Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
The Good Name Of Obasanjo In His Second Coming
Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa
November 22, 2006
Once upon a time, good name was the most precious reputation in Nigeria. People will die to protect their good family name. Family will disown you to jealously guide their name. There is a saying that a good name is better than gold and silver. Today, it can be easily confused with money bags. Wait a minute, there are still good names in Nigeria. Indeed there are more good names than money bags. It is just not popular Countrywide.
Obasanjo had a place in the history of Nigeria as the first “soja” to hand over to civilian government. Everyone thought he was done. Done what? He had asked Gowon what he forgot in Dodan Barracks. Boy, it was him who really forgot something. Whatever it was, he was actually dying to get it back. How could many of us be so wrong? Now we Know.
For many reasons, people in certain part of Nigeria never trusted him and refused to vote for him. Those who brought him back had no sterling qualities and some people actually suspected a deal. Shady characters scared many of us. It seems that the same people are coming back to take over from Obasanjo. And that scares some of us even more.
In Nigeria today, it is not who stole what but who stole more than whom. They quote the prize of oil during their reign, time of their stewardship, duration of their incumbencies, the amount of naira to dollar and compare notes with others. One of the presidential candidates even claimed that corruption is not our problem because that is not what the people are against.
We now have a new explanation of unsolicited gifts as defense of honor. Our mothers used to beat us for that in those days. Presidential plane has become courier of raw cash to foreign lands. The average Nigerian traveler complains of getting more than a thorough search at various airports. If our diplomats can not be trusted, who are we ordinary folks to complain? It is not that other countries do not engage in the abuse of diplomatic bags, they do. But a presidential plane to smuggle hard currency, not nuclear or other sensitive secretes belittle me as a Nigerian in my comfortable tiny hole.
My only hope is that Nuhu Ribadu will come out of this mess with his head up. He still has more to do but less time to do it. He has to go after Obasanjo’s cronies. If he gets fired, so be it. He has very few months left anyway and the next class of vultures will not renew his mandate. He has nothing to loose but his good name.
It was true that Obasanjo almost went bankrupt after he left as a military President. Yes, some of his subordinates made so much money, they can never be poor in their lives again. Did he swear to himself that he would throw his good name away and make up for lost “cashitics”? There are stories that he was duped in deals: to buy back our debt after leaving office, that some businesses went belly up and some of his fronts ran with all the deals made together. This time he must have made up his mind to do things differently.
We have said enough about his humble beginning, however, he made good and put the name of his family on the map. Nigeria, have our good names lost its glory? We care so much about money; we are ready to loose our souls, our mothers and our lives. We then wonder why our children become area boys, 419s, prostitutes in foreign lands and armed robbers at home.
If people keep their distance from Obasanjo after he was a military President, what are they going to do at the end of his term as a “civilian” President?
How much did Aminu Kano, Imoudu, Chike Obi, Nkrumah take to their graves? There are very few people who have “enough” money. You will always know others who have more than you do. Even after accumulating all the riches and everything money can buy, we realize how many more, money can not buy.
There is a difference between comfort and greed - pursuit of money as a result of hard work, hobby compared to the obsessive pleasure of accumulation by fraud and unnecessary pain to others at our mercies. At the end of it all, the money can not buy us enough time in this world. We all “(eda) must quench”.
Fortunately, Nigerians are full of solutions. The solution is not even the problem. We just refuse to apply any. Everyone blames the other. I have written and said many times, that the notion of “only God or Allah can save Nigeria” is nothing more than absolving yours truly of individual responsibility. The solution for Nigeria starts with me and you.
Obasanjo has to do more than fight corruption, he has to fight himself and his demon to be richer than his first coming. I have never failed to thank him for taking the fight against corruption to these high levels in our history. By the same token, he has rewarded his distractors and disappointed his admirers.
We as human beings always look for ways to rationalize our greed or evil ways. Some of us become born again Christians, some of us become Muslim fundamentalists, some build Churches and Mosques for the same poor we exploit, and some of us become hermits. So when we preach to others, some of them beg for time to do half of the preachers’ sins before asking for salvation. So please they plea, I have done nothing yet, let me do a little as much as you did. Then come back and preach to me!
If I have to do it all over again, I will ask to be a Nigerian. It is the source of my pride, my being and my failing. I will only ask for better leaders to save us from ourselves. Those who remember Kenny Tone, the Nigerian musician - there is nothing wrong with the world; it is the people that make it what it is.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.