So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?

Nigeria is a very dangerous country to live in. And I am beginning to be truly afraid. I am not talking about armed robbery, assassinations, murder, epileptic power supply and all others of our well known troubles. My worry this morning is the creeping herd mentality I am seeing in this country. You will agree with me that a country where every body thinks the same way; acts the same way and where no one appears to have the courage to be different, is a very dangerous country to live in indeed. If things continue the way they are today, I am afraid I may soon become an émigré!

A few days ago during his confirmation hearing in the Senate for ministerial job, Chief Ufot Ekaete, who served Obasanjo faithfully, or so it appeared, for eight solid years, passed an invidious verdict on Obasanjo. He repudiated Obasanjo completely, denounced him passionately and was not charitable at all to a man who had given him the opportunity to serve as his chief minister. I do not blame Ekaete much because it is in the character of the Nigerian politician to act treacherously. What is more, Ekaete is a victim of the herd instinct that is developing in Nigerians whereby if certain persons in powerful political positions say that a particular individual is bad, that will be the refrain of nearly every one else in the polity. Even those who were the fiercest defenders of the victim when he was in power will retreat into their shelves for fear of offending the new men of power. It is a shame how unprincipled we Nigerians can be.

Today, the man who is fair game for everybody to abuse, to blame and to cast aspersion on is Obasanjo.To get news headline these days, speak ill of Obasanjo. Mention any act of wrong -doing against him. Attribute every wrong thing that happened during his rule to him. Give him no kudos for anything whatsoever. Distance yourself from him as much as possible. Note that it is plain unfashionable to say something complimentary, no matter how tangential; something nice no matter how small, about Obasanjo. Given the way we are going about it, I suspect that we will soon move on to a phase in the anti-Obasanjo campaign whereby we will begin to credit Obasanjo's achievements to others or ignore mentioning them at all as a way of erasing him from our collective memory.

And the media are the guiltiest in this anti-Obasanjo hysteria. And this is unfortunate because the law of journalism says that you must observe balance. The law also says that you must be fair. More importantly, journalists are supposed to be the impartial recorders of history and so ought to have shown that while Obasanjo did not do well in some aspects of his rule, he also did a lot of great things for this nation. But the overwhelming story you hear is that Obasanjo did no good.

Nigerian politicians are known for their unscrupulous and unprincipled method. They can say anything any time against anybody provided that will guarantee them a lucrative position in the government of the day. Some are more than ready to even abuse their parents, betray their closest friends and cast aspersion on their ethnic group if that will guarantee them some appointment so I do not expect much from them. Any Nigerian politician can say anything any time anywhere to get anything no matter how insignificant the thing he wants to get is. And that is without to his image. At any rate, do they have any image worthy of protecting?

If what it takes is to abuse Obasanjo in order to get a position from this government, too many of our politicians will be willing to do that with a straight face. And they are doing it. This is sickening. It is dangerous. What the unfair treatment Obasanjo is getting may do is to tell the younger generation that Nigeria is not worth dying for because no matter how hard you try for the nation, no one will appreciate your efforts especially when you get out of office.

Newspaper columnists, his fellow party men have all said Obasanjo was an unmitigated disaster. This is not true. The question I ask myself is so Obasanjo did not do any single good thing worth mentioning even in passing? This is an untrue reading of Nigerian history.

For me the sin I hold against Obasanjo is his unforgiving nature. How can a man who is so loved by God as he is, does not have a large enough heart to ignore the wrong done him? To me, this is the real failure of Obasanjo. Apart from that, he was the kind of leader Nigeria needed at that time that he came to power. Nigeria was on the verge of disintegration at the time he came to power in 1999 and what we needed at that time was to have a strong leader who needed to forge unity through sometimes forceful actions that may not be in accord with the laws of democracy.

Obasanjo left for Nigeria a legacy that if others build on, this nation will be the better for it. I intend to dwell on Obasanjo's main achievements in the second part of this piece.

What I want to say here essentially is that as a people we must learn to appreciate the good in our fellow human beings and de-emphasize hammering on their weaknesses. No angel is ever going to be sent by God to come from heaven to govern us. This means that we will have leaders who are imperfect because they are after all human.

The ceaseless attacks on Obasanjo should stop. We should show appreciation for the little we think he did in office. To me he did much but those who dispute this still need to appreciate him for the little they think he did. Why we need to leave Obasanjo alone and stop the incessant abuse of him is that it is totally unAfrican to insult elders. Those who take delight in insulting or showing disrespect to octogenarians are sowing very bad seeds for themselves.

Second, it very unprincipled for former close associates of Obasanjo to not only distance themselves from him but to also say very unkind words about him and his administration. Obasanjo is not the unmitigated disaster that some hold him to be. He did a lot of good things for his nation.

Apart from being in bad taste, what the obsession with Obasanjo may do to us is that it will distract us from the pursuit of our nation's development. Obasanjo has left power for nearly two years now. No amount of bellyaching by any one about how much of a failure Obasanjo was will yield positive dividends for us today.

I have been praying to God to make me governor of Cross River State. When he makes me, as I have faith He will do one day, I am going to rule a line as much as possible between my government and the ones before mine. I will not spend precious time abusing my predecessors and quarrelling generally with the past. I will not do so because discrediting my predecessors will not automatically translate into achievement for me. You may succeed in winning the adulation of the gullible segment of the population but what right-thinking people expect from you is how you plan to correct whatever it is the man before you did wrong and how you plan to execute the agenda you have. I will not spend time criticizing those before me because those who spend their time lamenting about their past will loose the future.

Of course if my predecessor has done something wrong, the due process should hold him accountable. I will not leave the serious business of providing leadership for the people and assume the role of EFFCC, ICPC and the police, hounding him all over the place, ridiculing him, discrediting him, and humiliating him just to show that I am the latest good man in town. I will spend my time to build upon the good things my predecessor did and correct or avoid the wrongs he did. After all, if my predecessors solved all the problems and did no wrong, it will not be necessary to have me. Those who are filled with bitterness and hatred for others can not do any positive thing.

If previous administrations had done all what was needed to fix Nigeria, why do we accuse Obasanjo of nearly everything that is wrong in the country? Obasanjo has done his bit and is gone from the scene. What is needed is to let others do their own. Those who are on the scene now will not solve all of Nigeria's problems. They best they can do is to do their bit and they too will leave the scene for others to do their bit until eternity comes.

The Holy Books enjoin us to pray for our leaders because God himself knows the several wicked forces who contend against leaders. Do we know how many Nigerians and foreigners took Obasanjo's name and picture to shrines, covens and evil alters and evil forests to solicit the help of wicked forces to confuse his mind so that they can more easily have their way? Do we know how many are doing the same to Yar'Adua today for the same end? We are required to reason with our leaders, offering them wise and unselfish counsel and not to engage in visceral, malicious and relentless criticism of them.

 I am the first to admit that Obasanjo made a lot of mistakes. For instance, I think that he spent too much time making enemies and very little time to make friends for him and his administration. This, more than anything else, is responsible for the harvest of ill will he is getting now. He was not unsuccessful as a leader. To suggest that he did not do any good thing is untrue and unfair.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Obasanjo because he was a strong leader who was not afraid of taking a decision. We may not agree with him on some of the decisions he took but you can not accuse him of indecision. At a point in the life of a nation, that nation may require a person who is abrasive, somehow authoritarian and brusque like Obasanjo. I think he fulfilled the mission which destiny had called upon him to do for Nigeria.

Next week, God willing, I hope to conclude with what I think are some of Obasanjo's significant achievements.

 


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Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Datuouwadaberechi posted on 01-01-2009, 08:51:22 AM
Dear Author
thanks for an interesting article.
may i also wish you God'speed in your efforts to mount the helm in Cross River State, if this would bring progress and succour to d ppl of ur state.

I would like to comment on your articles as follows:

i do agree with you that OBJ seems be taking a little more flak than he deserves, over his 8-year rule (which was cut short beyond his expectation, remember 3rd term?).

i do agree that he "left a legacy ...that if others build on, this nation will be the better for it

and i certainly agree with the following excerpt from your article "we must learn to appreciate the good in our fellow human beings and de-emphasize hammering on their weaknesses. No angel is ever going to be sent by God to come from heaven to govern us. This means that we will have leaders who are imperfect because they are after all human.


i especially feel a similar disgust to yours, against these public officials that worked under him, who are currently castigating and treacherously maligning him (late example, Ufot Ekaette).


HOWEVER I do not agree that his greatest failure is his unforgiveness, even though it is a significant personal failure.

i also do not agree that nigeria was "on the verge of disintegration" when he came to power, or that he did anything really significant in the integration angle.


i rather think that his greatest failure and that which has so terribly impacted on us, is his pompous, insincere, illegal and very erroneous arrogance in believing that only he, was knowledgeable enough to choose a successor for himself, TO LEAD NIGERIA, when his third-term agenda failed!!! that was the greatest insult to nigerians and the worst legacy he could have left, because we are living with the effects of his incomparable mistake, and mischoice.

the most enduring and significant legacy, which he might have tried to concentrate on after he discovered that his time was up, in order to accentuate his regard, love and respect for nigerians, was to make an effort to ensure a free and fair and transparent electiions.

there, OBJ FAILED nigerians in the worst possible way.

the consequences of this singular mis-deed are self-evident!!!! and are hard to dismiss.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Dewdrops posted on 01-01-2009, 09:01:55 AM
QUOTE:


I have a lot of respect and admiration for Obasanjo because he was a strong leader who was not afraid of taking a decision. We may not agree with him on some of the decisions he took but you can not accuse him of indecision. At a point in the life of a nation, that nation may require a person who is abrasive, somehow authoritarian and brusque like Obasanjo. I think he fulfilled the mission which destiny had called upon him to do for Nigeria.

Next week, God willing, I hope to conclude with what I think are some of Obasanjo’s significant achievements.

[URL=http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11088/55]Read the full article.[/URL]


Thank you for at least waiting till next week when my PMS really kicks in. I will be right here waiting for all your lies.

I also look forward to getting some dumpster mileage on your account.




QUOTE:


HOWEVER I do not agree that his greatest failure is his unforgiveness, even though it is a significant personal failure.

i also do not agree that nigeria was \"on the verge of disintegration\" when he came to power, or that he did anything really significant in the integration angle.


i rather think that his greatest failure and that which has so terribly impacted on us, is his pompous, insincere, illegal and very erroneous arrogance in believing that only he, was knowledgeable enough to choose a successor for himself, TO LEAD NIGERIA, when his third-term agenda failed!!! that was the greatest insult to nigerians and the worst legacy he could have left, because we are living with the effects of his incomparable mistake, and mischoice.

the most enduring and significant legacy, which he might have tried to concentrate on after he discovered that his time was up, in order to accentuate his regard, love and respect for nigerians, was to make an effort to ensure a free and fair and transparent electiions.

there, OBJ FAILED nigerians in the worst possible way.

the consequences of this singular mis-deed are self-evident!!!! and are hard to dismiss.


God bless you!

Can anyone name one good thing about that man OBJ? By omission or commission...all his actions were detrimental to Nigeria and Nigerians. You do not only kill a person when you use a gun or a sword.......OBJ killed the spirits of Nigerians while Abacha and IBB combined only touched the bodies.

I can name 2000 terrible things about him but for the sake of peace will spare any harsh words......thought, spoken or written till 12AM January 2nd 2009.....to the glorification of the almighty for sparing my life through 2008 and all the years before that.ray:
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Maxsiollun posted on 01-01-2009, 10:35:08 AM
....and therein lies the problems that OBJ's ex-appointees like Ribadu, Fani-Kayode, El-Rufai et al are currently having. The lurid personal tales about OBJ leaking out (allegedly sleeping with his daughter in-law, book by his ex-wife claiming he is a woman beater), coupled with the disgraceful treatment of Ribadu, and victimisation of ex-OBJ ministers is all part of a concerted plot to teach OBJ a lesson for not doing the bidding of his sponsors.

People like Danjuma, IBB and others massively financed his presidential campaigns, and obviously thought they would call the shots from behind the scenes. However instead of acting like a grateful recipient, OBJ turned round and bet the hands that fed him - acting like some young Turk by giving the EFCC teeth, started probing, strong arming and dismissing corrupt ministers, and even permitted the EFCC to arrest powerful oligarchs like Adenuga and IBB's own son. It was too much for the old powerful Mafia and they are now fighting back. Remember the Sudanese proverb: "Power is like a stick. Put it down and someone else will pick it up and hit you over the head with it".

I have also written about OBJ's achievements here:

http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/max-siollun/in-defence-of-obasanjo.html
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
HolyPagan posted on 01-01-2009, 10:37:40 AM
Dew....Make your point now, don't just paint the whole post red without saying anything of significance.

Name the 2000 terrible things according to you.
All this is gra gra style of posting, that only expends heat and never shed any light on the issues.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Albany posted on 01-01-2009, 12:19:54 PM
One thing you have to remember is that Obasanjo has his finger in a lot of political and historical pies in Nigeria. Even his predecessors like Azikiwe, Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello are still being discussed today and they all are not favorably disposed to every Nigerian. It is their utterances, actions and inaction in public and private circles that determine the place they occupy in the hearts and minds of Nigerians.

Obasanjo is a highly unsavory and uncultured person, who has made many socially and morally objectionable comments, even while in office. He disrespected not only the President of the Jos Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Pam, but the whole Christians in Nigeria, when he said ''CAN, my foot''. So, if he is not being respected today, it is probably nemesis catching up with him, since respect is reciprocal. So, spare me that stuff on african culture and respecting elders ! It is a two-way thing.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
LetsBeFair posted on 01-01-2009, 12:42:48 PM
I would agree with the author that we have the tendency to follow the herd. That is not news. But I disagree that hatred for Obasanjo is any more now than it was during his tenure. I would actually say it is getting a lot less because of the comparison to Yaradua's government. I believe Obasanjo did very well in comparison to his predecessors but I do think he fell far short of what he could have achieved. Nigeria is a very simple place to rule. Absolutely very simple and Obasanjo failed to recognize that. We have absolutely nothing and he failed to recognize that. All he needed to do was concentrate on infrastructure; on things people can see. Once that is done, he would have gained the political capital to go after a little more esoteric things. This Yaradua administration is making the same exact mistake. We so much like "I too know" that it is just unbelievable how dumb (I am sorry to use this word)these guys are. If there is an election in Enugu State today, I hear Gov Sullivan Chime will get 95% of the vote. Why? because he came out from the get go and concentrated on very basic things. He is so powerful in the state right now that he can now start fighting corruption and the other things that ordinary peole may not be too aware of. Same thing with Benue and Lagos States. Very very simple things. I really feel bad for whoever is going to run against these governors. We'll see how how effective rigging really is. Obasanjo tried but I do think the criticism against him can be justified sometimes because he could have done a lot more in 8 years.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
I-go-better posted on 01-01-2009, 12:58:00 PM
With the way your reasoning faculty is programmed, I would join the good people of Cross River State in praying against your ambition of becoming their Governor. Holy Ghost Fire!!!!

A sure recipe for disaster, 'a la Obasanjo.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
NWANZA posted on 01-01-2009, 13:36:08 PM
QUOTE:
Nigeria is a very dangerous country to live in. And I am beginning to be truly afraid. I am not talking about armed robbery, assassinations, murder, epileptic power supply and all others of our well known troubles. My worry this morning is the creeping herd mentality I am seeing in this country. You will agree with me that a country where every body thinks the same way; acts the same way and where no one appears to have the courage to be different, is a very dangerous country to live in indeed. If things continue the way they are today, I am afraid I may soon become an émigré!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If I were you, I would start right away and escape from Nigeria - jump out of the frying pan & end up on top of the fire wood.

The grass is not greener outside Nigeria for many - some of us make it while a majority are just surviving. NO PAIN NO GAIN.

Obasanjo made it easy to buy GSM handset to make calls anywhere in the world. KUDO'S FOR BABA.

It is dangerous everywhere in the world these days - there is no safe haven anymore except the frigid NORTH POLE.

Yar'Adua will not do any single thing either, so make your move now.
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Ispy posted on 01-01-2009, 14:15:58 PM
I must say that you are indeed a very brave man for putting up this article. I admire a man who can stand against what seems to be the norm and yet state his case. I have also always believed that it is always easier to 'go with the flow' as against taking a contrary stand on issues. However taking the easy route in life will get you nowhere in life so once again i say 'Thank You' for your courage.

On OBJ, he certainly was no saint, but who is?? People judging him by his purported sleeping with his daughter in law or beating his wife would be shocked to hear the sordid details of the private lives of our so called leaders and elites. I choose not to judge anyone based on issues i consider their private lives as i do not wish to be judged based on mine. Bill Clinton inspite of his obvious personal shortcomings remains one of the most popular US presidents in history and Americans sttod by him whilst he went through his all too farmiliar 'monicagate' scandal choosing to have him censured rather than being removed. Or has the fact that an internationally prominent Nigerian Playright married his daughters best friend meant his stature is diminished. When it comes to personal matters there are always underlying stories or conditions that the general public are never privy to.

On OBJ's tenure in office i will say i saw him as forerunner and not the Messiah. He i believe tried to lay the foundations on which growth could actually begin to take place, that is why there was so much noise and cry from the ruling class as it was no longer business as usual, This i believe strongly must occur if and when true change comes to Nigeria. The obvious silence from the ruling class occurring now under Yaradua can only mean one 'Its back to business as usual', they have become once again comfortable and confident their positions in society are not being threatened. The conscious effort by Obj to get seasoned technocrats from home and abroad was also very comforting for me and for the first time in a long time i actually felt the country moving or at least showing signs of impending movement. I feel no such thing under the current government in anyway.Finally need i add the paying off of our huge foreign debt on which interest payments was a major source of diversion of funds that could be better utilised locally and also that Nigeria very soon with the international economic crisis may just soon be falling back on the massive savings in the form of foreign reserves made by Obasanjo as never in the history of Nigeria has so much been saved during an administration, high oil prices not withstanding.

Obj certainly once again was no saint, however it has become the culture of Nigerians to immediately pour venom on previous leaders until one that is much worse comes along. I guess he understands this having being in this position before.He made a lot of mistakes but i do not believe he was the worst Nigeria has ever had or that he did not make any form of positive contributions to our Nations development, though it would become even more difficult to recognize these with Yaraduas shortsighted reversal of all OBJ policies!!
Re: So Obasanjo Did Not Do Any Single Good Thing?
Dewdrops posted on 01-01-2009, 14:57:09 PM
QUOTE:
Dew....Make your point now, don't just paint the whole post red without saying anything of significance.

Name the 2000 terrible things according to you.
All this is gra gra style of posting, that only expends heat and never shed any light on the issues.



Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!


Snake don ever bite you before?

Okay......I say wait till 12AM.....I am still thanking God for today.....I resume cyber battles dumpster style in about 2 hours. It is 9:56PM.

Patience dear......the honeymoon will soon be over.
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