Friday, May 19, 2006

Obasanjo accepts 3rd term defeat

Obasanjo's gracious acceptance of the end of the 3rd term constitutional amendment is the canny move that some have been expecting all along. At once, he exonerates himself by claiming to have maintained a studied silence all along, as well as distancing himself from the PDP machinations. Whether that is really the truth, we'll never know. It could be that he was using Ali-mus-go as his stooge. But it also could be that he predicted all these events from the start. On this hypothesis, Obj would have realised he was powerless to explicitly contest the tenure-extension bid from within the PDP hierarchy, and therefore decide to sit on the fence and make the odd off-the-record remark to insiders to stave off any suspicions that his views were otherwise.

Whatever the truth, its another good day for Nigerian democracy. Obj's backing strengthens the democratic cause. Now all efforts should be focused on signing the Acts I mentioned in an earlier post into law, as well as working towards a free and fair election next year.


the flying monkeys 7:33 pm  

Its time to rally around our leader.

Unlike the vice president, I do not think President Obasanjo (“Baba”) really envisaged a further 4 year term.

Baba is a true revolutionary who seems to have transformed some of our fundamental institutions and I believe his silence was aimed at defending and preserving the unity of his party (the pdp).

It is a common tactic in some countries by those who can't win elections to boycott them and then claim that the election results are somehow not democratic because they weren't included in them. Other tactics include attempting to sway from a parliamentary path with the aim of perpetuating the leader in power.

President Obasanjo has been facing both paths since 1999, as every other revolutionary. He has tried to destroy business as usual (the old order) and install his anti-corruption crusade. But there aren't enough real revolutionaries supporting him. To make matters worse, they are outnumbered by thieves.

I think it is unfair that the Nigerian press continue to do a hatchet job on our President. It is also a very bad thing we have so much oil and gas because our enemies may now be trying to topple.

I wonder what the next regime will resemble.

Obokun (Dapo Ogundipe)

Akin 7:46 pm  

I wish I really were that naive.

The departure of this old-khaki president just paves way for another of those other khaki boys who once messed up the country to have a second go at the trough.

It would be interesting to see how Atiku would out-play Maradona (IBB) or Buhari.

OBJ has played the classic mafia boss in this matter - pull the strings but keep your hands clean. Then feign absolute innocence and claim victim-status.

Nay! Does not wash with me.

However, I expect EFCC to go into overdrive as those who were paid but did not deliver return the cash and end up being nabbed in the process.

I am sorry, I might once have been impressed with OBJ, but this is not the act starts to redeem his stock.

Anonymous,  8:11 pm  

It is a joke to describe OBJ as a revolutionary, or even to ascribe the mafia puppeteer status that Jez is alluding to.

He tried his luck and it back-fired - badly. He basically tried to bite the hands that fed him, that brought him out of jail and handed him Presidency on a plate. The powers that be in Nigeria have simply slapped down the impertinent scallywag.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for OBJ's achievements, but this 3rd Term ruse was not his finest moment. What he is left to do now is lick his wounds and exit his term with as much dignity as he can muster.

What he should have done is to have stood against 3rd Term clearly and unambiguously, demonstrated moral courage and leadership - from the start. Using May 2007 as a focal point for his reform programme, he should have been the inspiration Nigeria needed by leading by example.

Instead his shifty-eyed silence handed that kleptocratic buffoon Atiku the unlikely role of guardian of democracy. OBJ almost tore our country apart with his foolish gambit.

Best-case-scenario: The "system" throws up whatever candidate it chooses as President and Ngozi is picked as Vice-President. Her presence assures that the reforms will be protected. 2015 she becomes Nigeria's 1st female President.

Afterall, UK is a good example of the No. 1 person being the politician (Blair), whilst the No. 2 is the economic guru (Brown). The current Prime Minister of India (Singh) was the architect of their economic reform programme 10 years ago. Nigeria could plot a similar path.


Anonymous,  8:25 pm  


The current adminatration is in its last year. In America this is when Presidents are described as "lame ducks". OBJ is already yesterday's man, so expecting him to pass any meaningful legislation is wishful thinking. That is the job of tomorrow's man - the next administration.

Is it the same National Assembly that he just finished making a mockery of that he will use to pass historic laws - i don't think so.

The best legacy OBJ can bequeath Nija is a clean election next year, if he has the balls.


Jeremy 8:54 pm  

acute comments anon. I think of Shakespeare's line (cant remember which comedy), "some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Obj's capitulation (enforced or willed) puts him in something close to the last category - it is a great thing that the constitution has not been changed on the basis of a rampant oligarchy's continued powerlust.

Its always devilishly difficult to find the balance between optimism and cynicism in politics, anywhere. Baba has done just about all he could have done, given the legacy he encountered in 1999. Its nowhere near enough - Nigeria on 4 or 5000mwph, the UK (for instance) on 316Twph with a third the population.

But you're right, if he can only just ensure a fair election, we may just see genuine achievements in the next four to five years. The way things are going with the underfunded and PDP-backed INEC, even that may be too much to hope for.

the flying monkeys 11:21 pm  

Considering the above comments, it would appear I could do with clarifying my comment on Baba being a revolutionary. As I do this, I bear in mind Akin (old-khaki) and Anon’s (lame duck) somewhat slight suspicions. I have also taken into account Jez’s point as far as balancing optimism and cynicism goes that it may always be as devilishly difficult. But would the same not apply to collaboration and confrontation, conflict and controversy, or even freedom and equality?

More to the point is the fact that the party is bigger than any individual member and that the push to sway from a parliamentary path with the aim of perpetuating "the leader" in power, was an agenda of a party which our president unfortunately was member.

Being a revolutionary is simply a part of the genius of the style he (Baba) has developed. For example, without him, I think the current vice president would have continued as governor of Adamawa, whilst the finance minister (Aunty Bose) would have remained in Washington. The same goes for Professor Soludo and other key cabinet members who seem to have made positive contributions under the current administration.

Had the bill to amend been successful, Baba couldn’t and wouldn’t have scaled the hurdle as the party’s compromise consensus candidate, although remaining silent was to heed the demands of his party’s ideologues. So I cannot apportion the blame on Baba. Its his party that’s guilty!

Anonymous,  6:42 am  

Ahhhh....Obasanjo the victim. Sorry, not buying that one, bro.

Do we recall Ngozi's resignation? OBJ brought her in, then wanted to circumscribe her remit as Finance Minister, in a way that would have made her a mere gofer.

The woman showed character by resigning. It took the intervention of Atiku, her husband, her father (Prof Okonjo) and other right-thinking people to sort out the mess and get Baba to back off.

OBJ never had a political base. He was brought out of jail to front the Yar Adua faction inherited by Atiku. In 2003 again it was Atiku who held the cards.

So the issue is not would there have been an Atiku without OBJ, its actually the other way round.

OBJ has squandered his chance to be somebody by dilly-dallying over 3rd Term. Is it not ridiculous that the President of the first African country to pay off the Paris Club can't get invited to the G8? He should be the toast of the nations, a symbol that Africa is finally making good. Instead he has allowed himself (and Nigeria) to be treated with contempt).That is the price of prevarication and bone-headed folly.


Anonymous,  8:28 am  

No matter how hard I try, i just cannot shake the feeling that the faggots (IBB and Atiku) won. Is there anyone out there naive enough to believe that our "honourable" members of NASS did what they did to safeguard democracy? course not! someone offered them more than N50m and they took it. Isn't it a shame that after all this time, IBB still has a major say in how this country is run?

the flying monkeys 11:45 am  

If the pdp continue to fail to stop a damaging feud over its leadership, the party's support, if any, would fall to an all time low.

With Baba hanging on as the pdp is being Pummeled, I think it would be inappropriate to remark on either former president Babangida or current vice president Atiku’s personal lives, however, at this stage in the life of a government, I wonder not why some of us wish to cast our leaders on the Shakespearean stage, this play is, after all, the in thing.

Everyone else who wants to put this as political party crap but can’t face the truth should listen.

Baba has been in office for close to eight years, and has been under pressure from members of his own party on the issue of hand over and question of his likely successor.

Although the Party has now taken a beating (a very severe one indeed), with Baba remaining a victim of political intrigue, the dramatis personae of Nigerian politics has now changed, but I doubt whether its fundamental nature has.

In the last days of his government, I am one of those who will say that the treachery and betrayal were "Shakespearean", to the point where the democratic process of his party should be described as an "assassination".

It was more like Julius Caesar, with Vice president Atiku as Brutus, and Baba as Caesar, with the betrayals, the plotting, the ingratitude, and our tottering leader is left alone in the dark without any support.

Perhaps Baba could now name a successor, set a date for his departure to give that successor ample time to settle in before the next national election, due by 2007.

Anonymous,  3:08 pm  

It's a shame we don't have strong contenders, as at yet, for the No. 1 office - why must we see Maradona (IBB) or Buhari in that office again? And even with the way something went with Atiku, does he really have the interest of the country at heart?

I strongly hope Nigerians can look beyond the localised influence of IBB et al. We need credible candidate, those that will contend for the good of the nation and not for the fame, or what have you?

It's a big shame OBJ did not groom anyone as a posible contender for the position in future, even if not in 2007.

Anonymous,  5:21 am  

My co-anonymous, I beg to differ that it must inevitably be Atiku, IBB or Buhari. In fact I believe the usual suspects will neutralise one another and produce a compromise candidate who can be sold to the South as a "bridge", (just as OBJ was a Southerner the North could trust).

I say watch out for Muazu (Bauchi Gov) and Yar Adua (Katsina). I would have mentioned Marwa, but he has been damaged recently.

However I maintain that the choice of VP is crucial, best case scenario is a technocrat.

(PS: less of the homophobia pls - live and let live.)

bjodn,  9:41 pm  

I agree with the last anon poster.IBB and Atiku will cancel each other out. It'll be a repeat of 1992 where all the big boys blocked out each other. Look for people who are not currently in the limelight like El-Rufi, Wazri, Gusasu.. I think it'll be one of those coming in as a 'compromise' candidate with Ngozi as vice

Anonymous,  8:00 am  

Indeed, particularly with the threatened rise of ACD and possible split of PDP - things are likely to get messy. In that chaotic atmosphere a neutral, non-objectionable name is likely to emerge as the compromise candidate. (And may God hear your prayer, oh! Ngozi for VP 2007, Presido 2015!!!!).

Oddly enough, OBJ still has the "joker" card - incumbency. The critical issue is how he plays it. He played it rather foolishly by not showing leadership over 3rd Term - it made him look opportunistic, at best.

To regain his authority and cool the polity, he needs to re-assert his father-figure role (which, in fairness, he appears to have started doing) whereby he casts himself as only being interested in Nigeria's progress, not personal gain. To this end he will need to focus on ensuring a clean, open, fair process that truly reflects the will of ordinary Nigerians.

It is no easy feat to say "No!" to Nija's political mafioso, but he has been doing that these past years with the reform programme (publishing allocation monies in the press, land administration reform in FCT, due process, EFCC etc). This is his strong point; being a simple, patriotic Nigerian. When he tries to pose as the shadowy political godfather, pulling strings in the background, he inevitably gets it wrong.

Baba needs to be our Baba - a man with no interest other than that his "children" should be at peace and in prosperity. The most effective way for him to assert himself is by not asserting himself - thereby turning the tables and making those who are asserting themselves look greedy.

Baba, come home, all is forgiven, your children need you!


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