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The avoidable gaffes


I often wonder: Where are the President’s men.

The phrase, All The President’s Men came into public communication in 1974 at the time of President Richard Nixon, the goal getter with Henry Kissinger, the world‘s diplomat by his side.

They were determined to foster peace around the globe. US-China age-long frosty relationship thawed.


At last it was discovered that the Neman, the valiant soldier, needed to go to River Jordan to wash away his leprosy. Mr. Nixon fell, but not because he did not have a good team.

I have been following, naturally, with keen interest the brickbat between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is surprising because until recently, both thought very highly of each other. Obasanjo and T.Y. Danjuma wrote enrapturing and glittering testimonials, at different times, for Buhari.

General Danjuma wrote on Buhari the soldier whom he believed would make a great Chief of Army Staff, and so could not afford to release him for a political office.

He was the right material for the headship of the Nigerian Army. Brigadier Shehu Yar’Adua for political office, yes.

And so Yar’Adua then became Obasanjo’s deputy between 13 February, 1975 and 01 October, 1979. Eventually, Buhari himself was later to be drafted to be Minister of Petroleum.

It was at the time Buhari cut his teeth and got prepared for full-blown politics. That responsibility gave Obasanjo the opportunity to watch Buhari at close quarters and was pleased with him

However, both have gotten disenchanted with President Buhari and they have not hidden it. Danjuma out of frustration had to ask Nigerians to rise to defend themselves.

Obasanjo said he was prepared to go to jail if that is the price he had to pay to rescue Nigeria and keep it intact. The relationship between Babangida (IBB), has been a combustible one since 1985, waiting for just a cigarette end to set off a conflagration.

So, Babangida, conscious of this has been very careful, watching what to say, how to say it and the timing of saying it.

So was it that not until Obasanjo spoke urging Buhari not to stand for re-election next year that Babangida added his equally weighty voice. Buhari handled Obasanjo’s salvo the first time maturely.

At first, he only wanted to note what Obasanjo said, he was not going to join issues with him. Information Minister Lai Mohammed prevailed on him and he issued a mature statement, restricting himself to what he called the achievement of the Administration.


Yes, not without a humorous jab, that the extensive travelling of Obasanjo must have prevented him from seeing the laudable achievements of the government.

Buhari lost his cool after Obasanjo got involved in the movement, now a political party, to put bite to his determination that Buhari must go, by going round to seek support for the defeat of Buhari in next year’s presidential election. Obasanjo had visited the powerful Afenifere leadership, the already independently converted.

In response to Obasanjo’s activities, Buhari went all the way for the dagger: There was a dark hint that he might reopen the $16billion power case file.

It is, therefore, a case of “If you Tarka me, I Daboh you!” This is where methinks the President misfired. He also said he did not meet any money in the kitty when he assumed office.

President Jonathan’s spokesmen have said Jonathan left $32 billion in foreign reserve. Foluseke Somolu, Senior Special Assistant to President Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory, said in his memorandum to Chief Adviser to President Yar’Adua, Tanimo Yakubu Kurfi, that only $5.1billion was spent.

What did Obasanjo achieve in respect of improving power situation in the country?

Obasanjo listed six stations he built as follows: Okpai in delta—480MW by Agip; Afam11—276MW; Omotosho ##)MW; Papalanto –330MW; Geregu—414MW;Ikot Abasi-Ibom Power—145MW, to which the Federal Government is a partner; Alaoji—545MW. “To these must be added about 2000MW produced by Rivers State.

My worry is why was there no pre rehearsal with the army of aides before The President was allowed to go to town with some of his public statements?

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