 years to live as the head of a family of 10 million.  And  he has been doing so with the machinery of the state of which he is in charge and contrary to our Constitution and the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. He has  also been doing it with impunity and a devil-may-care attitude.  That is not surprising since he obviously enjoys playing God.


This is the same man who has the temerity to call people, indeed everybody, corrupt. And he says so with a straight face.  Has he no shame? Why does he not care  at all about our country, the Presidency as an institution and the damage that his actions and utterances have been doing not just to people but to our country and the  Presidency? Does he not know what the world beyond the Fani-Kayodes, Anenihs, Mantus and Odilis think of him and our country? Everywhere you turn now you  hear people say that Abacha was not this bad or this tragic. For any living Nigerian to be compared unfavourably with Sani Abacha is a huge testimony to how far the  fellow has descended in the ignominious scale of depravity. And to think that the fellow is the current President of a country of 130 million people, a country of some  well-educated and smart people!


Yet the man almost succeeded in conning us. He could easily have left office with many Nigerians believing that he is the cleanest leader we ever had, and that he fought a gallant battle against corruption in the land. They would, therefore, have believed that he contributed to the development of Nigeria’s democracy after years of military rule. In short, Nigerians could have forgiven many of his more obvious shortcomings. And he could have retired again in stupendous opulence and continued his sanctimonious preaching about probity, transparency, good governance, and people-oriented development.


A very corrupt ruler who has serially been abusing his office and violating our Constitution has been accusing everybody else of corruption.  And now that he has  been exposed for the big hypocrite that he is, he is so scared that he has started accusing his opponents of plotting to kill his people, in short, of plotting a coup.  We  certainly have been through this road before. This is not the first time that a Nigerian ruler would think of himself as bigger than the country.  It is not the first time that  a Nigerian ruler would think of himself as God.  It probably won’t be the last given what power can do to the senses of those who have it. 

Obasanjo has lost everything, whether he believes it or not.  He is one of the richest Nigerians today but that will not guarantee his happiness.  The one thing that will  make him laugh happily is if he is able to stay in office longer than our Constitution allows or, failing that, if he is able to prevent Atiku from succeeding him. For the  damage that he has done to our institutions of democracy, especially the PDP and other parties, the National Assembly, our federal structure, the anti-corruption  agencies, the Presidency and our Constitution, we must deny him that chance.  We have a duty to ensure that he leaves office in utter disgrace and agony. 


If, as a result, he curses the day that he met Atiku and the others who helped to make him president so be it.  After all, he blames everybody else for his troubles  except himself.  Indeed, Eric Hoffer must have had Obasanjo in mind when he noted that “the hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our  blessings.”


Atiku may not know it but he has already contributed immensely to the development of our democracy by his stout defence of our constitutional order, his opposition  to Obasanjo’s sit-tight syndrome and his help in exposing Obasanjo for what he is: a big hypocrite.  While I still believe that he and Nigeria will defeat Obasanjo, he  must know that whether he becomes president or not, there is no doubt that history will be kinder to him than Obasanjo.  History will record that when it mattered the  most, he stood with the Nigerian people, for the truth, for justice, for fair-play and for democracy and constitutionalism.  It will record that when most of the 36  governors of the country - a federal system - allowed fear to paralyze them into surrendering to an aggrandizing licentious and hypocritical dictator, Atiku stood firm  for what is right.


But Atiku may even laugh before the verdict of history.  The lion may yet devour the governors who are riding on its back. Those governors who have traded their  rights and manhood away to the dictator with the hope that he will protect them, may soon find that they will just be the next group of people who helped our  maximum leader in his long and ungrateful life only to be dumped when no longer needed. The signs are everywhere for those who can still see.



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