Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Is The Obasanjo/Atiku Feud A Rumor?
- An Answer To A Misnormer -
Samuel Oluwaseyi Oduyela
September 12, 2005
In African culture, it is an abomination to say that an elder lies. It is an insult to even imply it. In this light, I will not be heard saying that Pa. Solomon Lar lied when he said that the Obasanjo/Atiku feud is a rumor.
The fact that they made effort to intervene has shown that all is not well between two people. Why did come up to want to resolve the crisis after the reported incident of Atiku’s house raid by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)?
As a respectful young Nigerian, I will not say the concerned elders lied but voiced out what President Obasanjo told them. Though the President is a Christian, but he is more of the Old Testament Christian than a New Testament. Obasanjo is a Mosaic law disciple- the an-eye- for- an- eye- and- a –tooth- for- a –tooth- school. But the New Testament teaches that when you are struck on the right cheek, turn the left.
For students of Obasanjo politics, it is clear that the Balogun of Owu does not know how and when to forgive. He does not forgive and forget. He has stated it clearly to the elders that the issue cannot be resolved because as it is now Obasanjo is a Super Human in Nigeria. He listens to no one except himself. Even his Special Advisers and Assistants are mere errand men and women; they do not have anything new to offer him since he knows everything.
So I am not going to waste time on the issue of the feud since it is a known fact but rather give instances of the feud.
PRE- OBASANJO SECOND TERM DECLARATION IN 2002
When Obasanjo came to power in 1999, the relationship between him and his deputy was warm. In fact Atiku was co-President. He was placed in charge of the Privatization project, he also chair and still chair the Economic Committee.
If you report Atiku to Obasanjo, you better be sure of your facts, because you will be asked to repeat it before Atiku. So many people have been embarrassed in this manner when they call the President to report the shady deals of his trusted co-President to him.
When the Nigeria Airways was to be sold, and it was under priced, Dr. Kema Chikwe, Minister of Aviation then, refused to allow it, she was scolded by President Obasanjo, who warned that any of his Ministers who failed to comply with Atiku on the Privatization should quit.
Though Babangida was instrumental to Obasanjo’s election as President in 1999, Atiku also provided the political platform for Obasanjo. The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), formed by the late Shehu Yar’Adua has the likes of Tony Anenih, late Chuba Okadigbo, Dapo Sarumi, Yomi Edu, and Dr. Borishade as members. Anenih, fondly referred to in PDM as leader is a double agent. He shares his loyalty with Atiku and Babangida.
What Atiku failed to realize is that, though Obasanjo gave him free hands to operate, it was a grand set-up. According to a former Minister in the Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government, Obasanjo already knew that Atiku is obsessed with wealth acquisition, just like Babangida. This Yoruba Minister disclosed that it was a design to set Atiku against the rest of the north. Atiku is from the North Eastern Nigeria and the politics of Nigeria has been dominated by the North West that sees itself as the natural ruler of Nigeria. Alhaji Maitama Sule once said that it is the birth right of the North West to rule Nigeria. As soon as Obasanjo came in, Atiku started firing salvo against the North and by extension, North West. This turned the rest if the North against Atiku. Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Babangida, General Buhari and other leaders of the North became uncomfortable with Atiku’s utterances. Atiku, apparently having fun then blamed the problem of Nigeria on the misrule of the north. This was seen by Babangida and others as a campaign preparation for Obasanjo’s succession and they were ready to do anything to truncate his ambition. While Atiku created enmity for himself in the Northwest, Umar Ghali Na’Abba rose to the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, becoming the second most powerful northerner in Obasanjo’s government. While Babangida and his allies liked it, Atiku was not comfortable with that. This is for simple reason that Na’Abba is from the North West and seen as a potential threat to his ambition come 2007.
Na’Abba who came to the National Assembly as a nobody suddenly after succeeding the disgraced Salisu Buhari became a voice for the Northern Opposition against Obasanjo.
Atiku’s utterances also pitched Obasanjo against the rest of the North and Obasanjo was portrayed as someone biting the finger that fed him. But by 2001 Atiku’s PDM faced a serious political test, one of them, Chuba Okadigbo crossed Obasanjo’s path, there was an attempt to impeach him, unfortunately because PDM was headed by a tactless Atiku, Okadigbo lost the seat. That was a big blow to PDM but Atiku did not see the handwriting on the wall. Towards the end of 2001, Chief Tony Anenih initiated reconciliation between Obasanjo and Babangida, this was leaked to Atiku. Atiku did not like it and the relationship between Atiku and Anenih broke. Another serious blow to PDM.
2002 AND AFTER
The “Obasanjo decides” of April 26 2002 was organized by Anenih. Atiku was not part of the plan. His picture was not in the program pamphlet nor did it feature in the poster. Atiku was out of the country on that day. On the evening of that day after Obasanjo had declared to run for second term, he appeared on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigerian (FRCN) Presidential chat where he told reporters that he has not chosen his running mate and will not do that until the party’s primaries. But few days later, late Tunji Oseni, Obasanjo’s Special Adviser on Media issued a press release announcing Atiku as Obasanjo’s running mate for the 2003 Presidential election. Reliable source disclosed that Atiku had wanted to declare for the 2003 Presidency and to pre-empt him Obasanjo quickly announced him as his running mate. But it did not end there.
In early 2000, President Obasanjo got to know of Atiku’s Potomac Mansion, in early 2001, he discovered that it was Atiku who bought AP using Peter Okocha as front; just as he used Aliko Dangote as front to buy the Benue Cement Company. Obasanjo did not like it. According to the late Senator Haruna Abubakar, Atiku had wanted to buy UNIPETROL too but he (Haruna) blocked him. Atiku was also rumored to have funded the impeachment move against Obasanjo in 2002. The trust was dropping but Obasanjo, a renowned user and dumper, maintained his cool because of the 2003 elections. To win the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket in 2003, Obasanjo had to beg Atiku. He struck a deal with him, though unwritten, and unfortunately Atiku fell for it.
As soon as he won the election, Atiku began to see a different Obasanjo, the real Olusegun Aremu Matthew Okikiola Obasanjo. Obasanjo reneged in his pledge. He denied Atiku the privilege to nominate Bugaje, his former Special Adviser. Atiku also lost all rights as co-president and demoted to tenant in the Villa. Obasanjo had to approve his Advisers and Assistants. Between 2003 and now, five Advisers and Assistants of Atiku were fired by Obasanjo. Chris Mammah was the first victim because of his alleged role in the 2002 impeachment attempt. The latest victim is Mr. Adinoyi-Ojo Onukaba, former Special Adviser on Media. Before 2003 Obasanjo need not see anything before it goes out of the Villa, but that was history. Nothing gets out of the Villa without Obasanjo’s approval. Atiku, since the beginning of this administration’s second term has been stripped of all his powers. He has lost in the power game.
CHRONICLE OF OBASANJO’S VINDICTIVENESS
What is happening to Vice President Atiku is not knew, it is just that Atiku was not too carefree.
After the inauguration of Obasanjo’s government, it took days to inaugurate the National Assembly because of Obasanjo’s scheme to impose a stooge as the Senate President. He succeeded in making Senator Evans Enwerem the Senate President as against Senator Chuba Okadigbo. Okadigbo who was not happy with the result of the election continued to work against Enwerem until he succeeded in impeaching Enwerem. This angered Obasanjo and the war between the National Assembly and Presidency started. It became so clear then that Obasanjo, who does not know how to hide his feelings made some uncomplimentary statements. The Presidency actually leaked the Audit report that sent Okadigbo packing to the press. Though there were efforts to resolve the crisis between Obasanjo and Okadigbo but the vintage Obasanjo does not have forgiveness in his dictionary.
The ouster of Okadigbo was planned on the night he did the official opening of his official quarters. Obasanjo was the Special Guest of Honor. What Okadigbo did not know was that the official opening was a valedictory ceremony for him. A member of Okadigbo group, Nasir Mantu sold out to get the position of Deputy Senate President. Late Haruna Abubakar, Obasanjo’s man then was promised that if he resigned as Deputy Senate President, Okadigbo will step down and Haruna would be returned, but that was not it. Mantu replaced Haruna Abubakar.
Banarbas Gemade though was the Party Chairman but he was reduced to an errand boy for Obasanjo he eventually lost favor and was replaced by Audu Ogbeh. Immanuel Ibeshi, Gbenga Olawepo and late Harry Marshal were sacrificed by Obasanjo. Though they were his boys but they were becoming too powerful and outspoken in PDP.
Obasanjo has a penchant for going after his enemies. He does not know how to forgive, but understands how to get even. He never forgets too. No one seems to escape his wrath but only one person, Ibrahim Babangida. This is still the only man Obasanjo cannot touch. He openly showed his reverence for Babangida. He is still asking Nigerians to come up with proof against Babangida but no one gave him proof of Abacha’s looted wealth. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, the National Security Adviser, played a prominent role in tracking Abacha’s loot but did not have a clue on Babangida’s stolen wealth. That Obasanjo fears Babangida is no more news. Babangida got Obasanjo out of Abacha gulag, and transformed him into a civilian President. Another problem is that Obasanjo does not have the kind of network Babangida has. Babangida has his boys in the military, police, Security Service and politics. He has his own political machinery. Obasanjo on the other hand, is a political mercenary, a hired person, planted and imposed on PDP. He does not have any political structure. He does not spend but Babangida is reputed for empowering his subordinates and that is why they are still loyal to him. Obasanjo does not have loyalists, he has no one to rely on. He does not have a sense of use and keep for the rainy day, his own philosophy is use and dump. Of the 109 Senators only 18 are from the South West. Out of the 18 about 5 are from Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Does Atiku stand any chance? Will he react? Also expect Obasanjo’s use-and-dump tactics.
To be continued…
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.