During 1999 general elections, President Olusegun Obasanjo was distinguished as the only leader in Nigeria’s leadership history that had no support in his home base. Ogun State massively voted against him, and the story was replicated across the entire length and breadth of the South West. He had no electoral value at that time, but rode on the goodwill of other parts of the Country in honour of his kinsman, the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
Obasanjo promptly learnt his lesson, consolidated his forte, waged relentless war against Governors Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Ayodele Fayose for daring to be ambitious, maligned Vice President Atiku Abubakar in ways that will remain indelible forever, and went down in history as Nigeria’s most embittered, divisive, vindictive and impeachment-prone leader in modern history.
Much of the successes attributed to his administration were in actual fact, mere completion of proactive reforms initiated by late General Sani Abacha.
It therefore calls for circumspection, watching Obasanjo endorse Abubakar Atiku for a shot at the Presidency; a position he could have assumed twelve years ago, but for the former’s recalcitrant estrangement. A leopard cannot change its skin, same way a scorpion will always sting despite all noble intentions.
While sleeping with two eyes open remains Alhaji Atiku’s prerogative, Nigerians are right to question what this ominous alliance portends for our commonwealth. Perhaps, appropriate answers would be found in the charge laid by Obasanjo at last week’s reconciliation and endorsement meeting between the two former gladiators and their collaborators.
That meeting had all the trappings of conspiracy, mutiny and sedition. More importantly, the failure of OBJ/Atiku’s administration to provide a sustainable infrastructure and framework in our new-found democratic economic governance accounts for issues fueling a call for restructuring today. Skye Bank joined the long list of failed privatized enterprises only a couple of weeks ago.
It is an indictment on the part of government that reckless and unguided acts of religious and civil leaders impugning on peace efforts remain unchecked. As Nigerians prepare for the 2019 general elections, there is a need to steer clear of divisive tendencies, and hold our leaders accountable for their words and actions.
While speech can be thought as flippant, publishing essentially reveals a rational and steadfast conclusion unwavering in its convictions. It is therefore pertinent to enquire about the brand of cannabis legendary “ebora owu” must have been smoking when he concocted fairy tales about people in his books, and later finds it necessary to deliver sanctimonious leanings about them for convenience.
It is necessary to demand a reason for putting faith in PDP alliance of convenience over Atiku. In the absence of a plausible cause, the fruit of a poisoned tree remains poisoned. Alhaji Atiku has established a record as the most ambitious Presidential candidate in Nigeria. He is however running on the platform of a political party whose campaign promise was simply “just imagine”! That fantasy created a rent-seeking citizenry; its impact will not be abated for another decade.
The distinguishing mark of democracy from other forms of government is the ability to question people who have been entrusted with our mandates and leadership. Atiku needs to explain why he wants us to entrust our mandate in his care when his headline backers are men who take from the needy without a scruple.
He has a burden of perception that is bereft of trust. Now that the Party’s primaries have been determined, he needs to highlight why his Presidency will not be the biggest and most “fantastically corrupt” scam Nigerians have ever witnessed.
(Samuel Odebowale, Senior Editor and Public Affairs Analyst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )