President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegations are serious and grave. They are also reckless. He has raised issues and made assertions that are capable of derailing our democracy and creating chaos in the land. It is vital that we consider his motives for this latest outburst and his credentials as a leader and an elder statesman.
The truth is that he knows that President Goodluck Jonathan will win next month’s presidential election and that is why he wants to destroy the credibility of the whole process right from the outset. What he is trying to say in his latest contribution is that if President Jonathan wins, then the election must have been rigged right from the outset. This is not only wrong but it is also unfair and uncharitable. If President Obasanjo has any evidence to prove his weighty allegations he ought to present it before the Council of State and take it up there.
He should also report to INEC itself and present the data of whatever sinister plan he believes that President Jonathan has to stay in power ”by hook or by crook” to them. He should tell INEC whatever it is that Jonathan is doing in order for him to stay in power by all means and he should give them all the details. That should be the starting point.
The record shows that this is not the first time that INEC have postponed elections. In 2011 during the National Assembly elections INEC not only cancelled the elections just after they started but they also postponed them by two weeks. The heavens did not fall then and neither did President Obasanjo accuse INEC or the President of having any grand plan to stay in power by hook or by crook at that time. One wonders what has suddenly changed.
What INEC has done by postponing the elections is firmly within the confines of the law and they have probably saved thousands of lives by doing so. They have also given the 34 per cent of Nigerians that had not collected their PVC’s as at the relevant time the opportunity to do so. Without this postponement all those people would have been disenfranchised and it would have placed a dark cloud over the whole process. Why should President Obasanjo have a problem with that?
President Jonathan has re-affirmed his commitment to the democratic process over and over again and he has also said that the handover date of May 29th is sacrosanct. In view of these assurances, one wonders why President Obasanjo is creating such a hue and cry over nothing. What is he seeing that no one else can see? One wonders what his motives are? Does he have to rule every government by proxy? Must every leader take instructions from him? Is it a case of ”if I cannot control you and tell you what to do then you must go?”
President Obasanjo spoke about President Laurent Gbagbo and he claimed that President Jonathan was attempting to do a Gbagbo in Nigeria. The question that must be put to him is this: ”who got Gbagbo out?” Was it not Jonathan’s government that played a key role in ensuring that democracy was fully established in the Ivory Coast and did he not play a key role in ensuring that the Gbagbo plan ”stay in power forever plan” did not work? If anyone doubts this they should ask President Alhassan Outtara of La Cote D’Ivoire the role that Jonathan and Nigeria played in helping to restore democracy and stability back to his country.
They should also find out the role that President Obasanjo played in attempting to keep President Laurent Gbagbo in power at all costs and the deep friendship that exists between the two men. It is a matter of fact and public record that when he was President of Nigeria, President Obasanjo, perhaps more than any other African Head of State with the exception of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, propped up and supported President Gbagbo and it is an irony of fate and history that he is now condemning the actions of his old friend and accusing others of trying to emulate them.
Again it is ironic that President Obasanjo has accused President Jonathan of having a grand plan to stay in power at all costs and by all means yet it is the same Obasanjo that tried to stay in power for a third term even though the Nigerian constitution specifically forbade it. He tried all he could to change the constitution but the whole thing failed and he was compelled to leave power.
After Jonathan came to power, Obasanjo not only tried to control and teleguide him but he also asked him to do a number of things that were simply wrong and unacceptable. It is for President Goodluck Jonathan himself to divulge those things and I am sure that he will do so at the appropriate time. Needless to say President Jonathan refused to be teleguided and told what to do even though at all times he showed Obasanjo maximum respect and accorded him all the privileges, access and courtesies that is due to a former Head of State and a father and mentor. This continued to be the case even after Obasanjo consistently attempted to undermine his government and ridicule his efforts.
Yet President Obasanjo could not be appeased and was not satisfied. As far as he was concerned, he must either control Jonathan or Jonathan had to go. That is why he decided to secretly support the APC and became their ”navigator in chief”. He was determined to pull the whole house down rather than allow Jonathan to return to power. This is simply because he believes that if he cannot control someone that person must be destroyed. Control and domination is an obsession for Obasanjo. That is the bottom line. He is prepared to put even the devil in power provided he can control him. That is why he is so determined to stop Jonathan and put in place an Interim Government which he, or one of his surrogates, will head. That is his plan and he is determined to achieve it no matter what it takes.
Obasanjo does not want genuine democracy. He only pretends to want it. What he wants is control and a stooge in power. It does not matter what type of government it is as long as he controls it and it is headed by his puppet. It can be a military government, a civilian one, a democratic one, an interim government or a government of National Unity. To Obasanjo it does not matter as long as he can control it. That is his objective. That is why he hates Jonathan so much and that is why he wishes to stop him at all costs.
The bottom line is this: President Obasanjo’s grouse with President Jonathan is personal and it has nothing to do with Nigeria. He should leave Nigeria out of it and let us all be. If he has a personal score to settle with Jonathan he should not do so at the expense of the peace and stability of Nigeria. If he wants to stop Jonathan then let him attempt to do so through the democratic process and through the ballot box and not through foul and unconstitutional means. We said it before and we will say it again: gone are the days that any President can be teleguided and controlled because we have all come of age.
We continue to hold President Obasanjo in high esteem but his recent actions and utterances are beyond the pale. He has been unfair to Jonathan, to Nigeria and even to himself. Most importantly the days of intimidating others with his harsh words and overbearing influence are long over. Obasanjo is not God. Only God is God and He alone determines the fortunes of men and the destiny of nations.
We sincerely hope that President Obasanjo appreciates the gravity of what he is attempting to do and we shall continue to pray that God will guide him and deliver him from whatever it is that makes him want to destroy all those that love him the most. Whether he likes it or not democracy has come to stay in Nigeria and the will of the Nigerian people will be done in next month’s presidential elections and thereafter. We believe that is God’s plan and not even one million Obasanjo’s can stop it.
God bless Nigeria.