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Between Obasanjo’s Letter and Jonathan’s Response

| January 7, 2014 More

It is a trite to say that the letter written by former president Obasanjo to President Jonathan has again polarized the country along different inherent fault lines. Ours is a country where all issues, no matter how objective or germane, must be viewed from regional, religious, ethnic, trade union, or gender prisms.

All depend on who is the victim. Sad. Some saw the letter as ranting of a neglected godfather by his prodigal godson. Some viewed it as one of such evil mechanization of the former president whenever his whims are subdued and his caprices chained. Within the same gamut, there are some who saw the now infamous letter as a subtle threat to national security amongst whom is President Goodluck Jonathan. However, some posited that the former president has no moral right to express his thoughts on national issues to the extent of exposing the rot in the present administration. Their reason was that the former president was a Lucifer while in office and now he cannot claim sanctimoniousness.

While on the other hand, there are those, amongst whom this writer, who opined that indeed the former president Obasanjo was never a saint and was equally culpable of what he accused President Jonathan of but if we entangled ourselves with event of the past, then we would end up throwing the baby with the bath water. Obasanjo had his faults while in office but his letter has its own merits. Looking at the letter irrespective of who wrote it, one can indeed agree with most issues raised therein. Methinks, that should be the focus of all objective minds. The merit of the letter should be the epicenter of our national discourse especially as it touched on cardinal issues of governance. For instance, it is in public domain as President Jonathan acknowledged in his response that corruption has eaten deep into our national firmament, now the question is: what has the present administration been doing to check this monster?. How many high profile corruption cases have been prosecuted so far by this administration? Why has been there been cover up of corrupt individuals within Aso rock? We can’t continue to trivialize corruption cases under the pretense of due process. In fact, we are all in this country when friends of the president involved in corruption issues are shielded from the long arms of the law. These hard facts will remain with us as long as the cord of memory lengthens. As I write this, the #2billion naira pension scam is still unresolved as Stella Odua continues to parade herself as Minister of Aviation despite the House of Reps’ resolution that she should be sacked for her role in the bullet-proof scandal.

Having read the Obasanjo’s clarion call to the president, I was pushed to a reverie. This administration came on board with high hopes and expectation on itself and from Nigerians. It came to office by providence but now betrayed the fateful circumstance that brought it to office. The deliberate refusal to declare assets by the president in the first instance was a brutal betrayal of providence. These hopes and expectations were well encapsulated in the now jettisoned Transformation Agenda. I never knew for the life of me that this document exists but thanks to a visit to a colleague’s office recently.

The transformation agenda with a captivating caption “My Covenant with Nigerians” is full of lofty ideals that any president desirous of any meaningful development for his country should have. But let me quickly add, it is one thing to have a sound development blueprint and diametrically different thing to have the political will to actualize it. Alas, ours is an administration that lacks both the political will and the needed brains to move the engine of growth forward. This is more so if the engine room of that blueprint is peopled by weaklings, inept worn-out technocrats and partially transformed thugs as its drivers.

Again, let me make a certain correction with due respect to the office of the president which Jonathan only occupies. The statement in response to Obasanjo’s letter that “… while, by the Grace of God Almighty, IAM THE FIRST PRESIDENT FROM A MINORITY GROUP, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria… … ” (Emphasis mine) was indeed incorrect. This assertion is a fallacy for we all know that Gen. YakubuGawon was a leader of the whole of Nigeria from Ngasminority ethnic group from Jos. And if Iam to stretch by correction further, the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was also from Bageri tribe of Tafawa Balewa L.G.A and in case one wishes to know, it is also a minority ethnic group in Bauchi state. The President must have weaved up this sentiment to elicit sympathy from his region or kinsmen to further balkanized the country along that fault line and cover up his obvious weaknesses. Let it be told that, just because one is from the North does not necessarily mean that one must be from a majority ethnic group as some ethnic champions would want us to believe. The North’s granitic unity is in the capacity of its peoples to tolerate one another and others from other parts of Nigeria.In fact even IBB and Abacha can arguably be from minority ethnic groups from Niger and Kano states respectively. No sir! You could not be the first!!

Now, as the 2013 glides away and we usher in 2014, we wish to see a new brand president in action, fully dedicated to the good of all Nigerians. We wish to see a president engaging corruption headlong. We wish to see a president promoting democracy not only within the PDP but also in the country in general and equally tolerating divergent opinions and constructive criticisms. We wish to see a president that will muster the courage to say NO to his kinsmen whenever they make inflammatory statements against other Nigerians and put a stop to industrial scale oil theft. We wish to see a president re-applying himself to the security and well-being of all Nigerians. For one cannot agree further with Harvey Mackey who posited that …..” A good leader understands that anything that has been done in a particular way for a given amount of time is being done wrongly. Every single performance can be improved”

The author writes from RightLinks Integrated Services Limited, Kaduna.

Category: Bauchi State News

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