Obasanjo is wrong, APC is daft

By Oshin­eye Vic­tor Oshisada

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - PANORAMA -

IDISAGREE with Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo. The ex-pres­i­dent is wrong about his scathing at­tack on the sit­ting Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari. He launched the litany of com­plaints with the au­thor­i­tar­ian ve­he­mence of a school prin­ci­pal over a stu­dent. No­body is say­ing that Buhari is above crit­i­cisms, Pray, do so, but def­i­nitely not in a “holierthanthou” at­ti­tude with a So­cratic irony, The style of the crit­i­cisms por­trays Obasanjo that he is a su­per hu­man be­ing qual­i­fied to be the ar­biter in Nige­rian pol­i­tics.

Born on March 5, 1937, Obasanjo had a rare op­por­tu­nity of serv­ing twice as the Head of State, first in mil­i­tary ca­pac­ity be­tween Fe­bru­ary 13, 1976 to Oc­to­ber 1, 1979, and later as elected Pres­i­dent from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007. Al­to­gether he ruled the coun­try for 11 years seven months and 18 days. Through these pe­ri­ods of his rule, what did he achieve to qual­ify as a mes­siah for the coun­try? His po­si­tion, vis-à-vis Pres­i­dent Buhari’s, is a mat­ter of the pot call­ing the ket­tle black, mean­ing in Yoruba: “Sagonbuigo”.

To be­gin with, our ro­bust Dai­ly­times­nige­ri­aplc, once the flag­ship of Nige­rian news­pa­pers, is to­day a shadow of its for­mer self, oc­ca­sioned by the my­opia of Obasanjo- ad­min­is­tra­tion. It is a shame to Obasanjo’s im­age that Abeokuta, the ci­tadel of news­pa­per jour­nal­ism Iweiro­hin of 1859, and the Daily Times, founded by Sir Adeyemo Alak­ija, also an Abeokuta son, is re­duced to a shadow. One might be­lieve that the rail­way line pass­ing through Abeokuta, might be re­sus­ci­tated dur­ing the pres­i­dency of Obasanjo, but it re­mains in co­matose. What is Obasanjo’s tes­ti­mo­nial for good per­for­mance? Agri­cul­ture was as poor as ever when he re­lin­quished of­fice in 2007; his Green Rev­o­lu­tion was a fi­asco, as the coun­try was not self-suf­fi­cient in rice pro­duc­tion. I can rec­ol­lect that few pack­ages of rice were pre­sented to him by his syco­phants to de­lude Nige­ri­ans into be­liev­ing that they were pro­duc­tive in agri­cul­ture. What a fail­ure!. Con­cern­ing se­cu­rity, the ex­plo­sion at the GRA, Ikeja, was an ev­i­dence of in­se­cu­rity. A lady on the spot of the ex­plo­sion called on Obasanjo: “Goin­sid­e­the­fire”, to which Chief Obasanjo replied: “Shutup!”. That Ikeja GRA ex­plo­sion pretty in­di­cated that in­se­cu­rity was preva­lent dur­ing the Obasanjo Pres­i­dency. His re­ply to that lady’s pa­tri­otic frenzy hall­marked his aver­sion to sim­ple crit­i­cism. He laid the foun­da­tion of in­se­cu­rity with Odi and Zaki Biam mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in 1999 and 2001. Why is Obasanjo now point­ing ac­cus­ing fin­ger of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion to Pres­i­dent Buhari? There is a say­ing: “Peo­ple­who­livein glasshousesshould­not­throw­stone”, mean­ing “Youshould­not­crit­i­ciseother­peo­ple,be­causethey­wil­leasi­lyfind­waysof crit­i­ciz­ing you.” My con­tention is that the Chief should have re­moved the mote in his eyes, be­fore point­ing the mote in the eyes of Pres­i­dent Muham­mad Buhari. There are some per­ti­nent ques­tions to an­swer. Why did Obasanjo make his state­ments pub­lic? If he did not have ul­te­rior mo­tive, why did he not ap­proach Pres­i­dent Buhari one-on-one in the pri­vacy of Aso Rock to dis­cuss is­sues with him? Se­condly, was the Coun­cil of State in­volved in the mat­ter? My ob­ser­va­tion and con­clu­sion are that the at­tacks on Buhari are self-serv­ing to Obasanjo. It ap­pears that he has some ul­te­rior mo­tives. His third term agenda is still a vi­brant am­bi­tion. What he failed to achieve in 2007, he is still much de­sirous of it. He be­lieves in the an­tics and tac­tics of run­ning down the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the sit­ting Pres­i­dent, por­tray­ing him in bad light to en­throne him­self in power. We as Nige­ri­ans must re­sist Obasanjo’s ef­fort to re­turn to power, lest we have an­other Robert Mu­gabe. Here is Obasanjo who ad­mon­ished his erst­while sec­ond-in-com­mand: “What doesyar’ad­u­afor­geti­na­sorock­thathe wantstore­trieve?” When the op­por­tu­nity came for Obasanjo, he seized it tena­ciously. No­body can in like man­ner ad­vise Obasanjo who sees him­self as a mes­siah.” This writer is not in any­way hold­ing brief for Muham­madu Buhari. I am not con­tend­ing that, whilst Rome is burn­ing, Em­peror Nero must be fid­dling like every Ho­mosapi­ens, he has his faults, and he is not work­ing en­tirely on his own. He must have kitchen cabi­net; small group or close ad­vis­ers, who in­for­mally gather to take de­ci­sions on govern­ment pol­icy. The killing by Fu­lani herds­men is the im­me­di­ate cause of Chief Obasanjo’s tirade on Buhari. If the Pres­i­dent did not have the idea of pay­ing con­do­lence vis­its to Benue State or any other places, his kitchen cabi­net should have ad­vised him to do so as the fa­ther of the na­tion. As hu­man be­ings, there must be fel­low feel­ings. The vic­tims of the herds­men killings voted for him in 2015, and might vote for him again in 2019. When our fa­mous Co­coa House, Ibadan, got burnt years ago, the first re­gional premier whose ad­min­is­tra­tion built the prop­erty paid “con­do­lence” visit of sort to the site.

This writer of­ten com­plains that the Fed­eral Govern­ment has an in­com­pe­tent Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, in per­son of Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed. The con­trol­ling po­lit­i­cal party, All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) can­not be ex­on­er­ated. It ap­pears that all is not well with the party. The APC seems to be sick; it re­quires surgery. The front-page lead of The­guardian, Jan­uary 25, 2018 is my ev­i­dence “Govt­take­sobasan­jowarningin­good­faith.” This is a de­featist stance for the APC. In a po­lit­i­cally ma­tured coun­try, such a pussy cat ac­cep­tance of Obasanjo state­ments tends to send the party to a po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness of no re­turn. Why should the party re­coil into its shell in com­pla­cency in­stead of fight­ing back? I won’t be sur­prised if the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party cashes in on this APC’S stance to cam­paign against the rul­ing party. By ac­cept­ing, with thanks, the APC is lay­ing the foun­da­tion for its fail­ure in 2019

Dur­ing the First Repub­lic, the fire­brand Na­tional Coun­cil of Nige­rian Cit­i­zens (NCNC) and the in­domitable Ac­tion Group would not have such sheep­ish ac­cep­tance. Where are the Fred Anyi­ams, pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary of the NCNC or the Agun­bi­ade Bamishes of the Ac­tion Group. These were po­lit­i­cal par­ties’ pub­lic­ity sec­re­taries who knew their onions. Nige­ri­ans do not even know that of the All Pro­gres­sive Congress. In their days, there could be ex­changes and counter ex­changes of state­ments, in ad­di­tion to press con­fer­ences. At the fed­eral level, Chief T.O.S. Ben­son, the Fed­eral In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter and the au­thor of the phrase “con­struc­tive­and­de­struc­tive crit­i­cisms”, would not take things ly­ing low with Chief An­thony Ena­horo, the Ac­tion Group shadow In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter. I doff my hat for those states­men of com­pe­tence.

In my piece, The­guardian, Septem­ber 22, 2017 “Time­for­buhar­i­tore­shuf­fle.” By now, the APC should have taken de­ci­sive ac­tion. Most of the fed­eral min­is­ters are not help­ful to Buhari, it is pos­si­ble that there are in­tra-party wran­glings lead­ing to cleav­ages in the APC over who should suc­ceed who.

This is why I con­cluded that all may not be well with the rul­ing party, much to the detri­ment of the Pres­i­dent, thus, giv­ing lee­way for Obasanjo to mer­ci­lessly lam­poon the for­mer. It is un­for­tu­nate. Time is run­ning out. What­ever is the sit­u­a­tion, Obasanjo is not a med­i­cal ex­pert to be au­thor­i­ta­tive on Buhari’s health. Buhari knows where his shoes pinch to de­cide if he is el­i­gi­ble for a sec­ond term. I think Obasanjo must be more con­cerned with his sac­er­do­tal en­gage­ment in which he is more qual­i­fied and close eyes to pol­i­tics. • Oshisada,avet­er­an­jour­nal­ist,wrote­fromiko­rodu,lagos.

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