In the past couple of weeks, the name of former Nigerian President, Mathew Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo has been trending; for so many reasons.
His explosive open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari has ruffled quite a number of feathers in the nation especially in the Presidency and supporters of Buhari.
Many have conveniently attacked the messenger and forget the pungent message in the letter.
But going through the letter, many Nigerians will agree with what the ex-President said has a lot of truths in it and portrays a lot of what is in the heart of many.
However, here are 5 things we learnt from OBJ’s letter to PMB.
1. Obasanjo does not see himself as part of Nigeria’s problems
Anyone who has listened to Obasanjo ever since he left office can easily attest to the fact that he always finds a way to exonerate himself from the ills of the country.
He always sounds as if he has not been a part of the issues bedevilling the nation. The ex-President has, over the years, written letters to sitting presidents and released press statements concerning different issues but never has he issued an apology to Nigerians on the years of mismanagement he spent in office or admitted at all that he just might have gotten it wrong when he was given the chance.
In the recent letter to PMB, the former president mentioned many social ills that he is very much responsible for as a reason why Buhari should take a bow.
He also mentioned that PMB was passing the buck and that it was not right of him – but Obasanjo isn’t in the league of Nigerians who should have a problem with that as the buck was being passed to him.
All we require of him is to give reasons why the buck shouldn’t be passed.
When people give reasons for voting PMB, one of them usually is the 16 years of mismanagement and corruption in government before 2015, during which Obasanjo led democratically for 8 years.
2. Obasanjo thinks PMB will make his mistakes
About five years ago, Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter of former President Obasanjo, sent an open letter to her father. The letter which was said not to be from her by everyone except Iyabo, indicated something that we see play itself out in Obasanjo’s latest press release.
In the alleged letter, Iyabo made it known that her father blames people for what he is or was guilty of;
“For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practised yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality.
Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you into giving you what you crave,” part of the letter had read.
That is why it is no surprise to us that the ex-President feels PMB is listening to praise-singers as he said in his press statement:
“But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him.
No matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say.”
This goes to show that OBJ feels the same fate that befell him will befall PMB because he also surrounded himself with praise-singers and sycophants who never saw anything wrong in anything he did.
3. Obasanjo misses partisan politics but is scared to admit it
Obasanjo in his press release tried to make us all believe he is truly no longer interested in partisan politics with the statement at the launching of his new group, Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM):
“But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into a candidate-sponsoring movement for elections, I will bow out of the Coalition because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position.”
While it is good that the ex-President made himself clear, we found a statement that does not totally add up.
The former president said:
“Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections.”
President Obasanjo, as a leader of the coalition, will be more than happy to field a candidate, give him his blessing and advise him like he did to the late Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan in the past, but this time, won’t be sponsoring any candidates.
That alone gives us reasons to believe that the ex-president isn’t enjoying non-partisan politics as much as he wants us to believe.
4. Obasanjo, like many Nigerians, did not support Buhari
In his now-famous letter to President Buhari, the ex-president said:
“First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because, at that time, it was a matter of any option but Jonathan.
I knew Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help.”
Without any ambiguity, former President Obasanjo made it clear that his support for Buhari was born out of his desire for ‘any option but Jonathan’.
Apparently, there were not many options at the time, and Buhari was only a beneficiary. Well, Goodluck Jonathan is out of the picture and Obasanjo has the freedom to choose again but the man he helped put in power was never his first choice.
5. Obasanjo makes bad people judgement
If anyone takes a stern look at Obasanjo’s history as it concerns picking political successors and anointing candidates, one can rightly deduce that the former President makes a bad judge of people and everything that concerns them.
For instance, when he picked Atiku Abubakar as his running mate in 1999, he did not know much of him.
When he also picked and anointed the ailing Yar’adua was his first choice for president, and the politically clueless Jonathan, he thought he was making the South-South a favour but he made a hash of the whole thing.
So also when he supported Buhari and voted for him, it also showed that he made a bad judgement.
As this is the case with the ex-President, we hope he can stop commenting on political leadership in Nigeria, that his Movement does not field any candidate and that he focuses on the international courses he has committed himself to these past couples of years.
This Opinion piece was written by Ola Fash