In the early years of his presidency, I was a supporter. I was a supporter of President Obasanjo. After the calamity that was Ibrahim Babamgida, and the iniquity that was Sani Abacha, I believed Obasanjo could do no worse. Although he was neither a Yakubu Gowon, nor an Obafemi Awolowo and neither was he a Muhammadu Buhari, still, I was confident he was the man to pull
To be sure,
President Obasanjo’s fall from grace has been stunning, painful, and sad to watch. Oddly enough, his fall has been instructive; a lesson to all who think and behave as though they are mightier than Kilimanjaro. The saddest part is that he brought it all on himself. He and he only was the architect of his downfall and disgrace. The question for history and for posterity is this: how did a military general, a diplomat, a well-regarded citizen of the world, a confidant and adviser to eminent personalities around the world, and a well-referenced former head of state became a domestic and international pariah within a year of leaving office? How, why? I can think of no other situation (within the Black world) where a man of his status self-destructs, this fast. Personally, it brings tears to my eyes.
I cry for Obasanjo much the same way I cry for
Nigerians from all religious, ethnic, economic and social background were falling over one another to be in the President’s good book. They wanted to wine and dine with him. And wine and dine they did. Pastors, Imams, psychics, marabouts, dream merchants, ex this and ex that and ex nothing and the wannabe were all on their knees, on their fours genuflecting. Aso Rock and Otta Farm became circus headquarters. These freaks and vagabonds saw no evil and heard no evil. From 1999 until the summer of 2007, they were dumb and deaf and sissified. Then, two seasons into Yar’Adua’s presidency, things began to change. Suddenly, suddenly, they all seem to have regained their voices and their manhood. Suddenly, suddenly, it is now fashionable to criticize Obasanjo. Suddenly, suddenly, they appeared on the queue — attacking, abusing and vilifying their once great benefactor. They were not men then, they cannot be men now. How shameless!
It is now a badge of honor to rain invectives at a man from whose palm they once ate and drank, a man on whose floor they once slept, a man whose behind they once kissed. How ironic that they all now make Orji Uzor Kalu look like a gallant soldier, like a saint, like a prophet.
I have read many reports pertaining to Obasanjo’s downfall; but none was as poignant as the brief report in the Punch newspaper (Thursday, May 29, 2008), captioned “When Obasanjo, Fashola ignored each other.” The pithy account was accompanied by an evocative picture. According to Punch, “Obasanjo appears to be the favorite whipping horse of everybody these days. His ministers and other political officers who worked with him while in office have dissociated themselves from him…at the burial party of the Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel‘s mother…the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Raji Fashola came in, greeted his Osun State counterpart, Olagunsoye Oyinlola…Sitting side by side with Oyinlola, however, was Obasanjo…the Lagos State governor ignored the ex-president…”
Granted President Olusegun Obasanjo brought it all on himself, still, he deserves to be greeted and approached in a respectful manner. We all know what he is, but as a two time head of government, a military general, a chief among his people, and a grandfather, he should not be abused and disrespected in public the way Babatunde Raji Fashola has done and others are doing. Does the Lagos State Governor have any common sense, any decency? To go into a community of mourners and flagrantly disrespect a man older than his own father is uncalled for. No one should rejoice in Fashola’s imbecility. Come to think of it, is Fashola’s friend, former boss and benefactor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, any better than Odili and Ibori and a thousand other crooked politicians in
It is painful what President Obasanjo and his posse did to