Ayokunle Odekunle: Mr. President, print that letter and read it before IBB writes his own

by Ayokunle Odekunle

pres. jonathan

President Jonathan has been a massive disappointment. When you fail, you become susceptible to attack from other failures. 

I have had my fair share of people who are approaching or let me say who were approaching the twilight of their lives; people who know or who knew or who think they know that very soon, that ‘ojuju-like’ creature will place a bucket in front of them for them to kick, just like Sunday Oliseh kicked the ball so hard when he scored that memorable goal against Spain at France ’98 World Cup. You dig what I am saying?

Knowing that they will go to the yonder soon enough, they start exhibiting strange behaviours. This isn’t strange. They have played their own part in this life and are preparing to go to the afterlife to meet Baba-God. So, for many of them, it is the time to flash back and rue the ‘what-could-have-beings’. Many of them become paranoid. They cry when there is no need to, laugh when there is nothing to laugh about, become nostalgic after reviewing the events of their lives.

Some see things and some think they see things that are not there. For some of them, it is at the advanced old age that they see things they never saw when they younger. That is why you would see an 80-year-old man who was a chronic womanizer in his days advising a younger man as to the evils of ‘using his device’ anyhow.

That brings me to former president Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo.

Records show that he is 75-years-old, although his son, Gbenga once infamously said that Baba is using ‘football age’ and that he is, or should be older than his declared age (lol!).

I read his letter to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with mixed feelings. Forget! This letter isn’t like the Lamentations of Job in the Holy Bible nor is it akin to Paul’s admonitions. This seems more like a letter from George Bush (Jnr) to Barack Obama admonishing latter for trying to invade Syria… that war is bad, evil, and acutely inhuman.

Without mincing words, I would dissect Baba’s letter to Ebele, cursorily examine the issues, try to lift the veil off Baba’s face to decipher his intention and then state how I feel about the quagmire.

 

ISSUES

Baba raised a number of issues in his epistle. Issues that must NEVER be swept under the persian rug in Ebele’s sitting room. He raised so many issues that MUST be substantiated. He also made some criminal allegations that SHOULD not be taken lightly.

Firstly, Baba in one of the paragraphs in his letter asked Ebele not to contest for second term and be a man of ‘honour’. That line got me laughing real hard. Who is Baba Obasanjo to talk to someone about honour? The same man who soiled his legacy by shamelessly pursuing a third term, albeit illegally?

Baba raised the issue of monumental corruption going on in this country. I AGREE. I am on all fours with Baba’s position as regards corruption. I as a person am disappointed, was disappointed and will always be disappointed with the President’s handling of the Stella Oduah’s bullet-proof cars issue. I am afraid that Mr. President’s demeanor tends to encourage stealing. We hear daily of billions of dollars developing wings, unaccounted for. While one must praise the President for the Subsidy probe and the arraignment of a number of prominent Nigerians in Court for stealing subsidy money and for stealing monies belonging to pensioners, I believe he can do better. He should arrest Obasanjo who is the accuser here for all the monumental fraud that held sway during his tenure. By trying and prosecuting Obasanjo, he would be making a huge statement.

I agree with Obasanjo that the economy is in an abysmal state. I agree with him that power generation is low, there is little or no power supply and that insecurity is rife. What Obasanjo should, however know is that we are where we are today because of the actions and inactions, deeds and misdeeds of men like him who FAILED or REFUSED to use their position of authority to improve the country. I put it to Mr. Obasanjo that if he had done his bit when he was President by at least vigorously pursuing power reforms and what have you, his predecessors will not be in the kind of mess that they are today.

Obasanjo admonished President Jonathan for making the PDP a ‘beatable’ party in elections. He chided him for allowing opposing parties win elections. I find that pretty petty and undemocratic. If I should refresh our memories, Obasanjo’s reign as President saw him preside over the worst elections in this country. We saw misfits imposed on States even after they lost the election. We were all witnesses to the daylight robbery in Edo State. That Obasanjo will accuse Jonathan of ‘allowing opponents win’ shows that the former president is not a democrat. Call Jonathan anything and everything but he has strengthened our democratic process. Oshiomhole would never have won the last Edo elections with Obasanjo as President. Mimiko would not have beaten the PDP candidate in Ondo with Obasanjo as President. By hook or crook, the PDP candidates would have been declared the winner in these elections. Is that democracy?

It is ironic that the same Obasanjo allowed a Governor to be kidnapped under his very noses, who impeached Governors illegally in Gestapo-like operations and who intimidated his opponents with the State apparatus will now turn around and call Jonathan a dictator. The same Obasanjo who illegally seized Lagos State’s allowance and even refused to release them when ordered by the Supreme Court to do so. The irony!

On a last note, Obasanjo said he ‘heard’ (HEARSAY) that the President has a watch list of a 1,000 people and that he is training snipers. Well, I know that it is a trite principle of law that he who asserts must prove. Obasanjo should substantiate his allegation or apologise to the President for ‘slander’. But really, talking about ‘hitlists’ and ‘snipers’, does OBJ think we have forgotten how a Jusitce Minister was killed, or the murder of Marshall Harry, Funsho Williams and Dikibo?

This particular allegation must be investigated as it is weighty.

OBASANJO’S INTENTION?

Many people have said Obasanjo’s letter is self-serving and attention seeking. Many have also said he simply misses the ‘spotlight’.

Reading through that epistle that must have taken Baba weeks to complete, I can only see ONE underlying theme and that is “JONATHAN, PLEASE DO NOT CONTEST IN 2015.”

I also agree that the letter is attention seeking. If it isn’t, then Baba should NOT HAVE leaked it to be press.

But something bothers me.

Obasanjo is the ONLY person who would not allow the successor have rest of mind. He is always busy poking his large nostrils in the affairs of others. If I may remind you, he wrote a similar letter to Shehu Shagari in the 1980s. He was busy poking his nose into Abacha’s affairs till he got locked up. The late Yar’Adua put him in his place.

I believe it is not Obasanjo’s fault. President Jonathan has been a massive disappointment. When you fail, you become susceptible to attack from other failures.  I think it is a fact that if Jonathan had lived up to expectations, Obasanjo will not even dare write him such a letter. While I must commend the President for doing many things Obasanjo could not do in 8 years e.g Lagos-Ibadan expressway construction, the railway reconstruction, privatization of PHCN, etc, I still believe he could have handled issues better. I believe the President has squandered the Goodwill of the people who voted him into office and it will be hard for him to ‘recoup’ it.

It is heartbreaking and massively appalling that every Tom, Dick, and Harry who needs some kind of redemption just has to attack the President to gain relevance. It is a pity that the President has become so vulnerable. When someone with reputation as bad as Obasanjo’s ‘uses you to shine’, then you should know that you have no shine and that you are lacklustre. Mr President’s handling of issues have been dismal and abysmal. If he fails to up his game, washed out politicians will keep using him to gain relevance.

As for Mr. Obasanjo, his point has been noted. However, I will not fail to make it clear that he had the chance to make Nigeria better. He failed. He is the architect of the modern Nigerian which epitomises failure.

My last word to Mr. Jonathan? Print that letter, read it, take out the important parts, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself where it all went wrong. Self- redemption starts from within. If issues raised in that letter are not addressed soon, then Mr. President should expect Ibrahim Babangida to write his own ‘Before it is too late’ letter or Sani Abacha writing his own version from the world beyond. And you know what they say about the devil trying to cast out evil?

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Ayokunle Odekunle is an Associate in one of Nigeria’s leading Commercial Law firms and he tweets from @Oddy4real

 

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

Comments (4)

  1. I just hope GEJ will read that letter himself and not allow any of his aides to read and interpret for him. As for Mr. Obasanjo, his point has been noted. However, I will not fail to make it clear that he had the chance to make Nigeria better. He failed. He is the architect of the modern Nigerian which epitomises failure. Self- redemption starts from within. Good one AY.

  2. ''It is heartbreaking and massively appalling that every Tom, Dick, and Harry who needs some kind of redemption just has to attack the President to gain relevance. it is a pity that the President has become so vulnerable.
    When you fail, you become susceptible to attack from other failures.''

  3. I was maniacally bewildered (apologies Obahiagbon) to read of Obasanjo's letter to GEJ that bothers on issues relating to democracy, democratic tendencies, leadership and corruption and I have come to the conclusion that OBJ is suffering from post senile dementia. He has forgotten the defining moments of his own tenure, his dual role as minister of petroleum, the Odi, Zaki Biam, massacres. His ill fated 3rd term bid. Jonathan has been far from perfect but represents a massive upgrade on Obasanjo's administration on all fronts. Great Job Ayo. Keep it up. How I wish the President reads it.

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