The Verdict of History and Posterity

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

As the Obasanjo presidency comes to a close one wonders what his response would be if faced with John F. Kennedy’s word: “When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us — recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state — our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions: Were we truly men of courage? Were we truly men of judgment? Were we truly men of integrity? Were we truly men of dedication?” In this regard, history and posterity will judge him harshly.

Everything that could and should be said about President Obasanjo and his presidency has been said, and written. And everything that has been said and written about him can be summed up in one simple sentence: he was incompetent and vengeful; he was a failure, a disappointment, a waste and a drag on our national interest and collective goal. It is difficult, if not outright impossible to look at him, think of him, talk about him or write about him and be charitable or benevolent towards him. He is that kind of a man — a man who made no contribution to the welfare and wellbeing of the state and the people.

For decades into the future, the state and the people will continue to suffer from the pain, the willful miscalculations, and the unprofessional conduct he personifies. Decades into the future the people will continue to suffer because of the systematic looting of public treasury, the mismanagement of public resources, the soiling of institutions, and the personalization of law and order. Something else: how he managed to best his ardent critics is beyond me; how he managed to outfox the intelligentsia is beyond words; and how he managed to pacify an otherwise restless military establishment will someday be the talk of historians and tale weavers.

It is men like Obasanjo who makes valid the saying, “assassination may be good and necessary in order to change the course of history.” Regrets abound in that regard.

Countries smaller and bigger than Nigeria have been able to successfully conduct local and national elections that are, for the most part, free and free and acceptable — but not so for Nigeria. Obasanjo and his posse just had to cheat their opponents; they just have to deny the citizens their constitutional rights; they just have to steal the votes and impose themselves on the people. Illegality, criminality and iniquity have become the hallmark of this president and his presidency. How do you have a government without the expressed mandate and support of the majority of the people?

If this president and his people were bent on denying Nigerians their rights, why pretend, why waste time and effort and resources on kangaroo elections. This Obasanjo scheme is nothing but a coup d’eta guised as election. Coups allow for equal opportunity at power, we might as well just engage in coups and countercoups instead of this Obasanjo charade and deception. As things are, the post May 2007 government — at both the local, state and national level — would be nothing but illegal governments, governments in power against the wishes, support and mandate of the people.

Legitimacy is a problem most African governments faces. In 1999 and again in 2003, Obasanjo assumed power illegally. Consequently, the legitimacy and acceptance question was always hovering around his head. He took something that didn’t belong to him. He stole power. Today, Obasanjo and his group are making sure that Nigeria remain in that column as the incoming government of Yar’Adua and Jonathan Goodluck will also be illegitimate. It will lack popular support. It will lack the mandate of the people. The Yar’Adua-Goodluck government will have its root and foundation in illegality, immorality and fraudulence.

The history of Olusegun Obasanjo, since 1999, has been a history of disloyalty to our nation and our collective cause. He swore to uphold the law, but turned out to be a serial oath breaker. No one will ever know how many Nigerians were assassinated under his watch. No one will ever know how much was stolen or misappropriated under his watch. No one will ever know how many times the law was broken, and how many times the constitution was shredded into pieces. And indeed, no one will ever know the extent to which he has damaged our country. History may yet record that Obasanjo caused more harm than the evil genius (Babangida) and the butcher (Abacha) combined.

Obasanjo seem to be in a class all by himself: he raped the country, killed our collective spirit, vandalized our institutions, made a fool of all the men and women who fought for our independence, legitimized corruption, and then succeeded in imposing the post-May 2007 government on the people. One man did all these to our country? My goodness, one aging and senile and not so smart individual committed all these atrocities? In eight shorts years, how was one single individual able to do all these? How was he able to bring his critics, foes and enemies to their knees? How was he able to get away with sacking and vandalizing all the things we treasure? How was he able to make cowards of otherwise courageous men and women?

And to think he is getting away with murder and treason? Through it all, President Olusegun Obasanjo has not been a man of courage or of stellar reputation? And he can not be considered a man of judgment or of integrity. And yes, he was dedicated; but he was only dedicated to the absurd and to the iniquitous. In this and other regard therefore, history and posterity will judge him harshly.

History will not be kind to him at all. Oh no! History and posterity will remember him as a man who wasted his life and who also misspent opportunities he had to make positive difference in the lives of others. History and posterity will hiss and curse and spit on his name whenever and wherever he is mentioned. But until the verdict of history descend on him, he is likely to live the rest of his days in isolation: abandoned by friends and rejected by critics. The irony in all of these is this: he had the chance to be a national hero; he had the chance to engrave his good name in the hearts and minds of Nigerians. But he wasted it all. And so Obasanjo will never be thought of as being in the same class as Zik and Awo and Balewa and other shining stars of yesteryears. He is five stairs below them. A mediocre! Sad isn’t it? But his is a sadness brought on him by himself.

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Michael April 25, 2007 - 6:12 pm

uniben82; It is difficult to take responsibility for our actions when America says it will do anything to protect It’s interests world wide.

The Iraqis took responsibility for their actions by living a peaceful existence under Saddam, until America decided to protect it's interest in Iraq. This is the same America that went to bed with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war.

America also tried to protect it's interest in Libya, and thank God for the strong will of Ghaddafi they could not get to the oil for decades. Now the price of oil has gone through the roof and America has decided to go to bed with Libya. If the west cares so much about Nigeria (albeit Africa), they should give Ribadu a list of all Nigerian politicians with fat foreign bank accounts filled with stolen funds. If the west cares about Nigerians they should force "equal opportunity" employment for Nigerians within the big oil companies in the Delta. If the west gives a hoot about the plight of the people of Nigeria they should force the media to stop the propaganda in the news about Africa. Go to, check out the African section; you find words like "poverty", "fraud", "disease", "famine", "burns" just to mention a few. Today's (04-25-07) big picture is that of an Ape, as if there are no Apes in the western hemisphere!!! The Nigeria you and I know is a place full of tradition, kids going to school, playing soccer, and visiting the zoos to learn about nature. If the west wants to help Africa, they should level the playing field for African farmers. We don't need millions of dollars in aid when they know that some of our leaders have billions of stolen dollars in their banks!!! We don't need the western style of democracy, when you and I both know it is just an offshoot of our notion of Kings, chiefs e.t.c. We absolutely don't need them to tell us that the last election was a charade, we know that.

If Nigeria runs out of oil today they would not give a hoot about what goes on in that country let alone send an observer to "validate" an election.

It's all about the OIL my broda!

While you are pondering this, check out this url and tell me what’s wrong with this dude?

uniben82 April 25, 2007 - 4:32 pm


Maybe I’ve been missing something all my life. Tell me, at what point in time do we begin to take responsibility for our actions? At what juncture do we stop blaming the west for the problems in Africa? Bob Marley once sang, "emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds." Take a closer look at some of the real issues that are of greater concern to the average Nigerian who currently lives in Nigeria. Who deserves to be in the hot seat for the deplorable quality of life of a great majority of our people? Our leadership figures who are only interested in fattening their wallets or the West? Regurgitating a narrow-minded, regressive, and washed-out train of thought reminiscent of the blame game in the US, gets us no where mi amigo!

Michael April 24, 2007 - 4:32 pm

I too am grateful to Obasanjo for forcing Yar 'Adua on us rather than letting the other lawless thieves (Buhari and Atiku especially) rule us. I think in doing so Obasanjo has inadvertently appointed someone that is truly going to make a difference. This is my gut feeling. I think we should all give Yar 'Adua a chance to show us what he is made of. I just have this feeling (maybe hope) that Yar 'Adua is going to stun all critics and make the money grabbing thieves run into hiding for their dear lives.

Just take another look at the pool of the current “selected” presidential candidates, I personally think Mr Yar 'Adua is the best person to rule this great nation at this time.

(This is someone most of the people think of without evoking the word “corrupt”!!!)

Buhari had his chance when he “armed and robbed” his way into government in the past and he did nothing for the country. Atiku on the other hand is just a petty thief.

History has it that the Western World DOES NOT have our best interest at heart.

History also has it that the Western World DOES NOT want the free African.

We need to question their motives, now that they are so worried about Yar 'Adua’s nomination.

The noise the west is making now makes me wonder why they did not sound this loud of an alarm in the past when we had gun totting bastards take over the state coffers.

Let’s give Yar 'Adua a chance to prove everyone wrong.

Do not let the west take us for a ride again by installing another agent to rule us!

May God Bless Nigeria.

prince kennedy Iyoha April 24, 2007 - 4:24 pm

Dr. Sabella.

How are you managing your stay in our dear country, and witnessing first hand the entire excises

As I read the news about development in the Nigeria electoral process, I expected to read your article soon. And here you come with a bombshell. I do not agree with your analyses of Mr President, and I strongly believe that this administration has done more for the stability, integrity and prosperity of this Nation called Nigeria, than any other administration in our history. Before the coming of this administration, the entity called Nigeria, was sitting on a crag of Bomb waiting for the right time to explode, but this administration had diffused this tension, and put the country back to a road of progress and unity. Rather than the north boning, killing and destroying properties of southerner’s resident in the north, after elections like we use to know in our country, what we sew in this exercise was the north struggling to find its feet. The awhile cooperation within the people of the North have been broken. It was this same administration that had the courage to reshuffle the very powerful Nigeria army that was dominated by the northern elites, and the same, break the back born of what use to be known and called the Kaduna mafias. In the area of Economy, this administration has given a better definition to the economic structure of our country, and has helped to pay the external dept own to the international community for a very long-time. In the area of communication, we are having a people better informed then ever, and every Nigerian is reachable through the G.M.T systems. What this administration has achieved is uncountable, and will help this country began it’s fase of development soon. I am also convinced that giving the baton of power to shehu musa yar adua was the best that could have happened to our political process, and with Mr Jonathan as the v.p, the Niger delta problem should be better handled.

Chi April 24, 2007 - 1:50 pm


You gave Obasanjo too much credit when you wrote " But his is a sadness brought on him by himself"

If he is sad about anything, it is for the fact that he could not force himself on the people for a third time.

One can be thankful to Obasanjo for giving Nigerians the opportunity to redeem themselves. The way we react to his brazen disregard and disrespect for our people will be the true reflection of who we are as a people.

I am thankful to Obasanjo for having the foresight of appointing the likes of Soludo, Rufai, Ezekwesili, Akunyili, Nenadi, Okonjo. They have built an economic and structural framework on which this country can take off.

I am thankful to Obasanjo for openly rigging this election and embarrassing our people. By doing this, he has created the framework for Nigerians to express themselves as a people who would not tolerate such brazen thievery.

I am grateful to Obasanjo for challenging us as a people when he tried to force himself upon us for a thrid time. By doing that, he built the framework through which our people rejected him out rightly.

I am grateful to Obasanjo for attempting to obfuscate our constitution when he declared the seat of the vice presidency vacant. By doing that, he gave our judiciary the framework to prove itself.

All said, I am honestly grateful to Obasanjo for he has created a framework on which we as a people can proudly reject wrong and blaze a trail of glory.

Long live Nigeria. May the struggle continue!


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