It was one Professor Adebayo Adesida in one of his latest paraphrase, that swore that may the former President Olusegun Obasanjo never write him a letter, describing the ‘Ebora Owu’’s too many letters as inimical, but necessary evil.
‘Baba Iyabo’ as fondly refers, may not be the fan of so many Nigerians, and may probably have done exact or more evil than those he criticize, but down memory lane, it is on record how Obasanjo, since early eighties have written severally on state of the economy, accusing whoever cares to listen among head of government of wrong doings, which most times are accurate and in the interest of the nation so to speak.
It is also sufficed to note that, whoever he writes to admonish are not always lucky, while OBJ as a two time ruler always escape repercussions over his action and inaction on the seat of power, both as a former head of state and later a two time president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Though, OBJ may have had his fingers burnt in one of those fact filing letters and analysis, which recalled landed him in the former dictator, Sani Abacha’s gulag as he walk through the valley of shadow of death, having criticized Abacha government’s high handedness and dictatorial disposition in office as Head of state.
OBJ’s involvement in any issue signifies the imminent end of that issue, and many believes it will be in the best interest of the receiver never to treat the content of Obasanjo’s letter with kid-glove or face the consequences.
It is recalled, first he wrote to the former President Sheu Shagari when the latter was allegedly soaked in mismanagement of the Nigerian economy between 1979 and 1983, few months after Obasanjo’s letter, admonishing him on the state of the economy, which the Shagari led government discarded as trash, the military smashed Shagari government in 1995.
Obasanjo then wrote to Abacha and described him as a stone age dictator. Though, the letter landed him in trouble, he was almost killed through a phantom allegation of coup plot. The Sheu Yar’adua, his bossom friend jailed along with him never survived the valley of the shadow of death as Obasanjo described his imprisonment; but the ‘Ebora Owu’ as the former Speaker of the House of Rep described Obasanjo, did survived through a share luck.
However, after his death sentence was converted into prison terms, he wrote another letter to Abacha titled: NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT, Where he said, “I was a head of state yesterday, today, I’m in jail. You’re the head of state today, tomorrow, your condition may be worse than mine…”. Indeed, Abacha’s future was worse as he ended inside the grave, having lost his first son in a controversial plane crash, suspected to have been plotted by enemy of his government.
It would also be recalled, how OBJ, though exonerated himself of wrong doing while in power, but rather wrote his vice, Atiku Abubakar. Atiku has become a shadow of himself politically since they left power in 2007, and the former VP still struggle to earn Nigerians’ trust, each time he dare Nigerians on attempt to be president ever.
It wasn’t clear whether he wrote Yaradua, a terminally ill former Kastina born President, he (Obasanjo) imposed on Nigeria, but no sooner that Musa Yar’adua assumed office as President, the two fell apart, and no thanks to protracted illness of the latter, Obasanjo publicly declared Yar’adua unfit and advised him to resign.
Unfortunately, same year, Yar’adua’s health deteriorated and today, the rest is history.
It would be recalled, that Obasanjo, also didn’t spare his anointed son, the former president Goodluck Jonathan, who he piloted to power. He wrote him in a letter titled: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Though, a bit late before the letter was written, but GEJ would rather used his attack dogs to lampoon Obasanjo, having earlier pronounced him as ‘Agbero’. But Jonathan, today, has become a sorrowful history.
It is also ironical that, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo thus played prominent roles in the political emancipation of these individuals, right from the time of Sheu Shagari, but rather than yielding to his warning when things gets worse economically, such leaders passionately leaves the issues untreated, but would rather victimize the source of the message.
Most time, OBJ never vindicates himself as a saint either. In one of his analysis, Obasanjo once cast aspersion against the seat of power, he noted that, most leaders don’t see things clearly when on the throne, and reason he sought to lend his voice to his successors wherever they are failing, having being president of the nation at different stages.
Meanwhile, his latest letter to Buhari is no joke. The letter chronicled happenings in the government and the country.
Though, some experts were almost unanimous in their views that patriotic Obasanjo may be, he also seeks to be noticed by the public, hence his series of letter writing. The school of taught believes, Obasanjo does not want anyone to beat his record of being the longest served president of the country. Others believes, Obasanjo does not have the credibility to write such a letter. His words should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Besides, others were almost unanimous in their views that patriotic Obasanjo may be, there is a lot Nigerians should have learnt from the letters of Olusegun Obasanjo to the nation’s presidents and heads of state, and what President Buhari should be particularly mindful of, it is that one needs to carefully read between the lines and be cautious. This is because Obasanjo’s letters have a history of being some sort of omen for the government of the day.
In his submission, erudite constitutional lawyer, Malam Yusuf Alli (SAN) said that he believes that former president Obasanjo’s letter should be seen as a catalyst for development. According to him, past leaders must continue to speak up on national issues. He said, “All those who have been privileged to rule Nigeria must continue to speak up on national issues whether the incumbent is performing or not. That is the way to ensure that the country attains its greatness.
Many believes, he is guilty of most of what the former president had accused him of. He had been described as clannish, surrounding himself with people from his immediate constituency. The obvious examples are the headship of all the security organizations in the country. They are peopled by members of one ethnic group, without respect to the delicate ethnic balancing in the country. Someone had described the action of the president as obvious arrogance.
Moreover, not few Nigerians have accused him that, he never felt it was necessary to create a level platform for the entire country. Some say, he is the only exception in the history of the Nigerian presidency. None among former presidents had been so brazen as to surround themselves with people from one ethnic group or more precisely, their ethnic group, believing that Obasanjo did not do it. Late President Umar Yar’Adua never did it. His immediate predecessor in office, President Jonathan never did it.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have warned that, Buhari needs absolute care else, Obasanjo’s letter becomes his political abattoir as those before him. With his latest letter, it is obvious that President Buhari’s second term bid would definitely not be smooth sailing. Prior to the letter, most Nigerians had started coming to the realization that Buhari was not really the messiah, to use President Obasanjo’s words that Nigerians were looking for.
As Prof. Adebayo Adesida would say hoever, ‘May Obasanjo never write me a letter.
- Sola Omosola Akingboye graduated from Lagos State University, Ojo and also an alumni of International Institute of Journalism, Abuja. The Abuja based Media Consult is a member of NUJ, FCT Chapel; Member, Nig Energy Correspondents and affiliate of other proffesional bodies such as Believe in Nigeria Initiative (BINI); Change Agent for Positive Transformation (CAPT); OSHA Association for Industrial Safety in Nigeria. He is currently an Associate Editor and Chairman Editorial Board Informavores.com.ng.