May 24, 2007
4 mins read

I have asked several people the same questions over and over and over again, since last week. Will the fraudulent, in-your-face, brazen acts of appropriation of our national assets, by president Obasanjo and his cronies, in stage-manged ‘privatisation’ processes, be allowed to stand as a fait accompl, by an incoming government? What might be the source of the presumptuousness of president Obasanjo in the last weeks?

Apparently Obasanjo has set great store by the position of chairman of the Board of Trustees, of the PDP, as the redoubt from which he will lay ambush against any effort to examine the different decisions he has taken in recent weeks:the appointments to several positions, which have strange co-incidence of not respecting the constitutional provision of federal character, because the appointees seem to all come from Obasanjo’s part of Nigeria; the over one trillion naira of last minute contracts and the oil bidding rounds and sale of the nation’s refineries. As the internet journalism outfit Sahara Reporters Dot Com pointed out this week, it appears that Obasanjo is actually selling at least one of the refineries to himself.

It is vintage Obasanjo really, to exploit  the advantage of office to feather his own nest. Iam sorry if I sound rude, and believe me, I don’t want to offend the sensitivities of the esteemed readers, but in Obasanjo, Nigeria came closest to having a common thief, running its affairs for the first time in its history. What makes his case on our hands, a truly complex character, who genuinely enjoys preachment, but who cannot live by his own sermons, a man who has through his public service record, a serial propensity to bend the rules to satisfy his own whims and messianic pretences.

The statement of the recent days-outright untruths, that if he wanted third term, he would have gotten it, because he would have asked God, underlines the depth of Obasanjo’s ‘God complex’.This is where we have been over the past eight years. Those enamored of the cantankerous old man, often try desperately to robe him in some piety or some elevated patriotism that do not fit his frame.

Maybe I have gone a bit ahead of myself, but my troubling question is still to wonder if an incoming government will allow the fevered activities of the past few weeks to stand. Soon after Obasanjo came to power in 1999, he set aside all contracts and appointments within the last six years of the eleven-month regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Obasanjo did not even spare the national awards to a cheap imitation of village chieftaincy titles, awarded to his cronies, aides and members of his inner circle.


Obasanjo has provided a template of what should happen to the last-minute fraud he is perpetrating; the systematic stripping of national assets and their placements in the hands of the coterie of cronies, many of who are either fronting for him or head institutions in the private sector, in which he has substantial shares. We have said it before, that our near-bankrupt, ex-convict of 1998, has now arguably become one of the richest men in Africa. A kleptocratic despot, who at over seventy years of age, continues to accumulate wealth, as if he would not even die. Obasanjo is an amazing character, who I once described as having a split personality, both sides evil. His penchant for mischievous schemes and his wily character define his entire career as Nigeria’s president in the past eight years.

Do you doubt me? Well, let’s remember that this is a man who was not there, during the formation of the PDP. He was still in prison, but was released and pardoned, and largely as a result of the activities of members of the northern political elite, General Babangida, Aliyu Gusau, and Abdulsalami Abubakar, became presidential candidate and eventually, president of Nigeria. From the beginning, Obasanjo treated the party which brought him to power, with absolute contempt, the leadership and members with disdain.

The new president saw himself as beyond party discipline, operating from a rarefied height of being superior even to the Nigerian state. The social-democratic content of the party’s manifesto, he disrespected and in its place, he began the implementation of an unconstitutional process of privatization; the NEEDS platform was not canvassed by the PDP as a program, but was imposed by him in cahoots with the most reactionary, agents of imperialism, the so-called-economic team, which lacked basic democratic credentials and whose loyalty lied in Washington and the Breton Woods institutions.

So for almost eight years, he appointed and sacked party leaders at will, hounded genuine patriots out of a party they labored for, and eventually purged the party of its rational kernel; turning it into an authoritarian, vote-rigging, soulless monstrosity, at his beck and call, dedicated to doing his dictatorial biddings. But a few weeks to exit from power, Obasanjo suddenly discovered the need for a ‘disciplined party”. At the retreat for  ‘newly elected’ members of the PDP, he warned them that “disloyalty to the party is disloyalty to the nation” (since he is the party and ‘ father’ of the nation, ‘disloyalty’ to him is to the nation’!)


Obasanjo who warned a generation of party leaders from Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Barnabas Gemade through to Chief Audu Ogbeh to steer clear of his government, now tells his PDP members that  “the party will be a party of policy while the government will be a government of  programmes.” Obasanjo is throwning down the gauntlet to Umar Yar’ Aduanue to or at least attempt to continue to call the shots, even out of power. He did not brook interference from the party when he ruled; as a matter of fact, he organised a coup against the party when he ruled; as a matter of fact, he orgainsed a coup against the party, appointed viceroys to impose garrison democracy, but today, the party is set to become the last refuge for a retreating scoundrel!

It is also instructive that as a partying shot, Obasanjo would continue his war against his vice, Atiku Abubakar, by raising specters of  “Juju” in the service of power. Nigerians have come close to the seat of power, not because he is a felon and exconvict (which he is!). But if Chief Olu Falae is to be believed, given his deposition after the general elections,that president Obasanjo is a member of a known secret cult! Nobody has issued a denial to this day, and it is astonishing that while that cloud never cleared, we allowed the alleged cultist to be sworn in as president, and on television last week, he remainded us all of his roots and where he operates from, despite posturing as a ‘born again’ Christian. I have always imagined that Obasanjo would return to his old address at the Yola prison; may be that might not happen now.

But if Yar’Adua wants legitimacy, he must revisit the privatization process through which Obasanjo has stripped Nigeria of choice assets, handed them over to himself and his cronies. This is an  irreduable minimum for an incoming president, who suffers a serious legitimacy crisis. If this happens, maybe we might still see Obasanjo returning to where he truly belongs;No, not his controversial farm, but back to his old Yola address!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss