Olusegun Obasanjo: Delusions of an old despot

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THOSE close to Olusegun Obasanjo, must become increasingly worried about the man. He was recently reported to have said that his sudden resignation from PDP’s BOT chair, was “to attract business opportunities to Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, in view of happenings in Europe and America (HEAR! HEAR!!)” There cannot be a better illustration of delusion. As Nigeria’s president for eight years, he spent months travelling around the world, allegedly in search of foreign investment, but he failed; he left a legacy of a dubious privatization that offloaded our national assets to cronies. He lost every ounce of respectability with his Third Term Agenda and became just another variant of the African dictator by the time we kicked the clown into irrelevance. Now he dares to tell a lie about attracting business opportunities to Africa!

As if that was not shocking enough, last Tuesday, he told an audience at a lecture in Lagos, that the reason he could not deliver his promises in the electricity sector, during his eight-year tenure, was that he did not have enough time to implement the projects. May we recall that in 2008, the House of Representatives had carried out a probe of the electricity sector and the contracts awarded, during the Obasanjo administration.

Expenditure  on power

The old despot refused to honour an invitation to testify before the probe panel; he would later send a letter which accused the panel of rudeness, for daring to invite him to testify in the first place!

The Elumelu Committee came out to tell Nigerians that Obasanjo spent $16 billion in the sector and in the end, it delivered more darkness to the country! As THE NATION newspaper of Thursday, August 30, 2012, jocularly but poignant noted in its Hardball column, maybe we should not have defeated the Third Term Agenda!

We should have given Obasanjo a lot more time, especially the twelve years he would have been entitled to, if the constitutional emendation had succeeded.

Just fancy having the old despot on our hands for those extra twelve years and the Eldorado that he would have made of Nigeria: every national asset would have been sold to cronies; his shares in ‘blind trust’ would have hit the skies in Transcorp; the Nnamdi ‘Andy’ Ubas of this world would have continued to rule the roost and the old dictator who was described by the ex-convict, Bode George as ‘founder’of modern Nigeria would certainly have really found his métier as our leader for life!

But in truth, Obasanjo is way past his shelf life; he has politically expired and has become an irritating clown in the Nigerian political circus! The effort he is making today is a pitiful attempt at a revision of recent history, with the assumption that Nigerians suffer historical amnesia; but he is not likely to succeed.

Nigerians are aware of his culpability in all that has happened to us since 1999; these include the authoritarian pall he cast upon the democratic process; the stifling of inner party democracy; systematic rigging of elections; the pervasive corruption; the recruitment of controversial characters into political leadership; a dubious privatization which offloaded national assets to cronies; the imposition of a terminally sick invalid and a clueless running mate and the consequent deepening of the division of the country, and so on!

Obasanjo is a distraction we can do without as we attempt to grapple with problems he deliberately sowed into our national existence. Those close to the old despot need to manage him more robustly so he doesn’t do more damage to himself and them too, by extension!

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