Re: Obasanjo calls for calm
I am an Obasanjoist. If that phrase delivers my regard, respect and ultimately my faith in a man who I believe has compulsive personal and institutional endearing qualities. For me, Obasanjo can do no wrong, and often I have defended him fiercely – when he was going to be robbed of the credit of playing a pivotal role in ending the civil war, when he was accused and I often justified his actions in and out of office. I remained one of those (or the only one) who never believed he nursed a third term ambition. Obasanjo is not a spatially limited individual. He is a whole and wholesome.
But just this evening, 27 February, 2023, I regret an instance that I defended Obasanjo when someone said he Obasanjo never would support any Yoruba to be President of Nigeria and two instances were given, namely, his opposition to Obafemi Awolowo in 1979 and the spite on MKO Abiola’s presidency when he said “ he was not the messiah, Nigeria was waiting for”. Although he benefitted from the messiah’s promising deliverance, he did not accept the crucible of his emergence as Nigeria’s President in 1999.
As the February 25 elections were being collated and as expected during elections results, there would be jubilants who will celebrate their victories while losers will become disgruntled and ultimately contest the results of elections, so when I saw news headline which reads “Obasanjo calls for Calm”, I assumed it was what it should be. But that exponentation was eclipsed by what turned out to be Obasanjo’s very clear discrediting of the elections on grounds that are clearly unfounded.
Earlier at the collation center, I had seen the brazen walk out of some party members in protest of the results but a closer check reveals that this walk out came almost minutes after Obasanjo made his press conference. In other words, it could be argued that he provided an impetus for the walkout.
Obasanjo tainted the electoral system when he alleged that certain INEC officials had tempered with the two technologies of Bimodal voter’s verification system and the INEC Result Election Viewing Portals in an attempt to favour some candidates. While I think INEC should have appropriate response to this, I think the current state of the election results did not reflect crassitude of manipulation, which Obasanjo would what to underscore. And by the way which elections are being manipulated? Where Bola Tinubu could not deliver Lagos, Buhari could not win Katsina, El Rufai lost Kaduna? etc.
Obasanjo’s onslaught is a direct smearing of the integrity of both the President of Nigeria and the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, two gentlemen who have worked assiduously to ensure Nigeria and Nigerians have credible and free elections. The deployment of the BVAS and IreV has created major nightmares to election riggers, and the credit of this should go to the INEC chairman and his team. On his part, President Buhari presented a near-smudge of his party presidential candidate through some of his policies. He disapproved of thugs and dared would-be ballot boxes snatchers to be ready to pay with their lives.
Obasanjo’s serial attacks on the presidential ambitions of anyone from his atavistic lineage reflect monomaniac of jealousy and malicious envy. His choice of a candidate in the presidential elections is quite legitimate, but in democracy, one’s choice can only be expressed by one vote. This election has given ample lessons to the true nature of politics, we have seen that politics is not as totally domesticated as we assume where one man can claim he has all its strings and it is equally not that wild for us to think that it has no feeder pillars in common sense. Only Almighty God endorses a leader; after Him, other endorsements are anti-climax.
Olawale Lawal, PhD, Lagos State University