Abimbola Adelakun: Obasanjo is my Man of the Year

by Abimbola Adelakun

Former-President-Olusegun-Obasanjo-600x450

Jonathan owes Obasanjo a lot of thanks for allowing him to play a defensive game. If only the letter had been written by someone with credibility!

Up till three weeks ago, my shortlist for Man of The Year 2013 was a dead-heat betwixt the irrepressible faux-history academician, Femi Fani-Kayode, and the zero-sum All Progressives Congress.

Fani-Kayode was in the lead for his jarring role in the Lagos deportation-relocation saga; his insensitive articles generated endless halitosis as people barked at one another across the Niger. Thanks to FFK, as he is popularly called, and his ilk of “bitter truth-ers” the debate switched from legal and moral standpoints to a volatile and eventually, puerile exchange.

Up till now, I still ponder how Nigerians veered from the quandary of deportees to how many (now-married) women had been victims of Fani-Kayode’s phallic-power. By the time the likes of Femi Falana intervened with insightful commentaries, sense and sensibility had taken flight.

The dog-whistling politicians of the APC chased down Fani-Kayode’s lead with their remarkable zero-ideology expansion in November. For a party that ambushed the label of “progressives” as a marketing term, the APC’s act of political opportunism –probably the worst I have witnessed in our ever-increasing monstrosity of political illogicality- shows that contrary to its self-description, it is a congress of deadwoods and recycled-to-thinness garbage.

Interestingly, it is being heralded here and there for dealing a punch in the nose of the ruling party. Soon, as part of its initiation rites, there would be condemnation-galore of former colleagues from these newly minted “progressives.” I wonder if the opposition, nay, the newest carpetbaggers will take time to craft an ideology.

And while I was still weighing which should take the Man of the Year (dis)honours, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote his open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan!

Since he launched a regime of epistles, there have been series of open letters from one member of the political class to the other; all hollering loudly, mostly saying nothing.

While reading Obasanjo’s, I kept asking myself if he is truly hypocritical as he has been accused or, possibly, suffers from some multiple personality disorder? I mean how did he manage to distance himself and his record of atrocities from everything he wrote? How does he sleep at night? The letter to Jonathan was what Obasanjo ought to have written to himself some 10 years ago because, if one replaced all the references to Jonathan in that letter with Obasanjo, barely little would be out of place.

The irony of it all is that Obasanjo’s broadside to Jonathan changed Nigerian social and political atmosphere in ways he probably did not envisage.

Hence, I congratulate Obasanjo for, once again, being the master war strategist he always claimed to be (until Brig-Gen. Alabi Isama published his own account of the Nigerian Civil War in which he candidly debunked most of the stories of Obasanjo’s claim to glory).

If anyone is in doubt about Obasanjo’s genius, his predilection towards catapulting himself from his retirement mansion in Abeokuta to the front pages of newspapers, his letter shows he still has it. Obasanjo, his family and infamy became national issues. It began a season of open and “leaked” correspondences; the back and forth culminating in an immense distraction from the core national issues that should be front burner.

I have a strong hunch that Jonathan-despite his rebuttal that tries to put Obasanjo in his place- is deeply grateful for the man because without it, we would probably have been focused on our president and his many shortcomings come December 31. We would have been questioning if, as Nigerians, our lives have been any better since the beginning of this year. Rather, we have expended a lot of energy keeping scores between the two men.

Obasanjo’s letter is like the proverbial fart-in-your-mouth-with-salt-added. To ask Jonathan to ignore the issues Obasanjo raised would mean getting the President off lightly from grievous accusations to which we should demand answers; on the other hand, asking Jonathan to respond to Obasanjo would be legitimising his hypocrisy. It is a dilemma that I am not sure has been resolved.

And for those saying we should separate the message from the messenger, they forget that Obasanjo is as much a messenger as the message. But for his wily antecedents and what he locally and internationally represents, the letter would probably have not gained much traction in the first place. What point – aside gossipy allusions to snipers being trained ahead of 2015- did he make in that letter that Nigerians have not already tackled in both traditional and New Media?

The klieg lights resumed with venom after the President’s 10-reason letter to “Baba.” Like a true “Omo,” Jonathan displayed slickness in his response to the extent he seemed like victim of a grand conspiracy against his good luck.

Thanks to Obasanjo, Jonathan could claim to be fighting corruption without telling us what became of the committee supposedly investigating the aviation minister and her bulletproof misdeeds. He could refer to the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Lamido Sanusi’s allegation about an allegedly missing $50bn and how Sanusi backtracked without explaining how a whole Central Bank governor could get his figures all mixed up. If he missed that, only heaven knows what else Sanusi has been mixing up into Nigeria’s voodoo economy. And even more intriguingly, why is the man still in office after such an immense “mistake”?

Jonathan owes Obasanjo a lot of thanks for allowing him to play a defensive game. If only the letter had been written by someone with credibility!

Obasanjo’s Man of the Year triumph will be incomplete without an input from one of his numerous progenies. Iyabo, his first daughter, duly obliged Nigerians her support for her father’s naked dance. The incendiary letter by Iyabo is not startling; her brother, Gbenga, had said equally terrible things about Obasanjo; his estranged wife actually called “Baba” an “animal.” Yet, Iyabo’s timing was everything. She gave a fascinating picture of a man who cannot fix his own family but insists on fixing the whole country.

Though the authorship of that bitter, frustrated rant has been questioned, much of what it details could have only come from one who knows Obasanjo and Iyabo down to the bone. The letter is a valuable contribution to an objective biography about Obasanjo that will be written one fine tomorrow.

Iyabo even says she is “frustrated” with him as a father? Well, 140 million Nigerians were frustrated with him as their president!

Finally, Iyabo’s letter should tell Obasanjo that the time has come for him to rest and let Nigerians take charge of their own destiny.

Baba, e don do!

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This post is published with permission from Abusidiqu.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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