If You Obasanjo Me…I Will Atiku You!


An acquaintance living and working in Abuja called yesterday to tell me, amongst other things, that there is a story making the rounds in beer parlors in Abuja and Lagos. Atiku allegedly told Obasanjo that “If you open my yansh, I will mess in your face.” President Obasanjo was said to have responded, “If you mess in my face, I will dagger your yansh.” This supposed conversation reminds me of a titillating and scintillating story that made the round several decades ago when General Yakubu Gowon was at the helm of affairs: the counter-corruption allegation between Godwin Daboh and Joseph Tarka.

Only this time around, the allegation and counter allegations are between the president and his assistant. But unlike the Gowon era drama, this commotion and political maneuverings will not dissipate quietly. It is possible that this round of stupidity, greed and national embarrassment will “set off a chain of reactions of various events, the end of which nobody could foretell,” as both men have put their personal agenda before the wellbeing of the nation. Nonetheless, no matter which way the wind blows, both Obasanjo and Atiku are a shame and a disgrace to Nigeria. Their illegal pursuit of money and their amoral quest for power now threatens to set the country asunder. And on fire.

As things stand today, there are four known camps: (1) the Obasanjo supporters; (2) the Atiku loyalists; (3) the general populace who are unsure of what to do as events unfold; and (4) the military, itself divided between the professional and political wings. Because Nigeria does not have a history of social or political revolutions, I do not expect the masses or middle class to rise up against the ongoing decadence. The people are deeply divided along ethnic, regional and religious lines. And the military itself is still smarting from decades of misrule and misadventures. On the other hand, I do not expect the military to standby and watch as vacuum develops, or as the country slides toward perdition and calamity. The choice is simple: stability or unstable and rotten democracy?

And then there are the foreign powers with vested interest in Nigeria — not minding whether the country is stable or not. A stable Nigeria would ensure a steady supply of oil and other materials that helps drive the economy of these countries. Moreover, a stable Nigeria would allow the West to use their resources for other pressing issues, i.e. terrorism and immigration. Furthermore, a stable Nigeria is useful in helping to tackle regional problems. Unstable Nigeria on the other hand would also be a source of economic prosperity for others (as instability enables some agencies to create artificial commodity shortages, sell arms and ammunitions, and to illegally loot oil and other resources.) As is the case all over Africa, foreign forces do benefit from weak, failing and crumbling states. Nigeria is a very big pie for them to feed off from.

Now, what do we do about these two men who have decided to blindly pursue their own selfish goals without minding the calamity that will befall the nation? It is hard to tell or predict since the ruling elites have a penchant for recidivating between criminality and iniquity. One thing is for certain though: a Jerry Rawlings-like personality will bring cheers and relief to the heart of most Nigerians.

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lokasa September 18, 2006 - 6:55 pm

Sabidde has just shown his ture colors, his so called eassys and punditry have no value to the nigerian society. An arguement btw the president and his vice is the excuse for the military to stage a coup, wow. And his weak reply that nigeria is not america is not only ridiculous but it show that the author has no logical rebutta to the points raised. If nigeria is not america as he asserts, then why even bother with democracy, or with fighting corruption or incompetence?

To call for a military coup simply because this row is not only irresponsible and reckless but also bothers on treason.People in Mr. Sabidde's capcity as widely read columnist have a responsibilty to watch what they write about.

Sabella Abidde September 18, 2006 - 9:28 am

Dear Mr. Kennedy Iyoha:

Thanks for reading my essays; and I also thank you for your remarks and concerns (even though you misread my essay, a bit). When I wrote: I do not expect the military to standby and watch as vacuum develops, or as the country slides toward perdition and calamity. Here, I was merely stating an expectation, what I think would happen considering what usually happens in Nigeria when there is a hint of instability, lawlessness and corruption.

And even when I said, a Jerry Rawlings-like personality will bring cheers and relief to the heart of most Nigerians, I was merely saying that should there be a coup not the yeye ones we have been having in Nigeria but the type Rawlings had in Ghana, most Nigeria would be happy about it.

Publicly and privately, I am of the opinion that if there is a coup tomorrow morning, there will be celebrations on the streets of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Onitsha and elsewhere. Was there ever a time in Nigeria when there was coup and Nigerians didnt celebrate? Well, I am not sure of the very first coup, though.

Nigeria is not America. We dont yet have strong and viable institutions; moreover, we dont yet have strong political culture. If the institutions, the cultures and the awareness were there, we wouldnt be saddled with third-rate leaders running our state and national affairs. At the very least, we wouldnt be tolerant of such excesses and stupidity as is being displayed by the current leadership and PDP.

By the way: nature abhors vacuum. And vacuums are especially dangerous for political systems. Whether we like it or not — should there be a vacuum — the military will step in.

Oh, it is not necessary for me to write a letter of apology. And I am never under the influence of anything. My understanding, my analysis, and interpretation of events are as close as social science would allow. Events are subject to different interpretations. My commentaries, like all commentaries, are subjective. I would have apologized if I peddled lies and or deliberately engaged in falsification of facts. On both accounts however, I am not guilty. Again, thanks for reading my essays.

Sabella Abidde

Anonymous September 18, 2006 - 8:29 am

hey, i think Mr Iyoha is righter

Tom September 18, 2006 - 7:56 am

"I do not expect the military to standby and watch as vacuum develops…One thing is for certain though: a Jerry Rawlings-like personality will bring cheers and relief to the heart of most Nigerians."

I feel the last comment. There are other options Sabella should have mentioned (the millitary is the last resort). We should see the National Assembly conclusion and the Judiciary first… the people too can respond if 2007 is not according to their wish, if all fails then either we become a failed State as the US report predicted or the millitary will have to intervene.

prince kennedy Iyoha September 17, 2006 - 5:55 pm

Mr Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

What do you mean, when you used the following words I do not expect the military to standby and watch as vacuum develops", or as the country slides toward perdition and calamity. This statement is unfortunate because I have read many of your contributions to this page, particularly issues related to the political life of the country since independence.

You have often condemned the military intervention into politic, again and again, that is why I find it very difficult to understand what you are insinuating with the above quoted statements. If this suggestion is made by someone that have lived all his life in Nigeria, I can understand, but for this suggestion to come from someone like you, that has won the respect of very many Nigerians home and abroad, is uncalled for.

Why did you not suggest that the American military take over power, after the results of the elections between Mr Judge Bush and al Goy, and the very many disagreements within the American political class lately? It is a shame that you can suggest such stupid idea knowing what the country had gone through, directly or indirectly in the implication of the military in our politica life since the last thirty years or more ago.

What I and any patriotic Nigerian expect from notable schools of thoughts like you is that we should wait till the next Election, to settle scores with both the president and his vice, and not to instigate the military to intervene in issues considard as persona dispute between the president, and his vice. Are this two people not human? Or do you think they are angels, even God had disagreement with Devil, and the angels in heaven were divided between the two. Unless people instead of assuming to be perfect, see things the way they are, and try to realise that as men we are bound to make mistakes, it will be difficult for Nigeria to come out of poverty.

What you are suggesting when you refer to the following, I do not expect the military to standby and watch as vacuum develops is that the military should take over government because there is a misunderstanding between the president and the vice president. Thereby throwing the country into another dark era of both political and economic sanctions from the international community, withdrew of multi-national companies, and the worsening of the living standard of the people, that is just beginning to improve.

I have notice that many of you make noise out of nothing. Here in Europe, we have seen governments and oppositions having more serious problems than just mere accusations and counter accusations, yet nobody ever called for the military to cease power.

I am angry and very disappointed in you. You should write an apology letter to all readers of this page. Please tell them you were under the influence of alcohol when you wrote this essay.


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