By Anthony Kolawole
Nigeria recently celebrated 20 years of uninterrupted democracy. As usual, it was a time for sober reflections on the journey that started in 1999. Even as we celebrated, we forgot that there were events that led to what we are now celebrating. Some individuals made sacrifices, and some also paid the supreme price with their lives.
One of such individuals is the late M.K.O Abiola on whose mandate some persons rose to limelight in the democratic dispensation in Nigeria. But guess what? They would never admit this fact because they see themselves as gods who must be worshiped at all times, not minding that the bulk of the challenges we encountered in the past twenty years were caused by the ignorable role they played and have continued to play in the democratic governance in Nigeria.
I stand to be corrected. Olusegun Obasanjo remains one of Nigeria’ undoing since the advent of democracy in Nigeria. He has constituted the bulk of the anomalies that Nigeria witnessed since we began the journey in 1999. From the fact that he wanted a third term in office after eight years in power to bequeath to the country an arrangement he knew would do the country no progress.
One thing suffices. Olusegun Obasanjo still hasn’t gotten over the fact he is no longer president and courtesy demands that he conducts himself in public with decorum. But his posturing in recent times negates all that is expected of a supposed former president of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Olusegun Obasanjo has not carried on well since he left power. He has attempted to constitute himself as the messiah Nigeria needs. All others after him are deficient according to his standards as Olusegun Obasanjo, the almighty messiah.
This brings me to the recent utterances by Olusegun Obasanjo on the democratic experience in Nigeria. He has done what the rational mind would term unbecoming of a former president. He has constituted himself as the villain of democracy in Nigeria. In truth, the annals of Nigeria’s democratic history would have it that Olusegun Obasanjo is indeed a villain of Nigeria’s democracy.
As a flashback, when he failed to get his infamous third term bid, he vowed to ensure that Nigeria experiences no meaningful leadership. With great regards to late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Olusegun Obasanjo knew quite well that Nigeria was at some point going to be faced with a crisis of immeasurable proportion. And he had his way with the unfortunate death of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. That period saw the emergence of a Goodluck Jonathan whose tenure as president of Nigeria was nothing to write home about.
The irony of it all of that Goodluck Jonathan, who by all indications was not prepared for governance saw himself as president, and as they say, the rest is history. The same Goodluck Jonathan that superintended over a corrupt and indolent administration has joined forces with his benefactor to constitute a wheel in the of progress in Nigeria.
The eight years of Olusegun Obasanjo and the five years of Goodluck Jonathan were some of the darkest ages in the history of Nigeria. Under Obasanjo, political killings were rife; corruption reigned supreme and political persecution was the order of the day. Under his protégée, Goodluck Jonathan, good governance eluded us. It was a rudderless journey Nigerian embarked on in five years. But today, these two individuals are busy making irresponsible statements on the state of affairs in Nigeria. Utterances that are devoid of logical reasoning and a well thought out process.
In the case of Olusegun Obasanjo, I am most disappointed. For the eight years he held sway as president, he refused to acknowledge the fact that the death of his kinsman M.K.O Abiola indeed paved the way for him to emerge as president. He also refused to give credit to the sacrifices of M.K.O Abiola in the journey to democracy in Nigeria. The rational mind would have thought that he would have acknowledged M.K.O Abiola. But he didn’t. Goodluck Jonathan, in his wisdom, toed the line of his benefactor and was also consumed by his misdemeanour.
Nigerians must realize that these two individuals must never be taken seriously in Nigeria. They have carried on like drowning individuals forgetting the fact that their administrations indeed set Nigeria back donkey years. And to think that they have the moral right to make uncomplimentary remarks in recent times is most despicable and a shame indeed.
For Olusegun Obasanjo, it has been a way of life right from the Shehu Shagari era. Wanting to dominate public discourse by peddling negative narratives and inciting the public against the administration of Muhammadu Buhari. But this time around, he has been demystified, and Nigerians know better.
The recent actions by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari towards setting Nigeria of the path of progress are what they cannot come to terms with. And in the attempt to stay relevant in the scheme of affairs in the country, they have taken to irrational behaviours.
But the good news is that Nigerians have realized that the intentions of these individuals are not in the national interest but selfish interest borne out of an insatiable desire to see that Nigeria does not experience sustainable growth and development. I won’t mince words. These individuals are rejected souls that are not rational in their thinking and their actions and inactions.
It is therefore my considered opinion that Nigerians should continue to disregard the duo and concentrate on the journey ahead of us. Nigeria is bigger than individuals, and that is sacrosanct. I could go on nonstop because I am happy with the giant strides of Muhammadu Buhari since he assumed leadership of this country. The 15 years of Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan cannot be equated with the four years of Muhammadu Buhari.
Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan do not have the moral right to stand up to be counted as one of those that stood in the interest of Nigeria when it mattered. They are villains of Nigeria’s democracy, and so shall it remain. They can cry wolf where none exists. They can write open letters. They can make inciting and delirious statements about the state of affairs in Nigeria. But for all we care is that Nigeria is on the path of greatness. The indices are there for all to peruse. Nigerians are wiser. And Nigerians know better than what Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan want the world to believe. A word is enough for the wise and the discerning.
Kolawole PhD a University teacher wrote from Keffi.