Obasanjo vs. Jonathan and PDP

Last Monday, after several months of bitter war of words, Obasanjo finally dumped the PDP.  He had justified his exit with a Yoruba idiom.  “They said they want to expel me from the PDP…We have been trying to run away from a mad man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river.” That in itself is probably indicative of close affinity between the duos. Obasanjo and PDP are like Siamese twins. Separation is often not advisable. In most cases, one has to die for the other to live. The game of death has started in earnest with Ayo Fayose, a man who ordinarily does not place much value on integrity saying “the former President was a man without honour” and describing his exit as “a good riddance to bad rubbish”. By virtue of EFCC’s outstanding case of Fayose’s alleged mismanagement of N19 billion on failed poultry project before his impeachment in 2006, I think he is better placed to know how PDP’s leading lights convert public funds to personal use. He is therefore eminently qualified to  insist that “Obasanjo shouldn’t just tear his PDP membership card, he should relinquish the ownership of Bell University, Obasanjo Farms, Obasanjo Presidential Library, and other financial benefits he got during his eight years as President.’’

But an alert and ever calculating Obasanjo knew when to throw in the towel. He has been out-witted by his foxier godson, a grandmaster of political intrigue who has traded him off with the likes of Buruji Kashamu, Ayo Fayose, Jelili Adesiyan, Gbenga Daniel, Musiliu Obanikoro whose antecedents are well known to Nigerians.  He is also conscious of the difficulty of claiming any moral superiority over his associates like Tony Anenih, ‘Mr. Fixer’ of election results; Tom Ikimi, Bode George; Ojo Maduekwe, (fiery campaigner for ‘Abacha for ever’, Jerry Gana (inner circle member of all PDP governments since 1999 who recently donated N5 billion on behalf of his unnamed friends towards Jonathan’s re-election bid}, and Ahmadu Alli who as chairman of PPPRA, presided over an alleged theft of N1.6 trillion by fraudsters otherwise described as fuel importers.

Obasanjo as the father of PDP also provided an umbrella cover for his PDP family members as they embarked on ‘do or die election’, a euphemism for rigging, the wrecking of the economy through ill-implemented privatization programme, which resulted in the sales of once viable companies such as Nigerian Airways, The Daily Times, Nicon Insurance, banks, Nicon Noga Hilton, PHCN, mostly to PDP members and their fronts at give-away prices according to the House of Representatives report. Obasanjo also presided over the sharing of our national patrimony through an ingenious PDP creation called monetization policy through which physical assets  in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Port Harcourt Ibadan etc inherited from our colonial masters were sold at give-away prices to privileged members of the ruling elite. As part of the conspiracy to ensure our refineries did not work, cash-strapped PDP men came up with an ingenious creation called Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to give patronage to party members as fuel importers under the phantom subsidy regime which ended in alleged theft of an estimated N1.6 trillion according to a House probe. We must not forget to add that it was also under Obasanjo as PDP leader we had unresolved political assassinations of prominent PDP members  involved in intraparty feuds and those they invited ‘to come and chop’ like Bola Ige and Sunday Afolabi.

To cover up all his sins against our nation, Obasanjo has chosen this moment when our nation is under siege by a Boko Haram insurgency that has already killed over 16 million mostly innocent Nigerians while rendering about 1. 6 million homeless in the north-eastern Nigeria and when PDP has brought the nation to its knees through inept leadership and monumental stealing which they claim is not corruption.  He has accused President Jonathan of an attempt to prolong our nightmare by trying to play Laurent Gbagbo – perpetuate himself in office or cause chaos if he loses the rescheduled March 28 presidential election.

But rather than address the issues, empty and self-serving Jonathan aides are claiming Obasanjo who has governed Nigeria at different periods for about 11 years, an eminent international personality whose opinions count for much outside our shores was out to ‘maliciously impugn the integrity of President Jonathan  for the primary purpose of self-promotion’. They forgot Boko Haram has already stripped the administration of integrity.

They also claimed “it would be completely senseless, irrational and out of place for Chief Obasanjo, to accuse President Jonathan of plotting to win the rescheduled presidential elections by ‘hook or crook’ even when PDP’s leading lights had said they would do anything to ensure  PDP holds on to power  and in fact projected they would rule for 60  years. The problem is that the spokespersons for a government facing crisis of integrity are themselves facing credibility crisis because of their antecedents.  The medium, as they say, is the message.

It is also not too long ago, Obasanjo told Nigerians that the president undermined his party governorship candidates in Ondo and Anambra as trade-off for their support for his candidacy in the 2015 election. Ex-Governor Peter Obi of Anambra and Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo have since dumped their parties to become campaign managers for the president’s re-election bid.

Besides, the President and PDP are dealing with an Obasanjo who does not hide behind one finger. He crudely told Awo the best man didn’t have to win the 1979 election. He went out of his way to favour Shehu Shagari, daring his Yoruba people who later ensured he lost election even in his ward during the 1999 Presidential election. But he was not ashamed to campaign for Shagari’s ouster after he and his NPN wrecked the economy in four years through profligate consumption and went on to award themselves ‘landslide and sea-slide’ victories in the 1983 elections. Obasanjo literarily chased Babangida and his government and ‘army of anything is possible’ out of office following his fraudulent eight years ‘transition without end’. He installed Umaru Yar’Adua as president by rigging him into office but was not hesitant to tell him to hand over to someone else when he fell ill. And today as the nation is brought to its knees by PDP buccaneers desperately pushing for four more years for Jonathan to enable them continue with massive stealing which they believe only Jonathan can condone, Obasanjo is smart enough to know it is time to dump PDP and identify with beleaguered Nigerians.

And finally, the much hyped good luck of Jonathan pales in significance when compared with Obasanjo who has been buffeted by good fortune all his life. During the civil war, it was his good fortune to take the glory for the work done by Benjamin Adekunle, the ‘Black Scorpion’. Murtala Muhammed set out the transition programme in 1976, Obasanjo took the glory by becoming the first African military leader to voluntarily hand over to civilian administration. MKO Abiola his Egba kinsman won an election but died in detention defending his mandate while Obasanjo, condemned to death by Abacha came out of prison to wear the crown. As PDP’s President Jonathan and his prosperity prophets set out in this war against an Obasanjo, who  has always had fortune smiling upon him, they must be wary of ‘the ides of March’.

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