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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

All about Obasanjo: Facts ignored and Mischief perverted!!

All about Obasanjo: Facts ignored and Mischief perverted!!

By Frisky Larr

It remains a baffling mystery to my limited faculties of reasoning how facts and events still continue to be obscured at this intermediate level of a long-drawn battle. Before being temporarily thrown off this coveted and highly glorified chitchat podium of public view in the aftermath of a consuming workload, I was able to advance my views in one last essay. I chastised my compatriots who jump aboard a bandwagon without a clear view of clandestine agenda and the overriding interests (that are mostly personal) of those who bear the flags of hate and destruction.

Atiku Abubakar has suddenly disappeared from center stage and the extended arms of passengers in the bandwagon still persist in striking their hammer on the glowing iron. Facts are ignored. Mischief advanced. Worse still, mischief itself is also subjected to perversion.

Against the wisdom of all academic teachings as embodied in the philosophy and psychology underlying experiences in practical politics (courtesy of Political science), Nigeria has become the first country in the universe to upgrade a Vice President from the role of an Assistant and Deputy to the hitherto unknown office of a Co-President.

Most often, arguments have been advanced that a political environment like Nigeria’s in which a President was evidentially seen to have subjected his own Vice President to abuses, humiliation and oppression, leaves no other choice but resistance on the part of the oppressed. A Vice President is thus perceived and presented as doing well to fight back as best he can to restore his personal honor. Good enough.

Unfortunately however, in the primitive wrestling ring of traditional societies, the longer a fight lasts, the more obscure and extended the boundaries of the improvised ring become. Democratic philosophy all over the world provides for a head of government. In a situation, in which a single party fails to secure an outright majority to form a government, coalitions are formed. In coalitions, hierarchy is defined by the proportional strength of parties in popular vote. The head of government is undivided with absolute integrity. While the head of the second largest party in a coalition provides the deputy head of government, the head of government in a unitary administration has the enviable privilege of picking a deputy of choice. In neither of both cases can the power of the head of government be usurped.

In Nigeria where a single party had an outright majority, the exigency of a coalition and a marriage of convenience was out of question. Olusegun Obasanjo picked Atiku as a running mate not vice versa. The ensuing government was headed by Olusegun Obasanjo not by Atiku. While Obasanjo’s allegiance to Atiku is logically a matter of choice, Atiku’s loyalty is by all benchmarks of rational reasoning, nothing short of an obligation. If in the course of time, the President were found to have strongly deviated from agreed principles (party or personal), the Vice President would quit and open up a new chapter on a different terrain. But unfortunately, this does not apply in Nigeria. In the corridors of all functioning democracies all over the world, Nigeria simply became a laughing stock, as the exacerbated illustration of everything that a democracy should not be. A Vice President in a unitary government (not a coalition government) joins a different party and remains a Vice President even with a constitution that mandates a President to pick him from the same party. “Learned” and “incorruptible” judges of a Supreme Court (the highest instance of domestic jurisprudence) perfect this ridiculous reasoning and tell a cock-and-bull tale of moral and legal justifications.

As I once opined, the trick was easy to see. All these instances were driven by just one motive. Kill Bill.
Obasanjo has however, finally learned a lesson that he picked a Vice President (or a Vice President was imposed on him), who weighed far beyond a mere deputy. A Vice President who would not have dared to go that far without the strength of support that he had in crucial organs of the democratic institutions and at the corridors of major powers on the global scene.

While events unfolded, I was one of several prophets of doom.
I saw a rapid drift towards destruction and anarchy. I saw the roof burning. All because a Vice President insists on a President (his boss) capitulating before him and falling on his knees. Thank goodness, there was neither doom nor calamity.

Having been recklessly permitted to run for the elections in the dying minutes by our “incorruptible” judges of the Supreme Court, who did not seem to care a damn, about social peace and national integrity, the chronicle of imminent disaster began to run an independent course. Even though it was not difficult to see that Atiku can never win any election in today’s Nigeria (rigged or not), he insisted on being a sole opposition candidate against a more credible Buhari and Pat Utomi. When this failed, he pushed for an election boycott, which consequences would have stirred up anything close to a civil war. It took Buhari’s wisdom and foresight nurtured by personal ambitions to stop Atiku’s push for a do-or-die agenda. This agenda failed and the rest is not yet history.
Attempts were made by unknown cowards to bomb the headquarters of INEC in this modern age of heroic suicide bombings to pre-empt the feasible conduct of elections. Another failure. Then the Nnamani card was played.

Only at this point in time did the scope of foreign involvement in the advancement of all the scenarios that have hitherto unfolded, become clearer to behold. The daily newspaper “Nigerian Tribune” reported how foreign intelligence agencies informed Obasanjo of plans to install Nnamani as head of an interim administration. The Nigerian Tribune pointedly identified countries whose sources provided this intelligence by referring to contacts made between the Nnamani camp and the embassies of the United States of America, the European Union and Great Britain. This story has not been refuted till the present moment. Given the credibility of non-denial, it was further reported that Obasanjo was acquainted with facts from foreign intelligence that some “incorruptible” judges of a Lagos High Court were on the brink of serving an injunction on INEC to prevent an announcement of the results of the Presidential election. This report was also not denied. The result was that INEC who initially sought a calmer atmosphere and method of declaring election results then hurried to the Press to forestall any unsolicited injunction by “incorruptible” judges.

In the light of all these developments in the run-up to the elections and thereafter, many wise and prudent Nigerians expected free and fair elections. Wise and prudent Nigerians who contributed en masse to the verbal lynching of Olusegun Obasanjo and all he stood for. Wise and prudent Nigerians with an insurmountable reservoir of celestial wisdom that did not care to turn the psychological table for once and view issues from Obasanjo’s perspective are now surprised that the elections were not served on a silver plate and handed over to Atiku. Obasanjo and his PDP are now being subjected once again to the vicious punches of co-thieves subdued, while foreign forces have made a radical U-turn upon seeing the brutal and naked consequences of fighting Atiku’s reckless battle to the point of no return.

The prospect of an unstable and disintegrated Nigeria that was quickly advancing and staring everyone nakedly in the face was enough to ring the alarm bells in Washington and Downing Street to whistle Atiku back from his popular trail of destruction. Obasanjo is being vehemently chastised as if he had stolen a fortune from God’s own sacred cows. The victory and smartness of a thief that is popularly hated over a thief that appealed to popular sentiments against his rival has now translated into the making of a saint out of the rival thief that was outsmarted in broad daylight.

While Washington and Downing Street are well aware of the extraordinary social-psychological circumstances that preceded these elections, they were smarter than several Nigerian bandwagon passengers of the zombie fame, to understand where the buck stops and call off the trail of unforeseeable consequences. Yet Nigerians have not understood that it is about time to draw the bottom line. They fail to understand that the daily cry of foul and endless insults on Obasanjo and his PDP is now badly saturated by the mere fact of its chorus-type incantation.

After all what has Obasanjo done so badly that no one else has superseded before him? Is it failure to fix roads or failure to restore electricity? Failure to restore water supply that all started a steady trail of failure since 1980? Killing of political opponents for which he is suspected and never proven as a culprit? Now I hear that there was far more to the killing of Bola Ige than ever met the eye. I hear the names of Sunday Afolabi and Amisore, whoever they are. Stories of greed and a drug lord that was being investigated by Bola Ige.
Stories that are never proven much like Obasanjo’s involvement in the killing of Bola Ige. I guess its time to tread a bit softly. There are issues for which Obasanjo can be held guilty and in contempt but this wave of cyber and verbal lynching is beginning to exceed every bound of decency.

One renowned investment banking, securities and investment management company Goldman Sachs recently released figures on the Nigerian economy. Nigerian Gross Domestic Product has more than doubled since 2002 to an average of 7.3% from less than 3% in preceding years. The agricultural sector has witnessed tremendous growth. The overall economy is now “much less vulnerable to adverse external shocks”. The debts of the Paris club are now history. London club is positively rescheduling. The ratio of debt to GDP has dropped miraculously to 3% as of December 31st 2006 compared to 60% in the nineties. Inflation currently stands at 8%. The banking sector has been so positively restructured that every Nigerian is today proud of the Zenith Bank’s expansion to the United Kingdom. A feat that was possible only in the good old eighties. Today Zenith Bank is being traded to handle Nigeria’s foreign reserves, which have grown in excess of $40 billion since Obasanjo’s assumption of power.

Failure in the restoration of infrastructure does not necessarily stand for the destruction of the infrastructures themselves. If succeeding governments did not destroy all that was inherited in 1980 when Obasanjo first handed over power to Shehu Shagari, a lot would have been different today. Today, everyone talks as if Obasanjo has destroyed all these infrastructures in the first place. Records also have it that the Obasanjo’s administration tried and failed to revamp the energy sector out of sheer incompetence. But that is not a crime given the gravity of crimes that were committed unpunished before his reign. Today people seek to hold Obasanjo responsible for inventing corruption in Nigeria despite the successful work of Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC.

While I will have no problem with the ordinary man in the street who does not understand what GDP’s 7% stand for and rather yearns to have good roads, water and electricity, I continue to be a vehement enemy of pseudo intellectuals with every level of academic qualification, who stand as illiterates to pronounce that Obasanjo’s administration failed the nation across the board.

My greatest wish for the incoming administration is to henceforth ensure and secure party discipline amongst legislators and at all levels and amend the constitution to reflect the spirit of scientific logic in our democracy. In one sense, the PDP deserves to be commended for refusing to return a huge number of senators and representatives for re-election and instead allowing another breed and batch of politicians to take command.

One positive aspect of the harsh and extreme criticisms experienced so far, will definitely manifest in the Yar A’Dua regime. The improvement of infrastructure will gain priority over all other government policies and a lot will definitely improve. I will choose to bet and hang my neck far outside the window claiming that the next four years will seek to correct a lot that went wrong in the past eight years. The pledge to continue the reforms commenced by Obasanjo is a pretty good start.

The sole prerequisite is that nothing goes wrong at the military end. No matter how much military intervention is chastised, we have all been witnesses in recent times to how positive military intervention can be if the role is constructive and focused. A look at recent developments in Turkey will throw more light on this lesson and message. Whenever the intensity of my workload permits, I will definitely elaborate on this issue in my very next essay.