Jonathan And Obasanjo, The Sequel By Lanre Etti
Ever since former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ‘leaked to the media’ (baba wrote at the bottom of the letter that the limit of sharing of the contents may be extended as time goes on), it has been a flurry of opinions and diverse expressions from far and wide. There have been knocks and props for baba iyabo, while some praised him for summoning the courage to speak out; others like Femi Falana lambasted the ‘repentant’ Obasanjo for hypocrisy and having the “habit of exploiting the frustrations and disenchantment of the people to become emergency heroes”. This will not come as a surprise to the Balogun of Owu. He aptly said in the controversial letter that he is ready for any backlash.
If GEJ and his aides were to be wise and tactical, this should be a time of sober reflection because, two prominent Nigerians (Tambuwal and Obasanjo) made storming assessment of President Jonathan’s administration. But rather than look inwards for possible change, they attack the personalities rather than address the message, they ignore the point that is being made, which clearly shows, that they got the job simply to attack any one that dares critique the Jonathan government. But what baffles me is that, do they want Nigerians to keep silent and not make any contribution to the way they are governed? Or they simply want us to feign ignorance, while our fate is being decided? Or they want to have a repeat of the Berlin Conference of 1884, where Africa was partitioned without any contributions from Africans? Because they seem to loathe any form of advice for the Jonathan presidency, as if the governance starts and ends in Aso rock, or perhaps they think they are running a perfect government.
I am concerned about Obasanjo’s letter to Goodluck Jonathan, because Obasanjo has been on that seat, not once but twice, which puts him in the best position to fully discern the situation in the country. People might criticize Obasanjo for being the catalyst to the bad situation that we are, as a nation. But however bad as it maybe, Obasanjo’s assertions cum allegations should not be totally discarded. The man is visibly remorseful, and he doesn’t want a repeat of the transgressions under Obasanjo years, that is why he is bent on making some corrections ‘before it is too late’.
As a former president, Obasanjo’s privileged access to first hand information cannot be underestimated, therefore, his allegation that Jonathan’s clandestine training of snipers, should be an issue of national security, and it must not be treated with levity or swept under the carpet like the Oduah gate.
Save for his insincerity and penchant for arbitrarily pulling down political antagonists and his lack of affection for the Nigerian masses, Obasanjo would have been the best President Nigeria ever had. Providence presented him with the opportunity but he missed it. Like Mandela, Obasanjo came out of prison to be Nigeria’s democratically elected President, but these two men are miles apart in all ramifications.
During Obasanjo’s administration, Nigerians felt the presence of a leader at the helm, (even though today’s problems were similarly perpetrated then) unlike now when some things might make one wonder, if the nation is on auto pilot.
It is disheartening to note that if Jonathan can neglect the one of the most detailed letters ever been written to him, then there is no hope, not only for the weak, but also for the strong, not only for the poor but also for the rich. If Jonathan doesn’t get it right, we may all be doomed.
Apparently avowing from experience, in the letter, Obasanjo begged Jonathan to “please be wary of assistants, aides and collaborators who look for enemies” for him. I believe he is clearly referring to Okupe, Abati and co. I wonder if Jonathan who had no shoes then, now has no ears, to listen to the cries and agonies of Nigerians.
What should be of concern to Jonathan is that for Obasanjo, who was a feared and towering figure as a president, to complain about political lobbyist, then there is fire on the mountain. Let alone Jonathan, who lacks all essential attributes of a leader, and who constantly exudates his weaknesses, by deploying state apparatuses against his perceived enemies. I sometimes ask myself, if this Goodluck, whom Amaechi has excruciated for a long time, can successfully lead a state, as a governor.
Coming to Reuben Abati, it is just a matter time; he will soon be back to his old self as a journalist, albeit, richer and more connected. By now, he must be gathering manuscripts already in anticipation for a book launch, (like Segun Adeniyi) to explain his side of the ‘behind the scene” of the Jonathan government. Amazingly, some presidential aides like Abati, are so unprofessional to the extent that they devote time to respond to all comments directed at their principal. I doubt if they will reply me, probably because I’m not Lai Mohammed or Tony Momoh or some spokesperson of an opposing party. Reuben Abati, Ahmed Gulak, Doyin Okupe and co should take a cue from the fate that befell former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondooaka, who said all sorts of jargons during the times of late, President Yar’adua, but where is he today? These men should have this at the back of their mind that they cannot be in that office forever.
Given US President, Barack Obama’s speech at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, when he said “There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality”. This is a clarion call to African leaders to deliver dividends of democracy.
President Jonathan should not rebuff, especially where Obasanjo said “The man with whose head coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit”, this is a direct warning to Jonathan that, when the day of reckoning comes, people around him may disappear, and he will be left alone… Posterity will only curse Goodluck Jonathan, and not necessarily Bamanga Tukur, or Edwin Clark.
A word is enough for the wise.