Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Tuesday the 21st, Yar'Adua told the Financial Times that he will not seek a probe of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, AKA "OBJ" or "Baba". He apparently told the publication that to do so would be a waste of time and energy.

Now, I do not fault Yardy for his opinion. After all, like anyone else, he is allowed to have one. I can't even say that I disagree with his conclusion. As President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he probably has a bird's eye view of certain matters. Nevertheless, I can't help but notice that his statement might just not be as straight forward as it seems.

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Even a cursory glance at any Nigerian publication or website will show that OBJ's head is being demanded by Nigerians from all parts of the country. It appears that many citizens are frustrated with the lack of development that they expected when Nigeria returned to democracy. Some could also argue that there are others with old scores to settle with OBJ and that they are now working on evening the odds.

Whatever the case may be, it is clear that many citizens want the federal government to take a closer look at the former president and the dealings of his administration. All one need do is check out such headlines as the Daily Champion's "At Last! EFCC Probes Obasanjo" from March this year for verification. Or, the calls by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria encouraging Yardy to be "brave" and "demand that a proper account be given for every government fund and policies[sic] by the past government." Or, the calls by the House of Representatives that OBJ appear for questioning in the power probe over his involvement in the failed power sector and dubious contracts that were given out.

So, while Yardy dismisses these calls as a waste of time, it is hard for me to believe that he truly holds that sentiment. Especially as his surrogate and Nigerian Curiosity Person of 2007, Michael Aondoakaa, publicly makes statements about OBJ's failures and the heavy handed tactics used in the former administration's 'fight' against corruption. For instance, Aondoakaa, recently called the OBJ administration a lawless one that encouraged anarchy by saying,

"You are not unaware of the lawlessness, if not outright anarchy that preceded the present administration.

The records of abuse of power through unlawful arrests and detentions, unjust and unwarranted impeachments that were upturned by the Supreme Court, flagrant disobedience of court orders and many other violation of the principles of the rule of law by individuals, corporate organisations and government agencies in the country's past, are still fresh in our memories."

Aondoakaa further ratcheted up the anti-OBJ rhetoric by recently stating that Yardy's administration would not fail to prosecute anyone found guilty of corruption in the former administration and stressed that "nobody is above the law and so, anybody who runs foul of the law will not be spared, no matter how highly placed".

Given the OBJ-chatter emanating from his own executive office, how can Yardy claim that he is not interested in wasting time or energy by probing OBJ?

Yardy may not be the source of the current anti-OBJ rhetoric that has now seemingly taken the nation by storm, but it is clear that he is the direct and immediate beneficiary. His 'win' in last year's elections were discredited by domestic and international organizations and many speculated that Baba himself handpicked Yardy as a replacement so that he could fulfill his alleged 'third-term' ambitions. Consequently, it is fair to assume that at the least, Yardy is using the current anti-OBJ atmosphere to separate himself from his predecessor and cement his administration's independence. Yar'Adua cannot openly attack OBJ, who is also the leader of his political party, the PDP, but he can instead allow individuals like Aondoakaa, who is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, to do the talking for him. That way, he can tell the world that he will never investigate OBJ and actually mean it, because his surrogates and others will do the hard, dirty work for him.

This is an excellent way to extinguish one's opposition or in this case, a powerful predecessor. No matter what one might think of Yardy and his approach to running Nigeria, you can't dismiss his smarts. In all fairness, OBJ gave him and others room to attack by failing to leave office with a die-hard shield via tangible advances that the people could see and feel. Additionally, OBJ ineffectively managed his legacy and that gave many an opening to whittle away at what ever influence he has left. One cannot blame Yardy for taking advantage of such an opportunity, but I just wish that when it came to OBJ, he wouldn't talk through both sides of his mouth.

Further reading:
- Nigerian Legacy of Obasanjo

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NneomaMD said...

When you said that Yar'adua owes his position to OBJ, I believe you are spot on. Yardy is holding to the principles that you never bite the hands that fed you so those anti-OBJ elemetns who are clamoring, off with his head will have to wait until the next administration.

pyoo wata
the nollywood critique

Naapali said...

I expect nothing will happen to OBJ. Primarily because he knows where the bodies are buried and many of those who would probe him owe their current status to him. A secondary reason stems from the Yoruba proverb about "kpashan ti a fi na iyale, ni ama fi na iyawo". To probe and discredit OBJ now means Yardie and his current entourage can expect the same when they leave office. I doubt this group is more endowed with integrity and honesty than the last cohort.

There will be a lot of heat and no light in the current probes.

Naapali said...

So Nneoma, you disappeared and then reappeared only to beat me to first place. Haba!

rethots said...

...but, have we thot about it from the 3rd side (of the coin)?

That Yardy would only probe if he's sure of concrete evidences to nail Obj. I think we don't give Obj enough credit for his smartness. He sure is....if not, there would have been quite a few loop holes that could have made probing much easier.

Think thee not?


@ Nneoma: Yes, indeed, you never bite the hand that feeds you unless biting said hand will ensure survival, if you ask me. lol! Yardy wants to go down as a serious president, which is why 'rule of law' is his mantra and he sticks to it. As such, he MUST separate himself from OBJ who as a serious reputation in Nigeria for ignoring the law. Anyway, or it could simply be that Yardy really has no desire to investigate the previous admin.

I think Naapali put it best, the thought of a witch hunt after Yardy leaves office is unpleasant enough to prevent his administration from even giving the appearance of such.

@ rethots: I would never suggest that Baba was not smart. However, the various missteps he has made politically, plus various scandals emanating from his house (i.e. adultery scandals, Iyabo-gate, the PEF scandal involving his son in law) allow myself and others to question his ethics and political savvines. Power is the most corruptive influence. Even the best people fall prey to it eventually.
Thanks for stopping by! long time no see!

TheAfroBeat said...

Have to agree with you and Naapali on this one, he can't bite the hand that fed him the presidency. But i'm also grudgingly with Naapali on this one - i don't thing OBJ won't see the inside of a cell, and as for a tarnished reputation, i doubt that many Nigerians thought that highly of him in the first place.

I owe you a call this weekend.

guerreiranigeriana said...

shei, i don tire for this yard-head and naija govt in general...abeg, he should just fix the power, health, education, infrastructural, etc. issues...or at least put things in place so they can be fixed...i have no expectations for him other than for him to make his regular health trips to germany...oh and to be silent on important issues for overly long periods of time... for obj...the guy first ruled naija under military rule...what was to be expected of him?...he then wanted to run for a third term...they say karma is a bitch when you are hehn now....

Unknown said...

I agree with Naapali - he's said it all. Yardy's hypocrisy is what it is - A done deal... Sad.

Kiibaati said...

At some point, we'll have to forget about OBJ, look forward and hold Yardy responsible. Yardy should be thinking of his legacy.

Naija Vixen said...

Hate to be pessimistic, but nothing will happen to OBJ. Yardy owes his position now to OBJ and though OBJ is no longer in power, his influence stretches to and past the corridors of regardless of whatever Yardy decides to spout every now and then, that is not going to change.

Missed you oh, it was exams sha that kept us away, howz the lil one?

Sam Oracle said...

I think we should forget about OBJ but itz not really easy. Each time I think about living without power I feel like personally handling the man.
It hurts, especially when you know that these past leaders had the resources to make it right with Nigeria but they just refused to do it.
I guess itz because they don't feel they pain like the masses do.
I mean how can they when Aso Villa is a Haven.

NneomaMD said...

the pic that you placed here bears an uncanny resemblance to pics of Bush and McCain together during fundraisers....was just thinking of it now....i think i should be heading to bed now - hopefully not with that image in mind.

and at naapali - for once, i wanted to be first to comment on an SSD post...allow me to enjoy my moment of glory....i had been planning that for weeks...wink...

pyoo wata
the nollywood critique

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