Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is a witty character. You can hardly know what is in his mind, nor unravel his thought. If he is laughing, it could be that he is boiling ceaselessly in his heart, and if he is frowning, it could be that he is thinking something positive.
The Late Dr. Wilberforce Chuba Okadigb, former Senate President, and Chief Innocent Audu Ogbeh, the current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, had bitter experiences to tell about Obasanjo’s witty character.
At the onset of the current democratic governance, members of the Senate of the National Assembly wanted Dr. Okadigbo to be their President, but Obasanjo had a different person in mind. His preferred candidate was Evans Enwerem. But with “Ghana must go bags:, he had his way and Enwerem was elected Senate President.
It was however not long after that the senators found something wrong in Enwerem’s certificate and impeached him. They then installed their originally preferred candidate, Chuba Okadigbo.
Obasanjo took everything in its strides and pretended as if he was in the same boat with the Senators. But he went down to work and set a trap for Okadigbo. Okadigbo himself called it “banana peels” and he fell to it.
Okadigbo was alleged to have purchased a number of gift items without getting formal approval by the Senate even though he had earlier briefed the lawmakers of his intention. After the purchase there was stormy session in the Senate, probably instigated by Obasanjo, that the Senate did not formally approve those purchases, only the intention was made known to members. They called it anticipated approval
When however Okadigbo thought that the matter had been settled and that the Senate was now with him, Obasanjo struck. He invited Okadigbo to a dinner in his house, served him with pounded yam and delicious soup. The next morning, Okadigo was impeached.
Then, Audu Ogbeh. He was imposed by Obasanjo on PDP as national chairman at the end of the tenure of Chief Solomon Lar. But when Ogbeh started charting the course of PDP contrary to what President Obasanjo wanted, the President began to plot for his ouster. And when this had got to the public domain, there was general outcry. Obasanjo then decided to pipe down. Later we heard that Obasanjo invited Ogbeh to a dinner of pounded yam. The next day, Ogbeh was forced to tender his resignation letter.
A lot of people have been wondering what transpired between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari when they both met at Addis Baba, during the meeting of African heads of state. We have a gist of what transpired between the two former Generals.
Obasanjo who never shies away, nor fails to take responsibility for any of his actions, had decided to confront Buhari one on one with regard to his recent letter where he told Buhari not to seek reelection in 2019.
This, when he entered the venue of the meeting, he looked round and saw Buhari at one end of the hall. First, he decided to greet other Presidents before getting to Muhammadu Buhari. When he got to Buhari, he shook his hands and the following dialogue ensued.
Obasanjo: Good afternoon Mr. President.
Buhari: Good afternoon Sir. How are you?
Obasanjo: I am okay. I just want to know whether you have been able to digest the content of my letter to you.
Buhari: I did Sir, but why did you decide to make it public, I thought we are friends?
Obasanjo: Yes, we are friends but I have been telling you all these for quite some time time, but you refused to listen.
Buhari: What and what have you been telling me, Sir?
Obasanjo: That Nigeria is not a private estate of Daura people. How on earth will you be putting only your own people in government. The most annoying thing is that these people are simply round pegs in square holes. When I was there, how many Abeokuta people did I put in government? Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians and not to a particular section of the country. I have never seen the level of nepotism that we are witnessing now.
On security, do you see how many people that have been killed by Fulani herdsmen and you just kept quiet. Mr. President, it is insensitive of those governors that visited you, to urge you to seek reelection when 73 people killed by Fulani herdsmen were being buried, and you did nothing.
On the issue of corruption, Mr. President, why are you condoning corruption in your government? Look at the case of Maina, how can you justify his recall? Yet you say you are fighting corruption? By the way, Mr. President, who dusted up a letter written four years ago by my daughter and start circulating it in the social media? You think I can be intimidated? No way.
Buhari: Sir. Sorry, Your Excellency. I want to make amends. How do you help me. You see, I am committed to seek reelection, but that your letter is very damaging. Can you just make a public statement stating that the government is now turning a new leaf and that Nigerians should be patient with us?
Look, since after your letter, we have taken the former SGF, Babachir Lawal to the EFCC. The Nasir el Rufai committee on restructuring set up by the APC has just submitted its report to the leadership of the party and we are committed to implementing its recommendations.
These are some of the things we have been doing since you wrote your letter and we are going to do more. Just give us a chance. Remember our relationship when were in the military, serving the nation. I have always been loyal to you. So, Your Excellency, please help me.
Obasanjo: Remember that we are in a foreign country. Let’s get home and see how Nigerians are reacting to the letter, then I will decide what to do. But remember that I have always find it difficult to go back on my words or what I have decided to do.
That’s how the dialogue between the two Generals ended, and we will be peeping from the sideline, else any of the stray bullets hits us.