Spending eleven years at the apex political position in the land would be more than enough to elevate anyone from the lower echelons of the society to the very top. From the title which automatically changes to ‘His Excellency,’ to the retinue of aides and entourage, the status is one that unmistakably transforms commoners.
However, on Monday, July 5, former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, through a statement by his Special Assistant on Media Affairs, Kehinde Akinyemi, chose to lay down his elitism and identify with the masses, while clarifying speculations and ‘fabrications’ about his political affiliation.
Obasanjo who was in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a guest of President Ashraf Ghani, accused some unnamed persons of planning to drag his name in the mud and debunked rumours of picking some ex-governors as coordinators of a new party.
“In my part of the world, when you say goodnight in a place, you do not go back there and say good evening…
“I’m done with partisan politics but by my position in Nigeria and in Africa and without being immodest, and indeed in the world, my door must be opened and it is open to any individual or group of individuals who want to seek my opinion, view or advice on any issue or matter and I will respond to the best of my ability, without being part of that individual or group.
“If anything, Chief Obasanjo’s political party today is the party of Nigerians facing insecurity, unemployment, hunger, poverty, and various other challenging issues. It is the party of Nigeria which must be saved, kept wholesomely united in peace, security, equity, development and progress.”
In other words, if any party were to be founded by the two-time head of state, it would not be the conventional elite political party seeking to control power, it would be a party that identifies with the masses and the challenges – ranging from unemployment and poverty to insecurity – they face.
Nigerians would hope that having a statesman like Obasanjo would definitely tip the odds in the masses’ favour and elicit action from the government. And with the issue of a leader sorted, the only thing left is a name to it and an idea like the Oppressed People’s Party (OPP) wouldn’t be bad.
On the sidelines, we hope that whenever OPP is shouted, Rexxie and Mohbad’s fans won’t take over.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.