A Feud of Three Bulls: A Dissenting Opinion

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

“An election is a bet on the future, not a popularity test of the past” (James Barrett Reston).

In his current treatise Dr. Okey Ndibe writes like a man who does not understand Nigerian history and African politics. But of course that is not the case. He knows Nigerian history and understands African politics; but for whatever reason, he teeters on not knowing. Furthermore, he writes like a man who has never studied Obasanjo. At the very least, he should have known that President Olusegun Obsanjo is not a fool. He was not a Korofo. And he is not related to Gandhi or to any pacifist, dead or alive. The man may have miscalculated with his Third Term scheme; but not this time, as neither Atiku nor Babangida is going to be able to bloody Obasanjo.

When Ndibe said “all three of them labour under a profound ethical deficit,” I wonder what country and what society the three men reside in? Is it not in Nigeria? Forgive my pessimism, but in today’s Nigeria, who speaks of ethnics and morality? No one who joins in Nigeria’s politics “emerges as squeaky clean…and un-bloodied.” The difference is generally in the degree of blemishes. Come May or June 2007 only one of the three men will be standing — standing tall, standing proudly and with a smirk on his face — as the kingmaker.

There is never a time I think of the Nigerian political system when I don’t think of Hedrick Smith’s interpretation of power: “…the ability to make something happen or to keep it from happening. It can spring from tactical ingenuity and jugular timing, or simply from knowing more than anyone else at the critical moment of decision.” Knowing he can never be president again, Obasanjo is the one who is going to install, or at least handpick the next PDP presidential candidate. And even the next president.

Josef Stalin it was who said “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” And so considering Nigeria’s political landscape, Obasanjo will decide everything. If he doesn’t, his friends and critics and enemies will take him for a weak-willed nincompoop. Should he lose to Atiku, he’d be better off in exile than hanging out in Nigeria.

When was the last time a sitting African president lost an election, or failed to get his man elected? During the Zambian election, Kenneth Kaunda was “foolish” enough to be transparent; but where did he find himself after the elections? He ended up in a penal complex and suffered from the hands of his successor. As far as I can remember, Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and Jerry Rawlings of Ghana are the only sitting presidents who failed to get their men elected. From Tunisia to South Africa and from Nigeria to Mauritius, sitting presidents mostly never fail to direct the position of the crown. To think or expect otherwise of Nigeria and Obasanjo is to expect a snowy night in Lagos. As per the 2007 elections, nothing will happen against the wishes of Obasanjo. I don’t see Atiku or Babangida getting in the way of Obasanjo.

Maradona or no Maradona, General Ibrahim Babangida cannot warm or wriggle his way into the presidency. His days as a charmer are long gone. His days as a darling of the military and the security establishment are long gone. The man cannot even win a senatorial seat in Minna or anywhere else in Nigeria. Same can also be said of Vice President Atiku. Atiku became “dead-on-arrival” from the day he started insulting his boss and began making mockery of the institution he help presides over. If he had resigned and fought from outside, that would have been honorable — but to fight against his government and party and to then ridicule and abuse his boss? That’s political suicide. Besides, his excesses and blind ambition are simply too apparent, offensive and discouraging. He is lucky Obasanjo is not Abacha. Past the 2007 elections, Atiku’s name and likeness would be erased from the Nigerian political scene.

Here is my bet: as interesting and instructive as A Feud of Three Bulls is, my opinion is simple: Ndibe’s general conclusion is faulty. The history of the country and of the continent does not back his assertion; neither does a fine reading and understanding of the major characters support his thesis. Nothing in Nigeria happens in a vacuum and no Nigerian leader has ever come out of a political battle holding the short end of the stick…with his nose bloodied? Not this Obasanjo!

You may also like

1 comment

prince kennedy Iyoha August 21, 2006 - 12:54 pm

Mr Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

You write about Nigeria and its sociological past and present with an authority, though you do not reside in the Country. While in Nigeria, i realise that millions of people do not enjoy the results of policies that receive lot of international recognitions snd supports, in their day to day living. However, most of the people i talked to, are convinced that they will never vote for neither Atiku nor Babangida.

I cannot understand why Nigerians are sciptical of every actions of this administration, when ever a theif is cought, the people instead of praising the efforts of the government to cracking down corrupt public sarvents, they will simply relate it to politica manovers, and accuse the government of watch hunting.

What is wroung if a past leader want to come back to repair its mistakes while in office?, though the sins of Babangida seems unperdonable, because of the june 12 problem, which lead to the sacrifacing of two prominet Nigerians, and many more uncantable youngmen and women before the country could gain its freedom from the hands of evil men. We should realise that this same Babangida promogeted and implimented many policies during his tenure as head of state

It is evidence that he decived Nigeria again and again in his quest to stay in power, many school of thought is saying that he probable may have succeded in improveing the living condictions of Nigerians, if it wasnt The sections imposed on Nigeria by the international comunity, because of his military uniform, helped in many ways to fostrate all his efforts to improve the lifes of Nigerians.

Mr Atiku has proved to the entire Nigerians that he is a theif. As a customs personal, he has a specified salary, how in Gods name did he become so rich, and so strong that he stands as a colussium in the way to progresive Nigeria society, it is a clear signa to Nigeria, that if he becomes the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, he is going to open more forign account than General Sani Abacha.

I as a Nigerian, and African will ever be thankfull to Babangida for his iniciative to creat the Ecomog force, that has helped to rescue two sister states from the hands of Holigans and warlords.


Leave a Comment