Few days ago when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wrote President Goodluck on some salient issues bothering the country, quite a number of concerns where raised and opinions flew in from every corner as to the correctness of the issues raised.
I didn’t see a need to raise anything at that time for in my thinking, the truth has no particular colouration irrespective of who is saying it. I would like to share a popular expression of the kettle calling the pot black.
The truth would be to ask whether or not the the pot is black; if yes, the kettle couldn’t have been said to be wrong given that the kettle in this context may be blacker!
A mad man once looked at an armed robber arrested and tied to the stake on a popular Lagos street; he (the mad man) walked to the robber and said, “you this thief!”. To this, the armed robber replied, “mad man!”. Yes, he is a mad man, but what he said is nothing but the absolute truth.
Back to the letter to President Goodluck, truly I decided not to write about it but had some light discussions with firends. My final submission at that time was that there would be no need for anyone to write Mr. President atleast, for the rest of this year given the content of Chief Obasanjo’s letter.
What Mr. President has is a political bible and leadership manual to refer to anytime the need arises. Interestingly, the need actually arises everyday so I would advice Mr. President keeps a permanent copy in his bag.
In reaction to this letter, a number of people including the National Assembly members have asked Mr. President to reply to this letter; that has not happened beyond the rantings of Rueben Abati. Rather than take on issues raised in the letter, he laboured more on the fact that such letter wasn’t supposed to be in the public domain. An open letter?!
The least expected response was the one I read of this morning, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.
Many things are wrong with her response and I am of a strong opinion that her response is misplaced.
You don’t take on such detailed letter with such a scanty response. Besides, the concern of many Nigerians at this point is not to begin to address the family issues of our leaders, past or present! As far as I know, the man in question is President Olusegun Obasanjo as it then was and not Iyabo or Gbenga’s father. I care less and really it shouldn’t be a matter to delve into.
I don’t care what bedsheet Obasanjo has on his bed nor do I care if Mr. President doesn’t greet his mum in the morning. As long as the job is done, we would expect every man including myself, to deal with family issues as it were.
If Iyabo is coming today to tell us how bad a father Obasanjo is without mentioning how she rode on his back to become a commissioner and then a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria questions the common sense in her letter. To have dealt so much on the 3rd term drive without mentioning how nepotistic he was in forcing her candidature is silly.
Quoting freely from her letter,
“That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a cold? And you said “I would rather die than have the man die at this time.” I thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me. Then I thought it a stupid statement but as usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would be used against me. When Yar’Adua eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his grave.”
Nothing in Obasanjo’s statement suggests he wants to die with the Late. Yar’ Adua except she wishes for her father, death. The bad father whose name she held on to despite your marriage to a Bello.
We may as well not talk about Iyabo’s tenure as a Commissioner or Senator but her failed marriage or rumoured sexual involvement with the then Sen. Obanikoro! All of these were over the news but Nigerians paid little attention to it as that affects her personal life except she would agree if it is concluded that she couldn’t have been a successful Senator just because her marriage hasn’t been successful!
My point in all of these is not to question the correctness of Iyabo’s claims as to the kind of father Obasanjo is, but to critically understand how any of her claims waters down salient issues raised in the Obasanjo’s letter to GEJ. I had my personal challenges with my father growing up yet I have heard and come to know how wonderful a police office he was while in service. Today we are best of friends, we have been able to resolve our differences and nothing about our differences then would have made it wrong for my father to arrest a fraudster.
A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest or kill you as was occurring to many at the time. The source of my information was my mother who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please. The consequence of your bravado is history.
What manner of betrayal is this? Any comment that would infuriate the military junta especially under the Late. Abacha would most likely have been the truth. Would Iyabo be suggesting that the arrest of Chief Obasanjo as a result of standing up against a ruthless junta as represented by Abacha? She, in my opinion should have been proud of her father’s stance to continue with his agitation even when the death threat thing was prominent. On the other hand, I can guess at that time, she was so myopic to have seen Obasanjo more in the light of her father that must be killed as against a man speaking for the good of the nation he once led. This marks a sharp difference between Obasanjo, the father and Obasanjo, the ex-President.
For all Iyabo cares, the consequences of the bravado as she wishes to represent it isn’t history. While I can’t arrogate the eventual enthronement of democracy as Obasanjo’s achievement, by ways of his actions, utterances and eventual incarceration, the bravado actually paid off!
Iyabo also said,
“We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little respect you have for your children.”
It is not impossible all of these are the attributes of Obasanjo, the father; I am however forced to call Iyabo’s attention to the fact that her becoming a Commissioner in Ogun state and then, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria didn’t happen because she was just one brilliant Iyabo, NO! She was by no means the best person at those times to occupy any of the offices but for whose daughter she is.
Iyabo also loosely and disrespectfully talked about Stella. The hatred in her submissions suggests the kind of relationship she must have kept with the late Stella. Could it be that Iyabo took a battle for a mother to confront her step mother? Would anyone expect the kind of father she has described to love her under this circumstance? I would say no.
In wrapping this up, I think Iyabo’s vituperations is inspired by hate, hunger for relevance, disrespect for family values and above all the handwork of a bad mother as reflected by a badly brought up child.
For all it is worth, the Obasanjo letter to GEJ remains a fundamental call to consciousness irrespective of what Obasanjo is or percieved to be. Nigerians, in our usual manner, can begin to debate the personality for as long as we consider it, chronicle his times in office and bring it under light blah blah blah; none of this would take away the fact that he raised very germane issues that her begging for answers.
Hello Daddies, watch your daugthers!