In Defence Of Obasanjo

Comments: Nigerians}, for the criminal annulment of that election. Because this cabal {T.Y Danjuma and coy} had imposed and used OBJ between 1976 and 1979 as a military Head of state, and was found reliable in protecting northern interest {not Nigeria‘s interest}, it was decided ones more to impose him on us. At least, they must have argued among themselves, that the devil you know is better than the one you do not know. But unknown to them too “that a snake in the house is more dangerous than the one in the bush,” ala professor Omafume Onoge.

Now, the battle for who will succeed General Abdulsallami Abubakar, who took over in mysterious circumstances after the demise of Abacha and MKO Abiola, became a straight one between Obasanjo and Chief Olu Falae. The West, {his own people}, knowing OBJ’s antecedents, denied him at the polls in 1999. He could not {even} win his home state of Ogun. That was a warning signal from the Yorubas, to other Nigerians, that OBJ would not perform. They knew he was a chosen lackey. Today, his people have been vindicated. Funny enough, the ever righteous T. Y Danjuma, one of the cabals that imposed OBJ on us, had told Nigerians in 1999 that if OBJ did not win, he would flee the country. Today, he is singing a different tone because OBJ seized his oil blocs. OBJ then ended up winning that election because the East and the North ‘voted’ for him. Chief Olu Falae, who failed to call for the use of the transparent Option A4, lost out to the cabals.

Now, on the 15th of April 2000, senator Arthur Nzeribe brought 15 motion impeachable charges against OBJ on the floor of the senate, what happened? Town criers, experts on tribal fission, religious bigots and media manipulators had a field day on the person and character of Nzeribe. He became a personae non grata. Of course, knowing Nzeribe’s antecedents, especially his role in the annulment of the June 12th, 1993 election, people have the right to detest him. To me, all Nigerians betrayed Abiola and that June 12th excellent election. Anyway, because of that oversight, most privileged Nigerian commentators refused to deeply ‘see through’ the issues raised by Nzeribe and address it. Well, it is aimless now to analyse them because all is now history. When Nzeribe read the hand writing on the wall, and knowing Nigerians for what they are, he smartly switched allegiance to OBJ. He became OBJ’s most ardent supporter until he left the senate. After that, subsequent attempts to impeach OBJ failed, because what Nzeribe saw by April 2000, others saw too late. That is why in bourgeois politics, there is no permanent friend but permanent interest.

In 1967, during the genocide that people wrongly called civil war, the Biafran soldiers made daring incursion into the Midwestern region and over- ran it, the leader of that Biafran assault was the late Col. Victor Banjo {a Yoruba man}. Part of the implied instructions from Ojukwu to Banjo was to move on with the speed of lightning and capture Lagos. Banjo on getting to Ore slowed down the move. Why? Well, it was alleged he was having a series of nocturnal meetings with top Yoruba officers of the Nigerian army and their political counterpart, among them was Obasanjo. It was presumed that one of the issues raised by Banjo at that meeting was that Yoruba officers should join him to push the northerners out of Yoruba land. Obasanjo, as one of the most senior Yoruba officers present, stoutly refused Banjo’s offer and purportedly said that he was not trained as a Yoruba or tribal soldier but as a Nigerian. Now, may I pose these posers: What would have been the lot of the North or Nigeria if OBJ and other officers present had supported Banjo? What would have happened if Banjo had swiftly entered Lagos? Again, perhaps the war would have either ended as quickly as it had started {with Biafra and Oduduwa republics becoming independent realities} or, would have continued only to end the way it eventually did.

In all, Biafra still had to surrender to this same man, Obasanjo. The Black scorpion, Brigadier Adekunle has always mourn in his book and interviews that he did the actually fighting while OBJ came to take over his commando unit, {only} to reap where he did not sow. But Adekunle was raw, ruthless and too blood thirsty a soldier, while OBJ was more organised, sober and diplomatic. Adekunle shoots anything that moves during that war including the leaves of plants. If Adekunle was left to his whims and caprices, he would wipe the Igbos off, from the face of the earth. Despite his heroism, he was used and dumped by Gowon and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian army. He was so humiliated that up till date he is still venting his spleen. Today, virtually all those southern officers who fought Biafra have regretted their role in that war. The reality had dawn on them that they were used by the North to protect, not Nigeria‘s interest, but northern interest. That interest is still been protected to this day. So, Nigerians should be grateful to OBJ.

In 1979, OBJ handed over 35 Nigerian aircrafts to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. By 1999 {20 years later} when OBJ came back, none was flying. What happened to them? What did the governments who were in power between 1980 and 1998 do to maintain the airline? All the aircrafts have gone with the winds of corruption under the ‘able’ leadership of northern dominated Managing-Directors of the Nigerian Airways. The shame of it all is that today, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon and Egypt airlines are still flying to and fro, London. Again, in 1983, Buhari and Idiagbon told us that telephone is not for the poor. By 1999, OBJ opened the telephony market to all and sundry. Today every Reuben, Nath, Obijiofor, Rowland, Popoola, and Akume has a mobile phone. I can call my mum anytime from anywhere-all thanks to OBJ. It also generated a lot of self-employment and jobs for the people.

In 1979, OBJ conducted an election and handed over to Shehu Shagari. In 1983, Shehu Shagari, despite his abysmal performance in office, could not summon the courage to hand over to another. Instead, he boasted that “there are {only} two political parties in Nigeria“, namely, “the NPN and the army”. Thus after the usual shambled elections of 1983 and its attendant landslide victory for the NPN, Shagari, in a slippery manner, betwixt and between, beckoned on the military to come and take over. What OBJ gave to him in 1979 with little or no hiccups, he could not pass on to another in 1983. He handed over {under the pretence of a coup}, to soldiers.

In 2007, the same OBJ handed over to Shehu Musa Yaradua. I am not interested in the circumstances of the hand over, all I am interested in, was that he handed over. The circumstances had to do with the system bequeathed on us, including OBJ. After all, Ibrahim Babangida did not handover in 1993 despite the fact that an electoral system conducted a perfect election, the best in the annals of our history. Instead, he hung on to power, with his alter ego, Abacha, consulting all manner of marabouts. Now, I want Nigerians to answer this queer question: to conduct a perfect election {1993}and refuse to hand over to the winner and to conduct a bad election {2007} and hand over to a purported winner, which one is better? Of course, both are bad, but which one is better? Well, let’s wait and see who Yaradua will hand over to. So, it is quite clear that the only person, and I repeat it, THE ONLY PERSON, that has handed over power twice, from one government to another, is OBJ. That is a fact of our history that nobody can deny or fault.

In 1979 when the same OBJ handed over to Shehu Shagari, our foreign debt and obligation was about $4.6 billion, but by 1999 {20 years later}, it was $36 billion. OBJ cancelled that debts with his economic team of experts and, transformed our commercial banks. His government’s fight against fake drugs is unparallel coupled with his fight against corruption. Today, everyone wants corruption checked but are, the ruling cabals, the invisible hands behind the power equation in Nigeria, ready to fight with us? Will the fight not simmer down one of these days? I hope not.

There is a rotten system in place in Nigeria and it is that system that has roped in an innocent-looking woman and a professor of paediatric medicine, Adenike Grange, into trouble. Virtually every ministry stinks to high heavens and the stench is unbearable. What happened in the Health Ministry has been happening in others but no leader have had the courage to deal with it. This is because all ministries are involved in the sleaze. Thus writes late Professor Mike Onwuejeogwu in the GUARDIAN of 6th Sept 1985 in his article entitled, BECOMING A VICE-CHANCELLOR IN A NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY: “In a society riddled with colonial contradictions, the resolving of one contradiction creates new ones because colonial contradiction is better resolved more by elimination than by substitution.” Colonial contradiction is the same as capitalist contradiction and all that it requires is to uproot it for good. Unfortunately, the contradictions in the Nigerian system have funny roots and tap roots that are so intertwined and interwoven. OBJ therefore, is not our problem, it is the system.

It is ridiculous for people to also call for OBJ’s arrest and trial. How many of our past Heads of state have ever been arrested and tried? Did Babangida, when summoned, appear before the Oputa panel? Was IBB arrested and tried on the late Pius Okigbo report for the accrued $12 billion crude oil windfall during his regime? Was he charged for the annulment of the 12th June 1993 election? I think we should be grateful to OBJ for keeping Nigeria-ONE. I rest my case!

Written by
Max Siollun
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1 comment
  • thank you for your insight its so enlightening, i read your book on Nigerians coup culture 1966-1976 Oil Politics and violence. and i must say there is nothing like it. Thank you Sir