The Crook Game


Hakeem Babalola



It seems certain influential Nigerians simply derive pleasure in making fun of their country and its people. They are obsessed with their country even though they often claim love, and certainly they can't stop the jokes on their motherland (or is it fatherland?). The master of them being Olusegun Obasanjo, the man who has it all: women, money, ego, cars, houses, titles, children, wives, concubines, dysfunctional family and many more. He is a ducky son of the land and despite the fact that his ethics or decency is below standard, many Nigerians still hold him in high esteem. After all, he has what millions will never have in their lifetime. Even it could be said that this man has acquired Nigeria.


Those very close to him say that he is a man who doesn't forgive or forget. And he has demonstrated this mental attitude several times like when he took on his former second in command up. Obasanjo blatantly blocked Atiku's chance to become the Nigerian president because the latter had scuttled his third term bid. The Owu chief was reportedly said, "Over my dead body." And so Yar'Adua was given the post. It was this same man who had proclaimed in 1978 when he was the military Head of state that the best candidate may not win. Nigerians did not have to crack their brains, for they knew whom he was referring to. Chief Obafemi Awolowo lost the presidential election. And so Shagari was given the post. Part of the consequences is what Nigerians are facing now.


In both instances it was and still clear that Obasanjo was not necessarily acting in the interest of the nation. Obasanjo bore both men a grudge and so he justified his retaliation. It didn't matter whether his lousy decision was good for the country and its people. And yet this man and his supporters violently believe he is the number one patriot. Even now, things seem to be going in his way. Although he lost the third term bid, and although he may have miscalculated that Yar'Adua would be his stooge, the man still holds the ace. And he has started playing the game - the crook game. It was the same game he played that made him a "civil war hero"; the same game he played that helped him escape Dimka's bullet; the same game he played that made him both the military Head of State and civilian Head of State, the first Nigerian to win such game; the same game he played that helped him survive Abacha's gulag; the same game he played to destroy Afenifere, a Yoruba Social Cultural Group. And it is this game he is now playing on his comrade in crookedness, Atiku. By meeting Obasanjo in his Ota zoo, Atiku has become a roasted chicken to be eaten. It is not that I care, for both of them are two worms in my book.


The man's exaggerated opinion of his own importance is always awake. He wants to preserve his crookedness until his last moment on this earth, and he will do it by all means possible, including shedding blood. Obasanjo wants to remain the first and the last to achieve the "feat" of being both military and civilian president. Unknown to Nigerians, this single ambition matters most to their former president. Obasanjo is aware of history but it seems he doesn't care much. This is because he knows that when the history of Nigeria is eventually written, his actions and deeds will top the crook list. This is perhaps the particular psychological disorder that defines his fake sumptuous living. He simply wants to live; he neither cares about life after death nor how he will be remembered. That is for Gani Fawehinmi of this world.


Of course he is alert to the problems at hand. And that is why he needs Atiku, a man he had called thief and rouge in public. Obasanjo needs Atiku again in order to maintain this psychological disorder of self-importance. In order to defeat other juntas in their bid to overtake him in this crook game, Obasanjo must reconcile with Atiku. Obasanjo has always had game plan. He wants to remain one and only Nigerian ducky boy. He can't stand the situation whereby a Nigerian would surpass his record. But what record? That is why he brought Shehu Shagari, the least qualified candidate during 1979 presidential election to the scene ahead of people like Nnamidi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Aminu Kano. The same reason he searched for another least qualified candidate in 2007 elections.  


Obasanjo is marked by ill will; deliberately harmful than imagined. He definitely knows the problem with Nigeria but he derives delectation from Nigeria’s plight. He won't solve it and he’d dabaru any efforts to make Nigeria great. Nigeria’s quandary is Obasanjo's tonic for long life. Do you expect him to love any other person more than himself? It is for this reason there may never be Sovereign National Conference or whatever where Nigerians can get started. As long as Obasanjo lives, Nigeria progress is remote. He has joked about it several times; he has said it in body language. What do you think he meant when he declared, "Do or die affairs?" When the current PDP (Papa Deceiving Pikin) chairman announced publicly that his party will rule Nigeria for sixty years, what do you think he was saying? But history tells us about someone with the same innate ambition who eventually committed suicide. I am talking about Adolf Hitler of West Germany who thought he had absolute power like Obasanjo.


Obasanjo harassed and chased away his comrade from being their party presidential candidate shortly before the last elections. Instead he anointed Yar'Adua, the current "Mr. Go Slow President" whom he thought he could influence shrewdly or deviously. After Yar'Adua got his mandate back from the Supreme Court, he started neglecting Obasanjo. Even when the Ota zoo keeper lobbied for Ribadu's AIG position to be restored, Yar'Adua declined, a response that be-little Obasanjo's swelled-head. Then Yar'Adua audaciously invited Obasanjo's main rival in this game and sent him on ambassadorial mission to Guinea. Such unpleasantly loud and harsh behaviour was too much for a political godfather to overlook. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Yar'Adua had opened a can of worms. Forget about the fact that Obasanjo was at Yar'Adua's daughter's wedding. The fact that Yar'Adua's errand boy, Segun Adeniyi, said that “the President is not losing any sleep over the new romance between Obasanjo and Atiku”, is even an indication that trouble looms.


So it is easy for a man with little or no integrity to align himself - again - with the man he had had a roforofo fight with. Obasanjo is also reported to be meeting with Dariye, ex Plateau State governor whom he solely impeached for corruption. As I said somewhere else, the two men could reconcile if they so wish, but to connect their reconciliation to national interest is part of the crook game. And this is my concern. I am however happy that Nigerians are not buying it. Of course, the main reason is for personal interest. Telling us that their meeting was unconnected with 2011 is part of the plan game. What else could bring Obasanjo and Atiku together other than the crook game? Obasanjo needs Atiku to neutralise Babangida's power; he also wants to teach Yar'Adua a lesson. It is Ibrahim Babangida and Musa Yar'Adua vs Olusegun Obasanjo and Abubakar Atiku. Watch out for this entertaining dramatic movie titled, ‘The Crook Game.’


Obasanjo knows that Babangida may not be all that bright, but he is certainly cunning. Babangida also knows that Obasanjo is a man of diabolical cunning. Both men have helped each other at a point in time. But Babangida made a wrong move by saving Obasanjo from being killed when the latter was in Abacha's gulag. Babangida supported Obasanjo during 1999 elections because the Minna soldier had thought that Obasanjo would handover power back to him after he was disgraced (step aside) out of power. I am glad that Obasanjo came alive from the Abacha's dungeon. If he had been killed, he would have become a national hero. I mean, Nigerians would not have known the real Obasanjo. But now that he lives, the man may die a pauper; a villain. And if his death is peaceful upon the atrocities he had committed against Nigerians, then I will renounce God. No, I've changed my mind because hypocrite and perpetual liar like Obasanjo can never be the reason for any right thinking person to forsake God. But it is sad that people like him will rule Nigeria for the next sixty years. It is sad...


Copyright 2009