Have you ever heard of a one man country? If you have not, I present to you Nigeria, a leading African Nation whose current President strongly believes, and he plays it out, at every opportunity, that Nigeria as presently constituted, cannot stand or survive without him.
The five PDP Governors in the South West including our own Ph.D holder, the current Ondo State Governor, have just given the President a reason to believe what his heart has been telling him all along, and when he frequently talks to God in his prayers or his dreams, that he is the modern day Moses to deliver Nigeria from servitude. All our founding fathers including our pre and post Independence leaders like Sardauna Bello, Ogbuefi Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and other juggernauts of our emancipation and freedom from the British and all the military and civilian leaders from Tafawa Balewa to Aguiyi Ironsi, to Yakubu Gowon, to Murtala Mohammed, Shehu Shagari, Mohammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalam Abubakar have only played, in
different ways, and seasons, the role that John the Baptist have played, just
preparing the way for the Messiah who has now arrived.
In Obasanjo’s foolish mindset, he is the modern Jesus of Nigeria who
knows the end from the beginning and the Beginning from the end, and who is the
only one who can lead Nigeria to the promised Land. Less than 18 months to the
end of his second and last term as President, he has not yet seen the rational
to start grooming a successor, talk less of setting in motion all the steps
necessary to make Nigerians believe he has any plan to relinquish power by May
2007. All he is doing is keeping the Nation guessing, and telling any one who
would believe, that he was caught by surprise by the request of his South West
PDP Governors that he stays for a third term, because if he doesn’t grant
their request, the whole Nation might flounder, and all his monumental
developments projects might go into ruins, as the Sun will neither rise nor set on May
30th, 2007, because of the Messiah’s departure.
The very naive Governors and their President forget that if they don’t
leave power, power can leave them. They also forget that the death of the true
Messiah, the very son of God Himself did not translate to the end of the State
of Israel to which he was born, nor the end of Humanity itself. Thousands of
years later the whole world has not collapsed.
It may be true, as predicted in the Holy Scriptures, that the end of the
world may be near, given all the signs that have already been predicted. But
the truth remains that Humanity is here today and will still be here tomorrow
and day after, for sure. By the same token, the exit of any one leader from our
body politic can never totally cripple a Nation. Leaders come and go, but the
Nation lives on, without any question. Our President and his gullible
Governors and praise singers ought to be reminded of that at all times. France did
not submerge after Napoleon. China did not evaporate with Chairman Mao. India
did not disappear after Mahatma Gandhi, and Singapore is still marching on after
Le Kuan Yu, and God’s own country did survive George Washington, and is still
waxing strong as we speak. Nigeria will surely survive Obasanjo.
The enigma called Obasanjo reminds me of a story often told by my
grandfather, the 41st Deji of Akure, Kabiyesi, Alaiyeluwa Afunbiowo Adesida the First
who is the central character of a Memoir I am currently putting together, to
mark the 50th anniversary of his transition in 1957. There were two stories
the great sage never got tired of talking about at every opportunity.
The first was the story of a court jester, named “Oleta Oba Ado” at a
time the Oba of Benin was still an “Irawo Osan to nbagba l’eru” meaning an
unusual Day time Star that causes consternation for the wise and the aged who know,
as a rule, that a star does not appear at day time, under normal conditions.
Oleta, according to Kabiyesi Afunbiowo, frequently told Oba Ado that “Ehin
Osika suon” meaning that the wicked man may prosper in the dawn and at noon, but
their life, more often than not, always end up in tragedy.
The then Oba Ado was known to have paid little attention to the constant
warnings of Oleta until one contemporary event in Benin had really proved Oleta
right to the surprise of most people in Benin including the Oba himself.
“Eyin Osika suon”. I see some correlation between the Oleta fable, and what is
currently happening in our country under our plenipotentiary President Obasanjo
who strongly believe that without him, Nigeria can hardly survive. Nigerians P>
telling Obasanjo to quit the stage while the ovation is loudest may be in the
minority today, but they represent the word of wisdom in my judgment. If
Obasanjo drops dead today, God forbid, his exit may slow things a little bit, but
Nigeria will still march on. A great nation is not dependent on the whims and
caprices of just one individual, no matter how intelligent or brilliant.
Just like Nigeria was able to absorb the shock of the exit of Uthman Dan
Fodio, Oduduwa, Herbert Macauley, Ogbuefi Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sardauna Bello and
Obafemi Awolowo, Murtala Mohammed and others, Nigeria is surely going to
outlive Obasanjo and still remain buoyant after his exit or departure from office.
The second story Kabiyesi Afunbiowo was very fond of telling, is the most
germaine to the point I wish to drive home in this article. Once upon a time,
the tortoise sharing a similar mindset with Obasanjo, had made a decision to
gather all the wisdom in the world in a calabash, so he would be the wisest man
that ever lived. He went around the world gathering all the wisdom, and when
he had finished, he started looking for a safe place to hang the calabash. He
needed a place where the calabash could not be easily accessible to any man.
It occurred to him that that it was better to go hang the calabash on top of a
Palm tree far away in the forest where nobody else could easily get to it. By
so doing, the tortoise had believed he would remain the best and the only
custodian of wisdom in the whole wide world.
The tortoise had set out for the forest with the calabash tied to his
chest. When he got to the Palm tree. He started climbing with the calabash hanging
on his chest. He struggled over and over again with the calabash hanging on
his chest, but could not do it. Then all of a sudden, a little boy passing by,
had observed the tortoise, from a distance, sweating and struggling to climb
the palm tree with so much pain and difficulty. The little boy, had simply
advised the tortoise to consider putting the calabash on his back, instead of
holding it to his chest. The tortoise had followed the little boy’s advice, and in
a twinkle of an eye, he was able to climb up the palm tree to do what he
wanted to do. But on his way up the palm tree, it simply dawned on him that his
plan to keep all the world’s wisdom to himself, was one mission impossible and
the height of foolishness.
He then realized he had been foolish to even consider himself, at any
point, as the wisest man in the world. I see Obasanjo in the same mindset of the
tortoise today by thinking that without him, there can be no Nigeria.
I have read many an article on Obasanjo, but none has been more insightful
and downright honest than Rueben Abati’s article published on Nigeriaworld
today and titled, “Obasanjo’s Confessions” That article has said it all.
Obasanjo has been a bundle of contradictions in his “holier than thou” crusade
against Corruption, as he continues to dine with the devil, while taking himself as
the best thing to ever happen to Nigeria. If you ask me, I would tell you
that the Nigerian current President could be the reincarnation of that proverbial
tortoise. The President might also do well to pay some attention to the
“Oleta Oba Ado” allegory which I think offers some useful lessons in the exercise
of power. Need I say more?
I rest my case.