Opinion

Opinion: The Gospel According To Saint Olusegun Obasanjo (1)

For all it may be worth, the last tirade against President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is certainly one of the salvos intended to weaken the support base of the President as his enemies led by Obasanjo plan to hit him below the belt. But the reactions of Nigerians of varied backgrounds to Obasanjo’s old tricks show that they are no fools. The people’s condemnation of Obasanjo’s hypocrisy has been overwhelming.

The first reaction came from no less a personality than the traditional ruler of Lagos, His Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who said that Obasanjo’s government was the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. The respected monarch cannot be more correct. Amidst Obasanjo’s catalogue of anti-corruption verbal interventions, the question that now begs for an urgent answer is: Is Obasanjo among the Saints?

Due largely to our lamentable short memory, it seems as though we have forgotten so soon about the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and his recent past. But the poor boy from Owu Village in Ogun State was led by fortuitous and opportunistic circumstances to have a rendezvous with history and destiny. Against his will and command, Obasanjo became head of state after the assassination of his boss, General Murtala Muhammed. He was said to have been the man who launched Nigeria into the estranged comity of heavily indebted nations when he took the first ever N1 billion International Monetary Fund, IMF, loan in 1978 when the Nigerian currency was 75 kobo to the United States dollar.
Moments after Obasanjo left office in 1979, his regime’s pet project, Operation Feed the Nation, OFN, ceased to exist. It was succeeded by the Obasanjo Farms Nigeria. Today, the Ota Farms which was allegedly reduced to zero level by the regime of the late General Sani Abacha, is reputed to be one of the richest privately owned farms in the world.
Like a story in a book, Obasanjo was the first President in the world to have issued himself the license to own a private university while still a sitting President. He is the proud owner of Bell University of Technology, Ota. As you read this piece, Obasanjo is the owner of the N12.7 billion Obasanjo Presidential Library at Ota in Ogun State. There is also the Five Star hotel he allegedly completed upon leaving office in 2007. His hilltop mansion a section of which was gutted by fire early last year was built while he was President.

Obasanjo was alleged to have bought substantial shares in Transcorp, meaning he is into hospitality, airlines, insurance, agriculture, construction, oil and gas, etc. It was during his administration that a whopping $16 billion was spent to generate darkness for Nigerians for eight miserable years. It is as though Nigerians have forgotten so soon the Ikoyi land deals scandal, the National Poverty Alleviation scandal, the N10 billion presidential jet scandal, the Halliburton bribery scandal and the rest of the jaw-breaking, mind-boggling corruption allegations that coloured Obasanjo’s dull Presidency. Here, we are not talking about the N36 trillion generated between 1999 and 2007 under Obasanjo who doubled as Petroleum Minister for seven and a half years.

Obasanjo under whose watch prominent Nigerian politicians, including Chief Marshall Harry, Chief A. K. Dikibo, Chief Ogbonnaya Uche, Chief Bola Ige, his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, were assassinated, alleged in his 18-page letter dated December 2, 2013 that Jonathan placed over 1,000 Nigerians on political watch list. According to him, while Jonathan was training snipers and other armed personnel secretly in a location where the late head of state General Abacha also allegedly trained his killers, he was clandestinely acquiring weapons for political purposes. One full year after his vainglorious allegations, Nigerians have not heard of the killing of any of Dr. Jonathan’s sworn enemies, a case of the pot calling the kettle black. In fact, corruption was more pronounced during the Obasanjo years than now. But if Obasanjo did so well in the management of the economy and the war on corruption, why are Nigerians complaining about his years of the locusts?

Just as he is doing to Jonathan, Obasanjo rankled the weeping wounds and gangrenes of Nigeria under erstwhile military president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.What did we see when Obasanjo was in the saddle between 1999 and 2007? He increased fuel prices eight times in eight years and sold juicy public enterprises off to himself and his cronies.

ostensibly with the healthy intention of pouring balsam on the wounds.

He accused IBB of running the nation aground with degenerate economic policies like the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, which, according to him, lacked a human face. He also dragged the Babangida junta to the dock of the people’s court to answer for charges of fuel price increases that induced greater hardships for the pauperised citizenry. But alas!

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Mr. Dan Amor, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.

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