Much has been heard of former President Obasanjo angling for power to return to the north. The north we know, has held power for most of Nigeria’s political history, yet at each point in time, he moves in a way as to portray one zone, the Southeast as missing and remembered only when needed. After his failed third term bid, he settled for Yar’Adua and paired him with Jonathan, an apparently reticent Governor of Bayelsa seen as pliable and withdrawn. The motive for this pick is still thick secret. Somehow, nature struck; Yar’Adua, a good man, exited and Jonathan, a good man, entered, first as Acting President and now as President. As President, he has had to live with disdain/disapproval as demoralizers but moves on unfurled. This surprising resoluteness birthed new problems. For owning his own vision and mind detached from those of the centurion, he becomes an instant suspect. How then can a suspect be allowed to continue; what could he do next? This unsettled question has led to a ‘coalition-of-the-worried’.
At first, we heard that the rebel governors were consulting him for counseling; not long thereafter, the counselor became the frontline combatant against his own messianic creation; if he fights his own, isn’t that self-indicting? You begin to wonder what he was counseling. As a former BOT chairman of his party, it’s difficult to fathom the stored vehemence that made him open his door to the opposition. The straight inference is that his mind has shifted. When you combine this with secret talks with former heads-of-state, religious leaders and a pedigree of being coup-plotting-wise, you don’t need a prophet to show you the signpost: danger ahead. Each time, he omits the southeast; they in turn ignore and let him be ensnared by his designs. Reason: no justice, no truthfulness in his machinations. But these dark-end activities, no matter how robust they appear, how threatening they might look, will fail. Mark this word.
What’s disturbing though is the consequence of that failure. First for the nation: mistrust will grow so deep that it’d be cozier dealing with strangers than any from the other divide- because we’re beginning to see two Nigerias- then you’d wonder, what kind of country? The unhealed mistrust between Zik, Awo and Ahmadu-Bello at inception represents Nigeria’s major ailment till date. When now a new dimension is added, it’s ‘goodnight’. What Obasanjo is doing is launching himself on the side of the purported owners-of-the-land against the escorts/spectators who should be grateful to have got a chance to taste power. One sip is enough, a second sip is wild and why wild? The southeast is excluded, the south-south tolerated, the Middlebelt good for census figures; these add up to the deprived. So Obasanjo’s skirmishes are nothing other than setting the conflict interface. Hope he knows.
In trying to ‘save’ Nigeria as a self-styled guarantor, he may bring about the Nigeria he wouldn’t wish, the same very way Nzeogwu’s reaction to emerging corrupt leadership, apparently to save Nigeria, got the country crippled. If after this misadventure he wants a repeat, it’s his tough luck. Second, he’s been told severally that he’s a bad candidate in matters of fairness and trust. Invariably while on his crusade, he’s a suspect; at some point he’ll be decoded and who knows what will be left of him. Finally, the highhandedness, impunity in the PDP are vestiges of his legacy; luckily, his intercourse with the opposition will bear these trappings and who told you the party won’t implode at the point of exploit? If he were to have the luxury of fair-mindedness, he would have bluntly reminded the north that those on the fringe must come in if the ship of state is to sail smoothly. Now he’s gone full-swing against, telling them as the decider of fate, ’come to power’ but he won’t have his way.
You ask, if Obasanjo had two terms and craved for a third, what’s the sacrilege letting another have two granted him by the law of the land? Does he think that the southeast and all they on the fringe will keep watching him fly his kite over them to continually exclude them? These questions are raised because they are beginning to be loud and in the months ahead, they’ll become louder.
When voices from the south-south sound combative, we call them names devoid of cognizance to the callous injury done to their humanity. Even in the north of his mind ,Christians excluded and suppressed according to Oritsejafo’s records and doesn’t that tell him that justice not geography holds the key to Nigeria’s peace?
For the southeast, the question remains, why does Obasanjo discount them in Presidential slots? That answer will come from him alone.
By: Onyebuchi Onyegbule