Dear President Obasanjo
Even for a detailed man like you, I am willing to guess that you would have by now lost count of the number of tributes and Happy Birthday wishes you must have received since yesterday. A guess, I said not place a wager, yes, some us of are wise enough never to bet against you. Knowing you, I can imagine the impish grins and comments you must have regaled those around you as these messages and tributes pour in.
Naturally and at the risk of your impish grins and comments, I also will like to here, add my own public Happy Birthday to you Baba. No need to pretend sir, those who know me are aware of my personal link of deference and affection to you. On such basis we can share the joke of saying happy birthday to Chief Dr. General President Elder Chairman Baba Olusegun Obasanjo. By the way, it must be noted that all your titles are earned and truly deserved; not one is honorary or bestowed. What a life!
Of all your earned titles, like everything with you, the simplest one is also perhaps the most fascinating. You are in people’s mind the most senior and most recognized Baba in Africa and perhaps the world. I am not sure you are aware, at the mention “Baba” in any conversation in any part of Nigeria and beyond, people understand that you are the one the speaker is referring to, saying OBJ is mere a confirmation of the implied.
In our Nigeria and indeed beyond, you are truly the father of many people, ideas, institutions, reforms and policies. Most don’t remember it but you are indeed the father of modern Nigeria. The latter is perhaps your biggest baby and it is by no way a small feat. You have directly shaped or being involved in shaping most of what makes Nigeria what is. Naturally and you know it, I do not agree with all your procreations.
Very few people can be compared to you when it comes of being Pan Nigerian. Objectively speaking, most people become dwarfs when compared to you. You have through your life, ways and deed promoted and practiced the making of one big Nigeria. Most times at the detriment of the sectional, tribal sentiments that guide most others.
Now Baba, I have sad news for you: this your big baby is sick.
This your big baby has not grown to be a happy and or reliable adult, it is not safe, the nannies that are charged with taking of your baby Nigeria are not doing well. Your big baby is not safe for friends and family to visit.
The children of your big baby do not trust and love each other. They thinking some of them a being treated like step children of a mean, daft and reckless step parent while the biological parent is absent.
Most do not seem to understand or trust the judiciary that is supposed to assure them that right is right and wrong is wrong for all to easily see.
Too many of the children of your big baby are too hungry and too unemployed to practice the savings and thrift you spent so much time and energy to promote and when they try to engage the banks you put in place they do not feel welcomed.
The greatness you preached and worked for is still a dream, when compared to other children around the globe. Your big baby seems to rank high in bad things and low very low in good things.
Your great passion: International relationship is still not an area of excellence for your big baby Nigeria. Trained professionals are not involved in shaping our international affairs and they are not making their mark.
For the avoidance of doubt, let me state clearly that by modern Nigeria we mean the Nigeria of its present political and governmental structure, based on federal character and determined to make many nations part of one bigger nation rather than state or a union of nations. A Nigerian made of true Nigerians.
Too many people are now questioning even the essence of this Nigeria and they do so not out of pure malice and greed, they do so Baba because this your big baby is sick and as a parent, you need to do more than something about it.
I doubt anyone in Nigeria is as connected or respected and revered as you in this country, Baba. I think for the sake of your baby it is time to call in some favours. It is time to speak to some of those you made to tell them that they owe you the favour of saving your baby. It is time to speak to all of us directly and clearly to tell us all that you are now reviewing somethings.
*Prof. Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS Lagos