Being Olusegun Obasanjo

In the 1999 movie Being John Malkovich, Hollywood actor John Cusack gets to experience what it is like to be John Malkovich, a movie character that ordinary folks wouldn’t normally like to be found alone with in an elevator, or in any other hair-raising or dark enclosures. The movie which was a work of fiction actually got movie buffs debating about what it would actually be and feel like if we could in reality be able to ‘live’ inside the body and soul of another person, and to experience their thoughts, hurts, plans (evil, good and bad) and emotions. Spooky you may say. Would science one day make this fantasy possible? Before you write this off, remember Dolly the sheep.

Unfortunately, by the time such fantasy ever becomes reality, if ever, our generation would have long answered the divine call. The only regret if you ask me would be that we (Nigerians) would have lost the opportunity to get to ‘be’ President Olusegun Obasanjo, or even some of his predecessors, most notoriously General Sani Abacha (the dark- goggled one) and General Ibrahim ‘Maradona’ Babangida (the gap- toothed one with the lady-killer smile).

Imagine how much fun it would have been to have actually been living inside the mind of IBB, during his Maradonic days, when he constantly shifted the political goal post, and our foolish and selfish politicians, even with all their soothsayers sheepishly followed without seeing the con coming, hoping after hope and sinking all their money (borrowed and stolen) in IBB’s bottomless option A4 democratic charade. Imagine how frustrated IBB would have felt if Nigerians were able to checkmate his every move, because we must have already seen each one coming.

What about the dark-goggled one? Would it not just have been better to simply tap into his mind any time we wanted (not that he had much of it anyway), this would have spared him the many troubles of facing the cameras (was he really? not with those glasses on, how could we not have seen that he had something to hide?) and ‘mumbling’ his way into eternity as the most confused, uninteresting and boring Head of State Nigeria ever had.

Were all these to have been possible, I can imagine the looks on the faces of Nigerians each time Oga Sani called Nigerians fools, shut the media houses, killed some members of the opposition while watching his countrymen starve, while he coveted with his many female omoges from Eastern Europe. Who wouldn’t have given anything to see the look on Oga Sani’s face the very moment he realises that we knew all along, and could see his every move, including the many occasions when he untied his shokoto behind Aunty Maryam’s back, that we were there all along as he signed away our national treasury to his hommies and the elusive and ‘untouchable’ Chagouri brothers.

We surely missed ‘being’ Olusegun Obasanjo as he took the oath of office as Nigeria’s Commander-In-Chief; at that very moment what could he have been thinking? About the common good of Nigerians? Or how to fulfil the second mandate that destiny has entrusted upon him? Was he thinking of an edifying legacy he would leave behind for Nigerians to savour? I wished that the scientists would hurry up and make the fantasy of ‘being’ a reality.

Now in his political and earthly twilight, what could possibly be going through Baba’s mind? With all the recent personal and national triumphs and tragedies, with history beckoning, waiting to conclude its chapter on the Obasanjo legacy in Nigeria, and the glorious and fulfilling opportunity to retire back to Otta to enjoy the fresh morning fruits, and to taste the sweet smell of freshly tapped palm wine, I would give anything to ‘be’ Baba even for a second as his administration enters the last lap. Just, what is going through his mind at this moment? A penny for your thoughts your Excellency.

Or would Baba throw everything away? Would he heed to the calls of his court jesters? The likes of who have no shame dancing naked in the market place. Just what could Baba be thinking at this moment? What is so difficult in telling Nigerians that ‘No, I am not interested in any third term’. Why is this difficult to do? Why let the speculation go on and on?

Just what is the point in chasing shadows? And dissipating energy over an issue that could easily be dealt with through words and deeds. Why should Nigeria bother writing to the U.S State department to register its protests over the comments made by a former U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Mike Cohen, that ‘the American government would oppose the rumoured third term ambition of Obasanjo’. Isn’t Mr. Cohen entitled to his own opinion? Just what does Nigeria expect the American government to do? Jail Mr Cohen or sanction him? Haven’t those Aso Rock people heard that every American is guaranteed a freedom of expression by the American constitution, or have they forgotten the African proverb that says that there is no smoke without fire?

Just what is going through Baba’s mind right now?

Being that we have no way of knowing, I will simply assume in my own fantasy to have unlocked the key to Baba’s mind, I ‘am’ now Olusegun Obasanjo.

I wish this was true because this may just be one of the things I wish Baba would be doing right now.

Baba: Nigerians should not worry about any 3rd term bid from me or the many others parading themselves as my representatives.

Press: Should it go on record then your Excellency that you have no plans of influencing the change in the constitution in order to allow you to contest in 2007.

Baba: Yes, let it go on record, I will not cause to be changed, nor sponsor any changes to the Nigerian constitution, to allow me to contest for a third term in 2007

Press: That is good news, we are quite sure that Nigerians will be happy to hear that, so your Excellency, have you started making plans for your retirement, what will you be doing when you finally leave Aso Rock?

Baba: I will retire to my Otta farm, my chickens and rabbits are missing me.

Press: Please your Excellency, can you briefly recount for cynics the achievements of your administration.

Baba: (cough, cough, cough) water please!

Remi-Oyo: The press conference is over, as you can see, his Excellency is not feeling too well, thanks for coming, , please direct any further queries to my office.

December 29th 2005. uchenworah@yahoo.com



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Re: .Being Olusegun Obasanjo
Dayo posted on 12-30-2005, 01:35:54 AM
This is funny but i strongly believe that OBJ will leave in 2007.
I can't bribe anybody over 3rd term', law-maker quotes Obasanjo
I Love Nigeria posted on 12-30-2005, 10:14:23 AM
I can't bribe anybody over 3rd term', law-maker quotes Obasanjo

By Simon Ebegbulem
Friday, December 30, 2005

BENIN CITY â€" FOLLOWING the claim by members of the Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD) that President Olusegun Obasanjo had planned to induce members of the National Assembly financially, to enable them amend the constitution and elongate his tenure, the President has described the claim as "unfounded," declaring that "those who think I can bribe anybody for anything do not know me."


Disclosing this to Vanguard in an interview yesterday in Benin City, Deputy Chairman, Human Rights Committee in the House of Representatives, Mr. Abdul Oroh, said the members who were worried over the allegation of bribery over the third term issue, met with the President and President Obasanjo refuted the allegation and asserted that he could not bribe anybody to elongate his tenure.


According to Oroh, "we as members of the National Assembly are worried over the allegation that we have collected money to elongate the President's tenure. But I am telling you that I am not aware of anybody who has collected money in the National Assembly in respect of the third term agenda. I have not collected money over third term agenda. We have had a cause to meet with the President and this issue came up and the President told us that 'those who think I can bribe people don't know me.'"


Asserting that the issue of third term is diversionary and that Nigerians should think of how to have a peaceful election in 2007, the member representing Etsako West of Edo State in the House of Representatives suggested that "we should be talking about the quality of candidates that will emerge in 2007. People should be talking about the economic direction that the next President of this nation will pursue.


"People should be talking about the challenges we are facing both economically and politically. We are so preoccupied with power. People should be talking service. We should be looking at peoples' track records. I think the press should change its focus and critically examine the conduct of those in authority today. For instance Orji Kalu says he is running for Presidency, we should look at his records to know whether he has the credibility to become a President. That is what the journalists should do."


Speaking further, he said "those who are looking at President Obasanjo as a potential third term President should examine his record to see whether he has achieved anything that are so critical to the survival of the nation that he will want to breach the constitution to give him a third term. The President has not come out to tell anyone that he is going for a third term but we know that there are some politicians out there who would want to see him go for a third term.


"People who want him to go for a third term include the business sector, those who are buying the privatised industries or those who are benefitting from the economic programmes of this administration.


"They would want to see him continue. But which interest are they trying to protect, is it the interest of the President or that of Nigerians? So I believe we should focus on more substantive issues affecting the nation today and how we can address them and how we can consolidate on the democratic process that we have now."
Re: .Being Olusegun Obasanjo
Somadina Ogbu posted on 12-30-2005, 11:54:47 AM
OBJ has been parading himself to the west as a custodian of the rule of law, due process and democracy in Sub sahara africa through his ''selective'' anti corruption campaign and other such programs, hence i have no doubt in my mind that he will definitely leave Aso Rock and probably retire to his Otta farms come 2007, though i strongly believe he will influence the process of choosing his successor.
Lies, Lies, Lies & More Lies
Unregistered posted on 12-30-2005, 19:43:56 PM
But I am telling you that I am not aware of anybody who has collected money in the National Assembly in respect of the third term agenda. I have not collected money over third term agenda.
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Is the honourable gentleman aware of anyone in the House who has collected money to do anything at all in the last six years?

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We have had a cause to meet with the President and this issue came up and the President told us that ?those who think I can bribe people don?t know me.??

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So it was a phanthom that has been bribing the NASS all these years and it was out of the kindness of his heart that Elder wotsits gave up his sit to Wabara? So when the President gave Wabara oil to lift, it was out of love was it not? The bags of GMG on display in the House came from no where. abi? This man must really think we are fools. This man will only go because the road is blocked. We know him better than he knows himself.
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Third term: Obasanjo begins campaign

Festus Owete, Olusola Fabiyi (Abuja), Semiu Okanlawon and Olayinka Oyebode

As opposition continues to mount over President Olusegun Obasanjo's alleged third term agenda, there are indications that he might flag-off the campaign in January 2006.

A senior Federal Government official, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday that the President was pushing ahead with the agenda, in the interest of the country.

He said that ministers, special advisers and other senior officials of the Federal Government had already been directed to coordinate the campaign in their respective states. Besides, a subtle move is on to convince the armed forces and other critical segments of the polity to support the bid.

The 36 state governors are not left out as many of them have been coerced into endorsing the bid. The source said that many of them had expressed support because they were afraid that if they didn't, Obasanjo would expose them to the same treatment meted out to former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached two weeks ago.

It said it was in order to win the support of Nigerians that Obasanjo announced some months ago that his administration would not raise the prices of fuel till December 2006, adding that the President also intends to fully implement next year's budget to avoid any problems with the National Assembly.

On the international front, the official said the President would approach the World Bank for endorsement of the third term plan.

He stated that the World Bank would be urged to produce a favourable country report on Nigeria, highlighting the reform programme of the current administration and how it had improved Nigeria's image tremendously.

The report, which would also state why it is necessary for Obasanjo to remain in office for another four years to enable the programme stabilise, would then be passed on to the international community, especially the United States and Britain, to solicit their support.

It would then be strengthened by a follow-up visit by Obasanjo to both countries where he would inform their leaders about the need for him to stay a bit longer to set the country on a sound footing.

The source told our correspondent that if it becomes difficult for "the President to convince these two powerful countries (US and Britain), then the search for a trusted successor will be intensified next year before the presidential convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, which is likely to come around June."

He said that it was not true that the President was reluctant to go for a third term, explaining that Obasanjo was tacitly avoiding public comments on the issue because he was worried about how to convince Nigerians and the international community about it.

The source said that top on Obasanjo's list as possible successors, should the third term bid fail, are the Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; Senator Jubril Aminu, the governors of Rivers, Bauchi and Nasarawa states, Dr. Peter Odili, Adamu Muazu and Abdullahi Adamu respectively.

The source also said that Obasanjo was not interested in handing over to any retired military officer, especially former military president, Ibrahim Babangida.

"There are reasons Baba (Obasanjo) would not hand over to this man (Babangida). There are fears within government circles that he (Babangida) has not forgiven the President for setting up the panel. This apart, he (Babangida) could be manipulated by the northern oligarchy," he stated.

He also said that Senator Aminu was quite unlikely as Obasanjo's successor because the former ambassador to the United States "is too rigid and does not seem to be a thorough politician."

He said that as it is now, Mantu might be asked to contest for the presidency while Odili would emerge as his running mate.

This combination, he said, was borne out of the fact that the two are very loyal to the leadership of the party and the President believes that they would be ready to take advice from him any time he calls on them after his exit.

Meanwhile, the Presidency on Friday denied any such plan.

Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who issued the denial after a news conference in Lagos, told Saturday Punch that he was not aware of such plans, adding, however, that government would not in any way sanction those for or against the extension.

Earlier, at the press briefing Fani-Kayode faulted former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon's counsel to President Obasanjo not to seek a third term agenda saying that the former military ruler was not qualified to advise the president.

Gowon had in a message delivered on his behalf at the Middle Belt Conference held in Abuja on Thursday warned against any attempt to prolong President Obasanjo's tenure.

Fani-Kayode, however, said that Gowon's advice was uncalled for.

According to him, "What is the essence of giving advice when the person you are offering the advice has not done anything to suggest that he had any intention whatsoever of doing that thing you are advising him against?

"Secondly, you look at the credentials of the person that is offering the so-called advice. If we are to take stock of those who are qualified to give advice in terms of democracy and democratic process, among those that have ruled the country as military heads of state, the only two that are qualified are Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (as he was then) and Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami, because they were the ones that voluntarily handed over power at the time they said they would hand over.

"That cannot be said of Gen. Gowon, Babangida and Abacha. I think it is very strange that somebody who did not leave power when he was supposed to, someone who kept on extending his hand over date until he was pushed out is now the one telling others not to prolong tenure

"Gen. Obasanjo, as he then was, left power in 1979. He did not have to do so. It was the late Gen. Murtala Muhammed that pledged that the administration would hand over government but when Obasanjo succeeded him, he ensured that the hand over was actualised.

"A man that was thrown out of power is now advising someone who voluntarily relinquished power especially when the man who voluntarily relinquished power then is not saying he will not do so again now. If you want to advise Mr President, it is important you do so in good faith and let your hands be clean."

In a related development, Political Adviser to the President, Prof. Jerry Gana, has explained why Obasanjo has refused to comment publicly on the alleged extension bid.

Gana, who was asked by our correspondent in an interview in Abuja to explain why the President evaded a call-in question on the alleged bid during his monthly interactive television programme, said on Thursday that the President refused to give a definite answer on the matter because nobody would have believed him.

He said the President deliberately kept silent, assuring that at the right time, he would lay the matter to rest by telling Nigerians that he had no third term ambition.

SATURDAY PUNCH, December 31, 2005
Re: .Being Olusegun Obasanjo
Sunny Ogbu posted on 01-11-2006, 10:49:07 AM
Dear Uche
I dont have to borrow your mind to know that u dare not write boisterously about the mental state or lack of it of Sanni Abacha if he was still in power.
The so called "THIRD TERM AGENDA"true or false will not change anything in or for Nigerians,peharps the time has really come to ask if the consumation of total strangers that make up the Nigerian nation is really working for the good of all.
And who is talking of fresh palmwine? Dear Uche that is history, the champagne in the villa tastes quite better.
In all fairness to Baba the real question might not be what he has done for Ngeria but what he helped undo.
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