The crying in our nation are not the cries of the wilderness where a sojourner may be lost because of an unmapped span of land in which trails of previous sojourners lead to paths unknown. Our collective hope is for a leader who will lead with skill, authority, dignity, probity and one who will give us a rightly deserved place in the community of nations.
In the last three years, Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired military general jailed during the administration of General Abacha has been the president in our country. By our constitution, he has a right to seek to be elected for a second term or hands over to a newly elected president.
The time for the election of a new president is fast approaching and the incumbent president continues to take the nation to a new height of disregard and crude entertaining all in the name of his God. Also, there are many other power players joining him in this “I am consulting and fasting for 14 days” game. Why 14 days and not 21 or 42 days?
Why the fasting when the dispensation in Nigeria makes voting a necessary evil as the throne belongs to the incumbent president if and/or when he wants the campaign for the presidency to commence. Why fast when Wadas Nas is willing to support (on his conditions) the incumbent president? Why fast when Governors Abdullahi Adamu of Nassarawa State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna, Abacha’s Finance Minister and former Director of Abacha Foundation are in the same camp of the present president.
Furthermore, there is no threat from Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), who has lived in awe of Obasanjo since their khaki days. If anyone doubts the honest commitment of IBB to a worthy cause, his public affection of Obasanjo impales such doubts. Although as a soldier politician, who or what IBB reveres is often in doubt when you read or hear of his schemes. Nonetheless, one should give credence to the rumour that IBB reserves his “presidential comeback theatrics” for another date and another year when Vice President Atiku plans to succeed the incumbent president. So why is the incumbent president fasting? Aside from the comedians in elected offices who visited Obasanjo at his Otta farm, many articles on the subject of 2003 presidential election seem to be pointed in one way and that is: Obasanjo run, run, run…
The need for Obasanjo to fast for divine guidance is easily explained on a personal religious level but when this ‘fasting business’ is played out in public, it makes a farce of the Christian teaching on fasting. The Nigerians that share this faith of the incumbent president and those that favour this ‘fasting business’ will count it ‘good news because they have a president who in a secular society wears his religion as a poster to evangelise not only all men and women of his country but the world over. The president cannot be blamed for his part in cloaking and excusing all forms of political misadventure and gross incredulity in the name God because in Nigeria we blame nothing on bad judgment or decisions. Our errors and successes are hinged on God.
If I were in the mind of Obasanjo, I would not declare a fourteen day fast and if I did, I would ask potent questions before taking the ‘fasting’ highway because the state of the nation is far from peaceful and it is doubtful that this administration has dealt with ‘sacred cows’ as promised in May 1999. Therefore, I will check my scorecard to determine my failures before I look at the success of my administration. There is no doubt that Obasanjo has been successful in a small amount of policies that directly impact on the citizens of this nation but his failures outweigh the success and for this reason, as a fly on Obasanjo’s mind, I will consider yielding ground for a more competent administrator It is clear from gleaming at the landscape of collateral and human destruction in the years of this presidency and it is easy to conclude there are many in our nation who will be crying Obasanjo, in the name of your God, go! Just like the Ali must go of the Gowon era. When such a chorus rents the air, can anyone blame any section of the country that do not wish to give Obasanjo a second chance. It is sad that innocent people have died needlessly in peacetime in Nigeria and properties have been damaged with sheea disregard in the same period. Could we measure this president by the wanton destructions that took place outside his control? I submit that it is not only the presidency that carries the blame even though he is answerable for all actions of his agents. The legislature and Judiciary are to share equal blame as their ‘I dey Kampe’ occupier of Aso Rock.
The issue remains the type of God that charges a Nigerian president with the responsibility to govern this nation in which thousands of his fellow citizens have died needlessly in the last three years and in which the president’s security apparatus is unable to unearth the perpetrators and conspirators that snuffed life out of the murdered Attorney General of the nation. Can this be the same God that will instruct Obasanjo to run again? Search me! Hence, it is not consultation with comedians that Obasanjo needs before he hears the voice of God and neither is such utterance as: “The next two weeks will be intensive in this regard and when I make the pronouncement, God will guide me to do what will be in the interest of the nation…”
The incumbent president’s wait on his God may be a ruse after all as it is reported that he said his decision would be “monumental” and of “serious implications for Nigeria, West Africa and Africa.” If it is true that Obasanjo made such a comment then he should spare us this ‘fasting business’ and get on to declare his interest in another term. What in his God’s name can be monumental if he refuses to run for another term or of serious implications for Nigeria, West Africa and Africa. The inference that no other candidate is capable of holding the presidency is absolute nonsense. You see in our nation most high office holders have the impression that they were appointed by God and they should get the mandate of the people by hook or crook. We pay lip service to merit and patronage is important in sustaining an office.
The Nigerian constitution provides the second term as the final for this incumbent president but this is not the reason he wants to hear the voice of his God. He wants to hear the voice of his God so that the Nigerian electorate will be convinced that he is the Messiah. Pastor Tunde Bakare, whose prediction cum prophecy indicates that the incumbent president is not our Messiah should enlighten us of his vision because my understanding of the Bible is that these pastors are charged to pray for those in authority because God appointed them to their positions. Is Tunde Bakare missing this point or does he read his Bible upside down? We are no longer in the days of Old Testament when votes did not determine who held power. We vote in elections and through that process give our mandate to the politicians we trust. So, is Bakare’s God condemning the millions of votes cast for Obasanjo? Nonetheless, it begs the question, are the two of them – both Bakare and Obasanjo – in communion with the same God? The God of Obasanjo is likely to encourage him to seek a second term whereas the God of Tunde Bakare continues to inform us that Obasanjo is not the messiah. So, which of these Gods are we to believe? Is it the God of Bakare or Obasanjo? The equation becomes complex because there are other church leaders backing Obasanjo to retain his seat. Accordingly, it is difficult to believe Nigerians and their God’s business because we hear different voices of the same God when it suits each religious peddler.
Anyway, Tunde Bakare is telling us that Obasanjo is not the messiah and Obasanjo is probably saying to his God, ” Here I am, send me”. Obasanjo should quit his fasting business and roll out his achievements as they are adequate for him to return to the electorate for their mandate. After all it is argued that he will be remembered as the ‘GSM President’. There is nothing untoward about laying claim for the success of the new telephone service as we can now talk to each other on ‘Nokia’. Nigerians should be questioning why the huge contract given to ITT by Murtala Mohammed did not propel us to the telephone advancement that we richly deserved when our money went through Moshood Abiola (deceased). However, on another score, Obasanjo needs to show his mettle that his government is capable of prosecuting purloining office holders.>
My submission is that Obasanjo deserves another term on the condition that other parties are allowed to register and he goes to the electorate to gain his mandate. The comedians at Otta were only there because each of them has done well under this incumbent president. The ones that have not done well will want him replaced. Anyway, I further submit that I will be shocked if the God of Obasanjo does not give a contradictory advice to the God of Bakare. This brings me to enquire if we serve the God of Bakare or that of Obasanjo. I guess we will never know until 2007!