Our “Very Dear” Baba Obasanjo, Happy New Year Sir. May you continue to age with grace. Your New Year message to the youths of Nigeria was well publicized, thanks to the media for the coverage. It is most unusual in the tradition of the Yoruba for the younger members of the society to challenge the elders but we also call our seniors to order whenever it is necessary to do so, particularly, when the younger element is almost of a similar generation. It is in this regard that one respectfully wishes to counsel that it is time for you to allow the Nigerian system to run itself. You have contributed your quota and tried your best at the time you had the opportunity and one would think it is time to rest, knowing, that Nigeria will continue to run its engine of governance with or without you. My mother of blessed memory always whispered the following words into my ears “ Mi o si ni ijo, ijo ko tu ara re lo ntan” literally meaning “ A man who says the community cannot thrive and exist without him is deceiving himself”. It is in this regard that one would counsel most responsibly and seriously that it is time to retire honorably from open partisan politics.
Baba wa, even your worst enemy will agree that you are one of the luckiest Nigerians that ever lived and one is happy that you do realize this because on several occasions and in your public declarations you have openly acknowledged the undeserved favor that Almighty God has bestowed on you. The Yoruba would say “ Enia kii mo rin ki ori o ma mi” meaning “ No matter how carefully you walk, you head will tilt and shake”. This means no human is perfect. It is therefore important that you allow the younger generation to make their mistakes and learn along the path suggested to them by life
For the avoidance of doubt, Baba, the following are extracts from your life:
History cannot forget quickly how despite his efforts during the Nigerian Civil War, the Ogbomosho born “ Black Scorpion”, Brigadier Benjamin Adesanya Maja Adekunle at the verge of winning the war was retired and you were appointed to mop up and consequently key into the glory. It was not that you had no visible input in the success of the war, you did, but probably not to the extent that history has bestowed on you because your name remains in indelible ink as one who accepted the surrender of the opposing army, thereby putting an end to an unnecessary and unjustifiable war . Aren’t you lucky?
On February 13, 1976, Lieutenant Bukar Suwa Dimka cut short the tenure of our amiable General Murtala Ramat Mohammed in which you were listed for extermination but the Almighty God smiled on you when in a case of mistaken identity , the first Quartermaster General of the Nigerian Army Major General Raymond Matthew Dumuje was shot and wounded in Ikoyi. The aftermath of this ugly incident was your emergence as the Head of State of Nigeria. You escaped from death to emerge as the Head of State. What a luck !!!
Not many Nigerians thought that you would survive the Abacha gulag . You did not only emerge out of it with your life intact, but you also receive a credit along with it by becoming the foundation President of Modern Nigeria. Alhaji Sheu Musa Yar-Adua, an amiable gentleman and a leader per excellence was not so lucky.
In the sixty-two years of the existence of Nigeria, you were its head and Director for about eleven years which in simple arithmetic is about 18 percent of the life of the nation. No Nigerian has ever had that opportunity to date.
Baba, your new year message urging the youths to vote for a particular candidate to the disadvantage of the other candidates gives many people concern because one would expect you to be neutral considering your position as an elder stateman who certainly could be regarded as a father of all.
Granted that you have inalienable entitlement to your opinion, the impression given by this over advertised unsolicited contribution are many. Although, some of us do not believe in insinuations but there is no harm in looking at some of them so that you can be guided as an elder in your future decision space.
It is believed that your current position is propelled by your quest for selfish survival strategies rather than patriotism because you are uncomfortable with the possible emergence of your “enemies “ as president in the 2023 election. Many people know that you are not too friendly with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu because of his democratic stand which seriously embarrassed your government as a ‘militarized regime” when you seized the assets of Lagos State because of the creation of the fifty-seven Development Areas in Lagos . It was a litmus test for democracy from which Asiwaju Tinubu emerged victorious with flying colors.
The proponents of the above position also recollected that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the only governor in a somewhat dubious political scheme and skirmish that swept out all the governors in all the states in the Southwest in 2003, a situation that didn’t go down well with your government at that time because the man seemed and still seems to be too smart for your intrigues.
It is not too good for posterity that some Nigerians hold the belief that your current letter is true to type as you did everything in your power to undermine the legacies of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It is believed that you did not fare too well during the June 12 because the main actor was Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and they are not surprised that you are playing an encore in the 2023 Presidential election.
In fact, some people like Adamu Garba believe that you are desperately envious of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that it is time to retreat honorably.
Some Nigerians are of the opinion that since your disdain for Alhaji Atiku is well documented, you did not spring any surprise by your attachment to a greyhound as the next president of Nigeria.
People believe that it is not that these two individuals lack the capability to give good governance to Nigeria but that you are likely to be choked if they emerge.
Reno Omokri is suggesting that you are merely trying to heal the wound of the civil war. Whatever your reasons may be, most Nigerians think it is time to retire from confrontational politics, especially when contradictions are beginning to taint your public presentation. This category of people noted that although you cannot be denied your right of choice but the goal post and standard set by your letter seems to have ended in a wrong choice.
Hope you noted sir that the other candidates for the presidential office have nothing but scorn and ridicule for you and your choice.
Please sir, accept the assurances of our best regard.
Professor Ojikutu is of the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Lagos.