Ever since General, Chief, Dr., Matthew Okikiola Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), left office as military head of state in 1979, he has continued to make himself relevant in Nigerian politics. With that Obasanjo has become part of the country’s political problems, which must be solved.
Apart from his own regime, Obasanjo never saw anything good in every other the regime that ruled the countrty since he left office, including the administrations he had helped to install, since he would later turn round to take them to the cleaners and to advocate for change.
It was Obasanjo that helped to install the Shehu Shagari civilian administration in 1979 after thirteen and half years of military dictatorship, brushing aside the controversial “twelve-two-thirds” percentage election win palavar. But barely three years of the Shehu Shagari administration, Obasanjo in his letter entitled, “The Drift Begins”, came hard on the regime, accusing it of corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s economy. Shortly thereafter, Major General Muhammadu Buhari led his military colleagues to overthrow the Shagari administration.
Obasanjo was still studying the Buhari military junta when General Ibrahim Babangida struck and overthrew the regime. Obasanjo however did not spare the Babangida administration, which he accused of many misdeeds, which was why Babanginda had refused to endorse Obasanjo’s aspiration for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations, but rather, settled for Chief Emeka Anyoku as Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
During the June 12, 1983 debacle, Obasanjo was never in support of the actualization of Chief MKO Abiola’s mandate, asking whether Abiola was the “Messiah Nigeria was expecting?”.
Obasanjo was not a fan of General Sani Abacha, and when he wanted to raise his voice against the dark-gogled General, he was promptly arrested and sent to prison on allegation of coup plotting. It was General Abdulsalami Abubakar that brought Obasanjo out from prison after the death of Abacha and installed him as President of Nigeria under a democratic dispensation.
On assumption of office, Obasanjo was an imperial President. He was all knowing and was also very powerful. Throughout the period he was in power, nobody dared raise a voice against him, not minding that we were in a democracy. Those who did and tried to challenge him, had very ugly stories to tell. It did not matter whether the person was Chuba Okadigbo or Adolphus Wabara, former Senate Presidents, or Audu Ogbe, former PDP National Chairman, or Okwesilieze Nwodo, former PDP National Secretary, etc.
With his “do or die” election campaign, Obasanjo succeeded in installing the sickly Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as President of Nigeria in 2007. That was after the failure of his third term bid.
But he was soon to fall out with President Yar’Adua, when the new President refused to take dictations from him. Later on, when he found out that Yar’Adua was very sick and could no longer perform his duties, he went public and said that the man should resign.
It was Olusegun Obasanjo that fished out Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who then was serving out the term of DSP Alamaiyesiha as Governor of Bayelsa State, who Obasanjo had organized his impeachment, and made him the Vice Presidential Candidate of Yar’Adua, such that when Yar’Adua later died in office, Jonathan stepped into his shoes.
Not minding the unwritten agreement by the then ruling PDP that the Presidency should rotate between the North and the South, and that Yar’Adua, because of his death had not served out the term of the North, Obasanjo encouraged Jonathan to seek a fresh mandate for the Presidency. This did not go down well with most people living in the northern part of the country, who felt that they had been shortchanged.
However, not long after Jonathan assumed office as President following his electoral victory, Obasanjo began to find faults in his administration. He wrote several long letters indicting Jonathan and his regime. He followed this up by resigning his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party on the platform he ruled the country for eight years, and publicly tore his party membership card.
Obasanjo then switched his allegiance to General Muhammadu Buhari, who before then was his political enemy and who he had fought in three previous elections. He began to campaign for Buhari against his former political godson, Jonathan, and succeeded in dethroning him.
Less than three years of the Buhari administration, Obasanjo got fed up with the regime. He wrote a lengthy letter advising the President not to seek reelection in 2019. Having earlier resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, he came up with his idea of “Third Force”, with which he had hoped to force Buhari out of office.
But when later he saw that his “Third Force” might not really succeed in achieching his stated objective, Obasanjo began to lean towards the PDP, which he had earlier declared “dead”, believing that the party had the potential to dethrone Buhari. He attended one of PDP’s rallies in his hometown, Abeokuta, claiming that he was just passing by and decided to branch in to say “hello” to them.
Obasanjo had earlier fallen out with his former deputy for eight years as President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, refusing to see eye to eye with him. He vowed never to have anything to do with the man, alleging all sorts of misdeeds against him. Rejecting all entreities for rapprochement with the former Vice President, Obasanjo said that God would never forgive him if he reconciled with Atiku.
Now, following PDP’s hitch-free national convention last Saturday which produced Atiku Abubakar as the flagbear of the party in next year’s election, Obasanjo has begun to sing a new song. He has decided to make a volta face. He begins to see Atiku as an asset, stating that what Nigeria needed was somebody with a good knowledge of economy. He had previously carpeted the Buhari administration for lack of economic foresight.
With such green light, it was not very difficult for Atiku Abubakar to capture the joke, that Obasanjo now wants a rapprochement with him, and he wasted no time in grabbing the message. He decided to visit Obasanjo in his country home, and with open arms, Obasanjo welcomed him and his entourage, and pledged to support him in the next election.
Obassnjo said he had now forgiven Atiku Abubakar for what ever sin the man might have committed, no doubt, for scuttling Obasanjo’s Third term bid in 2007!
Who says that OBJ will still not be relevant in 2019?
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