The Making of OluSani Abachanjo


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The Making of OluSani Abachanjo



Pini Jason



culled from THISDAY, November 25, 2005

We must not allow the nauseating, disappointing, cowardly and criminal escape of DSP Alamieyeseigha from justice in  London distract us from a major national crisis that gained more fervour in the last two weeks.


DSP Alamieyeseigha who was  arrested in London on September 15 by the London Metropolitan Police for alleged money laundering reportedly disguised  himself as a woman with lipsticks and all, and escaped to Nigeria on Monday, November 21. That day will remain the day the  image of Nigeria received the worst humiliation in the eyes of the world. But I would not let that distract us from the more  serious issue of President Obasanjo’s determination to rape the Nigeria constitution in the process of his Third Term project.  Nigeria is an ojoro country cornered by ojoro people. When you consider Obasanjo’s Third Term project in details, you  would begin to ask yourself, what is the difference between Alamieyeseigha’s behaviour and that of the President? Both  enterprises lack honour!


I know many Nigerians will resent that. But we are not great respecters of due process or the rule of the game. Nigerians like  ojoro. If there is a prize to be won, Nigerians want to win it by hook or crook, preferably by crook! I follow the controversy  over minor issues as who wins the Africa Player of the Year award and all you read are Nigerians whose primary concern is  that “our man” must win. You may call that patriotism. But what of the finer question of whether “our man” meets the criteria  for winning? This is the “by all means” behaviour that has dogged our elections and has produced irresponsible people in  public office. It is this same “by all means” trait that brought the motley crowd that poured into Yenagoa streets on Monday  jubilating for Alamieyeseigha’s escape from justice. It is this same “by all means” method that won Obasanjo the election in  1999. It was simply escalated to brazen fraud in 2003. It is the same method that he is using, and will use to secure his Third  Term bid, if there is no determined national effort to stop him. It is this “by all means” method, which has made the PDP a  national nuisance that will be deployed for the 2007 elections. So why should we allow Alamieyeseigha’s escapade distract us  from the making of Abacha out of Obasanjo?


Are Obasanjo, Alamieyeseigha and Dariye not all members of the ruling PDP? Could any thing born of snake afford not to be  long? Is this not another “family affair”? And why do people keep showing surprise at the deceptive way the Third Term  project is being handled? What is military way of life if not deception? Should it then surprise anybody that Alamieyeseigha  was able to deceive the British police and escape? Disguise is after all a form of deception. In 1998, we were berated: how  many Presidents do you want to make out of me? And with that, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and the G34 went on building the PDP  only for Gen. Obasanjo to emerge as presidential candidate and later proceeded to flush out the founding fathers of the party  one after the other, each victim being used first against his colleagues! Now, having used a so-called re-validation of  membership registration to flush out perceived opponents of the Third Term project, the coast appears clear for a grand ojoro  on a national scale.


The more disturbing aspect of this Abachalisation of Obasanjo, which for now appears rather imperceptible to many people,  is that it comes with a constriction of the political space. The disenfranchisement that has occurred in the PDP in the form of  de-registration of some members is a form of constriction of the political space. In other words, as this project goes on, more  and more Nigerians are going to lose their liberties just as it happened with Abacha’s self perpetuation project. The more  Nigerians mobilize to resist it as they did to Abacha, the more desperate the hidden persuaders and their client will become  and the more insecure the life of some Nigerians, just as was the case under Abacha. As the Third Term Train gathers  momentum, more people will jump into it. After all, it is a very attractive IPO in this season of IPOs; invest now and reap huge  dividends by way of appointments and contracts in 2007, when (I’ll rather say if) it succeeds!


The more the Third Term contractors work to dismantle the political obstacles in the way of Obasanjo, the more they will  de-democratize and render Nigeria politically unstable. And as a result, Nigeria will slip back into a pariah state. I do not see  Bush and Blair, who have continued to shun President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for using arm-twisting method to  perpetuate himself in office, doing business with Obasanjo beyond 2007. The only condition that could warrant such double  standard would be an uncontrollable explosion of the Middle East in a way that threatens the West’s oil supply line!


What is happening now shows the depth of hopelessness into which Nigeria has sunk — that the man many people  considered our best option at the critical period of post-military dictatorship is the man to lead this assault on the sanctity of  our constitution! For a man who savours a snoring reverie about his place in history as Obasanjo does, you would think that  he knows when to leave the stage — in a hoopla of klieg lights with thundering ovation! But the man now seeking a Third  Term “by all means” is a mutant who has been transformed in the image of the Abacha men of yore, who wants to stay glued  to the stage till the light fades, the audience gone and we or unkind fate wrestle him to the ground and drag him off the stage  neither kicking nor screaming because he has been reduced to a rag doll!


People are still habouring the illusion that because of his so-called international prestige the President would shake himself out  of this bad dream and respect the constitution and go in peace in 2007. Such people are either not seeing or naïve. The  self-perpetuation train is following the same track as Ibrahim Babangida’s and Abacha’s. Notwithstanding the decrees  outlawing the type of activities engaged by the ABN, did the Babangida government not look the other way while Arthur  Nzeribe and his co-travelers sabotaged the transition programme? Was such delinquency not explained as “the rights” of the  hired guns to express their opinion? While the same people now goading Obasanjo to a third term were earnestly yearning  and shouting for Abacha, did we hear a word from the maximum dictator himself? Was Daniel Kanu’s evil enterprise not  explained as his “freedom of expression” oddly enough, by a regime that mercilessly trampled on all forms of freedom?  Obasanjo said that he has prepared himself to retire to his Ota farm in 2007. To prove that, he raised N6 billion in two hours,  for his presidential library. If people still do not believe that he is ready to go in 2007, he has himself to blame. If he is serious,  if he has spoken the truth to Nigerians, all he needs to do today is call the apostles of Third Term to order and unequivocally  order them to fold their tents and go away.


What is disturbing in all these is that we are discussing a very fundamental issue that affects the future of our country from the  perspective of one political party only, the PDP. It is as if we have signed off the nation to the PDP to do as it likes, and it has  not done very well with it. Look at the shame they have brought to the country. All the scandals about this country since  1999, all the heating up of the polity and all the embarrassment of the nation emanate from the PDP. And they strut about  town shamelessly while pretending to be such great patriots doing such wonderful things for the nation; only we, the  emasculated people are the problem! And these bad behaviours are what they want to consolidate! We must ponder what  will become of democracy in this country with another eight or twelve years of Obasanjo and his PDP in power. We must  ponder what will be left of the economy in another eight or twelve-year consolidation of what it has become in the last six  years!


This theory of consolidation is a lie told by greedy politicians. Sustainability of policies is what we should be talking about. If a  policy is not sustainable, it is either that it is bad from the beginning or lacked an institutional framework. This point about  institution building and empowerment was made to the President as far back as 1999! Obasanjo may talk of Due Process.  That is good. If it has an institutional framework, its sustainability needs not depend on an individual. But that is not to say that  government transactions can still not be more transparent. There is still too much money budgeted for overheads, which find  their way into private pockets of civil servants, while on the other hand, those who have not stolen are made to regret not  stealing when they had the opportunity. There is still no incentive for upright public servants. This government has still not  devised how to show Nigerians the benefits of serving your country diligently and honourably. He has secured us a great debt  relief. This PDP administration has failed in more areas than it has succeeded. When I look at the roads in the East and the  mockery Obasanjo has made of the entire East in the last six years, consolidation begins to look like a life sentence turned into  death sentence! Is it the failure to redeem his promise to the nation in respect of power generation that he wants to  consolidate? Is it the railways or the aviation industry? Or the bad example the PDP has been? So when you begin to examine  this consolidation theory more critically it begins to assume the character of a grand, national deceit!


It is possible that common sense may not dissuade the President from this doomed enterprise. The Nigerian people may also  not dissuade him. But I have a strong feeling that history will stop him. He should look at the history of overstay or illegal stay  in power in Nigeria. They all came to peril.




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