Obasanjo’s Letter: Between Message And Messenger

Obasanjo’s Letter: Between Message And Messenger

Nigeria News takes a look at the Obasanjo’s letter, the former president’s past and the message he conveys.

 

The list of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s atrocities is endless, including his term as military Head of State between 1976 and 1979.

 

Obasanjo’s government was marred with impunity and corruption for eight years. He escaped impeachment but never succeeded in his third term agenda.

 

He could not account for $16 billion spent on power without result and refused to appear before the Senate and House of Representatives to explain how the fund was wasted.

 

He lured all the Peoples Democratic Party’s governors into donating to his Obasanjo’s presidential library; the taxpayers’ money but created the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to waylay those against his government.

 

He used his office to remove governors through purported impeachment by the state house of assembly. A good example was Oyo State Governor, Rasheed Ladoja in which eight out of over 20 state lawmakers impeached a sitting governor.

 

He declared the state of emergency in Plateau State and used the opportunity to push aside Governor I. Dariye as he did to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.

 

Obasanjo for eight years refused to release the Lagos State Government fund throughout its eight years tenure, even when the Supreme Court ordered him to do so. He shunned the court order at will.

 

Under his nose, the Niger Delta militancy grew and flourished but he ensured that the Odi community in Bayelsa state was brought down by the soldiers. He later pacified Bayelsa by singlehandedly picking Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President to late President Umoru Yar’Adua.

 

All these and many others happened under Obasanjo. However, he did some good things by ensuring that the country foreign debt was almost erased. He inaugurated the GSM for Nigeria and stabilized the country’s economy, which was on the verge of collapse.

 

Obasanjo met the price of crude oil per barrel at about $9 but with the foresight of the expertise in his cabinet, the government revamped the economy.

 

Before Obasanjo came back to power, he had always been critical of successive governments, including the only civil regime of President Shehu Shagari. He was always loud until the former despot, late Sani Abacha arrested and jailed him over alleged coup d’état.

 

Since he left Aso Villa in 2007, Obasanjo had written three strong letters to warn those who succeeded him about the impending doom of a country due to the methods of the leaders.

 

May Obasanjo not write a letter to us. He wrote to Yar’adua, Jonathan and the current one is to Buhari.

 

And each time Obasanjo writes, the issues raised are always on the front pages of newspapers. His letters are always timely, calculated and factual.

 

However, it had always come with strong replies from stakeholders, including his daughter, Dr Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.

 

Recalled that Bello lambasted her father over the letter to Jonathan, describing him as a pretender and man living a double life. She made Nigerians realized that her father was not a saint and should not be listened to. Perhaps because she was benefitting from Jonathan government then.

 

As at yesterday, Bello’s letter against his father was trending from the archive until she quickly released a press statement to throw her weight behind the recent one written to Buhari.

 

She declared that events had since overtaken her former letter to his father but that the recent one written to Buhari revealed some salient issues that President Muhamadu Buhari must urgently address.

 

This could be interesting, and if one must conclude, Nigerians are not forgetful as many had thought, Nigerians can easily forgive.

 

If I may ask, who is better between Obasanjo and Buhari. Is it a Buhari who was a dictator between 1983 and 1985; who used decrees to destroy public administration system; who arrested and detained almost all political elites that are saints? A man who was the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Funds and billions of dollars disappeared during Sani Abacha regime. Yet he came back in 2015 and Nigerians voted for him despite his shortcomings.

 

Obasanjo like Buhari is not a saint but what Nigerians and Nigeria need now is not who say what but what it is said. It is the message but not the messenger.

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