If I were an adviser to President Jonathan, I would have counseled self restraint in taking up issues with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, over his recent public rebuke. Tragically, the president’s outburst about the success or failure of the ‘Odi treatment’ is not the answer to crisis of leadership raised by Obasanjo.
But more than this, the president more than anyone else knows his acclaimed godfather is a leader who is generally regarded as an evil oracle with goodwill towards neither friends nor foes, a leader who thrives more amidst political intrigue and above all, a godfather who according to his daughter, senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello, neither forgets nor forgives. No past leader is known to have ever survived a battle of intrigue with the ‘ebora’ of Owu.
I am sure the president is also aware Obasanjo who has publicly admitted nothing embarrasses him is not in a hurry to change people’s perception of him as a man who strikes against those who regard him as friend when they least expected. He ate pounded yam with Ahmadu Alli in the afternoon and master minded his ouster as PDP chairman in the evening. He joined the people against embattled IBB during the last days of his fraudulent transition. Abacha, who he had dismissed as the main beneficiary of Babangida ‘transition without end’, did not take chances. He roped him into a phantom coup and put him on death row.
But he survived Abacha to emerge a two term president. He single handedly enthroned ailing Musa Yar Adua president but turned around to denounce him. He did everything including denying the zoning policy enshrined in PDP constitution to enthrone Dr.Goodluck Jonathan as president. Now, he says Jonathan is a weak president. He is holding him responsible for the monumental corruption that has come to characterize government these past years.
As a creation of Obasanjo, one would have expected the president to be conscious of Obasanjo’s well documented periodic interventions in the affairs of the nation; an intervention which most often tragically ended as a tale of doom foretold for past successive deaf leaders. President Jonathan ought to have known from experience that Obasanjo would at the end exploit these interventions to position himself on the side of the people, as he had successfully done in the past when the nation came under the assault of its elected, self or god father imposed leaders.
But as it is always the case, what Obasanjo has just told the president was a rehash of what others who are genuinely worried about the health of our nation have said. Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu and other patriotic Nigerians have called attention to the president’s inability to confront his corrupt PDP buccaneers who do not give a damn about the health of the nation. The only difference today is that because it was Obasanjo who raised these issues, the self serving presidential aides, paid by the tax payers to help the president in his decision making process cannot demonise Obasanjo or accuse him of ’insulting the president’. They simply abandoned the president to fight his own war with a god father who neither ‘sleeps nor forgives’.
But since government, as the president knows, is a trust, I think the reprimand by Obasanjo, should help him to deeply reflect on what informed the general atmosphere of mistrust by millions of Nigerians who massively elected a God fearing leader about 18 months ago, but today allege his government is behind the massive looting going on in the country just as they accuse him of inept handling of the Boko Haram insurgency. For the purpose of this inner reflection, let us do a quick recap of some unnerving actions of “a Jonathan we don’t know”
Towards the end of last year, it was President Jonathan who alerted his fellow Nigerians about the existence of ‘oil cartel’ that was sabotaging the nation’s economy. What Nigerians got in place of presidential decisive punitive action was a New Year gift of over 300% increase in the pump price of fuel. The president appealed for support claiming the economy would collapse without such an action. Critics who maintained government action was a mere strategy to raise fuel tax to satisfy the greed of government parasites became targets of government intimidation and harassment.
Not long after, it became a public knowledge that the president men and women deliberately sat on the KPMG audit report that revealed monumental stealing in NNPC. To discredit the message, government officials and political office holders decided to turn the searchlight on the personalities behind KPMG-the largest professional services company in the world.
On the eve of the presentation of the Farouk Lawal House Committee report that exposed the theft of over N2 trillion from the nations treasury, Otedola the rumored friend of the president and a confirmed PDP fund raiser was aided by the state to video tape Farouk Laval while receiving $620 of $3m agreed bribe to ensure the name of Otedola’s company is expunged from the list of defrauding firms.
The focus changed from the contents of the report to the leadership of the lower House after PDP leading light had watched a preview of the video. The report of the Aig Imokhuede presidential technical committee was also a damning verdict of soiled hands of some leading members of the ruling party involved in shady oil deals. Instead of the president tendering an apology to millions of his face book admirers he had let down, what we have seen so far is ‘motion without movement.’
The ongoing devious maneuvering to discredit the report of a committee headed by Nuhu Ribadu, known for his integrity by government appointees is perhaps what has finally forced Obasanjo to take side with frustrated erstwhile president Jonathan admirers.
On Boko Haram, besides Obasnajo the dreaded evil oracle , others not as gifted have equally argued the war on Boko Haram could have produced a different result if the president , known for protecting his friends with might and means had deplored half of the energy used in protecting his friends to wade off political foes , in Balyesa, Edo and recently in Ondo, to Borno and Yobe. During the last Ondo state governorship election, borders were closed days to the election with the IG in direct control. The share number of soldiers and policemen deployed to the state while the election lasted ensured miscreants and trouble makers were put on the run.
Since the rest of the country is at peace, the president’s frustrated admirers wondered why their Commander in Chief has been unable to direct the IG to shift his base to Borno or Yobe, swarm the area with soldiers as he did in Ondo leaving behind a handful of men in uniform to curtail the activities of ‘Okada’ law breakers in Lagos, overzealous south south militants who have hijacked our president, after securing mouth watering contracts and Igbo professional kidnappers on the trail of prominent and not so prominent Igbo citizens that stray home from their safe havens of Lagos and Abuja.?
The rest of the souths west, the president can handover to OPC, best equipped to hand out justice to petty thieves and ritual killers. Let us ignore the evil oracle. Who says the spate of killing of innocent Nigerians by those the government even with its control of awesome apparatus of state power claim are led by ‘ghosts’ does not deserve desperate action.