Don't Run, Obasanjo

by Uduma Kalu

I read with amusement, sometimes with sadness, the article by a London based lawyer, Banjo Odutola, urging Obasanjo to run again for the presidency in Nigeria. It is sad that a learned gentleman would take stock of the politics in this country under Obasanjo and conclude that the incumbent should continue.

It is like considering the constitutional rights of Mugabe or any other Third World dictator to continue in office just because the constitution supports him. I challenge those like Banjo to give any reason why Obasanjo should to continue. He failed to do so in his elusive but hidden campaign for Obasanjo. But I do live in the country and I know how the Obasanjo return bid has been tribalised.

Of course, the governors of Oyo, Ogun among other Western states (all AD states) are campaigning for him. At a book launch last year, the Oyo state governor opened the debate urging the Yoruba to support Obasanjo as a son of the soil as he has got what the Yoruba had been looking for since Awolowo and Abiola.

Under the present government of Obasanjo, his kinsmen have benefitted immensely. Check out the military and ambassadorial appointments, permanent secretaries, ministers, chairmen of different parastatals among others. Check out the contracts awarded to Yoruba projects vis-a-via those in the East or the South-South, the bulk of which states are in the East.

What merits Obasanjo’s return to power? His clever way of deceiving the nation that he is going abroad to get foreign investors, while he is after his estacodes? The man is enjoying his old age, Period, while he does a hatchet job for his owners. How many people are now employed? Or how many industries are working? The universities and the hospitals, how are they? Or is there any transport system here? Yet, there is no plan for anything developmental as he schemes on return to power.

Apart from all these, how rich is Nigeria under Obasanjo compared to Abacha’s government? Nigeria has never known poverty under any government as under Obasanjo. Read the Commonwealth and the UN reports on Nigeria.

And human rights abuses… Go to the prisons and see how many people are languishing there. The president talks as if he has others in mind to serve. Look at how he spoke to the victims of Lagos bomb explosions. Look at how he killed the Odi and Benue people. He is a lying president and the moment we begin to see him as a sly person who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, then we will better understand his government. Ask Okadigbo Orji kalu and Na’aaba. He loves dictactorship as all his ideas like the one party state, his love of Abacha’s style of persuausion – violent and indimidating – his doctoring of the electoral act among others show.

But it is pertinent to note that he never pretended to say that he came for the poeple. For this was a man who never thought of coming back to power after his military tenure shouting like a human rights activist against miltitary rule and so become a hero when he was thrown into jail.

But since those close to him knew that he was only blabbing, that in fact, he is a ready tool for them to use and achieve their aims – like protecting them from their evil acts such as looting and killing, and enthronement of the Sharia as well as maintaining the status quo of inequality. Those behind him never won any election of repute in their zones. They do not command enough following.

But Nigerians had been made poor and were given no choice as they had to choose between selected Yoruba men – Olu Falae and Obasanjo – by the presiding powers which we know stole this country dry. It is no wonder that Obasanjo cannot take any decisive action against these people. And it is based on these facts that I know that Obsanjo has nothing to offer anymore, positively. I never believed he had anything to offer in the first place. I believe the GSM thing is just a rip-off, like the privatisation bluff.

But more importanlty, I know how Obasanjo hates the Igbo and I know the machineries he has been using to divide us – especially, the so called Abuja politicians. Has it ever occurred to the likes of Banjo that Ige might have been killed so that Obasanjo or the PDP will win in the South-West? Ige was a thorn on PDP in the West as he vowed that PDP would not win in his zone.

Now he is dead, the West are campaigning for Obasanjo, urging him to Run, Obasanjo Run! What has happened to Ige’s killers? I feel the case will end up like that of Dele Giwa. I think it will be so, if what I am hearing from the police and the government is anything to go by.

So who is deceiving whom? Obasanjo would like to run. But who will vote for him? Sure his Ssouth West zone, since Ige is out of the way. they might even make the AD adopt him. But will he win? Where is his support base? North? Ask the Sharia states. East? Take an opinion poll. South-South? Visit and know their opinion as it concerns the resource control.

Obasanjo has a chance to redeem his declining image. He should initiate a national conference for us to decide how to live together. Though I do subscribe to the ongoing argument by the Igbo of the South East and South-South that it is their turn for the presidency, noting how Falae and Obasanjo as well as other Northern presidents came to power, I strongly believe that we also need that conference to move this country forward. Obasanjo cannot do that. He lacks the spirit being a tool for a hatchet job.

Let the likes of Banjo return home and campaign for his hero. He might get a contract like Daniel Kanu or Afikuyomi of the Oputa panel fame.

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1 comment

uduma kalu June 5, 2005 - 1:28 pm

it's ok


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