The Master Dribblers Of Nigerian Politics

If you don’t already know it, it is now crystal clear that the two Generals and former Heads of State of Nigeria believe either rightly or wrongly that they own Nigeria, and that their views on the survival of the fragile country are sacrosanct, and must be accepted by all. The two Generals are two wings of the same bird. The only difference is that one is rough and ready but crude to a fault, while the other is smooth and charismatic but equally vicious. They both share the same goal even though their methods may slightly differ. They are both passionately ambitious, and they already have an unwritten contract to pave the way for each other to be all they wish to be in Nigerian politics regardless of what the rest of the polity may think.

It will be recalled how Babangida has single-handedly mobilized, bankrolled and stage-managed Obasanjo’s return to power in 1999, and again in 2003 by not rocking the boat for Papa Iyabo. The pay back time has already begun in earnest, and only a fool or political novice would not appreciate that the only thing that can now stop IBB from coming back in 2007 is the possibility of Obasanjo, the Houdini of Nigerian Politics staying put to inaugurate the plan to move Nigeria back to the Westminster Parliamentary System with the introduction of the 5 year single term tenure he had once vigorously opposed. He initially opposed the suggestion because the notion had not come from him. Obasanjo sees himself as the only wise man in Nigeria, and the successor of Oduduwa in Yoruba Land. Why? Because he thinks he had dislodged Awolowo from that enviable position because he had succeeded twice going to three times, where Awo had failed. It does not matter how he did it, because to Obasanjo, and many of his cronies, the end justifies the means. Period. He might even think he is even superior to Oduduwa himself because he had twice ruled Nigeria, and he was, at one point in his career, a heartbeat from becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the moral equivalent of the President of the World, if you can accept that.

You can now understand why the Balogun of Owu sometimes feels he now has the whole world at his feet, having gone this far in a country of 120 million. The Prince of the Niger or Minna, on the other hand, shares similar sentiments in his meteoric rise to power in the Military, and he thinks he can anchor and rationalize his future ambition in coming back to power, on the fact that Obasanjo has done it before and he is doing it now, and that only candidates with the Military in their resume can successfully rule Nigeria So why not himself? If he could help Obasanjo in realizing his ambition, it behooves Obasanjo to do the same thing for him, no questions asked.. Unless a Tsunami proportion type of Disaster and the mind-boggling political maneuvering such as the one currently spearheaded by Obasanjo, eventually end up in fiasco, thereby throwing the octopus PDP into total disarray and political wilderness of enormous proportions, the ground is being inevitably prepared for Babangida to become the major beneficiary of the crippling crisis in the PDP. While it is true that the Peoples Democratic Movement founded by the late Musa Y’Ardua could conceivably frustrate the plan, it is doubtful if Atiku Abubakar and PDP Governors loyal to him, have the combined wizardry and staying power of Y’Ardua to emerge a political force to challenge the relics of PDP that Babangida and his ecumenical supporters across the country may have to inherit and work with.

Anybody following the political development in Nigeria, right at this moment, would realize that Obasanjo may well find himself in a situation analogous to that of IBB when he finally saw the merit in stepping aside, preparatory to Earnest Shonekan’s civilian interregnum which had paved the way for the maximum ruler Sanni Abacha. IBB had, so to speak, dribbled himself to oblivion or a cul=de=sac, and he had to relinquish power for a little while which lasted more than he had hoped when it all began. Things just started happening at a pace and sequence that IBB could no longer control until he saw the wisdom in bringing the only Yoruba man the powerful North could trust, back to power straight from prison. Obasanjo was trusted as a compromise choice to take over power because he had done it before in 1976 following the assassination of Murtala Mohammed. He had delivered what he had promised the North on that occasion, and was trusted to do it again.

But the core North including the Middle Belt had now seen in Obasanjo, this time around, a side of him none of them had ever anticipated. He had shown he could dance and dine with you, and stab you the very next moment, if you refuse to dance to his tune, Ghali Na’aba got a little taste of that, just like Chuba Okadigbo and the man who succeeded him as Senate President did. Gamade was not spared as chairman of the Party, and neither was Ekwueme, the founding Chairman of the Party. Even uncle Bola Ige for all his friendship and closeness to Mr. President was not spared. He was not killed with a letter bomb like Dele Giwa, but he still got eliminated using his Security detail as an accomplice. That assassination still remains a jigsaw puzzle till tomorrow just like the death of Dele Giwa still remains a mystery because Mr. President dared not release the Report to the Public. It is now Audu Ogbe’s turn, and the man had been eased out with a gun to his head. How long Atiku remains as the number two to this cabal still remains to be seen. Ngige’s electoral fraud in Anambra has remained an albatross, and political assassinations in Nigeria may have irredeemably damaged this President and his regime beyond repair.

It can be seen from this analysis that both Obasanjo and Babangida are two of a kind with minor differences in the way and manner they operate. They are both master dribblers, but their football is Nigeria and her people as recently opined by Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, the retired pioneer Bishop of the Anglican Communion Diocese of Akure. That masterpiece of an article has said it all with quotations lifted from the Scriptures to back up everything he has said. He had warned Mr. President that a million Benny Hinn cannot atone for the sins of our leaders who are constantly using God’s name in vain, while they regularly and persistently ruin our country. The respected cleric has drawn no distinction among most of our military leaders including our current President. The two that stand out in that analysis are profiled as the two wings of the same bird in this article. They are Obasanjo and Babangida. May God save Nigeria. Amen.

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