By Dr Bwala Daniel
HAPPY New Year, fellow citizens and best wishes for the future. In Nigeria today, we have at least 5 former presidents of Nigeria who are alive and minding their businesses whilst playing the role of fathers of the nation, peace-builders etc, non is so domineering, controlling and meddling with the affairs of the nation like Obasanjo.
For the records, Obsasanjo also referred to as OBJ has served two terms as a democratically elected president from 1999-2007. The traditional posture and role of former presidents has been that of statesmanship, one who guides, promotes and nurture democratic growth and nation building through strengthening of institutions, educating and enlightening citizens, promoting citizens participation in government, but OBJ is the one man who believes his role also includes choosing and imposing presidents per time, as if we run a monarchical system of government.
He believes he is the only former leader who knows what is right for NIgeria, who has the celestial powers to predict the future of NIgeria and the leadership. He believes it is only his administration that has done well and hence the authority to choose next leader or president.
His way of choosing the next president is either to blackmail the incumbent or denigrate candidates in favour of his choices. He does that often times vide a letter he would release as though its an epistle to the Nigeria about the almighty direction of the country. He seem to think we are under under military rule.
In his 2014 or 2015 letter he accused GEJ of training snippers to kill citizens, even though it was proved to be a false allegation, in his 2018 or 2019 letter, he accused Buhari of trying to divide nigeria and cause secession, and today he is writing another letter to accuse two other candidates whom he has vowed would never ascend to the nations loftiest seat, even though he made a u-turn and supported Atiku in 2019 because of hatred for BUhari whom he played a role in bringing him to power. So its all about him.
To him his wishes and will equals the wishes and will of the nation. A cursory look at his letter released on this day 1st day of January 2023, one can’t help but draw a deduction of a man who believes so much in himself. His entire letter is riddled with me, my and I. Even when he made references to candidates, he assumed he is the source of their relevance and notoriety.
First of all, history is replete with his bad decisions which time would not permit us to layout in this article, but suffice to say that his records and official acts were and still are antithetical to democratic ideals. The democracy we practice recognizes participation of people in government and electioneering processes.
He has the constitutional right to choose whoever he likes and support the candidacy of the person, but the right he doesn’t have is one that threatens, intimidates or harasses citizens to support any candidate as the only means to avert danger., secesssion or disintegration
Someone may need to remind him that Nigeria has actually made progress from his days of imposition, manipulation and intimidation, to a popular participation of people in government and affairs of their country. The 2023 election is the election of the people and not of the big personalities.
There is nothing about his administration of 1999-2007 that gives him the celestial powers to dictate our future or the outcome of an election yet to be conducted. He should have humbled himself and followed peter Obi to rallies to test his own popularity; that’s what popular people do. He should move with petter obi to town halls, campaigns and canvass for votes for him to show he believes in democratic process of election. We do not vote based upon a threat from a letter.
When was the last time we saw him visiting victims of natural disaster? Or playing the role needed of a father of the nation that he so passionately claims?
One fact is clear, Nigerians would decide, and this they would do, not on the basis of a letter by a man seeking a third term by proxy, but by their own assessment of who amongst the candidates presents the case they believe warrant their votes.
The letter is not new, the content are not surprising, but it seems his legacy betrays his assertion in the letter. Baba OBJ Nigeria has moved on, please allow our democracy to grow and respect the will and wishes of the Nigerian people.
Dr Daniel is the spokesman of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign and he writes in from London.