OBJ’s Gamble and Brinkmanship


What is Obasanjo trying to do? What is he all about? It is simply unbelievable what Mr. Obasanjo arrogates to himself. The man thinks this country is his. He thinks Nigeria will always be his empire and he its emperor because of the way he has enriched himself from its resources by force of arms, thinking he will get away with it. Possibly also he thinks that what he cannot control, he will destroy. He thinks he can use intimidation and gra-gra typical of his people to shut everybody up, as in a military situation. Having watched this man for long dancing about like a butterfly but stinging like a bee, I have decided that he needs to be dissected for people to see what he is up to, that he is hiding so artfully to cover his tracks.

In this entire thing, his target is President Goodluck Jonathan – to bring him down to nothingness and make him look like a rag because of his supposed affinity with the Igbos. It is by doing this that he can be relevant, be recognized as a real strong man, keep what he has corruptly amassed and be above the law. If he lets him be, Jonathan will soar above him in statesmanship and stature. He could perform more than him and make him a dwarf in terms of that. Thus he has a problem which some may call a complex bordering on a feeling of inferiority

I am writing this to show you the other angles to him. But let’s first consider the nuisance value. Somehow he presents a monster. A monster is large, ugly and frightening. Our subject here has got all these qualities, call them attributes, call them vices. Nobody is trying to rubbish him here. I am looking at him at the place he placed himself. It is by his fruits we shall know him.

One thing you cannot know is what he wants. He doesn’t go straight. His agenda are always hidden. His agenda are remote. Certainly he won’t be president again. But he can make a president and be godfather to a president. From his calculations, he cannot achieve this except through a president Buhari and a tactical northern alliance, nobody can suspect. Through a president Jonathan it is a mission impossible. He first looked for Jonathan’s trouble meant to enable him make inroads into the heart of any northern presidential hopeful. First he thought it would be his arch-enemy, Atiku. He did a volte face with him against all expectations and mended their fences. This, he followed with a vicious attack on Jonathan in his famous diatribe accusing him of all manner of things he could not substantiate in any way, a sort of hit below the belt. That was his last card in the political game. Jonathan absorbed the shock completely and gallantly, shocking him equally by so doing. It was a gamble, in which he may lose all, most likely.

Behind it, all was Obasanjo’s realization of his inescapable culpability any day in corruption. When a mention is made of the corruption issue in Nigeria, he is top on the list of those who must feel hit and crushed with guilt. To save himself, it was a clever thing to do to anticipate well in advance who the next president would be and befriend him. The other contender (Jonathan) would be demonized and hacked brutally down so that he would claim to have helped to install the new president; to have been the king-maker. This is the Obasanjo brinkmanship in the politics of Nigeria today. He put himself in that awkward situation and is running from pillar to post trying to find solution the problem. He has had this feeling for long, which made him declare that politics was ‘a do or die affairs’ then. It is still a matter of life and death for him. This is the root of his desperate and cowardly aggressive activities. As it were, his musical days are over. Now is time to take stock of his cruel bad old days when he directed genocidal shooting of civilians in Biafra, wiped out Odi, Zango Kataff and Niger Delta militant youths campaigning for the regeneration of their land’s eco-system. He supervised the despoliation of Ogoni land. He took away as much money as he could from the till and lives in super-abundance more than any leader that ever ruled in Nigeria. He has the regrets of these atrocities to contend with now. Buhari is his life-saving, last straw who is between him and drowning. Jonathan he sees as his nemesis. He has election fever right now, though he is not contesting. Without doubt the coming election will determine his final fate. Everybody in this country, including Buhari, knows that Obasanjo and his ilk are not worth keeping as friends or allies. He has blown his chances in this regard. He asks himself: what if Jonathan survives? He has a problem where to run to. He is like one who murdered sleep and can sleep no more. He is pitiable.

That’s not all about Obasanjo in Nigerian politics. His position of power made him a major sponsor of most anti-Igbo policies, being unrelentingly and incurably Igbo-phobic, himself. Nigeria could have gone a long way to being united if not for the sadism of persons like him. It will be remembered that Obasanjo recieved the Biafran instrument of surrender on behalf of Nigeria and saw to it that Ndigbo were marginalized from then till now. He repudiated the ‘no voctor, no vanquished’ declaration of Gowon and threw it out as nonsense. The policy of Igbo marginalization was strictly personally contrived and supervised by Obasanjo. This was evident when he came to Owerri during the time of governor Ndubuisi Kanu and saw that the elaborate master-plan he made for the development of Owerri was taking off. He frowned at it and posted the governor promptly out of Imo, bringing in someone to undo what governor Kanu did to set the Igbo heartland on the path to growth again. Obasanjo is indisputably the self-assigned arrowhead of Yoruba leadership that sees their survival in Nigeria as the same as Igbo downfall or disadvantage. That disadvantage, they always see in a do or die struggle to be closer to the northern establishment than the Igbos. They will not live to let Ndigbo be politically in alliance with the north more than the north are in close ties with them. I won’t call Obasanjo’s disposition toward the Igbo hatred. He is not God. He will be duely punished for it perhaps through self-destruction, since President Jonathan does not (rightly) want to have time for him. He will soon expire and retire himself, or circumstances will retire him. I don’t also know where his Igbo-phobia took its origin. It may well be inborn in him.

The Igbo dilemma in Nigeria today is as a result of this Obasanjo-championed south-western attitude. Had the Igbo been aware of this and adopted a common appropriate response to it, things would have been different in the political equation of the country for better or for worse. And I can assure you that Igbo repugnance for the APC is in response to this perpetual misgiving between the south east and the south west of Nigeria. Ndigbo are fond of talking of how Awo then goaded Ojukwu into war by saying that “the Yoruba would go if Igbos left Nigeria” but never did. Rather he saw the Igbos leaving as an opportunity to fill the posts left by them and to convert their houses into abandoned property which they also bought over. This will be unforgettable in the annals of Igbo group or ethnic existence.

Everything has been done to ring the Igbos round and block them from all angles and Obasanjo’s hands are in it. This included the post-war ex-gratia award as it was called which allowed all Igbos depositors in banks only 20 pounds no matter whether one had one million or more there. This was executed clinically by Obasanjo or under his rule. The ban on stockfish was imposed, which was the main import item of the Igbos and a delicacy to them. Second-hand clothes were also banned to block them further economically. This drove them into trading in contrabands which were seized in containers on arrival to impoverish most of them completely. All of these took their unmistakable toll on the livelihood of the Igbos and sent many to their untimely graves.

Taking Obasanjo on his face value is a great mistake. He is carrying out wicked politicking, that is of strategic value to him and his Yoruba people, which is meant to have a devastating effect on our people over here in the south east. He needs to be properly read and understood. Obasanjo is out of power. He is down and out. He is a marginal person like any other person. If he is so dangerous, he can be dealt with. I am personally sick and tired of this man and his antics. He needs to be exposed and all Nigeria’s wealth he appropriated to himself, brought back. He should be brought to book for that. It is time those he robbed asked questions. What he is doing now amounts to a gang up and a devious back-up to the insurrection in the north to unseat Jonathan. It is meant to protect the chief perpetrator of corruption and seal the chance to curb the scourge this time. He contributes nothing to our education politically, economically and morally. His contributions to these are negative. He does not deserve the publicity he is getting. It is both boring and nauseating seeing him and hearing what he has to say about anything. His getting out of the way is better because he tortures our sight with his monstrous appearance, which can make small children epileptic and older people frightened. Enough of his large nose, bulging eyes and ugly face. We’ve had enough of him, please. Ohaneze and all Igbo governments must position him for what he is – a declared, unrepentant and sworn enemy.

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