Is Obasanjo's messiah complex good for Nigeria?
Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has anointed himself the man to always choose Nigeria's leaders. Is this a good thing?
He’s done it before. This is his turf and he's loving it!
Time and again, just before his nation’s general elections, Obasanjo adorns the garb of messiah, grabs the megaphone and dominates the news cycle; before settling for a preferred presidential candidate. It’s a role he loves and one he has come to embrace with religious fervor.
Umaru...Umaru...Umaru how many times did I call you
In 2007, Obasanjo foisted an ailing Umaru Musa Yar’adua on Nigerians even though better candidates like Donald Duke were fluttering seductive eyelashes his way.
Once, on the campaign trail, as rumours swirled that Yar’adua was tending to his health abroad and may have passed on, Obasanjo put candidate Yar’adua on speakerphone.
“Umaru…Umaru…they say you are dead….”
The frail voice of Yar’adua stuttered from the other end of the line to put the rumour mill out of business. Yar’adua would go on to die from health complications in 2010.
Remarkably, Obasanjo fell out with Yar'adua before the former Katsina Governor passed on.
Obasanjo backed Jonathan for the throne in 2011 against Atiku Abubakar; his former number two who had become his sworn enemy.
In 2013, Obasanjo rejected the very notion of Jonathan contemplating a second term and called the nation's president a total failure.
“Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped”, Obasanjo wrote in a blistering letter titled: ‘Before it is too late’.
Obasanjo told Jonathan that it would be “fatally, morally flawed” for him to seek re-election in 2015.
Days before the nation’s general election of 2015, Obasanjo made a show of ripping apart his PDP membership card as Jonathan went on to lose the presidential contest to Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, for whom 'Baba Iyabo' had suddenly taken a liking.
In 2018, just a year before Nigeria heads to the poll to choose a president, Obasanjo has written a stinkerasking Buhari not to harbour re-election plans because “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".
"President Buhari”, Obasanjo writes, “needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse”.
There are insinuations from certain quarters that in taking on Buhari whom he publicly backed last time out, Obasanjo has set his sights on propping up a Sule Lamido or Ibrahim Dankwambo, for instance, for the nation’s number one job.
The point to be made here is that since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999, Obasanjo has regarded himself as the guardian of the nation’s democracy, for good or ill. He even attempted a third term to cement his position as Nigeria's only worthy leader.
He was president from 1999 to 2007 and has had a say in who governs Africa’s most populous country since that time.
Would his recent attack of Buhari have a similar impact or effect? Should Buhari be kissing his job goodbye because Obasanjo has just hurled him under a bus?
Is Obasanjo right to consider himself Nigeria’s messiah?—the superman draped in capes who rescues his country each time this country is about to plunge several depths below the surface?
Are the Obasanjo interventions altruistic or self-serving?
It promises to be a very interesting few months ahead with Obasanjo’s letter certain to have rattled the Buhari presidency.
However, when one man retains the right to decide Nigeria’s leaders from the comfort of his laptop or library, it may just be as good a time as any to auction Africa’s biggest nation on OLX.
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