By Okey Ndibe

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his small circle of minions sowed the wind and so must brace to reap the whirlwind. The man who covets the title of father of modern Nigeria is now openly mocked, routinely despised, and widely abhorred.  

How bad a shape is the ex-president's image in? Let's settle for one anecdotal measure: When former Biafran leader, Mr. Odumegwu Ojukwu, recently suggested that Obasanjo deserved to be taken to the back of his house and shot, few Nigerians protested. It was as if Ojukwu had articulated a widely shared fantasy that had incubated, unexpressed, in many a Nigerian heart.  

For eight years, Obasanjo and company deepened social misery in Nigeria. They fertilized economic destitution, all the while enriching themselves. Now, with Obasanjo out of power, more Nigerians are awakening to the depth of the wound he and his stooges inflicted on the nation.  

Gradually, the scale is tipping. Nigerians are asking hard questions. They want to know how, in adding two plus two, Obasanjo and co managed to get something other than four.  

Here's a man who turned the bar room lingo "I dey kampe" into one of the boastful creeds of his presidency. Yet, to judge from the tone of public discourse, it is highly unlikely the man is sitting calm these days. Woes have become a staple of his post-public office life. Nigerians, including the elite, can't wait to get their hands at him. They want to slap him around.  

The last two weeks have been particularly rough for Obasanjo and his fellow despoilers of Nigeria.    

Last week, a German court named several of the ex-president's closest confidants as receivers of bribes totaling ten million euros from officials of Siemens, the German engineering company.  

Last week, the Nigerian government docked Lamidi Adedibu, Obasanjo's hero and Ibadan-based thug. In the eight years of Obasanjo's reign, Adedibu got away with many high and low crimes. Nigerian police officers were put at his service to use as he saw fit. He marshaled them, together with his thugs, on a mission to sack civil servants at the Government House and to dislodge then Governor Rashidi Ladoja. Innocent people were killed. Ladoja went on the run. Yet, a spiteful, mischievous Obasanjo waxed reverently about Adedibu. So powerful was the gangster of Ibadan, so unaccountable, that hapless residents of Oyo State came to take his invincibility at face value.  

Adedibu's days of government-supplemented terror may have run their course. Obasanjo recently described the old miscreant of Molete as "father of the ruling party." Thank God, Obasanjo is beset by too many problems of his own to shore up the scoundrel called Adedibu.  

Last week, the Adamawa electoral tribunal ruled Mr. Murtala Nyako was not properly elected governor in April. That verdict brought to five the number of usurper governors so far rusticated. The first poseur to fall, and the most notorious cast member from the electoral charade of April, was Mr. Nnamdi Emmanuel Uba. Then followed the governors of Kogi, Kebbi, Rivers, and now Adamawa.  

Two weeks ago, the Nigerian Bar Association called on Maurice Iwu, the credit-deprived chairman of the "Independent" National Electoral Commission, to quit. Reading it, my first response was: What took the NBA so long? 

Iwu is far from the only trigger for April's electoral fiasco that tarnished the nation's democratic credentials and left Nigerians dispirited. Still, the man, more than anybody else, embodies the deliberate, carefully planned frustration of voters.  

Iwu's provenance - it is an open secret that the Uba family championed him - spelt failure. Entrusted with restoring Nigerians' faith in the sanctity of the electoral process, he elected to re-make his task. He functioned, and functions still, as if he were a card-carrying member of the PDP, and a devotee of Obasanjo's. For many years to come, Nigerian cartoonists, and the larger public as well, will regard him as the representative figure of wangled elections.  

Every independent monitoring group, local as well as foreign, was shocked to behold what Iwu's INEC fancied as elections. Many courageous electoral tribunals are daily undoing the mess that Iwu wrought. Yet, the man who gave the nation a poor imitation of the would-be martyr, persists in inventing superlatives for himself. On October 16, for example, he boasted: "I did everything for my country. If I am asked to do it again, I will do it the same way because Nigeria deserves the best."  

If anybody needed proof that this miss-road umpire is beyond redemption, here it is, in his own words. Failure is forgivable, but Iwu's shamelessness makes him a clear and present danger to the nation's democratic aspirations. To leave this man to steer the next round of elections is to doom the nation to repeat an electoral catastrophe it can ill afford.  

Iwu should go - now. In fact, he should never have been there in the first place. Nigerians, it is clear, want no part of him. In a Daily Trust poll, 88.8% of respondents wanted him out. That's nearly nine out of every ten Nigerians.  

Last week also saw what must rank as the weightiest political development in the After Obasanjo - AO - era: strident clamors for the ex-president's indictment on corruption charges.  

Despite his best effort to appear composed and unflappable, Obasanjo must be sweating bullets at night. And he must be plagued by sleep deprivation. For all his pretension to be an anti-corruption warrior, the former president has come to epitomize graft and greed. His very presence oozes corruption and decadence. He has catapulted himself from a near destitute nine years ago to the dizzying heights of wealthy Nigerians. And since the Nigerian constitution does not permit for a president to keep a second job, we must surmise that he amassed his riches in office. Illegitimately.  

In office, he'd strutted and affected sanctimoniousness. He'd challenged anybody with a scintilla of evidence of his corruption to come forward. Few took him up. But since leaving office, he has drawn consistently unflattering attention. As president, he'd raised billions of naira - and an equal weight in ethical dust - ostensibly for his presidential library. It has since been revealed that he's poured a good deal of the funds into building a big hotel.  

Last week, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) called at the Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Anti-Obasanjo placards hoisted, the group went to deliver a petition for the ex-president's criminal investigation. They asked the EFCC to arrest and prosecute Obasanjo now. And what a damning dossier they compiled on Obasanjo.  

They alleged that, between 2001 and 2007 when he ought to have devoted himself wholly to the nation's business, Obasanjo spent N40 billion to set up Bells University of Technology in Ota. The protesters reminded the anti-corruption body that the ex-president reeled in more than N6 billion in donations for his private library. And they carpeted the former president for abusing the powers of his office to expand his farm. In 2004, Obasanjo showed deplorable - and potentially criminal - sense of judgment in permitting Mr. "Andy" Uba, a presidential factotum, to buy him farm equipment worth $45,000.    

"For eight years," wrote the CACOL officials, "while he was in power, Chief Obasanjo sustained a devilish desire to strengthen his chicken farm while exploiting the power of his office to mortally destroy his competitors." 

With CACOL's petition in hand, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu no longer has any excuse for shirking his responsibility to investigate Obasanjo. CACOL spokesman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, has served notice that, should Ribadu lack the spine to arrest Obasanjo, his organization would let the world hear about the agency's double standards.  

According to a report in PM News, CACOL even drew a short bio sketch of the ex-president to help the EFCC to get the right man. They stated: "Obasanjo currently lives in OtaÔÇŽHe spends most of his time in the day at the Obasanjo Farms in Ota and could be seen at home in the evenings with his friends, most time playing draft." Then they continued: "He is dark, 5.9 feet tall, stocky, with brown eyes. He is easy to anger, pugnacious, infuriated easily by logical arguments in almost every encounter and easily

ProvokedÔÇŽ" 

In a country that's all-too susceptible to the seduction of ethnic sentiments, it is instructive that the Yoruba have been as vocal as anyone else in pushing to have Obasanjo answer for his misdeeds in office. In The Daily Independent of November 18, Afenifere, a Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, insisted on a comprehensive investigation of Obasanjo's tenure.  

It is, I hazard, now a matter of time. Obasanjo and all the cohorts he shielded during his reign cannot permanently postpone the inevitable unmasking.  


Reactions

Join the conversation through disqus comments or via our forum. Click on any of the tabs below to select your desired option. Please engage decently.

  • Disqus Comments
  • Facebook
  • Forum Discussion


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Re: No longer at ease
Frisky Larr posted on 11-20-2007, 17:25:57 PM
QUOTE:
Love him or loathe him, OBJ has done the good, the bad and the ugly in almost equal measures. This goes a long way to demonstrate that he is only human. Afterall, it is better to take decisions , good or bad and live and die by them rather than take no decisions at all. That is what leaders are suppose to do.

To now answer your question, you only need to revisit the state of the nation Nigeria pre OBJ in 1999 and post OBJ in 2007. Therein lies your answer. One thing is for certain though, no matter how much you malign OBJ, he still has his supporters amongst the Nigerian populace. Only history can judge OBJ in the end.


You have said it all gentleman! All the demagogies of this world will not change a thing. All the pseudo-intellectualism of malignant acclaim will end by the roadside when the final toll is taken. OBJ will pay for his evils in the course of time. That is as sure as truth will stand. He will however, also get his blessings for all his love and achievements for Nigeria. Precisely this is what the fanatics do not want to hear.
Re: No longer at ease
Tonsoyo posted on 11-20-2007, 19:48:34 PM
QUOTE:
Tonsoyo,

Without agreeing or disagreeing with ON, but specifically responding to the points you raised, I think you know that when Agbakoba speaks publicly, it can be reasonably understood that he is speaking as NBA head. Further, neither you nor I have evidence that his Board did not authorize him to make the public statement. I'm sure you will agree me that when George Bush speaks, it is understood he speaks for Nigeria.

In any event, I am sure you're not purporting to defend Iwu and the way he conducted the \"election\" in Nigeria. All reasonable people agree that Iwu did a major disservice to Nigeria in May 07, whether or not NBA timely calls him out on it.

On the second issue you raised, how does the corruption accuasations against people who served with OBJ not rub off on OBJ? I think it speaks volumes about his judgment and the character of his administration. Especially for a guy who claimed to be on a crusade against corruption, too many of his people are turning out to be wholly corrupt? That is a crippling, crippling indictment.

Free Publius




Hey Free Publius,

Whatever you were having when you wrote this piece, I think you must have had a little bit too much. This is why you can write that George Bush speaks for NIGERIA! (See the bolded part of your post above)

It CANNOT be reasonably understood that Agbakoba is speaking for the NBA anytime he opens his mouth, except he expressly stated so. Olisa Agbakoba is just one lawyer with clients on the side of the coin he has always defended, among several thousands of lawyers in Nigeria with different views.

I can also state categorically that he does not speak for the NBA in the capacity that he has been speaking recently, because I am a member. Even though he tries to abuse his position by creating such impression. But I expect Dr. Ndibe to know better. And I am sure he knows.

This is not to defend Iwu but rather to bring out some of the attempts by Okey Ndibe to misinform the public. Knowing that NBA's accusation will carry more weight. What about saying it as it is?

Nobody is qualify to speak for the NBA except the NBA issued a statement through such person. That body by nature consists of group of professionals with clients from diverse backgrounds and schools of thought, it will therefore be unacceptable for somebody to purport to speak on its behalf except expressly authorized by the body.

As regards the second point, part of OBJ's judgment is the employment of Dora Akinyuli, NOI, etc. So he is allowed to make a few mistakes in appointments, especially in politics where appointments are influenced by several political considerations.

Those people must be responsible for their indiscretions especially on issues like giving and acceptance of bribes. It is a ridiculously cheap shot and for lack of anything concrete to say, that would make anybody attempt to blame him for that.
Re: No longer at ease
Udokaamah posted on 11-20-2007, 20:10:25 PM
It is too early to judge the administration of OBJ. It was Thomas Jefferson who said that "No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it." How true.

For whatever it is worth however, no Nigerian government official can pass muster using Okey Ndibe's one-sided idealogical standards. He is too academic and antiseptic for real life.

Ones choices can only be judged based on ones available options. At the time OBJ came to power, he was a breath of fresh air from the tyranny of Abacha. Prior to OBJ, Nigeria was a pariah nation, worse than the ebola virus. Foreign politicians lose election just for visiting with Abacha. Our jails were overflowing with human right activists, while criminals run riot in the streets. The banking sector was a disaster, our schools were closed more than they were open. Abacha's Nigeria was a nightmare.

Then came OBJ. Nigeria elected a man that represented the desire of the average Nigerian for a semblance of normalcy. OBJ does not represent our promised land, just a deliverer from the land of bondage. Judged on the basis of where he began to lead, it would be fair to say that he has tried to jump start a process. I dare say that if OBJ failed greatly, it is because he dared to achieve greatly. And on that basis alone, history would be fair to him.

My criticism of OBJ is that he tried to undertake many projects at the same time. The appetite of Nigerians for radical change is rather undeveloped. He attacked corruption, however imperfectly. EFCC represents a bold front on a resolve to change the paradigm in Nigeria's perception as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. His economic policies gave rise to a monumental debt relief and a restructuring of the banking sector. For the first time since independence, Nigeria's Stock Market was rated by world class rating agencies. He attempted poverty alleviation. He single-handedly raised the salaries of teachers and university lecturers more than 300 percent and challenged more than 100 billion naira towards research in Nigerian Universities, etc, etc, etc. I wish he spent his time in office focused on doing and concluding one major issue.

OBJ also made too many mistakes. Whether those mistakes were the result of a faintness of heart or an abandonment of moral principles, will be the verdict of history. However, like Theodore Roosevelt would say, it is better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Re: No longer at ease
Ochi Dabari posted on 11-20-2007, 21:57:39 PM
Tonsoyo,

In case you have forgotten, Obasanjo signed the war surrender on behalf of Nigeria in 1970. As such he was part of the plan to declare a No Victor No Vanguish statement that was only read by General Gowon. Obasanjo was a Federal Commissioner under Gowon, until he (Obasanjo) became 2-i.C to Murtala, after they toppled Gowon. Then he became Head of State in 1976 and was there until 1979. I was not a child when Obasanjo was Head of State. There were numerous appeals for the rehabilitation of Biafran officers during all that period. Obasanjo did nothing. Can you see why it is hipocritical of him to have waited until 2004 to pardon the officers? Does this still sound like bat reasoning to you, or are you the one hanging the other way?

We are here talking about Obasanjo's corruption, and there is evidence for it. I just came back from Nigeria. I was there in 2003. On my visit in 2003, I reported on Nigeria.com that the level of corruption was high, as even policemen at road blocks took bribes openly. In my recent report, I said this was not the case, as someone is quietly solving the problem, by paying policemen before they go on special duties. That is the difference between noise and genuine fight against corruption.

ochi

QUOTE:
Nauseating. I did not know that Obasanjo ruled Nigeria for 40 years. Only in Nigeria are people blamed for doing something positive. So Obasanjo should be blamed because it took 37 years to pay the pension, but must not be praised for finding it right to pardon and pay them their entitlements that successive governments before him have deprived them.

The issue is that they should have taken him to court in the 70's. Do we really have human beings that reason in bat-like position?
Re: No longer at ease
DoubleWahala posted on 11-20-2007, 21:58:20 PM
QUOTE:

OBJ also made too many mistakes. Whether those mistakes were the result of a faintness of heart or an abandonment of moral principles, will be the verdict of history. However, like Theodore Roosevelt would say, it is better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.


Meaning of the word 'mistake': (Source)

Main Entry: 1mis·take
Pronunciation: \mə-ˈstāk\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): mis·took \-ˈstu̇k\; mis·tak·en \-ˈstā-kən\; mis·tak·ing
Etymology: Middle English
Date: 14th century

transitive verb
1: to blunder in the choice of
2 a: to misunderstand the meaning or intention of : misinterpret b: to make a wrong judgment of the character or ability of
3: to identify wrongly : confuse with another
intransitive verb
: to be wrong

— mis·tak·en·ly adverb
— mis·tak·er noun



Additionally, I would argue that a "mistake" also presupposes an honest intent or belief in the adoption of a particular solution to a problem, or the outcome of a chosen course of action.

Taking all this into consideration, it is highly arguable that OBJ made a "mistake" in obviously enriching himself by virtue of his position as president. It is not a "mistake" that he is now obviously worth much more than 20,000 Naira. It is not a "mistake" that he raised billions, purportedly for his presidential library, while still in office. I'm sure even Theodore Roosevelt (whom you so lovingly quote) would not have approved of this. It is not a "mistake" that a company of his, acquired substantial stakes in Transcorp, whilst he was still the president, nor was it a "mistake" that he influenced the apportionment of select commercial interests to this same Transcorp, all at the same time. It is not a "mistake" that the most fraudulent elections in the history of this country took place under his watch and active connivance. Finally, his desire to extend his tenure, and his willingness to actualize this desire by foul means, was no "mistake" either.

Yes, OBJ may have made many other "mistakes", but none of the instances cited above (and then some) could even be remotely termed "mistakes".

When OBJ is being judged, he will also be judged against the backdrop of the OPPORTUNITY he had to do much more than he actually did, and his proclivity for self- aggrandizement and outright corruption.

DW
Re: No longer at ease
Bob posted on 11-20-2007, 22:34:25 PM
it is a pity i cannot drag him to the back of his house and shoot him there today.
Re: No longer at ease
Triple Palaver posted on 11-20-2007, 23:19:38 PM
QUOTE:
It is too early to judge the administration of OBJ. It was Thomas Jefferson who said that \"No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it.\" How true.

For whatever it is worth however, no Nigerian government official can pass muster using Okey Ndibe's one-sided idealogical standards. He is too academic and antiseptic for real life.

Ones choices can only be judged based on ones available options. At the time OBJ came to power, he was a breath of fresh air from the tyranny of Abacha. Prior to OBJ, Nigeria was a pariah nation, worse than the ebola virus. Foreign politicians lose election just for visiting with Abacha. Our jails were overflowing with human right activists, while criminals run riot in the streets. The banking sector was a disaster, our schools were closed more than they were open. Abacha's Nigeria was a nightmare.

Then came OBJ. Nigeria elected a man that represented the desire of the average Nigerian for a semblance of normalcy. OBJ does not represent our promised land, just a deliverer from the land of bondage. Judged on the basis of where he began to lead, it would be fair to say that he has tried to jump start a process. I dare say that if OBJ failed greatly, it is because he dared to achieve greatly. And on that basis alone, history would be fair to him.

My criticism of OBJ is that he tried to undertake many projects at the same time. The appetite of Nigerians for radical change is rather undeveloped. He attacked corruption, however imperfectly. EFCC represents a bold front on a resolve to change the paradigm in Nigeria's perception as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. His economic policies gave rise to a monumental debt relief and a restructuring of the banking sector. For the first time since independence, Nigeria's Stock Market was rated by world class rating agencies. He attempted poverty alleviation. He single-handedly raised the salaries of teachers and university lecturers more than 300 percent and challenged more than 100 billion naira towards research in Nigerian Universities, etc, etc, etc. I wish he spent his time in office focused on doing and concluding one major issue.

OBJ also made too many mistakes. Whether those mistakes were the result of a faintness of heart or an abandonment of moral principles, will be the verdict of history. However, like Theodore Roosevelt would say, it is better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.



You've said it all Nothing else can be added.
Re: No longer at ease
Triple Palaver posted on 11-20-2007, 23:23:09 PM
Okey Ndibe, what is it with your sadistic homo erotic obsession with Obasanjo. Are you some kinda deviant?

I will implore you to invest your time and energy into more productive things. People with so much bile and hate in their heart do not live long, so please, make changes.
Re: No longer at ease
Ochi Dabari posted on 11-20-2007, 23:44:02 PM
Triple Palaver,

I can see the logic in Nigerians being so passive to their suffering. That is so we can have good biles and live long. Millions live such miserable lives today in Nigeria and have no future to look forward to. Millions more have been indoctrinated by the religionists (not righteous people) to seek the after-life.

It reminds me of the story of the guy that asked the radio DJ (when the radio was still a wonder) if he would live to 90 years. The DJ asked him if he smoked, to which he said no. He also answered in the negative to questions of drinking alcohol and womanising. The DJ had to ask him why he wanted to live such a miserable life to 90! Nigerians no wan die, dem neva get pikin, dem neva build house finish, and dem get dia mama to look after, to crudely quote from a Fela song.

We all need to continue hailing kleptomaniacs like Obasanjo, so that we can live long. Hmnh.

ochi
Re: No longer at ease
Lionking posted on 11-20-2007, 23:56:45 PM
QUOTE:
Triple Palaver,

I can see the logic in Nigerians being so passive to their suffering. That is so we can have good biles and live long. Millions live such miserable lives today in Nigeria and have no future to look forward to. Millions more have been indoctrinated by the religionists (not righteous people) to seek the after-life.

It reminds me of the story of the guy that asked the radio DJ (when the radio was still a wonder) if he would live to 90 years. The DJ asked him if he smoked, to which he said no. He also answered in the negative to questions of drinking alcohol and womanising. The DJ had to ask him why he wanted to live such a miserable life to 90! Nigerians no wan die, dem neva get pikin, dem neva build house finish, and dem get dia mama to look after, to crudely quote from a Fela song.

We all need to continue hailing kleptomaniacs like Obasanjo, so that we can live long. Hmnh.

ochi


You might as well save your breath. Triple Palaver - Double Wahala........geddit?

You are talking to a 'ghost' - 'Triple Palaver' is merely the newest handle devised by udokaamah/olusola/frisky larr to serve as a co-cheerleader in the adulation of OBJoke.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Please register before you can make new comment