General Danjuma, Obasanjo And The Rest Of Us

February 28, 2008
11 mins read

Nigerians must thank THE GUARDIAN newspapers for the opportunity they gave us over the past two weeks to catch the threads of the mind of one of Nigeria’s finest soldiers ever, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Over the years, General Danjwna . . has acquired the reputation of a man who never minces his words and who leaves no one in doubt about any issue he chooses to comment upon. It is fair to say that for a lot of people of my generation in Northern Nigeria. General T. Y. Danjuma is seen as the closest to a role model who they see as a leader and aspire to emulate in the success he has made of life. So over the past two Sundays, THE GUARDIAN  newspaper scored a major coup-de-poing, as the French say, by not only getting General Danjuma to talk but also helping us all to savour some of the juiciest comments on several aspects of our national life.


For me personally, there was a sense in which I literally jumped for joy when General Danjuma in his venerable disgust seemed to confirm some of the things I have written about in the last four years about Nigeria and the role that General Olusegun Obasanjo, the disgraced despot, played in its systematic plunder and spoliation. General Danjuma stated things without ambiguity: “Obasanjo is the most toxic leader that Nigeria has produced to 1M. A country that took him out from jail and made him a president; he abused  Nigeria, he deceived Nigeria and he deserves  second term in prison and we will make sure he ends up there”.


Not a few people in the period since Obasanjo was chased out of office have asked me where I found the courage to write things I did over the period of the third term agenda and beyond. I often explained that it has nothing to do with bravery of any Sort, but a strongly held conviction that our country was being run by the Worst individual to ever get such an opportunity and, therefore, we had both a professional and patriotic duty to oppose his criminal exertions to be able to save the future of our country.


Any good student of the Nigerian political process knew that things just did not add up under General Obasanjo: an elaborate platform of preachments against the backdrop of monumental corruption; a messianic delusion coupled with a most un-Christian vindictiveness; unbudgeted spending and the hype of due process; emasculation of the political process and pretences about nation-building! So over eight years, Nigeria on an incremental basis suffered the serial rape of the gangster coterie around General Olusegun Obasanjo.


These points that we attempted to interrogate over the past five years on this page were laid bare by General Theophilus Danjuma, who has an intimate, insider’s knowledge of the emergence of the tragedy which became Obasanjo’s presidency. Nigeria was laid to waste in so many ways: the people saw their hopes for democratic renewal ambushed and denied by Obasanio; our country made more money in the eight years that he was at the helms, much more than all previous periods of national life taken together, yet the agony, pain, despair and hopelessness in the land have never been so complete and so overwhelming in their holistic picture! Obasanjo came into this land and our country slipped into a land of hopelessness. T have said that General Danjuma spoke authoritatively with an insider’s knowledge of the issues and it is interesting that Danjuma’s interview also coincides with the revelations being made that Danjuma’s interview also coincides with the revelations being made prison on account of Obasanjo’s well-known vindictiveness, And that is a man who describes himself a “born-again” Christian.


The main pillars of the Obasanjo disaster were the bear-hug-like hold that he had on the NNPC as minister of petroleum resources as well as the electoral process. Incidentally, Obasanjo controlled the NPC and INEC, using Nnamdi ‘Andy Uba; but this is not the issue at the moment. General Danjuma reminded us in the interview in respect of the NNPC political party to himself throughout his tenure when he was the executive. and the oil industry of ”the amount of money the country lost as a result of Obasanjo’s excesses and also the importation of’ petroleum products: the failure and the inability of government to maintain and repair our refineries, which gave rise to continuous importation of finished products.


The amount of  losses, which Nigeria incurred and sustained in the eight years of ‘Obasanjo’s governrnent all of them, most probably, deliberately created”. General Danjuma then added a point that J have canvassed for a long time: “if we took an audit of the NNPC, we would find that Obasanjo qualifies for a second term in Yola or Maiduguri prison because the mosquitoes are bigger. The man is shameless”.


The Obasanjo persona reveals a damaged human being devoid of a sense of gratitude, full of conceit and very corrupt. Yet because of his delusion, he probably believed that there was something special about him at a time that he was inflicting so much unhappiness on the Nigerian people. General Danjuma told us what we always knew. “I helped to finance his first term election. I raised $7 million. Slightly more than half of it came from my pocket. .. every time I carried thousands, thousands and thousands (of naira) to him in Ghana-must-go bags. And not once did he say ‘thank you’ to me. Not once did he find out from me where the money came from”.


In my study of the psychological profile of General Obasanjo, I have always been struck by that huge gulf between his proclamations and the sordid realities of his practices. Again, General Oanjuma reminded us of what we know about Obasanjo: “(The) man was totally broke when he came out of prison”. Yet, the near bankrupt Obasanjo has climbed to the heights of stupendous wealth today almost in inverse proportion to the misery that he inflicted on the Nigerian people. General Danjuma was completely . flustered by Obasanjo’s hypocrisy: Now, we know Aremu ofOta, as a hypocrite, a man who deceived us, shouting to the rooftop about corruption, shouting about being born-again, shouting about God-God did this, God did that, God didn’t say this God didn’t say that, This is the tragedy of’Aremu .In an earlier part 0f that really lengthy interview, General Daniuma also underscores the depth of the ‘inspirational’ delusion that Obasanjo under, which must be factored  into the deconstruction of the man: “I think Obasanjo met the devil in prison. He kept saying “God told him this, He told him that. The problem about the people who claim to be listening to God is that Lucifer, the devil, was very close to God. Most of the time he  (Lucifer) speaks to people and people think that they are listening to God”,


This delusion was taken to the inner recesses of politics under Obasanjo. At the height of the manoeuvres to achieve third tern, Chief Olabode George, one of Obasanjo’s side- kicks, gave an interview where he made allusions to the fact that Obasan]o was under some divine inspiration to achieve greatness for Nigeria. Defeat of the third term agenda did not cut that delusion and Obasanjo arrogantly declared that  if he had wanted third term, he would have asked God and God would have given it to him. The impudence of the statement underscores the’ hypocrisy, because as General Danjuma revealed, Obasanjo actually planned the third term gambit, which eventually failed. Did I  say fail? Well, i think General Theophilus Danjwna has a different take on that now given the way events have unfolded in our country since May 2007.


“When third term died, Nigerians jubilated. People danced in the streets and everybody was happy … ” said General Danjuma. He then went further: “we thought we had killed third term. But what is the result today? Right now, we are in third term with Obasanjo in Ota. Yar’Adua, a harmless but spineless president in Abuja … so the jubilation that marked the failure of third term has now been misplaced. The man that he installed-and he made a good choice-is a puppet. Obasanjo got a puppet that he wanted to his tune we should all hold our heads in shame”. Obasanjo served as president for eight years he decided that it is now the turn of the North.


“But what is on the ground now is that the man who did so much harm to the economy, to democracy, who, during his tenure, was an absolute ruler of the country in a democracy, is still in charge. He kept to himself absolute power to run the country. Obasanjo subordinated the political party to himself throughout his tenure when he was the executive. Now that he has moved to Ota, he is subordinating the executive, the puppet he installed in Abuja to the party with him as the chairman of the Board of Trustees, which office he has manipulated to make himself a life president. So we have a gerontocratic chairman of  Board of life president. So we have a gerontocratic chairman of Board of to leave office, who have so soiled the seat on which they sat while holding political office that they are afraid to leave the seat. The tragedy of the Nigerian situation is that the political elite tolerate Obasanjo”.


But honestly, who can fault the line of reassuring here? Nigeria is in dire straits today, because Obasanjo is very desperately fighting the battle of his life. For me, this is where General T. Y. Danjuma’s deconstruction of the Obasanjo psychological and political make-up affects all of us. On the eve of the PDP’s convention, it is quite clear that the party machinery is the last redoubt where Obasanjo believes he can dig in to prevent the ultimate demystification and disgrace which he dreads, because it is the sure path to a “second term in prison”, which General Danjuma has spoken about. The tactical imperative for Obasanjo is to ensure-that he achieves the imposition of his candidate at the head of  the party, in this respect, he has been going round the country to present Sam Egwu as his preferred candidate for party Chairman and Tunde Ogbeha as his secretary, Obasanjo has jettisoned the need  for a creative balance of a Christian chairman and Muslim secretary for the more intimate issue of his own personal survival.


For those who do not know, we are now in the real season of  “do-or-die”, The garrison democrats from Amadu Ali, Olabode George through to David Mark and several other loot soldiers know they are headed for a political grave lf’ Obasanjo]o is disgraced from his last refuge in the party apparatus. That  is why they would never allow a freely conducted electoral process within the PDP; they prefer the time-tested route of manipulation through the consensus arrangement. What makes it alarming in its predictability is that Obasanjo knows that one of the surest ways of achieving his ambition is to ensure the neutralization of other loci of power. He has surrounded President Yar’ Adua with key loyalists; the Senate is headed by David Mark, who is part of the agenda to ensure Obasanjo’s continued hegemonic control of the PDP and by extension the nation’s political fortunes. It was David Mark who sold the candidature of his bosom friend and collaborator, Tunde Ogbeha. It is also the main reason why the Northern Senators’ Forum is being deliberately enfeebled with the imposition of a quisling leadership, Obasanjo leamt the lesson of third term defeat and he purposeful leadership able to flex muscles against his ambitions.


We are faced with  a very ambitious operation being executed with military precision. Many people have been exuberantly supportive of bodies like the Integrity Group, G21 and some elements amongst the governors who feel that it is time to dump Obasanjo’s dictatorial party system. But how much work is being done by these different, well-meaning groups in terms of mobilisation? How effectively can they fight? Can they go the whole hog?


Do they understand that they are faced with a very desperate despot who will not take prisoners willing to sweep off every obstacle to ensure continued domination of the political process? These are not easy question and there are no easy options for those who want to dislodge Obasanjo and his gang autocrats. Obasanjo will cut down any and everybody who stands in his way, because his whole life, biological, political and economic depends on the outcome of the next PDP convention.


Unfortunately, the unclear bit of the jigsaw is the Yar’Adua factor. Is it possible for the president to be disinterested in the way that things shape up in the convention? How does he analyze the chances of his own presidency in the light of Obasanjo’s successful recapture of the party’s apparatus or his failure? Does President Yar’Adua fell comfortable to continue to play the puppet to Obasanjo’s puppeteering as General Dajuma alleged or is he making not-too—————– does he perceive a defeat of the Obasanjo tendency in relation to his own survival? Is it possible to have taken steps which Obasanjo does not approve of such as reversals of policies and still expect the old despot to forgive him? So many questions indeed!


For the rest of’ us, the truth is that what is in our best interest is to support the defeat of Obasanjo and his gang, because they arc the veritable danger to the consolidation of the nation’s political process. Obasanjo’s kleptocratic regime offended Nigeria so much that he cannot allow a political process which throws up genuine democrats (lithe helm of affairs of  the PDP. It is a suicidal journey, which might lead to


his “second term in prison” in the words of General  Danjurna. The PDP isNigeria’s biggest political party.  I was formed by genuinely idealistic Nigerians such  as the much-lamented Chief Sunday Awoniyi before  it was hijacked by the enemies of democracy headed I had gone to  by Obasanjo. It doesn’t matter that many of us are  not members of the PDP. However, the way the  inner-party struggles in the party plays out in the  next few weeks will affect our lives into the future.. That is why we must assist those who want to ensure.  the defeat of Obasanjo and his candidate in the coming  PDP convention. One major way to help them is to  get them to build a formidable platform of unity to  confront Obasanjo’s manipulative agenda; otherwise, all will be lost for a very long time!  General Theophilus Danjuma has intervened at a  very critical point of discourse on the political process in our country. By raising the various issues that we mind on why patriot sections of the political elite must work together defeat the Obasanjo gang. It is the garrison “democrats” who represent the most palpable danger for Nigeria’s democratic process today.


That is why Obasanjo and his group must be trounced by, those who care for Nigeria and its democratic development. It is also why the rest of us cannot be indifferent to the struggle that is being waged for the future of the PDP.


Borno and its arsonist

It was our colleague, Garba Deem Muhammad who told me recently that arsonist had torched a part of the new Bulunkutu General Hospital in Maiduguri built by Governor Ali Modu Sherrif. I made some calls to Maiduguri and the news was confirmed. l felt sad about that development, because Maiduguri at the beginning of this month and we had driven past workmen who were putting finishing touches to the landscape of the hospital. The story was that it would be commissioned during an official visit by President Urnaru Yar’Adua later The hospital is one of ‘the largest of its kind in Northern Nigeria and I think it is wrong to play politics with a project that is expected to affect the lives of ordinary people positively. It is good that the arsonists were unable to bum some of the more expensive equipment that I was told were kept away in another wing of the hospital. There should  be a more responsible attitude to Nigeria’s politics, so that whoever gets to power, ultimately the interest of the people remain the priority of the political process.



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