OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW NIGERIANS:
WAKE UP BELL!!! IT'S TIME FOR OBASANJO TO GO
By Lanre Ogundipe
Fellow Nigerians, the dimension which our nation's democracy now pivots, coupled with the deliberate ploy by the government and its operators, to undermine democracy. It is clear there is an underline fact, which seems not visible now, but tend towards becoming a pariah nation so soon. It would be sad if we all fold our arms and watch Olusegun Obasanjo and his henchmen to wreck havocs and beacon his colleagues in khaki uniform to take over whatever remains as ruins of our democracy enterprise. God forbid.
Even at the several challenges bedevilling our nascent democracy, those opportune to be in government has not in any way lived up to their billing. For instance, It has been said severally, that indeed OBJ did not appreciates that he was a beneficiary of an enterprise of a struggle which he knew nothing and of which many laid down their lives in seeing the military off the political scene. To a large extent, many are not aware that OBJ contributed extensively in fostering that pall of darkness on the entire nation with an unguarded statement in respect of the controversial annulment of June 12 1993 election results. Not only did he maintain negative stand on the issue, he represented an advocate of the ignorant school of the intending benefits of the June 12 struggle, his effort at re-writing history of this landmark portrayed him an ungrateful element.
Few months ago at an Old Boys get-together of the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, for the first time ever Obasanjo played a popular tune which was in line with the thinking of the generality of Nigerian in order to evade the wrath of schoolmates by saying "this School would have produced three Head of State and list M.K.O. Abiola as the third person but the attempt was thwarted by the military". In an attempt to show case that the school paraded the stuff that could be rely on to manage the affairs of the country, whereas his intension was simply on how he could tactically get away from old friends who might be tempted to ask questions on June 12 and Abiola.
Though many regarded his statement as an acknowledgement of his repentance of every known anti-democratic values associated with him. I told some of our colleagues who had shown considerable interest in watching the current political dispensation from the sidelines that this man is deceitful and ungodly. They were surprised at my remark, in their opinion Obasanjo's statement ought to have elicited commendation. If only, at least for the first time, he came out boldly to say June 12 1993 was a landmark in the nation polity. Sincerely my heart bleed within having realised the role played by the latter in concert with others whom the public regarded as opinion moulders in truncating what was adjudged free and fair election throughout the world.
In as much as one is not in support of the evil of that period in our political scene, I do believe that time is ripe that Nigerians begin to re- juggle their memories to acknowledge that Obasanjo really has contributed close to nothing to the development of Nigeria as a nation either during his days as military Head of State and now as civilian President. What we are talking about is the decay that had pervaded every facet of our national development. Is it not the scheme of one single person in order to protect his own interest at all cost and to the detriment of an average Nigerian? The discerning Nigerians will not dispute this latent fact.
Again, we are back on the same familiar terrain laced with tendencies of arrogance and pride with which he bullied everyone into submission before he left office in 1979 and handed over to the lame duck civilian government, headed by Shehu Shagari. Perhaps it may be surprising that Obasanjo had been a constitutional rapist since his days as Military Head. What about the constitutional flaws arising from 1979 election petition filed by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo on 12 2/3. Pure constitutional matter that arose the curiosity of sane minds in academic such as the late Professor Ayodele Awojobi, a renowned mathematician who voluntarily obliged the court of his experience while the controversy raged on. The issue became trivialised because Obasanjo leadership then had pre-conceived who the winner should be. What became of Shehu Shagari's government at the end of the day? He was booted out of office.
Leopard we all acknowledge would not change its spots. Obasanjo antics are the same, and it thus appeared as events are unfolding that the man has failed to learn new skills, I wonder at his age whether he had cause to reflect on his past and take accounts of his achievements whether they are genuine or false. Whatever battle he has fought and won, whether those victory or victories were on merit or otherwise. I dare say without blinking an eyelid, such victory or victories were fraught with ingenuity and deceits.
Prior to the election in 1979, we could recollect that when his tenure was drawing to a close, he came up with some reforms. Among them was the outright withdrawal of subsidy to all tertiary institutions in the country. His helmsman then was that infamous and shameful army medical personnel Colonel Ahmadu Ali who is now the PDP National Chairman who has already been drafted for PDP liquidation as a political party. That was the beginning of the catastrophe that had bedevilled the education sector. He did not stop at that, for he even brought about the uniform price in petroleum products with the help of Phillip Asiodu of the then Super Permanent Secretary's fame. You remember those power drunk evil servant (civil servant) of that period? Our energy sector was not susceptible to these kinds of fluctuations the nation had been subjected to, even though we had Kanji Dam and Egbin Power Terminal. Of course you remember that he brought Asiodu back as Special Adviser in 1999 to further their evil agenda.
Nigerians, time is rife to start telling the stories and let this generation know that there is not a good thing Obasanjo bestowed on Nigeria as a nation which he had the privilege of leading and administering for close to eleven years. Of course you all remember the ├óÔéČ┼ôLow-Profile├óÔéČ┬Ł slogan of the 70s, when he suddenly came up with lamentation that we need as a nation to think inward and start planning ahead for the future, hence the need to cut areas of wastages in government most especially considering its harsh effects on private lives.
Ankara, the Lebanese manufactured fabrics became fashionable and then military moustached leader became an advert model for the Lebanese producers. Hope you have not forgotten his picture of those days as a man with a hoe on his shoulder and brown ├óÔéČ┼ôpeecap├óÔéČ. And when Leventis Motors the then sole distributor of Mercedes-Benz products refused government agents of the percentage as patronage, he jettisoned Mercedes-Benz for Peugeot automobile and got some of his friends together to float an assemblage company with government backing and support. We were all railroaded into the low profile scheme. All the reforms came on board when the nation's resources were squandered on FESTAC 77, celebration of gods and goddess in the Africa region.
To cap the deceit, his last slogan was Let's Go back to the Land, tagged Operation Feed the Nation. Nigerians had been betrayed and abused many times by its leaders and it looks as if we are not willing and ready to learn and look at our pit falls to determine our actions or inactions. We believe once a dummy is sold with little pittance, as back up, we are ready to close our eyes to evils associated with such ventures. Obasanjo led his military cult then called Supreme Headquarters and promulgated the Land Use Decree of 1979. All because he was planning on what to do fall back on at retirement. Let him speak out now, how much did he pay to the landowners on which Obasanjo Farm is situated? Was the land not acquired under the guise of Land Use Decree Act of 1979?
Was it not on record that only D.Y. Danjuma publicly denounced going into farming at that time and further challenge his colleagues on the mad rush into farming and saying, he was not interested? He rhetorically disparaged them ├óÔéČ┼ôI do not know why my colleagues are rushing into farming. Beyond what met the eye the drums were rolled out that we should all go back into farming in order to pave way for Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, the only reputable farmer that Nigeria has ever produced. And thus, Obasanjo went into mechanised farming with pumps and peagantry at the expense of ordinary masses of this country.
What becomes of all money spent on importation of tractors and other farm implement for Operation Feed the Nation with the acronym OFN? How does these equipments find their way to Otta Farm of OFN (Obasanjo Farm of Nigeria)? May be, the official bankers OFN would oblige Nigerian public details on how the loan was granted and the length of period for re-payment of such loan to import these implements. This will be interesting, so that we could see and know our leader intimately.
He may have thought we had forgotten an encounter he had on this issue while he was on a nationwide tour bidding goodbye with the late Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Daniel Odetayo Akinbiyi a politically conscious man cum traditionalist who actually confronted Obasanjo bluntly on the Land Use Decree when the latter call on him at his palace in Elekuro area of Ibadan, the political seat of the Yorubas. His reaction to the late Oba was crude and rude. His attitude is in sharp contrast to some one often lay claim to be a traditionalist. What are witnesses today, as Obasanjo├óÔéČÔäós reactions to issues clearly demonstrate his lack of respect for traditional institutions and elders in general. Truly, he is a man that lack respect for the elders and he also crave for respect that he does not deserves.
As OBJ is winding up, he has started throwing his usual jibes around; we are quiet familiar with this now, having being able to trace his antecedents. The man is again confronted with the fear of the unknown of what fate would bring his way after May 29th next year hence his untoward behaviour aimed at installing his surrogate in power to assist in covering up traces of his footprints of havocs perpetrated while in office. At this juncture, I beg to differ a bit from summation to elongating his stay in office, but I see an attempt to foster another disaster on the Nigeria this time around. He has no genuine desire to see through the success of this democratic trial the nation had embarked on in last seven years.
Why is it that OBJ prefer playing lip service on the issue of rule of law? He does this with pleasure knowing that the National Assembly members with respect to negligible few among them, that assembly is lame duck. They make the loudest noise and on sighting the shark of Ghana-Must Go, they are silence. Oba, of Aso Rock could easily push them around. Did it not take OBJ 72 hours before everyone knew where he stood on Ekiti constitutional squabbles between the legislature, judiciary and executive? While all his allies and cronies in government and party (PDP) were all threatening brimstones on the penalty of impeding the constitution because Ekiti law makers failed to honour the President pact by allowing his best-friend to succeed Ayo Fayose and preside over the affairs of the state.
Attorney General of the Federation Bayo Ojo was drafted to speak to the nation on NTA twice within three days that Federal Government would not fold its arms watching a rape of the nation's constitution. A court of competent jurisdiction such as Federal Appeal Court gave a judgement voiding an illegal administration prop up by Obasanjo and his ilk on Oyo State with Christopher Alao-Akala on the saddle, up till now, Bayo Ojo succeeded in making a political statement which he would not have been accepted in his hey days of active legal practice that a declarative judgement could not be enforced! What a Justice Minister?
How time changes, this same Bayo Ojo was the one clinching his fist some time ago saying this government does not respect rule of law as the helmsman in Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). He find convenient to jump into the plane to appear before a court when the former Governor of Balyesa State, Alam was detained in United Kingdom that he should not be allowed to come back to Nigeria when there was no originating summons asking the Attorney General of Federal Republic of Nigeria to appear before it? Why is it so difficult for him since he has demonstrated the skill that the rule of law must be adhere to in the case of Anambra, Plateau and Oyo sates? So he has seen the raison d'etre for government not to uphold the rule of law.
They have sown wind, they would definitely reap whirlwind very shortly and soon too. Anambra, Plateau, and Abia states crises would definitely increase tension in the country and it may also slip and lead into what we do not collectively bargained for. Is it not time for all civil society to come together again and rescue the nation from the pseudo-democrats prowling our political landscape? Who was Obasanjo before 1998 and May 29, 1999? One of his aide said he gave out 50 million naira as gifts to bail his deputy out of financial crisis. Haba! Black Scorpion General Benjamin Adekunle stated in a documentary from Prison to Presidency by Bimbola Daramola that Obasanjo is a ├óÔéČ┼ôstingo├ó (short form of been stingy). Those who were privilege to work with him confirmed his being tight fisted. Where and how does he come out doling out money in million to friends and associates. Part of his generosity was the gift of 607 Peugeot to Lamide Adegbenro! What a friend we have in OBJ?
Patriots, all is not well now, we should not wait until the marshal songs come waking us up that they are on rescue mission. Which rescue? The signs are imminent, we need to wake up and now is the time.
Obasanjo is a disaster, PDP is evil, and they must be shown the way out without further delay. Let's be on the barricade once more, there lies the salvation of the masses. May the good Lord help us.
Lanre Ogundipe a former National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
November 7, 2006