Obasanjo’s Appalling Arrogance


In due time, former President Olusegun Obasanjo will pick up his prize for resentful arrogance, writes Goke Omisore

I am awed by such a gratuitous insult on the people’s intelligence. I have been restrictively held by culture and bottled-up, resisting the temptation to criticise an elder statesman. My Yoruba culture somewhat frowns on such audacious moves. But then, as a writer, one is answerable to a higher authority, my conscience and the sovereignty of the people supersedes culture.

Trying not to injure the ego or self-gratification of the serially celebrated god of Owu Kingdom, Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Ebora of Owu, in his self-starring service calls of duty, accidentals by fate or favours by men – a mega starring role of all that is great and glittering accomplishments by virtues of misnomers in this clime – is it?
Sir, not too fast! You are, with all due respect of protocol in your fortified forte, are a recurring decimal in the worst social-ills of our times, in our disordered altered union called Nigeria. The measure of a man certainly should be beyond his cuffs. Pardon me sir, a few of us are not impressed with your diamonds studded cuff-links and sharp corner Greek-gifts to your anointed boys.

I once swore by you in the heydays of the Obasanjo collectives, under the debt of intellectual wisdom of Chief Femi Olopade, a most distinguished elder-statesman of towering repute. It was fun though, missions not particularly accomplished, we were shortchanged in our much higher expectation of you on marked changes in this wobbly union. You stood an incredible hunk of opportunity to make profound changes, but then as the saying goes, those who paid the piper dictated the tune or isn’t it?

A thousand and one portion of the gods of this land shall not wash thy hands clean of various weighty sins in this damn hell we are in now, nor will it cleanse thee, nor posterity reward thy many planted seeds or sins sprawling in the land like yam’s tendrils, proudly planted with best-of-selfish intentions now grown into formidable Oak trees in our desert of wants and starving minions in million.

Take a cursory second look in the mirror of reality and stop dancing on the mirror of tantalising mirages and barrage of self-importance. Your very humble pedigree and the degrees of opportunities that fate wrought on you run against the grains of expectations of your self-acclaimed successes and negate all your personal well-rounded accomplishments. Whichever way you throw the dice of people’s judgment, you aren’t Nelson Mandela of blessed memory yet. But to whom so much is given, much, much, more is expected. I reasoned.

“My delight is to be able to create Nigerian billionaires. I always say it proudly that my aim was to create 50 billionaires from Nigeria. Unfortunately, I failed because I only created 25 billionaires.” A friend reading over my shoulder credited you with the 26th billionaire. He posited that you should not be left out nor discounted and I concurred sir! However, you failed because you ego-tripped on a borrowed solution, veiled in self-righteousness and wrong timing.

You created an army of well-heeled individuals to buttress your ambitions and finest of selfish-intentions. Does the third term agenda sound familiar? Sir, e ma pe aja l’obo fun awa! (Don’t tell us a dog is a monkey!) Yours was wealth creation for a fraudulent few with marked exceptions, only one or two amongst them can be counted deserving in the interest of the nation.
You aided and propelled privileged goals of tiny few, that is, a back-door or reversed corruption you planted to reap abundantly from and you did. You somehow legalised corruption entrenched with subtle official seal in the background of political muddied water of Aso Rock. Sir, poor vision by you, for a limited visionless prospect of insignificant few, you could have grown 25 institutions that mattered most with equal opportunity for all and level playing fields in these valley of economic despair – a greater tomorrow legacy beyond you.

That is, institutions grow nation, not individuals with obscene wealth that trickles down but dissipates into drought before reaching the “talakawas” – an indecent, obscene population in this intractable union, where millions live on less than one dollar a day. What you did was to aid some cancerous money spinners for a privileged few – selfish, boasting and bragging at the expense of our crawling economy, decades after independence! You are a living witness to such recklessness and that is the bane of our tooth-pick economy today.

For your information, such trickle down economic theory, apology to Professor John Kenneth Galbraith, a man best described as the tallest amongst the tall ones as an award winning economic professor and a renowned author of immense clout. His trickle down economic theory is a civilised approach to growing a developed economy, definitely ill-tailored for savages and bare-bone economic vultures and scavengers, devouring our already malnourished economy. But a healthy prescription of economic luxury for civilised, industrialised economies, definitely not our mono-based tooth-pick economy.

Such magic grows in developed economies, where the value of wealth creations meets head on with virtues, patriotism and discipline of corporate and well-honed, full-grown repercussions – sustained by conscionably disciplined men and institutions. Where, if you can’t do the time; don’t touch the crime. Such nation’s institutions are built on liberty, equity, education, human and varied natural and intellectual source and resources.

Above all, sound and sane justice system that has withstood the test of times for centuries, at all times. Thanks for your confessions, quite an eye-opener from the horse’s mouth. So, you are the culprit that powered the proliferation of private jets, hi-octane parties and such inanities in our land? Lord, have mercy! That singular deed of yours sir, created the proliferation of wealth super-lords – solid rent specie of super citizens, grandstanding and walking the land – freemen, but they belong in jail.

Definitely, that is not a fair deal to the generality. Not to mention sir, the humongous obscene budget on infrastructure, most especially billions voted by your government in all currencies on power but on your clandestine watch vanished into electioneering darkness, leaving the nation writhing in utter darkness. E jowo sir, e ma paja l’obo fun wa. Accounting time for the masses will soon dawn.

Ever since then our economy has been waning uncontrollably. Your idea of creating money-bags dictated the worst race and spate of money making rivalries that aided reckless, uncensored corruption amongst this new generation of money braggarts. So, what else is left but immoral-hounded carcass and irredeemably poisoned to the last breath of insanity in a dog-eat-dog race you had set off unwittingly amongst today’s youth. Nigeria is a great nation! Is it? Really! Please, let us stop counting on a diminishing value asset of oil reserves, cassava, onion, herds of cattle and cows in a new generation of intellectual domination in wealth generation in modern world. We are talking digital, sir, not analogue.

Any surprise in our country today, the clearly over sixties still call the orders, recycled and spent forces including yourself of very humble beginnings and in spite of flurries of privileges you’ve had, you still remain a constant factor in all things Nigeria, even though you are crowding towards your 80th birthday. Sir, please move over; pardon me sir, you are indeed spent and please stop glamorizing this Banana-Republic you have labored assiduously to create, sustained and prefer to maintain in your own measured dreams as presently constituted.

Legions are at liberty too to see their dream come through, that is a resounding definition of hope. The sky is the limit of our children’s generations, if and when we truly restructure and unleashed their potential on the nation. The world should watch out for greater tomorrow Nigerians.

Instead of your billionaire men in colored jackets, you could have favoured a silicon valley option or Africas’ largest hi-tech-hubs. Thirty-six zonal world class states hospitals, furnished to the nines! A national carrier to boot, above all, custom and excise, police, banking, all regulatory bodies and agencies could have been infused with a degree of sanity on your watch, but you left and made sure our fifth-elevens are reigning and ruling but glorifying your highness.

That’s how not to grow a nation, sir! What a waste in your ego-tripped investment on mostly hungry men dying for fortunes and selfish fame and trite recognition stamped with national honors contracted, purchased but dotted with a couple of deserving awardees for credibility of such hollow list. Such don’t grow a nation, but serves as a catalyst to retard a nation’s growth. That was a most cruel unilateral use of tax payers’ money and presidential favoured subsidies. Yes, all of them should be probed and thrown onto the forensic glare of public scrutiny to clearly establish the last upright man standing.

You are a living witness to a sea of unemployable graduates, products of our dying citadels of learning with fading glories that fill the ranks and files of unemployment amongst our youths in this land. Wither your twenty-five disciples of wealth, manufactured by you in our children’s rescue mission, save for Aliko Dangote alone. Thank God Almighty, no mortal writes his or her own obituary. We shall edit your command sir! Your wish or not your wish, you can bank on that.
Mark you Sir, the crumbs from the obscene wealth of those you manufactured, generated only able-bodied workforce of labourers mostly, but that wrongly spent funds on your 25 disciples of wealth buried many individuals’ numerous talents and dreams. A mind is a terrible thing to waste! With movements but no tangible futuristic road-maps of sustainable growth on our nation’s dream of greatness, with grossly underdeveloped infrastructure – all stands us sabotaged in the interest of less than 000.1% of us! Sir, silence in this instance will be most honorable, not braggadocio. I posit unapologetically!

Since the Amalgamation of 1914, our nation’s political roadmap appears implacably cursed by the stray specie of our men in uniform. A handful of patriots, whose nationalistic intentions and missions, appeared tainted with tribal coloration, whose missions were hijacked and bastardised beyond recognition. Since the army struck and diluted the spirit of patriotism with ethnic coloration from the First Republic, it got tainted by the compounding wishful thinking of an ethnic group and the myth aided by their domination in the armed forces and religious bent and preferences as programmed in the British selfish-interest. They deliberately starve the northerners of the wealth of education but indoctrinated them with the wisdom of their dominance in power through the military forces. The die of ethnicity, corruption, god-fatherism in our economy, politics and culture, not sparing religious differences was irrevocably cast!
Now, see how we are wasting opportunities and waning at high-noon of maturity, crowding our country’s 60th independent anniversary but still heavily economically dependent and still talking in incoherent tongues amongst ourselves often like strangers, but atrophied as a toddler in the comity of nations, when we should be riding high with the “BRIC” nations. Shame on all of us!

By commission and omissions, we are all collectively guilty in varying degrees. Chief Olusegun Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, please take a deep studied look at this country, Nigeria, yearning for true fiscal federalism and nationhood and please stand counted in the greater interest of our commonwealth. Please, do your utmost to unchain Nigeria and Nigerians in your life time. I humbly submit.

-Omisore wrote from Lagos

Take a cursory second look in the mirror of reality and stop dancing on the mirror of tantalising mirages and barrage of self-importance. Your very humble pedigree and the degrees of opportunities that fate wrought on you run against the grains of expectations of your self-acclaimed successes and negate all your personal well-rounded accomplishments. Whichever way you throw the dice of people’s judgment, you aren’t Nelson Mandela of blessed memory yet. But to whom so much is given, much, much, more is expected. I reasoned