Third Term Politics: Dear Segun, Dear Sunday

by Banjo Odutola

Dear Sunday,

I saw your widely publicised letter. I am unsure what to make of many issues raised in it, but from time to time, as we engage in correspondence up to May 2007 – I shall deal with several points that passage of time and a better perspective shall assist me with.

It is pleasing to note that you are much improved, health-wise. Otherwise – I cannot understand why you would have taken time to write a letter for which, ordinarily, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode would have abused you, to give a sample of his ill-mannered public service. I note you anticipate such may happen. You wrote: “Well, in spite of recent events, I am still foolhardy enough to risk offending them and offending you by telling you the truth. My friend; and I do not write so, wantonly – don’t worry! Sunday, you know we come a long way. Let me put your mind at rest. Where you are concerned, I have instructed Mr. Fani-Kayode who engages his mouth before his head – not to exercise his own freedom of speech.

Generally, I do not see the need for uproar when he is acerbic beyond reason and on my behalf. He exercises his freedom which he is free, so to do. Regardless that I claim to be a born-again Christian; and Charity to others ought to be my hallmark – it does not matter; or does it? Did you see how the other day, the boy said he could not die for anybody; and when the story was published – in no time, he changed his tune. He is now prepared to die for me. Is that what you mean by: “With a few exceptions, most of the people around you dread you. The law they obey is the law of survival in office no matter the cost. They cannot tell you the truth.”

I thought wiser to respond because no matter what separates us – you remain dear to my heart, too. I am grateful for your prayers. I shall do the same for your health. Anyway, I am praying to our heavenly Father who is not a God of abandoned projects on some matters concerning me and our country, Nigeria. I will make known my own announcement when I am ready; and not before that time. Thank you!

When, I prayed to seek mandate as leader of my political party and president of our nation – I heard from God. Others rigged elections in 2003. All I need to do now, is to indicate the coast is clear; others will fulfil my wishes. What I have done before – I can do again. I am not admitting to plans of overstaying beyond 2007 as I am still uncertain of support from the duo of Bush and Blair. Locally, the support is there. Have you heard Yobe State Governor? It was reported that Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim proclaimed “no individual or groups and political parties in the country can stop Obasanjo from achieving the term agenda.Guardian Newspaper (22nd April 2006), which reported the governor said:“…some governors and legislators were against third term because they did not want the country to develop, noting that socio-economic reforms in the banking, agriculture, oil and gas sectors were capable of repositioning the economy.”;He cited implementation of economic reforms in the banking, agriculture, oil and gas sectors of the economy, achievements in the telecommunication sector, cancellation of $18 billion foreign debts, economic liberalisation and monetisation in the public service and the building of eight power stations at the cost of $3.25billion as unparalleled achievement by the president” The governor is not yet done. Also, he “… added that Obasanjo was not only detribalised but very patriotic in moving the country forward, in spite of the political and religious differences he had with other governors and legislators” Consider what else he said of: …the building of hydro-electric power stations at Mambilla and Zungeru to supply 6,000 megawatts of electricity was one of the reasons for the people in the Northeast and Northwest zone supporting the adoption of third term.” The governor added for measure that “at the state level, the people of Yobe were also supporting the President for a third term, because the N8 billion spent by the state on three federal roads would be refunded to the state government. Similarly, the proposed construction of 330 KV line to Bauchi, Damaturu, Gombe and Maiduguri was one of the reasons the people in the Northeast sub region were willing to support the President and their governors to go for a third term in office.”

Who else in Nigeria can the Governor speak of like that? Surely, you were not referring to Flatterers like the ANPP Governor of Yobe State when you wrote: “What the vast majority of Nigerians and particularly the knowledgeable, experienced, patriotic lovers and leaders of our country have felt increasingly in the last seven years are mostly silent bewilderment, unbelief, deep pain and sorrow for you and for our country rather than just futile anger. They are embarrassed to see their once beloved leader waddling naked on the national and international stage while flatterers praise his robes as being more resplendent than those of the biblical King Solomon.

Sunday, now you see – the governor is one of my men. I have supporters in Yobe State – even though, I am still waiting for God to decide. You know me, well – as you intimated. I do not forget those who support me when I need their assistance. Whether they remain my friends after my objectives are achieved is another issue. Sunday, I am no more a soldier. I am a politician. I am the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am wise enough to know that friendship is not permanent; only interests are. Do not forget, I have to survive in this place. It is not only those who surround me that need to survive. I have to, myself.Heaven knows who may want to treat me again, like General Sani Abacha. I swear for as long as I live – no one will ever overreach me in the way that man dealt with me. If I remain in charge – no one can. Mind you, I have not admitted to another term. I am still waiting to hear from God.

Imagine some of Senators planned granting me life-long immunity. What an Infra indignitatem? At least you would expect a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is familiar with basic tenets of Constitution Law: that no parliament can bind a future one. For the idea of life-long immunity to be brought up, at all – that should convince you of the quality of our Senate; and how easy, it is for me to get what I want. God will give whatever, I ask. Whatever!

Why did you have to trumpet your Christianity? Sunday, don’t try that with me, again. Nobody beats me in the game of involving God in everything. I understand our people well enough. Call the name of God on just about anything – no one cares whether it is blasphemous; it is a permit to cover incompetence and immorality. That is how we play it around here. Okay? Once, I introduce the name of God into what I want – so what, I swore to uphold the Constitution; and it is to be amended for my benefit? Leave interpretation of the law to the Courts, which my administration respects when it suits our purpose. Remember how my Party Chairman describes the Courts and Justice Administration in our country? I know in a civilized nation – such a man has no place in public se

rvice. He is unfit for Party political office. I need him. He is better on my side – at least for now. I do not need to remind you of our Yoruba adage that roughly translates: the cane used on the older wife is kept away for the younger one. See, the political careers of his predecessors are in ashes. Like you said of me and those that have assisted me – just wait and watch when I decide on Col. Ahmadu Alli (Rtd). His time will come.

I note your observation of: “The way the third term project was conceived in brazen deceit and contempt for all decency, and the ruthless methods being used to force feed it into an unwilling populace by intimidation, blackmail and all manners of corruption, are in complete contradiction to your administration’s sermons on integrity, transparency and accountability. They are immoral. They are irreligious.” You may be right on this one. When I approved this Ahmadu Alli as pro tem and finally National Chairman – I had forgotten his notoriety as Commissioner of Education and the riots his decisions brought about. May be he lacks skills in persuasion as a leader. Okay. I will find him a trainer. We have a lot to do before May 2007. Perhaps, if I had installed someone else – such a person could have persuaded the nation. Now you confuse me. Again, I note your concern; and promise to deal with the matter.

In responding to your letter – it may be argued that I admit various charges and advices, therein. Yes; a few, make sense; many do not. I will not waste precious time laying down the distinction. I do not take kindly to your reference: “Both of us are over 70, i.e., the biblical three score and ten.” I ask you to speak for yourself. Did you read that interview between my son, the Doctor, Gbenga, and that boy in New-York? What is his name again? Mr. Omoyele Sowore. I have a few comments on that interview; and shall not provide them all, in this letter.

Gbenga disappointed me with his behaviour of referring to my age. You have done the same. Sunday, please leave references to my age out of future letters. Before you know it, some of those boys at the National Assembly will seek to impeach me on grounds of age. I have served this nation meritoriously; and no one made an issue of my age, in the past.

Let me digress a little. Have you read the latest of what Mr. Sowore who hounds my ministers, family, friends and associates posted on the internet? He claims I am planning to go on a spending spree; and my American associates stand to benefit. I can well imagine many of our people in America will now be interested in my friends’ businesses. Remember how the same boy had reported Mr. Carl Masters intonated his disapproval when questioned about the Library being built on my behalf. Agreeable, Mr. Masters will not dare give such a response in his own country – what the heck, this is Nigeria. Anyway, I just hope those busybodies will not trouble my Atlanta connections. Just leave them alone; and let us make Nigeria great while I forever remain the president. You should know that I care a lot about my overseas friends.

Space does not allow me to deal with your letter properly. I trust you will respond to this one, whilst I contemplate other issues raised in yours. My friend, times are exciting back home. Get well soon; and come back to join hands with me. Always remember that you are as old as you feel. As for me – I dey Kampe.

Yours sincerely,

Segun – a.k.a Baba Iyabo.

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