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In all ramifications and by all measurable political yardstick, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Matthew Aremu Obasanjo, possesses the capacity to comment or recommend who he deems fit or more suitable,

or otherwise, to occupy the revered seat of the President of Nigeria. What we should always understand and remember is that the highly cerebral octogenarian, said that whatever he posited in his very articulate Special Press Statement, was simply his personal opinion – his right, propelled by his burning and truthful desire to see a president who will truly revive the fortunes of our dear country. It is, therefore, infuriating as it is galling to see the heavy duty controversy that has trailed a gentle Baba’s well-intended prescription for the good of all Nigerians. This shameful and unfortunate outcry is disappointedly oozing out from almost all quarters including the academia, among technocrats and even the clergy, just like in the open marketplace.

If we agree that the current political and economic setbacks in the country require people with extra courage and the spirit of savvy-negotiator, to rescue the Nigerian state, directly or indirectly, then let us recognise and imbibe the import of OBJ’s statements. We should also recognise the fact that Baba has seen it all – a retired Army General, former Head of State, former two-term civilian President, a consummate political master strategist, a lover of education, a former United Nations adviser, a Nigerian, African and world leader, a high-level board member of advisers on mediation across climes, former this, former that and, more significantly, a renowned authority of international repute, in political and state matters, among many other titles. It is OBJ’s inalienable right to express his desires and aspirations, just as he is entitled to articulate his displeasures and fears, anyhow he deems possible in so far as that liberty is exercised within the ambit of the law. That is why, I, together with several millions of Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora, judging from Chief Obasanjo’s pedigree and long-lasting experience, totally and unequivocally believe in what he is saying. After all, he wrote a similar letter to the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and eyebrows were not raised, even as a fellow party man. Or, are they saying that the Otta chief does not have the freedom to say that the kite he used to fly no longer appeals to him and therefore seeks a change? This is a man with a pan-Nigerian spirit and who does not believe in ethnic mobilization.
  Few years ago, this same man, against ethnic sentiments and seemingly insurmountable odds, projected a Northerner and a Niger Deltan for president and vice president of Nigeria respectively.

Yet, heaven did not fall. This is a leader whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach is second to none. A man who is only trying to avoid a situation where Nigeria will be up for sale under President Muhammadu Buhari who has gradually become incapable of whetting the appetite of Nigerians and who is unable to meet the expectations of hopes raised in 2014/2015 during his electioneering campaigns. A sad symptom of
  insensitivity Therefore, the act of some people picking holes in Obasanjo’s well meaning advice is, to me and according to the same OBJ, ” a sad symptom of insensitivity and and callousness”. What can be more sancrosanctly apt than the sagacious admonition of Baba Iyabo where he opined in his letter that he, “only appeal(s) to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time . . . . President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.”

He went further to counsel all of us that, “We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.” And courageously stated, among other things, that “poverty, insecurity . . . and widening inequality are very much with us today.” True or false? Up OBJ! As quickly as possible, let us be reminded that Chief Obasanjo has practically nothing to lose if Nigeria gives in. He also has enough in his kitty to manage his remaining years on earth and could decide to be less concerned in whichever way Nigeria heads. But nay! One thing is to talk and another is to talk wisely and truthfully too. In my highly considered opinion, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo should be commended for his boldness and thoughtfulness. Hundreds of thousands who harbour same opinion like him prefer to be be mute, or at best, murmur and not be heard, even when some have nothing to lose, in the manner that the late Afrobeat maestro,

Fela Anikulapo Kuti described Nigerians as “suffering and smiling”. Nigerians must learn to be appreciative when high standard public relations is being freely offered. We must thank and continue to thank Baba Iyabo for being so outspoken on the path of truth. It is indeed honourable. And should ordinarily be encouraged. Long may he live, in sound health of body and mind. Gladly, already on the sands of time, he is a living saint.


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