Now, OBJ spits on own grave By Yomi Odunuga

There are a thousand and one reasons to dislike former President Olusegun Obasanjo. What one can’t help but admire is his infantile garrulousness. After close to 12 years in office at the highest level of governance, many had expected that Baba would gloriously retire to his Ota farms, tending his chickens and enjoying fresh palm wine away from Abuja’s intriguing politics. No one had thought he would still be that active to disturb a nation’s peace with scathing parodies. It turned out that we had placed too much value on a man who worships nothing but his own ego. We may not have a sense of history but we are not that dumb not to understand why an Obasanjo would forever find it convenient to run his mouth riot on his former deputy, AtikuAbubakar or anyone for that matter. This man sees himself as some kind of superhuman. And he may deny it till the end of life; Obasanjo knows that there is more to his sour relationship with Atiku than the allegations of corruption. Central to this pathological heckling of Atiku at any given opportunity is the ‘disloyal’ role Atiku played in frustrating the self-perpetuation agenda otherwise known as tenure elongation in the days of the long knives. Second was the humiliation that Obasanjo went through in the hands of Atiku before he was eventually given the green light to contest for a second term in office. Aside these two, all other things seem to exist in Obasanjo’s fantasies.

 Before I proceed, I hasten to make this clarification. Atiku does not, by any standard, come close to anyone’s definition of a man without blemish. Like Obasanjo, he is part of the Nigerian problem. He may be a dogged fighter for whatever reasons; he is clearly not doing that purely out of a patriotic calling. He may not have won the war against Obasanjo in the struggle to remain in power; Atiku should be given the credit for winning a battle aimed at consigning him to the dustbin of history. It is also to his credit that the sucker punch he delivered on Obasanjo’s jaws some seven years back has turned the retired Army General into something of the proverbial bird with the broken beak. Perhaps, Obasanjo would have looked elsewhere for a toothpick if Atiku had not chickened out when his lieutenants had expected him to pull the trigger. Today, he is the victim of that grave mistake of 2003 when General Obasanjo was seeking a lifeline on bended knees!

And, in continuation of the cravings to hit Atiku with a sledgehammer, Obasanjo was offered yet another opportunity to voice out his frustrations in a recent interview with “Zero Tolerance”, the in-house publication of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It is amusing that an elder statesman so addressed does not see the joke in playing the judge and the jury in his own case. Besides, what sends Obasanjo on a binge of delirium is a delusional idea that he alone has the licence to label other politically-exposed persons as criminally corrupt. He alone, he also assumes, reserves the right to free others of the corruption tag. While it was easy for Mr. Squeaky Clean to dismiss his former deputy as an international money launderer frantically being sought by the government of the United States of America to answer to corruption charges, Obasanjo would be the first to plead with Nigerians to come up with evidence of official graft against notable Nigerians including ex-military President Ibrahim BadamosiBabangida, to enable the EFCC discharge its responsibility! Curious? Very curious!

 In his latest diatribe, Obasanjo, as usual, threw caution to the wind and carelessly engaged his oral gear. The rage he feels against his estranged deputy is packaged in the bitterness of his language. He just can’t wait to see Atiku in prison – any prison! He is enraged that the EFCC has not arrested Atiku and put him on trial for corruption as demanded by the FBI. He is bitter that his arch enemy has not visited the US so that he could be put on trial for corruption and jailed just like James Ibori met his waterloo in the United Kingdom. He is flustered that Atiku only visits Dubai and sees him to be perennially running away from the law in other countries.  Listen to him: “He travels? Travels to where? To Dubai? Let him go to America and return to Nigeria. Well, I don’t know what the EFCC has found out about him, but I don’t know if he can go to America. Do you know? I am asking you, do you know?”

 Question is: what bites Obasanjo? The answer is not that difficult after all. If he has not been tagged corrupt for the mere fact that he was mentioned in the Halliburton scam and several other deals perpetrated under his nose by some of his trusted aides, why this fixation on an Atiku-must-go-to-jail campaign? Besides, is it just a mere coincidence that the EFCC interview was released at a time Atiku regained some political relevance with the successful coup against Jonathan at the Peoples Democratic Party’s Special Convention a fortnight ago? Was Atiku the only politically-exposed person that was investigated and never tried by the EFCC? By now, it should be clear to Obasanjo that if Ibori could be arrested in Dubai and crated to the UK to face trial, it should not be difficult for the US government to arrest Atiku in the same place if it so desires. Or is it that Atiku travels to the country with fake identity? Now that Atiku has told the nation that his US visa has just been renewed, Obasanjo may need to write the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley, to invalidate the visa!

 Interestingly, Obasanjo reserved some harsh words for the former chairman of the EFCC, Farida Waziri, in the controversial interview. He did not only pooh-pooh her for displaying crying incompetence but blurted that Farida facilitated Ibori’s escape to Dubai. In impugning the reputation of a woman who meritoriously served the Nigeria Police for 35 years, Obasanjo offered no convincing evidence other than the usual beer parlour rumour of Ibori playing a major role in Farida’s appointment. As far as he is concerned, no other person can do a better job of the EFCC than NuhuRibadu, his chosen one. That, in my view, is pedestrian and jaundiced logic. Even Ribadu would readily admit that he bungled key cases and needlessly haunted some persons just to please Obasanjo. The Atiku’s case should still be fresh in the memory.

 In all this, there are some positives. At least we now know that Farida could be privy to certain hidden truth about Obasanjo which has been buried in the Official Secrets Act for long. Thanks to an ex-president’s indiscretion in opening his mouth too wide, we may soon be availed with the sordid details of what went down behind the scenes should Farida go ahead with her threat to “open up on him.”

Here is Farida on the marble: “If Obasanjo’s real age has not blurred his memory, I will like to remind him that I was a Commissioner of Police, Admin Force CID, CP General Investigations, CP Anti-fraud, CP X Squad, CP Police Special Fraud Unit where I secured the first conviction in a case of Advance Fee Fraud in Nigerian history.To further expose the height of mischief in the allegations, the past and present chairmen of the EFCC have both worked under me, yet someone can open his mouth to say I am not qualified to head the same agency.This is in addition to my educational qualifications, such as a first degree in Law, a Master’s degree in Law and another Master’s degree in Strategic Studies. I doubt if Obasanjo himself can boast of this level of educational qualifications.I will like to warn that those who live in glass house don’t throw stones and, as such, Obasanjo should not allow me open up on him. Respectable elder statesmen act and speak with decorum.”

Hell, they say, hath no fury like a woman scorned. The mystery of how a nearly broke OBJ and his troubled farming operations became overnight financial success after a period in power waits to be unravelled. OBJ’s latest indecorous outburst and opprobrious rant against Atiku and Farida may well be the starting point of spitting on his own grave of infamy.  As a former crack detective in the anti-fraud unit of the police, Farida’s threat may be the beginning of the end for Obasanjo’s hollow triumphalism on corruption. Will Obasanjo dare Farida to lay it bare on the table or will he, in the twilight of his life, learn the wisdom in not throwing stones when living in a glass house of infamy? Time will tell.

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In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

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