So, former Governor Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa State thinks former President Olusegun Obasanjo should be in jail for allegedly inducing legislators towards his reportedly 2007 third term bid?
Abdullahi, who suggests that former Military President Ibrahim Babangida should accompany Obasanjo on the late-life trip to prison alleged that Obasanjo dished out N50m, a whopping sum even by the standards of today, to every legislator supporting his inordinate desire to extend his tenure. He also hinted that the dash must have been illegally taken from the vaults of the nation’s Central Bank of Nigeria.
And the former governor now turned Senator of the Federal Republic should know. He, alongside Ahmed Markafi, the late Olusegun Agagu, and Chief Tony Anenih were believed to have been regional co-ordinators and members of a strategic committee set up to execute this so-called tenure elongation plan. He has therefore raised a valid moral question that Obasanjo and his allies in the wasteful venture should answer.
But I question Adamu’s present motive and would imagine that but for the disrespect for the sensibilities of Nigerians, which has become the administrating principle of our politicians, Adamu should forever keep quiet having not just looked the other way but also dipped his hands into the oily bowl of this alleged malfeasance.
However, in deconstructing the senator’s recent salvo at his former ally, you are bound to find a consistence that borders on sycophancy and opportunism. The same spirit that beat Adamu to silence in 2006 when Obasanjo was in power and able to wield it as he willed, is the same that inspired this lame revelation that adds nothing to the current reality of the people.
In 2006, Adamu overlooked national interest in favour of the ambition of Obasanjo, known for his ability to adopt, make and break princes and princesses in accordance with the measure of loyalty they showed. Today, the man has brought Obasanjo’s alleged dirty apparels for public scrutiny because he dallies to the man currently on the throne. The new sheriff in town, as Femi Adesina would call him. He is the typical “any government in power” Nigerian politician!
This is why those who genuinely love President Muhammadu Buhari should warn him to be wary of people like Adamu. The senator and people like former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, who lately has become an unapologetic fan, hail the President on for no altruistic reasons, not for the love of the nation, not even the love of Buhari. Their panegyric is aimed at nothing but their own political survival.
Kalu in his own case has become a ludicrous agent of random gist and outright untruths. In the first week of June last year, for example, he told the world that the then ailing President was bound to return to Nigeria on or before June 11, 2017 but the old man did not return until about 10 weeks later! Now, in societies where dignity means anything, a man caught at such misinformation would allow the public peace, for a long time to come. But not Kalu. He is now championing the cause of the President’s second term and vouching that only ill-health would stop Buhari from emerging in 2019! Adamu, Kalu and their ilk who now attack critics of the President, remind me of the elephant who almost became a king in a Yoruba folklore.
Given its mammoth size, the elephant was said to have been feared by all other animals. It capitalised on this natural endowment and oppressed fellow animals at every turn. Unfortunately for members of the animal kingdom, the enormous size of the elephant, which enhanced its capability to deal with opposition, made any form of protest impossible. So, in spite of themselves, all animals pretended to love the elephant.
But nothing really lasts forever. A majority of the animals soon started to become aware, dissent began to mount and animals started coming together to discuss a massive rebellion.
At one of their meetings where voices were raised and threats of war filled the air, notoriously devious but ever subtle tortoise, spoke up. He pleaded for calm while reminding other animals that they were talking about the almighty elephant which was able to surmount any war. Rather than confrontation, tortoise presented a less hazardous but plainly effective way of dealing with the oppressor.
It then approached the big animal and proposed the idea of formalising its kingly nature. Tortoise told the elephant that it was indeed the king of the jungle but one which remained informal and unheralded. Other animals had agreed to coronate the elephant, the tortoise informed it.
Of course, the elephant, arrested by its own ego, agreed to the plan. On the appointed day, the animal kingdom was colourful, drums were rolled out and the elephant took majestic strides towards the jungle centre where a throne had been prepared. Of course, the tortoise followed at a safe distance.
On arrival at the venue of the coronation, the tortoise took a step backward as it encouraged the elephant to mount on its well-decorated throne which was placed on a very colourful mat.
The elephant, drooling on the splendour of his new office and the joy of communal endorsement, lifted its front legs and stamped them on the mat in preparation for the throne. But rather than the forward movement that it expected, it tumbled into a pit which other animals had carefully covered up with the mat. Within seconds, the almighty elephant found itself deep inside the ground and all manner of animals, including those as tiny as the ant came down on the deceived king, taking their pound of flesh and stripping the elephant of all honour.
Such deception litters all over the Nigerian landscape and the wantonly ambitious leader, would unless with some divine intervention, find himself deep down in the ground like the elephant.
Now, am I like Obasanjo and Babangida, advising the President to take a back seat in 2019? Absolutely not. How is it my place to counsel a grandfather on how to run his life? The point must however be made that the President, in deciding one way or the other, must consider the motives of those leading him on and not be gulled by the selfish interest of men.
It is trite philosophy that those who love you tell you the truth irrespective of how much it hurts. Unlike people like Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and even the wife of the President, Aisha, this is the test that Kalu and Adamu have failed.
Speaking about the most likely beneficiaries of a Buhari second term, his wife would no doubt be on the top yet she has called her husband out on behalf of Nigerians on a number of occasions. The same can be said about el-Rufai, who had written a letter to the President highlighting areas in which the government was falling short of expectations and how failure to heed might reverse the fortunes of the Buhari Presidency. These are people who want Buhari to succeed and are mindful of the importance of his legacy.
Those who condemn the Obasanjo and Babangida letters en bloc are, to my mind, only loyal to their pockets and stomachs. For, in fact, there is nothing these two old soldiers said that Mrs. Buhari had not at some point or the other cautioned her husband about. This includes even the prospects that she might not support his 2019 re-election bid!
In attacking the messengers therefore, anyone with the interests of Buhari and Nigeria at heart, must even while encouraging him to seek another term, be honest enough to point out areas in which his current tenure has manifestly wobbled.