Former President Obasanjo provoked the anger of Nigerians yesterday when he came up with his predictable mischief on the about-to-be-concluded presidential election by his embarrassing and dangerous call for the truncation of the election in line with his ultra-selfish interests. Obasanjo, in his press conference further asked that another election be conducted, giving little or no reasons for that demand.
Let us recall that Obasanjo, noted for his less dignifying shenanigans, has, on January 1st this year, written his usual egocentric sermon, supporting and campaigning for Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party and calling on Nigerians, especially the youths to vote for him. Shredding his ambivalent statesman clothes, Obasanjo engaging in open partisan solicitation, which no other former President or Head of State did or could have done. As one agrees that it was his due right to comport himself any way he wants, Nigerians never bothered about his bizarre predilection to take sides as it is vintage Obasanjo, a man that always descends from his presumed high horse to engage in petty, contrived adventures to reflate his sagged ego and satiate his huge selfish interests at all times.
On election day, Nigerians voted and made their preferences. Obasanjo voted for his preferred candidate and in line with his near-worthless electoral value, his candidate scored a miserly nine votes in his polling unit.
But the election has been dramatic in so many ways. The leading candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President, Muhammadu Buhari and many of his leading supporters, lost their states to their opponents in the election even as Obasanjo’s choice, Obi won his state and also won Tinubu’s Lagos!
As the collation process was going on and sensing that his preferred candidate has been defeated, Obasanjo shelled out characteristically to thumb down the election on flimsy specious and outlandish allegations which he made no efforts to back with any scintilla of evidence. Reading from the scripts of the agents of his preferred candidate, Obasanjo came out in bizarre childishness to call for the abortion of the election that is in conclusive stages and the conduct of another election just because it did not favour his candidate! What a statesman! What a presumed elder!
Good, that Obasanjo did not assume his usual egoistic form to decree the election cancelled and proceed to conduct those types of disgraceful shams he was notorious for when he was president. This time around, he appealed to President Buhari. a refined, respected, stellar leader who has succeeded to gift Nigeria a rig-free, free and credible election to do his dirty, selfish will. He knew he was making a mere joke of himself by that asinine demand and that Buhari, not noted for the such pursuit of crude and vile interests like Obasanjo, would not spare a second ear to this annoying demand.
This same Obasanjo has a notorious record of conducting the worst elections ever in Nigerian history. We all know how he used soldiers to overrun the South West in 2003, and wrote the election results that brought his PDP cronies to overthrow the AD government in the entire South West, sans Lagos. Ironically, the Governor of Lagos that was never conquered by Obasanjo’s invading army was Bola Tinubu, the projected winner of the current election Obasanjo wants to truncate to satisfy his base interests. Obasanjo’s resort to such brute tactics in the South West in 2003 was to secure electoral endorsement in the South West as he suffers terribly from huge unpopularity in his native South West region.
His conduct during the 2007 election was horrific. Regarded as perhaps the most shambolic in the electoral history of Nigeria, Obasanjo had forewarned, as a sitting president that the election was a do-or-die affair for him and he didn’t disappoint. He used every known foul means to have his way and to enforce his choice of PDP lackeys to succeed him. Voters were still in the voting queues when results were being announced on the radio. The election was so tainted that the eventual beneficiary, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua openly admitted that the election that brought him to power was fraudulent! The Supreme Court just refrained from voiding that shambolic macabre electoral fraud when in a narrow 3 to 2 judgment, it decided to approve that farcical election.
We would recall that the 2007 election suffered several reversals in several states like Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Osun, which introduced off-season elections in Nigeria.
Do we need to revisit many of Obasanjo’s acts of crude illegality as President? His forceful removal of governors like Alameyesigha, Fayose, and Ladoja while riding rough-shod over legalities and rule of law ranks to enrich the miserable credentials of Obasanjo as a democrat as he forcefully pretends to be.
Let us recall that Obasanjo lost a chieftaincy election in his native Owu clan. Instead of accepting the outcome of the election, he snatched the result sheet and tore it to pieces. Such putrefying pettiness!
Have we forgotten how Obasanjo towards the end of his eight years tenure, embarked on a very expensive third-term gamble where he unleashed several interests and legislators to grant him a third term against the Nigerian constitutional specifications?
Besides all these instances of Obasanjo’s notorious illegalities and electoral brigandage, in Obasanjo, Nigerians are dealing with a pathological, amoral, ultra-selfish, corrupt principality that sees the world from his obfuscated, ego-ridden warped prism and nothing more. Instead of being a statesman, Obasanjo has chosen to be a meddlesome, petty, cantankerous adult delinquent with no qualms about stripping himself in the market square in pursuit of his selfish interests. His present voyage to seek the annulment of an election, thumbed up by both local and international observers, follows the paths of Obasanjo’s selfishness. The laughable aspect of Obasanjo’s numerous self-adulating public displays is this penchant to play the ostrich, pretending other Nigerians don’t know the selfish underpinnings of his noxious adventures in avarice. His prurient resort to self-glorification in his numerous public displays seeks to cover his elephantine failures as President but Nigerians know that Obasanjo ran one of the most corrupt, fruitless and unproductive governments in Nigeria.
In canvassing the truncation of democracy through the cancellation of the about-to-be-concluded election, Obasanjo is seeking to contrive anarchy, violence and dread for Nigeria with the hope of culling inordinate benefits from that bedlam as he is wont to do. He is seeking to throw Nigeria into unimaginable crisis; being a notable beneficiary of such contrived anarchy. Obasanjo showed how low he can sink by seeking to create chaos in Nigeria by peddling very petty, unsubstantiated and empty allegations of electoral fraud being hawked by sore losers that lack the grace to accept defeat in an electoral contest.
Over the years, Obasanjo has compromised the lofty carriage of former Presidents and Heads of State and displayed such demeaning conduct that has greatly shredded his worth, depleted his values and made him so predictable and seen as being of no worth. Obasanjo’s meddlesomeness in politics and national affairs has seriously degraded his values in the eyes of Nigerians but trying to incite crisis and mayhem in Nigeria just because his candidate lost an election is the height of his depravity as a former leader. It is good that notable Nigerians are rising to damn this senile display of desperation by Obasanjo.
Considering this overwhelming background, other than blatant treason and perjury, what else could be driving the demand for “massive rigging” and the cancellation of results? Without democratic representatives, how do you think democracy can be developed? Chief Obasanjo presents President Buhari with a symbolic poisoned chalice in the unsolicited letter. The Saturday polls have already received praise for being “one with little or no monetary inducement of voters,” “Hosanna!” yells the well-known Ota letter writer suddenly. now that he has a bad idea, blatantly manipulating the feelings of the same President Buhari. Throughout his eight years in power, Obasanjo’s name was naturally associated with flagrant electoral robbery and willful subversion of due process. Professor Maurice Iwu, Obasanjo’s enforcer and INEC chair, declared the PDP the winner of the Katsina elections in 2007 while voting was still taking place in Abuja. This is something that Nigerians will never forget! President Umar Yar’Adua was honest enough to admit Obasanjo’s “electoral atrocities” and sought to atone for them by implementing the electoral reforms in the Justice Uwais Report because the process that led to his election was so unjustifiable.
It seriously questions the serially abused statesmanship of Obasanjo that he should resort to such desperate, banal and pedestrian tactics on such a critical issue and expose himself as a cheap, desperate and egotistic partisan where other past Presidents and Heads of State display nobler and more refined, temperate qualities.
Thank God that President Buhari is not crafted in the mould of an Obasanjo and will certainly not give in to Obasanjo’s depraved exhibition of extreme selfishness to abort an election that is at its final stage so that Obasanjo’s candidate can win. Buhari is a selfless, patriot, proven democrat and committed statesman who would not seek any selfish interests from the system, unlike Obasanjo who is viciously anti-democratic, selfish, ego-driven, vile and sly, at every turn, plots to selfishly exploit Nigeria for his personal ends.
Given this background, it might be appropriate to ask supporters of democracy in Nigeria to remain vigilant at this critical time against the actions of Obasanjo and other so-called “owners of Nigeria,” who intend to undermine democracy to maintain their control over the country. Likewise, President Buhari needs to centrally trash Obasanjo’s sly demand with his notable patriotic fervour, see to the conclusion of the election, and hand over to the winner on May 29, 2023, unlike an Obasanjo that contrived a third-term agenda with the intent to be a life president and is now plotting to set Nigeria on fire so he would continue to rob Nigerians blind in furtherance of seeking bloody benefits from our collective nation neighbourhood
Prof. Ojo Emmanuel Ademola