Warning to Obasanjo and Others


Elie Smith




Since Umar Musa Yar’adua was elected as the standard bearer of the ruling People’s Democratic Party or PDP, conspiracy theorists as always, have circulated all sorts of information and reasons behind the selection of the governor of Katsina. Some were in praise of the man saddled with the huge responsibility of making the PDP remain the ruling party or retain executive power, while naturally, others were against the flag bearer of the ruling party. In any case, democracy permits variant notes in such processes, for the contrary would be suspicious. That said; what sparked this article was a piece that I read on an online Nigerian magazine called Nigerian village. The author of the article that has inspired mine claimed that, Mr Yar’adua who has been elected flag bearer of the ruling party of Nigeria is not only dull, he is uninspiring.  I could not help but laugh out my lungs, because, I had heard similar despising remarks from the American Democrats against President George W. Bush. But before the Democrats could realise, Bush presented as a buffoon, almost destroyed them.


And it took them more energy and also the golden ability not to look down on the former governor of Texas, before they could make a come back in Washington DC this year, courtesy the mid term elections. Back into Nigerian politics and the pretentious arrogant author who is despising the governor of Katsina state in his write ups. Perhaps his memory needs to be refreshed. If the governor of Katsina state was dull and uninspiring, he would not have been elected twice, governor of Katsina and he won’t have been elected flag bearer of the powerful PDP, which had an array of brilliant pretenders to the flag of the party in the forthcoming presidential elections. The author who looks at Yar’adua as a bozo also claimed in his article that, because the PDP and the opposition ANPP have elected northerners as their standard bearers, the people of the South East and South-south may be forced to consider secession.


Secession or the right to self determination is God’s given right, that is also enshrined in the Human rights charter of the UN. But in order for any entity or region to secede, there must be founded reasons. So it would be weird for the world to hear one day that, south eastern Nigeria has again threatened to seceded from Nigeria because, one of her son or daughter was not given the opportunity to lead a party at the forthcoming presidential elections. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that had a south easterner won the ticket to lead the PDP into the presidential contest; he or she would have won. Perhaps the author wanted to tell the world that, the forthcoming elections in Nigeria are just a farce. However, the problems with such pre-emptive allegations are that, they are superfluous, for no matter the doubts that, one may have on any act; a just ruling can never be given based on speculations.


It has been noted that, almost all those rooting for the break-up of Nigeria are doing so for various reasons that are justified while some are baseless. However, in that lot, a sound number of them are calling for the break up of Nigeria for their own self fish reasons, amongst which are: tribalism, regionalism, greed and banditry. Which means that, even if they get their way, what they are currently criticising, will be transposed into their new idealists entities. It is a shame. Meanwhile, I also read other reasons why Yar’adua was elected, but from a different author in the same prestigious Nigerian online magazine. It was also claimed that, President Obasanjo threw his weight behind the effaced governor of Katsina because, he is meek and weak. Or put the other way round, Yar’adua is a guarantee that, Obasanjo will leave Aso Rock and sleep quietly in his Otta farms and even manage the affairs of the state from his semblance of retirement. That is, management by proxy.


If that is really what transpired in the mind of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, then he will have to think twice. The history of power change in Africa and elsewhere are strewn with disappointments and acrimonies, because the anointed successors tend out to be wolves than the sheep that, their predecessors had thought. In Cameroon, Nigeria’s neighbour to the east, the country had an idealistic power transfer from late El Hadj Ahmadou Ahidjo to Paul Biya in 1982, but one year later, what was presented as an exemplary case in French-speaking black Africa, quickly transformed into bloodbath. Why? It was simply because Biya never wanted to manage his country as a surrogate of Ahidjo. In Ivory Coast, Nigeria’s far western neighbour, late General Robert Guei, the man who staged the 1999 New Year coup d’etat against Henri Konan Bedie, the constitutional successor of late Felix Houphouet Boigny wanted to metamorphosed as a civilian president.


Hence in 2000, he (Guei) decided to organise presidential elections not after taking the pains to sideline all those he felt were threats to his dubious ambitions. However, in order to give a connotation of fairness and acceptability to the international community, he allowed one high brow contender. He was Laurent Gbagbo. The other reason why late General Guei allowed Mr Gbagbo to contest the 2000 presidential elections was because, Mr Guei despised the former leader of the Ivorian patriotic front(FPI) who is now president of Ivory Coast. Strange as it would appear, General Guei’s downfall and death was orchestrated by the one whom he considered weak and meek. In Zambia, located in southern Africa, when Frederick Chiluba was preparing to leave office, he did all that an incumbent can, for Levy Mwanawas to succeed him. Why? It was simply because, the wily Chiluba considered his predecessor as a buffoon. Wily as Chiluba is, he could not read the mind of his predecessor, for even the devil can’t.


However today, all the hassles that Chiluba is going through are caused by his chosen successor. Still in Southern Africa, when late Pieter Willem Botha aka the crocodile, the man who vowed that, his racist National Party, the ruling party in South Africa at that time, will rule for eternity ,but was finally  forced to leave office, officially because of ill health. Nevertheless, Botha made sure that his predecessor should be one who will consolidate and perpetuate the National Party in power. The man who was charged with the huge responsibility and confidence of Botha was Fredrick De Klerk.  But to the chagrin of Mr Botha, De Klerk decided to dismantle the evil system, paving the way for the freedom of the iconic Nelson Mandela.


Hence, if it is true that Obasanjo has backed Yar’adua not for reasons that democratic etiquettes dictates but otherwise, then he should brace himself for trouble after he leaves Aso Rock (the official resident and office of the president). However, this will only happen if Obasanjo has some skeletons in his cupboard. And to all those rooting for tribal leaders disguise under the appellation of rotational presidency, you are simply pathetic, selfish and devilishly wicked. What Nigerians need is a patriotic leader who will change to the better, the conditions of the sea of poor Nigerians. He/she must not necessarily be elected because he/she is Igbo, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Ijaw or Efik. The chosen one must be patriotic and honest, any other condition to become president of Nigeria besides the above is baseless and must be combated.