I have this quote that is very special to me and it usually guides me everywhere I go to. “I would remain silent and let people debate whether I am a fool or not; rather than speak and confirm it!”
Finally, Mr. President replied Chief Obasanjo’s letter with what appears to be a lengthier and almost dramatized piece.
The opening salutation of his December 20th, 2013 letter, ‘Dear Baba’, must have been designed to create an impression he is writing an old man he has a great deal of respect for. This make belief lost its flame within the first few paragraphs as it was quickly noticeable he was ready to rewrite issues raised by OBJ.
Without needs to begin any critical appraisal of his response which in my candid opinion falls short of what is expected of a President, I consider it necessary to raise one or two points why I arrived at my ‘personal’ conclusion.
First, in his response, Mr. President unconsciously quickly painted himself as a man who truly has no respect for elders; Obasanjo as a direct case study. Whatever the angle we choose to review the content of his prose, the fact that we are Nigerians, where a great deal is attached to respect for elders, Mr. President, a role model as it is supposed to be, passed very obvious insults on Chief Obasanjo.
Second, the letter, from the beginning created an impression it was going to react and ofcourse, puncture the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter to him. I have read this response over and over again; nothing suggests that he was able to quash any of the issues raised by Obasanjo. Yes, he attended to a number of the issues but he ended up asking for proof. As a President who has given an introduction that presupposes that his reaction would help Nigerians understand the true position of things, I feel he failed woefully to help us properly situate events as they are.
President GEJ was particular about the CBN Governor’s claim that USD49.8 billion was not accounted for. As I write, the CBN Governor has only come out to say that some part of the money was accounted for only after the allegation. This does not in any way negate the claim that some huge amounts have not been duly accounted for.
Also, does anyone need to argue that lives have been unnecessarily wasted over the years as a result of the mismanaged Boko Haram insurgence? The utterances of Mr. President especially his promises to bring perpetrators to book after every attack on innocent Nigerians gave credence to the fact that we don’t seem to have that political will, tactics and strength to truly tackle this menace. Let’s even agree that the Boko Haram insurgence is total eradicated today, would it account for the number of lives and the wanton destruction of properties??? I’d say NO!
President GEJ had as a serving President vehemently defended MEND before an international audience aftermath the bombing of the FCT on October 1, 2010. It is for this same bombing that Henry Okah was sentenced to 24 years in prison by a South Africa Gauteng High Court. While MEND as a terrorist outfit claimed responsibility for the heinous crime, Mr. President was on Al-Jazeerah saying MEND wasn’t responsible. I therefore still can’t understand what the big deal is if Chief Obasanjo is holding him responsible for the breakdown of law and order.
I have also not at any point seen or recorded any instance where Mr. President or his aides cautioned Chief Edwin Clarke each time he threatens the whole country if anything happens to ‘their son’? Asari Dokubo, a common criminal also had his moment in the press saying thrash in defense of Mr. GEJ’s return in 2015 and the possibility of bloodshed if this doesn’t happen. He got so carried away that he turned against GEJ in a very short time to say crude things about him.
Of a truth, no administration has given more relevance to common criminals like this administration. The warlords of the creek and their multi-billion naira contract awards is a notable sign-post. The Buruji Kashamu part of this story is left for another time.
I also feel that Mr. President’s letter which carries a full signature of Rueben Abati, further reveals how petty he is in dealing with true issues affecting us as a Nation. The letter would no doubt pass for a reading delight but to see that as a response to security issues is a far cry from seriousness.
If for reasons known to GEJ, he feels OBJ’s claims are unfounded and capable of inciting crises in the country; he (GEJ) should’ve ordered the immediate arrest and trial of OBJ, anything short of that would sustain the claims of OBJ.
In conclusion, one thing we all can take away from these letters is that truly, we are in deep mess as a nation and that these problems are very well known to our leaders who unfortunately appear clueless or too lazy to stand up to the challenges. I must not fail to say however that in recent times, this is the best write-up emanating from Aso Rock sadly, the best isn’t good enough to address our concerns as Nigerians.