There is a popular saying that you should always fear the Greeks when they come with their gifts. This is because the Greeks will never give you any gift without attaching some strings on it or having some ulterior motives.
That was why when it was reported that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had visited Bayelsa State, and that he had for two times during the three-day stay in Bayelsa, visited former President Goodluck Jonathan in his country home, Otuoke, and had even worshipped with him in a church, I was not very comfortable.
Knowing the antecedents of the retired Army general and two times Nigerian head of state, I started wondering what must have been in Obasanjo’s mind when he set out to visit Jonathan for the second time, after reciprocating Jonathan’s earlier visit to him.
Granted that it was Obasanjo that picked up Jonathan from his humble position as deputy governor of Bayelsa State and made him the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from where Jonathan began to rise to the position of Vice President and to the President of the country, it was also the same Obasanjo that ensured that Jonathan was not reelected President in 2015.
How can Obasanjo who had never seen anything good in Jonathan’s government and had written him series of open letters where he castigated his administration and made sure that Jonathan was voted out of office in 2015, now turn round to love Jonathan so much as to have visited him twice in three days?
For many people therefore, they saw the current friendship between Obasanjo and Jonathan as too close for comfort. What on earth were the two men discussing which they could not have concluded on the first day that necessitated a second visit? Knowing Obasanjo very well, their fear was that OBJ might be using the opportunity of the so-called friendly visits to size up Jonathan and give him up for some other thing else.
Jonathan’s profile is rising steadily in the African continent. As a sitting President, he had conceded victory to the opposition, even when the results of the election had not been fully released, some thing very rare in the continent. For that reason, he is being accorded a lot of respect and being given different assignments by the global community.
Knowing Obasanjo as a very tricky person, some people are suspecting that he was luring Jonathan, in order to find one or two faults, then strike and deal him with a heavy blow so as to curtail his rising profile.
Obasanjo does not forget and he does not forgive. Once you cross his path, he must look for appropriate opportunity to strike and deal with you. He did it to Chuba Okadigbo and he did it to Audu Ogbeh.
Okadigbo emerged Senate President contrary to the wish of Obasanjo whose preferred candidate was Evans Enwerem, who was later impeached by the Upper Legislature Chamber. Obasanjo was not happy about that but pretended as if everything was okay.
In course of time, he instigated crisis in the National Assembly aimed at removing Okadigbo as President of the Senate. There was public outcry and condemnation of the plot. Obasanjo piped down. When it seemed that everybody had forgotten about it, he struck again, invited Okadigbo to a dinner of pounded yam. The next day Okadigbo was impeached by the Senate. Okadigbo himself described this as “banana peels”.
Obasanjo ensured that each of the five states of the South East produced Senate President during his eight-year rule, the same way he was changing the chairmanship of the ruling PDP – from Solomon Lar to Audu Ogbeh to Barnabas Gamade, to Ahmadu Ali.
It was Obasanjo that single-handedly installed Audu Ogbeh as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to Sunday Awoniyi, who majority of the party members had preferred. When however Audu Ogbeh began to toe an independent path contrary to what Obasanjo wanted, he began to move against him.
Again, there was public outcry. Obasanjo once more piped down. Later he invited Audu Ogbeh to a dinner of pounded yam. The next day he took a lorry load of soldiers to Ogbeh’s house and forced him to sign his resignation letter.
So, Jonathan, beware. Look properly before you reap. All that gilters is not gold!
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