Obasanjo’s faux pas
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, like to see himself as the nation’s moral compass. He has consistently been dabbling into the affairs of the country. If he had the opportunity, he would have been a dictator. He likes to be in the limelight always. He likes to be in the driver’s seat. He sees himself as the best thing that ever happened to the country, Nigeria, since her amalgamation in 1914. Unfortunately, his intervention has not always been helpful in advancing the course of a nation.
Of course, he is a lucky man. He became Head of State on a platter. He left the prison to become the face of the new democratic dispensation in 1999 as President, even though, he never lifted a finger to actualize the democratic dream, which cost the lives and limbs of his compatriots. But luck always shine on him.
With the false mindset of ‘the father of the nation’, this former Head of State thinks Nigeria should be cast in his image. He intervenes on any issue of ‘national interest’ through letter writing. But, his intervention is not altruistic. He has never seen anything good in the past and present presidents. In his mind, Obasanjo has been the best president Nigeria ever had.
As preparations for this year’s general elections entered the critical stage, Obasanjo threw his hat into the ring. He was not contesting but he pitched his tent with the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi. He marketed his preferred choice, whom he called his political son, all over the country. He met different segments of the society, including his political associates, retired generals, former heads of state, the Christian communities, among others, to sell his ‘ordained’ son as the only person capable of ruling Nigeria out of the plethora of candidates.
It is on this premise that Nigerians should understand Obasanjo’s intervention on Monday, to halt the ongoing democratic process. The willy old man coached his letter in the language of a democrat and a patriot. But Obasanjo is partisan and undemocratic. With his ‘political son’ seemingly losing the race, Obasanjo made the attempt to truncate the process.
This year’s election has demystified some political heavyweights. The acclaimed invincibility of the ‘kingmaker’, former governor and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos was broken by Labour Party, a rank outsider, who was new in the national political turf. President Muhammadu Buhari, who has a cult-like following in the North lost his Katsina State to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
In this same election, the major backers of APC lost their strongholds. Nasir El-Rufai lost in Kaduna State, Simon Lalong, Tinubu’s campaign DG lost in Plateau State, where the Labour Party candidate garnered more than a million votes, Abdullahi Adamu, APC National Chairman, lost his polling unit and his Nasarawa State to opposition party. The list goes on.
On the other hand, Obi had a field day in his South East, where he scored almost 90 per cent in all the five states, same in the South South.
Why Obasanjo and his co-travellers think that Obi has what it takes to win a presidential election is baffling. Why is the election free and fair where you win and is rigged where the other party wins is as undemocratic as it can be.
Obasanjo is also a bundle of contradictions. Posturing as the defender of democracy, the former president’s records and antecedents point to the contrary. As president, he trampled on every known tenets of democratic principles, from illegal removal of governors and party chairmen, to the Third Term agenda.
Transparent electoral process is alien to this former president. He foisted on Nigerians, the most heinous elections in 2003 and 2007. The two elections were the most crooked in the history of Nigeria. In fact, the late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was the beneficiary of the 2007 electoral heist acknowledged that the election was far from being perfect and promised to reform the electoral process.
Obasanjo is dishonest in his approach and indecent in conduct. He should not be allowed to plunge this beautiful country into a crisis of unimaginable proportion.