We know Olusegun Obasanjo as the man of power who upon completion of his 8-year ‘democratic’ mandate outsmarted ‘Mr-Fix-It’ Anthony Anenih and took away his chairmanship of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the ruling PDP which he has just recently relinquished voluntarily citing the need for him to concentrate on his international engagements and time for retirement from active service. As a man who likes travelling a whole lot around the world (sometimes in solicited and unsolicited mediations between protagonists in a conflict) OBJ wanted some time to himself in order to concentrate on his hobby of globe-throtting!
We definitely know Gen. Obasanjo who is not afraid to take on any opponent or enemy. We recall his well-publicized spat with another much-hated retired military dictator sometime ago. Firing the first shot as though his image was better nationwide Gen. Ibrahim Babangida had, during his 70th birthday interview, compared his wasteful military regime with that of Obasanjo’s presidency and concluded that OBJ failed given the huge funds that accrued to the national purse. Babangida the ‘Maradona’ was playing the role of a ‘better leader’ than Obasanjo in his always over-inflated ego and warped sense of patriotism and morality.
Obasanjo never wasted time in hitting back at the Minna-based retired despot. He told the world implicitly that Babangida was a “fool at 70!” who should consider any regret at 70 as a regret to the grave! Vintage OBJ. It would be recalled that during the Babangida years of larceny Obasanjo was very critical of IBB and on one occasion he intrepidly dismissed the Babangida regime as a ‘fraud’! Though Babangida through his Special Media Assistant Kazeem Afegbua responded virulently the damage had already been done by the OBJ acerbic attack. Though IBB drew the first ‘blood’ the OBJ ‘cut’ was the deepest!
We do know one Olusegun Obasanjo whose profile and reputation post-presidency has nose-dived. Few years ago as he touched down from an aircraft that brought him back home from one of his global junketing Obasanjo was physically assaulted by a loittering ‘madman’ inside the MMA Airport in Lagos. Blows were delivered to the Owu chief as the so-called insane fellow yelled at him for having failed the nation! That Obasanjo is a disappointment is an understatement; he had promised to fix Nigeria in 1999 after surviving the Abacha gulag but he spectacularly failed to live up to the collective expectation of Nigerians and the world at large.
We know Obasanjo the philanderer who ‘mesmerised’ women of different sizes and shapes during his 8-year presidency. His former wife had detailed in an interesting book how OBJ was a woman beater and a serial womaniser even when he was still in the military. His late wife Stella must have gone to Spain to undergo some surgery to be in a better shape in order to continue appealing sexually to this ‘animal called man’ whose voracious sexual appetite must be satisfied by a resident spouse if only to ward off external amorous adventure. The beautiful Edo-born ex-first lady never returned home as she died hours after the successful operation! OBJ has since moved on with his life; who knows who puts him in a ‘killer mood’ these days now that Stella is no more?
We certainly know OBJ the serial liar; a megalomaniac of a statesman who had on more than one occasion committed perjury in and out of office. After the spectacular failure associated with his third term gambit Olusegun Obasanjo had wanted to re-write history in a poor attempt at revisionism. On more than one occasion and demonstrating a nagging attitude towards duplicity OBJ had sought to deny third term distancing himself from the orchestrated plot that would have put our nascent democracy in jeopardy. If not for the vigilance of Nigerians especially the Nnamani-led Senate and the vibrant local media OBJ would have achieved his third term aim using ‘Ghana-must-go’ politics!
Recently he had told ‘Channels’ TV station in Lagos that he never initiated the bill in the National Assembly that sought to introduce the ill-fated third term. Those he mentioned as a way of giving ‘bone’ to his wild assertion had all come out to say the contrary! Even the Senate President at that time, Ken Nnamani, had spoken out against the OBJ declaration wondering how and why an old man of his status could lie shamelessly. Others had equally excoriated him openly for trying to be more catholic than the Pope!
We know the Ota farmer as a vindictive man who hatched good and bad schemes with equal nasty determination. Recently, he paid an unscheduled visit to the Comrade Governor of Edo State and told reporters in Benin City that he was just passing by and decided to say ‘hello’ to his ‘friend’ Adams Oshiomhole. You would remember how this same Obasanjo used the incumbency PDP rigging machinery to ‘steal’ the guber victory of the ex-labour leader preferring Prof. Osunbor who was later sacked by an appeal court. In politics it is indeed true that there are no permanent enemies but interests and in OBJ’s case politics is nothing but percuniary gains!
We know the old soldier who believes that God is always willing to give a listening ear to his supplications. Obasanjo once insulted the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership dismissing the religious organisation sarcastically as “CAN my foot”! Someone Abubakar Atiku, his former embattled Vice President, once described as a ‘marabout’ with a lot of ‘dark connections’ during their public show of shame and power tussle as OBJ plotted to stop Atiku from the presidential race years ago. While this former Army General claims daily to be communicating with God, hearing from Him and seeking His face in whatever he does, many things about his general state of mind suggest he also worships mammon(s)!
We know Obasanjo the experienced political strategist who ‘disarms’ his opponents with a combination of inducement, intimidation and persecution. When he was in power we do remember how he used the Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC to persecute and prosecute his imaginary and real political opponents sometimes using the anti-fraud agency to execute daring impeachments of elected but rogue Governors. Sometimes, too, during his Aso Rock sojourn OBJ, in the spirit of ‘settlement syndrome’ associated with the Babangida years, would use money – hard currency – to obtain whatever he wanted. His method and tactics, though crude and rude, worked for him so well that he left Aso Rock swimming in good fortunes!
We know OBJ the big looter who cornered millions of dollars and billions of naira as he giddily presided over a nation in search of democratic evolution and socio-economic emancipation. Obasanjo came to power in 1999 a wretched bankrupt high profile prisoner cum president a la Nelson Mandela (surviving the physical and psychological onslaught unleashed on him by the late Kano-born Khalifa) who abused office and stole state funds running into millions of dollars in a democracy that was primitively compromised. Analysts, amazed by the monumental corruption he supervised during his second coming, were almost concluding that he must have engaged in a psychological ‘looting competition’ with IBB. Between these high profile state criminals one is at a loss as to who stole more and did more damage to (the) Nigerian national project.
We know the author of ‘My Command’ as a pseudo-statesman accused by his own son of incest! Given his character and profile most Nigerians believed the side of the story of the son. For a man whose roots are still questionable including his exact date of birth nothing shocks anyone any more whenever such allegations surface; in my Igbo language our people would say: “Oyiri Ihe o ga eme” (it resembles what he can do). Obasanjo’s sexual escapades are perhaps the only area IBB, morally, can claim some superiority.
We know Obasanjo as a hugely divisive figure who believes in divide and rule as a strategic measure of political relevance and dominion. OBJ enjoys the profile
of being the only living Nigerian to have presided over the complicated affairs of this great nation in two different epochs — one as a naive military man and the other as a brave civilian. Like Ibrahim Babangida he knows his country inside out and understands the language of power; OBJ is a master in the art of social networking. If the unity of the country clashed with his interest or ambition OBJ was ready to preach division only to turn around to preach peace and unity after succeeding in his scheme, diabolical or noble!
We know this man loathed by millions of Nigerians and loved by a very few among us as a crafty hypocrite who says one thing and does another thing. Obasanjo remains an old political fox even in retirement. He may not be a ‘flashy’ and charismatic leader in the mould of the bleaching retired military despot in Minna but he knows how to go about achieving whatever he fancies. He may not be or look like a handsome man to many but he executed easy forays into the world of Jezebels and Eves conquering them at will!
We know him, indeed, as a highly controversial figure who used weapons of manipulation, misguided declarations and high-profile comedy to remain visible and relevant in the scheme of things. We remember how he continued to ‘over-heat’ the polity with his public interventions. We cannot forget how he was reported to be ‘using’ President Jonathan to achieve certain desires like the appointment of his stooges and cronies in important state functions.
We know the Ota ‘god’ as the political animal that exploited the health challenges of the late President Yar’Adua for his own selfish immoral interest. He knew the delicate fatal state of health of the late former Katsina state Governor but still went ahead to ‘coronate’ him as his successor against capable hands and presidential materials jostling for the prime position. Besides, he had strategically positioned the current President as the Vice to Yar’Adua probably thinking that in the event of Yar’Adua dying in office the Bayelsa man of plenty goodluck would step in and that was what eventually happened solidifying his eminent position as the powerful godfather and kingmaker.
We know one Olusegun Obasanjo, the “witless comedian” (apology to the Minna-based ‘Maradona’) who often employed theatrics and dry comedy to play down or trivialise significant issues of the day as they affected the nation. In one encounter inside the MMA International Airport in Lagos Obasanjo was dancing away his apparent ‘frustrations’ with reporters as they sought his views on burning state matters. He never pretended to like journalists. And in yet another occasion the former over-bearing President pulled out his mobile phone from his pocket and asked the journalist to show him his own phone!