Why President Yar’Adua Should Cut Obasanjo Loose Now

by Uche Nworah

Loyalty is always a good thing as long as you are the person being expected to give it. The mere thought that somebody somewhere is having sleepless nights, turning and shoving and worrying himself sick because he does not know which side of the bed you will wake up from the next morning which may significantly swing your mood and actions is enough to make one feel like the village butcher or fish monger with the lone fish or isi ewu (goat head) on offer. With his butcher’s knife and conning mind, he knows that the operators of the local bukas will dig their hands very deep inside the cash aprons tied around their big bosoms if they want to go home with the day’s remnant or catch.

No matter how small the butcher’s knife may be, he presides over such little but enlightening life exchanges and moments like an emperor of old Rome. Even if he may have promised the fair complexioned customer standing to his left the haul after the previous night’s illicit dalliance, but still if he goes ahead to swing his conscience in favour of the captivating smile and promise of new pleasures by the up and coming village belle standing to his right, the heavens would not fall. It wouldn’t be the first, or the last of such Machiavelli – inspired great betrayals. The butcher does not even need a knife as thick and short as that of Brutus to announce or confirm his authority because most importantly, he has the most-sought-after goods to die for.

We all know about political godfathers and tin-gods; we also do know the stories of Brutus and Ngige. Give a primary two or three pupil a pencil and a five Naira note and ask him or her to spell political loyalty, what you will get in return will be as good and as valuable as the Nigerian currency in which he/she studiously scribbled the nonsense on. This is what Nigerian President Umar Yar’Adua (UMYA) should bear in mind as he tries to untangle himself from the Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) web.

I am deeply surprised that Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Onwa, the former governor of Anambra state is not featuring in the many lists ‘toing’ and ‘froing’ between Aso Rock and the National Assembly. Not that i expected the incumbent governor Peter Obi to give him the Anambra slot which has since been filled, but still a man like Ngige, a political survivor and expert in the act of disobeying political agreements, both written, unwritten and sworn to by Ifa, Ogwugwu, Okija, Bible etc should be the type of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters you would expect Umar Yar’Adua to be making. The president would need such help as he enters into the various agreements with the opposition parties in the now much touted GNU – government of national unity while also trying to balance the demands of his pact with Obasanjo.

President Umar Yar’Adua will be living in the Aso Rock fool’s paradise if he doesn’t already know that daggers are drawn, mines laid and traps set waiting for him to make one false move, these need not happen during the Ides of March, we are still in the month of July and March is still a long way far off.

The first rule of the political game is political survival. It is never over and the battle carries on for as long as one has in his possession the prized trophy desired by both friends and foe.

In Umar Yar’Adua’s case, he has ridden on the coat tails of OBJ and has now arrived at his ultimate political destination, but one need not be a star gazer to see that both OBJ the godfather and UMYA the godson are strange political bedfellows. UMYA always has, and still casts the impression of a trespasser; someone who sleep – walked himself into the Aso Rock party. His rings like one of those weird feelings; there you are minding your own business in your sleepy Katsina village, trying to come to terms with the royalty you have been privileged to be born into, and what happens next? You suddenly go to sleep, wake up and find yourself in the eye of the political storm.

But this is no longer a game, neither is it a dream anymore, the president must realise that it is reality. He is now the President of Nigeria, Black Africa’s most populous nation, and the 6th largest oil producer in the world. Government has got to run he should know, hence he should see the Baba-go-slow nickname as a bad omen.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his cabinet within a day of taking over at 10 Downing Street, we are almost going into our second month of handover in Nigeria and we are not any where knowing who is in the government’s cabinet. All fingers so far point to Otta farms for the delay in announcing key political appointments, and to its land lord, a certain Olusegun Obasanjo the erstwhile president, but the new president must now cut OBJ loose. Chris Ngige would have advised him as much.

What exactly would Yar’Adua lose if he does? Not much. The last presidential elections have shown that Nigeria’s former presidents do not have the power and influence that Nigerians ascribe to them; if they did Ibrahim Babangida would have been occupying the top seat at Aso Rock at this time instead of the incumbent. Also retired General Muhammad Buhari would have had a pop at the seat as well, rather than waste his time trawling the courts and election tribunals in search of elusive justice.

These guys (our past leaders) are mortals too, agreed they may have a few quid more than the rest of us in their bank accounts but they are really nothing outside of office. The Igbos have a proverb that goats only run after the man carrying palm fronds. President UMYA should wake up to the realisation that he is now the President and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces of Nigeria. The buck stops at his table.

OBJ is an old man, almost in his eighties and should be worrying more about his prescribed medications now than on state matters. UMYA should know that OBJ has now become a political baggage, and there is only one fate that awaits people like him – the cut.

A master of betrayal himself, not many would mourn such an act; rather many would rejoice that OBJ has been dealt with the same hand with which he served his political opponents in his days in charge.

After this, perhaps the incumbent may wish to close ranks with his Northern political brothers, the Atikus and Buharis outside the party level to see if they would grant him a moment’s respite to govern Nigeria. Pursuing populist policies such as road construction and infrastructural development may help in winning the people over, it does work and Chris Ngige would have counselled same as well.

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