It is being rumored in many circles in Nigeria and beyond that our elder statesman, Tony Enahoro and Mr. President may yet kiss and make up their so much talked about differences on the proposed National Conference to “mend” or to “end” the political structure of Nigeria as we know it today. I guess you can say Obasanjo is for mending the structure here and there, without necessarily tinkering with the fundamentals while Enahoro and his MNR and his PRONARCO progressives and associates across the country and beyond, are for ending the very flawed structure or reshaping it altogether to drastically address some of the endemic problems within the structure that have held Nigeria’s progress to ransom since Independence and currently. In Politics, everything is possible. No permanent enemy or friend, there is only a permanent interest. This could well be one of them.
I have just finished reading the very insightful analysis by Professor Mobolaji Aluko where he has done a very interesting comparative analysis of the track record of Enahoro and Obasanjo, as two Nigerian leaders with diametrically opposed views on that structure and the logistics for making it better for our country and all her people. The Professor has opined in his brilliant article, that Tony Enahoro might be tempted to take the bait offered by Obasanjo, but ought to do so with some circumspection, iron-clad conditionality and guarantees, if the old man is not to go down to his grave regretting what should have been his last hurrah in the political configuration of a country to which he has given so much. I see that as an advice the great Adolo of Uromi ought to seriously consider in responding to the Obasanjo invitation or accepting the Greek Gift or the legendary Trojan horse. I say that because of Obasanjo’s history and profile to frequently and seemingly make up with an opponent, offer him a false sense of security, to later sock it to him at the nick of time.
There is no question in my mind that both Obasanjo and Enahoro passionately love Nigeria and certainly want the best for our country. But Obasanjo is much more for the status quo than Enahoro ever was, or could ever be, because he, Obasanjo, has been a veritable product of that status quo from the get go, and could not, at this point in his life and career, do otherwise. There are just too many vested interest he needs to preserve and too many “IOUs” and “quid pro quo” to always remember.
Obasanjo probably had the PDP chairmanship scenario or “modus operandi” in mind before flying the kite to have Chief Enahoro abandon some of his long held positions and convictions on the National Conference to, all of a sudden, embrace or toe Obasanjo’s well known positions on how to restructure Nigeria with all his caveat for the “no go” areas. The chairman of the conference is only one person with one vote. If the push comes to shove, he can easily be sidelined or removed by majority vote of the delegates he is supposed to preside over. He has to go by majority vote any way, and he would not be allowed a veto power on their deliberations which is understandable. The “Ghana must go” bags as predicted by Reuben Abati in another article on the proposed National Conference, will also be making the rounds among the delegates as usual in a very corrupt country like ours.
So removing a chairman that refuses to play ball or follow the presidential and the power brokers script to the letter, would be a foregone conclusion. Obasanjo has perfected many such coups as President against younger and more agile opponents within his Party including his latest casualty, Audu Ogbe, and he would have no problems at all kicking the butt of the old fire brand, and perhaps prematurely sending him to his grave. I believe that Obasanjo, in wanting to make Enahoro as the chairman, is like trying a Maradona on the late Tai Solarin when the great IBB had induced Tai from retirement to be chairman of the People’s Bank. That was also a smart move for Mr. President to project himself as the consummate team player, consensus builder, and statesman who is willing to compromise and defer to an opponent, all in the interest of the Nation.
The offer is a win-win situation for the President, if you really think about it. It is Chief Enahoro and his associates that need to think long and hard, on how they must respond to this Greek gift or double bind. This is only an opinion. I could be wrong. But only time can tell.