Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
I ENDORSE CHIEF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
Prof. Omo Omoruyi
I SUPPORT OBASANJO IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF APRIL 2003
My essay published in the Guardian of February 24, 2003 classifying the presidential candidates in the 2003 election into four categories generated some comments from fellow Nigerians from the southeast. Let me reiterate, I have nothing for or against candidates because of where they come from. My classification of the presidential candidates is meant to sensitize Nigerians not to waste their votes on those who either want to have their names recorded in the record book as former presidential candidates or on those who simply want to orchestrate a stalemate in 2003 on the anti-Obasanjo platform. It is unfortunate that the commentators from the southeast accused me of harboring an anti-Igbo feeling. How could I be with all that I had done with and for the Ndi Igbo in the past?
I had since addressed the issues they raised in a two-part essay, The Ndi Igbo Question in Nigerian Politics is Real; parts I and II already in circulation. Let me go straight to the subject of this declaration, the Endorsement of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the Presidential candidate in the forthcoming election in April 2003.
ONLY TWO CANDIDATES (OBASANJO/BUHARI) MATTER IN 2003
I have been following developments in Nigeria, especially as regards the 2003 presidential election. From the names of Presidential candidates and the interests they represent, there are only two candidates (OBASANJO and BUHARI) that are worth considering, if one is interested in the one that would be able to form a government at the center and make a difference in the life of Nigerians.
How a stable government can be formed at the center is my interest. Hence only Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and General Muhammed Buhari are the two candidates with the two contrasting Vision for Nigeria from which Nigerians should choose. As for me, I CHOOSE OBASANJO. I APPEAL TO MY PEOPLE OF EDO AND DELTA TO VOTE FOR HIM IN APRIL 2003.
WHY I ENDORSE OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
One would recall that I said in many essays in the past that at the appropriate time I would make my views known about the presidential candidates in the 2003 election. Today, I am stepping aside from mere critical essays to endorsing one Presidential candidate in the April 2003 election.
Through this medium, I want to associate myself with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in the struggle to rescue the legacies that some of us tried to set in Nigeria.
I want to come to the aid of the President Obasanjo as he battles for the second term. Chief Obasanjo’s battle in 2003 is in my view should be seen as the battle for the soul of Nigeria. I plan to use this opportunity to tell the Nigerian people the truth about FIVE FEATS in the life of Chief Obasanjo in his public life in Nigeria, which are at the root of why I am endorsing Chief Obasanjo for the Presidential election in April 2003.
ENDORSEMENT BASED ON FEATS IN HIS LIFE AND IN THAT OF NIGERIA
Feat No. 1:
Chief Obasanjo as Colonel Obasanjo and as General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Marine Division of the Nigerian Army ended the Civil War in January 1970.
Feat No. 2:
Chief Obasanjo as Lt. General and Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, in February 1976 took over from a slain Head of State and kept faith with the Nigerian people by following meticulously the transition program and kept the country together,
Feat No. 3:
Chief Obasanjo successfully implemented the program of democratic transition (1976-79) and handed over to a democratically elected President and went back to his home a civilian on October 1, 1979.
Feat No. 4:
Chief Obasanjo, despite his earlier decision to stay out of public life after his release from the Abacha’s Gulag, yielded to the invitation of lovers of Nigeria at home and in the international community and God to come to the aid of the visionless military that misruled the country for many years. This was when he became the candidate of the PDP and later the President, Commander in Chief in may 1999.
Feat No. 5:
Chief Obasanjo served as a credible “Bridge” between the past and the present. It was the successful execution of the function of a “bridge” that makes today and the future worth competing for. This is the explanation of why so many political parties and presidential candidates are vying for the control of this country from 2003.
Not many Nigerians can boast of these feats in their lifetime and in the life of the country. Who among the current presidential candidates and among those who were former civilian or military Heads of State can boast of Obasanjo’s kind of feats?
Compared with his close competitor, General Buhari, the difference is clear. This is why I am not only endorsing Chief Obasanjo as the fit and proper person to preside over the stage of problem solving, I am commending him to all my people in Edo and Delta STATES in particular and to the people of the south-south in general.
ENDORSEMENT OF OBASANJO IS BASED ON INTEREST OF MY PEOPLE
I also want to endorse Chief Obasanjo partly because that is the wishes of my people and partly because it is in the best interest of my people.
I want my people to work with Chief Obasanjo at this juncture as that would be in furtherance of what I stood for and known for in the past forty plus years.
OBASANJO AS “PROBLEM SOLVER” IN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS IS BASED ON FEAT 5
I am confident that after due consideration of the views of the capacity of Chief Obasanjo compared with General Buhari, I have confidence in asking my people to support Chief Obasanjo in the April 2003 election.
Have been able to restructure the armed forces and keep the country together as the Feat No. 5, the next four years will be a period of solving problems. Now that he successfully performed the function of a “bridge”, I have no fear that he would perform the function of “a problem solver” to the satisfaction of Nigerians.
ENDORSEMENT OF OBASANJO IS BASED ON WHAT HIS OPPONENT REPRESENTS
I know the composition of the anti-Obasanjo clique behind General Buhari. If the clique were allowed to have its way, it would destroy what some of us in the South-South and in the Middle-Belt had worked for in our tenure in the Constituent Assembly as promoters of the pan-minority caucus in 1977.
If the clique behind General Buhari were allowed to have its way, it would be an instrument for the increase of the political salience of religion in the past. Those who are supporting General Buhari want to make religion part of the political debate in Nigeria especially during the election.
If the anti-Obasanjo clique were allowed to have its way, it would destroy what the Center for Democratic Studies (CDS) under my leadership between 1989 and 1994 stood for in the past. Maybe I should restate them for the interest of Nigerians who were not conversant with the issue. The CDS stood for (a) the quest for justice for all groups in Nigeria and (b) the promotion of the right to human dignity for all Nigerians. The anti-Obasanjo clique is made up of those who are what I would call the “gang of terror” or “agents of darkness”.
THOSE TO WHO THIS APPEAL IS DIRECTED
I strongly believe in what I did in the past leading to the formation of the Nigerian Peoples Party in 1979. I am appealing to fellow Club 19 zealots in the South-South and in the Middle-Belt that unflinching support for Obasanjo is the surest way to safeguard their position in Nigeria.
I strongly believe in what I did in the immediate past in the CDS leading to the June 12 1993. I am appealing to the Nigerian people especially in the south (Yoruba and Igbo) to appreciate that why Obasanjo is in difficulty today with the same clique that supported him 1999. For purpose of elucidation of this relationship let me make the following statements.
I am appealing to those who are followers of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha to support Chief Obasanjo. For their information, it was the anti-Obasanjo clique behind Obasanjo’s opponent that stopped Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the distant past from achieving his desired political rights. Zik’s followers should recall how the sage lamented how and why he was unable to rule this country for one day.
I am appealing to the followers of Chief Obafemi Awolowo to throw their weight behind Chief Obasanjo. For their information it was the anti-Obasanjo clique behind Obasanjo’s opponent in the distant past that frustrated Chief Awolowo’s goal attainment.
I am appealing to the followers of Chief MKO Abiola in the immediate past to massively support Chief Obasanjo. For their information it was the anti-Obasanjo clique that not only deprived MKO Abiola his democratic rights, but also detained him unto death.
I am appealing to those who once supported the goal attainment of Mallam Adamu Ciroma and General Shehu Musa Yar’dua in 1992 and Chief Olu Fale and Dr. Alex Ekwueme in 1999 that the source of their problems in the past can be traced to the anti-Obasanjo’s clique of today.
I shall soon seek for an opportunity to tell the Nigerian people in the north and in the south that there is continuity in the conduct of these people from 1959 to the present day. I am willing to engage Nigerians on how the clique manifests itself as the BUHARI PLATFORM today.
This is what the coalition of political parties should have aimed at stopping. Unfortunately the coalition is gradually becoming an instrument of Stalemate. If the leaders of these political parties do not know, the implication of their conduct is that they are indirectly working for Buhari.
May I recapitulate the harm of the clique and pro-Buhari in the past?
1. That in 1959, 1979 and 1983 it was the duo of Dr. Azikiwe and Chief Awolowo;
2. That in 1979 it was the duo of Mallam Aminu Kano and Alhaji Waziri ibrahim;
3. That in 1992 it was the duo of Mallam Adamu Ciroma and General Shehu Yar’Adua;
4. That in 1993 it was Chief Abiola;
5. That in 1999 it was the duo of Chief Olu Falae and Dr. Alex Ekwueme;
6. That today it is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and
7. That tomorrow, it could be you or me.
My sojourn in the US makes me appreciate the design of this clique for Nigeria. This is the lesson that some Nigerian political leaders in the north and in the south failed to appreciate since 1993.
My mission in the next few days before the series of elections is to educate the Nigerian people and the voters on the choice before them based on this choice I have made.
WHAT ARE THE FEARS OF THE ANTI-OBASANJO CLIQUE
I know the fears of the clique. The leaders of this clique are scared that Obasanjo is guilty of the same thing that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Olu Falae and Dr. Alex Ekwueme in the south and Mallam Aminu Kano and Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, Mallam Adamu Ciroma and General Yar’Adua in the north would have done if they were given the opportunity to lead this country for one day.
The clique does not want a Nigerian President who would start from the position that the common humanity of Nigerians should be the basis of governance.
NIGERIA IS AT A CROSSROAD
It should be obvious to all right thinking Nigerians that the future of Nigeria is at stake and one should stand to be counted.
Nigeria is at a crossroad and if we take the wrong turn, it would spell doom for the corporate existence of Nigeria. Everything must be done to make the election of Obasanjo not only free and fair, but also CREDIBLE.
I do not believe in rigging of an election. Obasanjo and his team can win if the process is properly managed. This is where and why I want to help.
I want to be counted on the side of those who stand for light and against those who are on the side of darkness.
I want to be on the side of the democracy barricade and against those who are on the other side of the democracy barricade.
This is the choice facing the Nigerian people in general and the people of the south-south, middle-belt and southwest in particular.
Chief Obasanjo is for light and on the side of the democracy barricade, hence I am supporting him.
The anti-Obasanjo clique is for darkness and on the other side of the democracy barricade; hence I am not for it.
Prof. Omo Omoruyi
March 26, 2003
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