President Obasanjo's Score Board
It looks like because most Nigerians are resilient, they forget so hastily. Otherwise, how could people think that President Obasanjo (OBJ) would be infallible? Perhaps, many Nigerians are inept or they just naturally prefer to prevaricate. Indeed, a perfect human being is a creature of God, confined by finitude. On the other hand, many Nigerians tend to be impetuous and they lack step-by-step analytical skills to make equitable or logical judgment. The reality is that, Nigeria has moved forward under OBJ, since 1999. At least, the nation's finances has been restructured, and Nigeria's credibility has improved. Of course, finance being the blood of any administration, high premium is placed on it because it has direct impact on individual's stomach. Therefore, what constitutes his score board would be why and how he came to power, his willingness in accepting the job, what he did right and what he did so wrong. By the way, does anyone know of anybody who has satisfied everybody (100%) in a small community when it comes to management of people? It should be fresh in our minds that General Babangida's (IBB) gross indiscipline brought OBJ to power in 1999.
Nigerians had been whipped, murdered, impoverished beginning with (IBB) dictatorship in 1985. Since then, he (IBB) looted the nation's treasury for safe keeping in the vaults of the Middle East region and else where around the globe. The story of how IBB, Nigeria's worse enemy scoffed democracy and annihilated opponents for the simple purpose of hiding the many truths of his atrocities can be read from newspapers, magazines that inundate the streets of Nigeria. With recent revelations, who told you IBB was not involved in Dimka's coup? We now know that IBB is a betrayal. Otherwise, how could he (IBB) had walked to Dimka to disarm him (Dimka) at the radio house without Dimka using his pistol to fire him, if he was not part of the plotters? Anyway, let's return to our subject.
It would amount to fraud for anyone to re-write history. The truth was that, Nigerians were tired of the khaki guys (military) after IBB introduced all manners of corruption and theft into the system. Furthermore, the West of Nigeria needed compensation after the clear victory of late Abiola at the presidential polls, which IBB annulled. On the other hand, the thinking then was that, someone with military background to check the military excesses (coup) was ideal as the next elected president. This was why OBJ was picked from prison to lead the giant of Africa, Nigeria. In essence, the prevailing political circumstances at that time was a bad situation being ameliorated through the emergence of OBJ. This being the case, if OBJ did not ask for this leadership in 1999 but was invited as it was in the 1970s, then, Nigerians should accept whatever he is able to offer. However, OBJ willingly contested the polls in 2003, so his performance for the period 2003-2007 has more weight on his score board.
We may want to compare OBJ with Joseph, who was released from prison to be the powerful Minister in Israel as the Holy Bible made us to understand. Therefore, if Joseph did very well in Israel, what happened to Nigeria's OBJ? Nigeria could not get the best from OBJ ÔÇścause of her sins. Thus, righteousness exult a nation, sin is a reproach to any individual. As such, the collective sins of Nigerians denied them the best leadership of OBJ. This was a man of honor in the ÔÇś70s hence his integrity and other secret reasons sold him to General Abdulsalami who made contacts most quietly and surreptitiously to Nigerians that paved the way for him to occupy Aso Rock Villa in 1999. His critics may argue that, he didn't need to purchase Jets with questionable invoices when Nigerians are starving. His campaigners could say that, even though he maintained low profile in the ÔÇś70s by using 504 cars, he needed to bolster Nigeria's image abroad because we're now in a different century. Furthermore, his supporters can argue that, he inherited the worst society in the history of Nigeria. Corruption was highest to the extent that, a child in her mother's womb was corrupt as opposed to the courteous society he handed over in 1979. No doubt, this made his job extremely difficult. More argument in his favor is that management is a career in itself, and that OBJ is not a trained manager, but a trained soldier. On the other hand, age has crept into all of these. OBJ, though the same person, is much older now and often cannot the hard soldier we knew of him years back (since 1979) and may have run out of ideas too. Just as menopause affects different women at different ages, so diminishing return creeps into different people at different times. An independent mind thinks that, regardless of age, non-managerial competence, shutting his eyes to the mayhem in Anambra State and not giving decisive instructions to the Police to apprehend the culprits was absurd. In a country where infrastructures are lacking, some persons burnt down the few that we have and went scot-free. No body can comprehend that, it was a grievous mistake.
Proponents of OBJ argue that, since 1999, there is a balance of power between the oppressive north of the past and the south. Thus, while critics from the north say they are being marginalized, the south says the north must give them sometime to lead beyond 2007. An independent mind-set thinks that, the money carted away under the pretence of enormous road construction across Nigeria during OBJ tenure, should have been diverted to build a Defense Academy in the south. After all, we have refinery and law school in the north right now, so there should be a Defense Academy in the south.
OBJ instituted EFCC to tackle corruption. While his henchmen think that, EFCC is doing a great job to reduce the menace of corruption; his foes feel that they are being harassed as political opponents. The law of retribution must take its course. Sure, when OBJ vacates office in 2007, another school of thought knows that, OBJ's cronies will be questioned for their theft. Please let's reason that, he (OBJ) could not have prosecuted every thief at the same time even if he was passionate about Nigeria and treats everyone the same. A more thoughtful mind thinks that, IBB will reverse everything EFCC has done if given the chance to lead Nigeria again. Of course, he returned all the stolen assets OBJ regime confiscated from public officers in the ÔÇś70s and he is moving insidiously to power again so that he can repeat the same rubbish, God forbid.
OBJ was the same yesterday and today. A man who was decently raised from BBHS (High school) was vocal whenever embezzlement was at stake. His critics berate him for allowing IBB walk freely after he (OBJ) vehemently called IBB "fraud" years back. Now that, he has Pius Okigbo's report at his beck-and-call to prosecute IBB, nothing is happening. His proponents believe that, IBB's probe will be OBJ's last joker in this card game. An independent mind thinks that, as a brilliant soldier who fought gallantly to stop further blood-shed and deaths by ending Nigeria's civil war, he must take the bull by the horn. As such, he must probe IBB immediately and if found guilty, IBB should be imprisoned without further delay and all his assets at home and abroad seized.
This writer believes that OBJ has not done well overall though he moved Nigeria forward. Couldn't it have been OBJ's priority to ensure that, as a farmer before 1999, farming by now would have exploded to the extent that food would be available to the masses? At least the lifeless Nafcon in Port-harcourt that produced fertilizer would have been activated at once to supply fertilizer to farmers and the machinery for mechanized farming put in place. Hunger is the most crucial matter to Nigerians and other African nations. It's ridiculous to know that, in a country where any seed will germinate in any soil, hunger is ravaging the whole country. Be that as it may, OBJ moved Nigeria forward, be it with a snail speed, its okay. If he (OBJ) stole money, it cannot be as much as what IBB and Abacha stole. If he chided his cronies, it cannot be as bad as the atrocities IBB and Abacha committed. Most important is the debt relief and the delisting of Nigeria from the blacklist of FATF. It's pertinent to note that, Nigerians desperately wanted a change of military regime to civil rule in the late ÔÇś90s and that gave rise to the emergence of OBJ as a man from the West. He was unanimously invited to lead the nation in 1999, so his score board should be accepted keeping in mind the complexity of Nigeria and Nigerians.
August 31, 2006.