“Nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation” – Olusegun Obasanjo
Our musing this week will lead us to play a little of devil’s advocacy for the Buhari-must-go project launched by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as it appears that the campaign is unwittingly adding flesh to the skinny Buhari second term dream.
Since the former President chose to drag him to the scrimmage, he need to be alerted that it’s going to be a street fight that requires that the sleeves must be rolled up and jungle booths put on. True that Dr. Obasanjo has achieved virtually everything in life and has nothing to lose, but if he fails to achieve this last one his epilogue would be horrendous.
He should not forget that his opponent this time is a General like him and a Fulani, a people well-groomed in political power management, unlike the other school teacher, a naive Ijaw boy whose exposure to national politics was and still very thinly. By my record, the last time Obasanjo gerrymandering with governments in power landed him in trouble was when he challenged late maximum leader General Sani Abacha.
That should remind the former President that the task ahead this time is gargantuan as the battle is with a Muhammadu Buhari not with a Goodluck Jonathan
. My trepidation that Obasanjo may be heading for rough fight than he possibly envisaged is in his apparent use of a stick in a fight that requires AK 47. This apprehension stems from his group’s reported adoption of African Democratic Congress (ADC) as their party ahead of 2019.
This was after their talk with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) failed. From all indications Obasanjo appears to have been swayed by some headline politicians in his Third Force group whose electoral significance is nothing to take to the ballot. Instead of dealing with real politicians the former President is driving himself away from reality.
The difference between newspaper politicians and real politicians is that one strives to win votes while the others strive to get the headlines. What Obasanjo need to do and quickly too if he really desires to chase Buhari out of Aso Villa in 2019 is to bury his pride and channel all his energies to the main opposition party, the PDP, by joining forces with them.
After all, PDP is Obasanjo’s party which he remained indebted to. He may have realised by now that he made a huge mistake tearing his membership card of the party that made him President for eight years fresh from prison. The Buruji Kashamu who allegedly provoked Obasanjo’s exist was brought into the party by the same Obasanjo and since then the Buruji man has remained a torn in the flesh of the party.
I suppose that Obasanjo by now may have realised his mistake. When Thabo Mbeki of South Africa was disgraced out of office by Jacob Zuma he didn’t go tearing his ANC card or fighting the party because he knows the history behind ANC. Today where is Zuma, Mbeki commands far more respect than him in South Africa and globally except perhaps for his Nigeria Sculpture friend Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
The truth as it is now is that the presidential battle in the country in 2019 is between Obasanjo and Buhari; every other variable in the contest are queuing behind. Obasanjo needs PDP more than PDP needs him to scale this last political hurdle in his life at 80 plus years.
After all, for PDP they have been defeated before and still has ample opportunity ahead but for Obasanjo at 83 years this might just be his last political rendezvous.
Therefore, if Obasanjo is truly interested in winning this fight, as I suppose he is, he must show more than passing interest in what is going on in PDP if he is not doing that already, put self behind and join forces with the party to produce an acceptable candidate that can defeat Buhari.
Any political theorizing that hopes to dethrone APC and Buhari in 2019 few months away from now through any other platform outside the PDP, may not be talking about democracy, they could be thinking of doing it through other unorthodox means. Political watchers are not oblivious of the fact that the foundation of this democracy was laid by the military.
They midwifed, nursed it and literally facilitated its development. We are also aware that they are not too far away yet as they eardrop and hear all the hullabaloos When President Buhari decided to concentrate virtually all the command of the critical security bodies in the hands of his ethnic and religious brothers and ignored all shouts against such nepotistic act, he may have a day like today in mind.
The President’s hurried declaration last month that he would be seeking a second term in office in 2019 was seen by not a few political analysts as a direct affront on former President Obasanjo.
The reason to see it as a slur is obvious; Obasanjo had led the team of leaders offering unsolicited advisories to the President not to seek re-election. In offering the advice the leaders especially Obasanjo had listed areas of failure of the administration that technically disqualified Buhari from seeking a second term even though the constitution guaranteed him that inalienable right. Dr. Obasanjo has actually not pretended about his agenda of stopping President Buhari’s second term bid. He has not only voiced his opposition to that but has gone further to demonstrate why Buhari’s second term must not happen.
Even as Obasanjo’s views appear populist and in harmony with that of majority of Nigerians, a critical analysis of the possible effect alongside geopolitical, and ethno-religious politics, sends disturbing signals to discerning minds. Indeed, there are some palpable fears which Obasanjo may not have fathomed in his calculations, that being, the perception of his own person in the public domain which might to large extent be an obstacle to his mission.
Notwithstanding the laudability of Obasanjo’s tirades of abuse and assessment of Buhari, the rigid resistance to his influence among the elites especially in the geo- political North could inadvertently be helping Buhari. President Buhari has been losing support in his core areas in the North due to the low level of performance he brought into governance.
The people were possibly disposing themselves to throwing him away when the opportunity provides itself in 2019.
But Obasanjo’s intervention through his “bad belle” letter rather than enhance the people’s feelings even though they agree with what he is saying appears to be doing otherwise. Why you may ask? Obasanjo’s antecedents of pull down syndrome, his history of facilitating the coming of every government and seeing to their down fall is disturbing and not a few desire to put an end to it now even if Buhari’s performance has been underwhelming.
Just to stop Obasanjo, his entry in the fray may be inadvertently lifting a sinking Buhari. In looking at this thinking, the huge influence of tribe and religion in our polity must not be discounted notwithstanding that all the contestants might be of one religion and tribe.
The message would be who is behind you? The other strong factor that could undermine Obasanjo’s wish is the conspiracy of the elites to grab power, how loyal and committed are other elite gang members to Obasanjo? Are they not going to undermine each other? They could unite against Jonathan because politically he had no oxygen but could that be said of Buhari’s project?
If all these variables are not put on the table and analysed with a view to impeding them, Obasanjo’s factor as populist as it might be, may just be helping Buhari’s second term bid.
The regrettable thing about our polity in this country is that when the chips are down, sentiment rather than performance record is going to be the determinant. Even more dangerous if the sentiment is religious. Above all however is the wish of the giver and taker of all powers, the Almighty, let His will prevail because this country needs to move forward now. God bless Nigeria.
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