Tuesday, 02 August 2005
President Obasanjo: Good; In Substance, Symbol!
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
President Obasanjo in his actions, pronouncements and even attires, reflects his passions for Nigerian/African interests and his total or complete world view. I have seen him frequently, in active pursuit of our national and continental interests, he is demonstrably patriotic; I constantly wonder whether Nigerians have noticed or paid sufficient attention to, even his clothing? Always African, whether he is in Nigeria or abroad, whether meeting the Pope or President Bush or Prime Minister Blair or President Mbeki etc; President Obasanjo in spirit, appearance and substance is patriotic to the Nigerian and African causes. This is self-evident, in his words and actions.
I write as a Nigerian who is not a member of any Nigerian Political Party, and therefore impartially objective and without obligation to any political party. I have met President Obasanjo only once in my entire life! I had, during his retirement met him at his Otta Farms, to interview for a position, but unfortunately, I did not make the cut, hence I did not get hired…Now I hope that I have another opportunity to meet him again, perhaps when he retires (again), to his Otta farm? I will like to have lunch with him, to thank him for his passions for Nigerian and African affairs, which he has served very well during his leadership in the Murtala/Obasanjo era … fighting corruption then as now, fighting Apartheid and spearheading African liberation in Southern Africa, advocating Nigerian and African causes then as now. President Obasanjo believes this century is Africa’s!
He wears his colors well, our national colors, green white and green; I have actually seen a picture of President Obasanjo at www.allafrica.com among presidents and prime ministers of other African countries, with President Obasanjo as the only one in African attires, resplendent, elegantly and glamorously so! President Obasanjo certainly, is aware that he too can wear custom-tailored flannel suits, whether made in Nigeria or overseas, but as a deliberate policy, he chooses to wear African attires, and always!
Nigerians ought to show some affection toward President Obasanjo now, a man who is passionately and persistently in hot pursuit of Nigerian and African interests, as he lays foundations and superb superstructures for enduring and long-lasting development, advancements and greatness for Nigeria and Africa. His plethora of reforms, are indicative of his hopes and aspirations for our country and continent. His shuttle diplomacy has achieved Nigeria’s return to the good graces of the world, instead of the hitherto pariah nation status, Nigeria has just obtained debt relief and a new dawn for investment and growth economically. Reforms are occurring in Nigeria, in ECOWAS, and through NEPAD, and within African Union headed by President Obasanjo!
Recently, I attended the 81st birthday bash of my boss’s grandmother by marriage, my boss planned and paid for the entire bash… it was a lot of work and at the end, it felt like a great wedding ceremony and I thanked her for her efforts, especially that this old lady was her grand mother in-law, not even her own biological mother. I also mentioned the fact that the arrangement was preferable to lavish funerals in which the dear departed never participates! So it was endearing to see the grand old lady glow and revel in the joy of her life being celebrated by her children, great grand children and in-laws and all, from far and near…it is probably better to thank or celebrate lives of people while they are still alive, I intoned to my boss. This is what I personally wish for President Obasanjo.
President Obasanjo ought to be appreciated now, that he is with us, it will be a waste of our emotions and a great loss of gratitude unexpressed to him, if after he retires, grows old and passes on, we suddenly realize that he was a visionary with great foresight and a super-patriot at that! He will not be here then, to glow in the appreciation and heartfelt thanks for all he has done and continues to do, which the BBC has recently described as thankless job!
President Obasanjo has had knacks for laying solid foundation for social progress, it is this perspective through which I see his foresights and visions for our country and continent and we can just take a look at his recent appointment of the first female to the Supreme Court of Nigeria! It is such a historic moment for social equality and the beginning of fairness to Nigerian women! I think these facts should not be lost on Nigerians, men and women!
I read an article in which the writer rightly proclaimed the end of an all boys club at apex of Nigerian Judiciary, and for some reasons, or more like, no reason at all, this epoch making historic appointment of a lady, the first, in the annals of Nigerian judicial history, was not heralded by Nigerians, Nigerian Press or the World Press that usually take interests in Nigeria only when there are scandals or things sordid. It takes a religious riot or the acts and pronouncements of saber rattlers, to get the undivided attention of scandal-mongers in domestic and foreign media? President Obasanjo is laying visionary pillars for Nigeria’s development and progress
Apart from The Guardian Editorial, not much was published, said, and or celebrated by individuals, organizations private and public, or even the non-governmental institutions such as the NGOs. I wonder why the same presses, that are quick to report the silliest of events or happenstance, are the same ones, who have happily ignored the pace-setting historic appointment of woman to the Supreme Court of Nigeria? Hon. Justice Mukhtar Or the fact that Minister Okonjo-Iweala is the second of only two finance Minister in the whole world, the other being the Finance Minister of Mozambique, another African country.
How is it, we must ask, that the media houses that have given undue front page coverage and sensational coverage to the raucousness, infused into the grandstanding impeachment proclamations in recent past, would ignore the groundbreaking appointment by President Obasanjo of Mrs. Muktar as Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria? The impeachment brouhaha got so much press, because it served the political purpose of avowed detractors of the president? Even though it should be clear to everyone and anyone, who cares to look, that the impeachment pronouncements or threats were meant to intimidate President Obasanjo, in efforts by those who have been of late, required to explain or defend themselves for their corrupt ways! Some of us, should refuse to be among he multitudes, whose hobby, avocation and profession, is limited to abusing President Obasanjo, in the name of criticisms.
He sure has many detractors, recent impeachment moves were just blackmail tactics, by vengeful and vindictive national assembly members, who have been forced to face the music for their inappropriate and illegal conducts, we are aware that some were hoodwinked and cajoled to join the campaign of calumny against the president, just as we also were aware that some of the alleged breaches are without substance and predates the current all-out war against corruption.
Clearly, those moves by some national assembly members, who spearheaded the impeachment arms-twisting, were by those not interested in the least, in Nigeria’s progress and development; Or how else could anyone explain the foolhardiness of those who spearheaded the so-called impeachment processes against the president?
Ceaselessly, I wonder why too many Nigerians are appear unable to appreciate the marked difference between our previous leaders and President Obasanjo, who it turns out, is the same Nigerian, who during his first foray into headship of the Nigerian state, then, as a soldier, voluntarily relinquished his office as head of state, in favor of President Shagari who was democratically elected in 1979.
Despite this historical precedent and pedigree, some Nigerians continue to insist that President Obasanjo has some hidden agenda or design at self-succession, my interpretation of President Obasanjo, is simply that he is not an Abacha or a Babangida and as such, he is not nursing any hopes of succeeding himself, in 2007, at the end of his second and final term, as a democratically elected president of Nigeria, instead, I see a president who is in a near-frenzy of entrenched and vigorously robust efforts, for a decent personal legacy, and big footprints, on Nigeria’s sand of time… he seeks to leave office, upon the successful installation a strong system of democratic governance, and a suitable environment for development and greatness.
A third term is beneath President Obasanjo’s sense of patriotism, his sense of duty and even personal dignity! He is of course, a man of great national, continental and international stature, all these combined, ought to and should convince all Nigerians, or make it abundantly clear, that the rumors and speculations about a third term for President Obasanjo, is just a non-starter.
President Obasanjo was vociferous in his opposition to the self-succession shenanigans of Eyaedema of Togo, and our president did not mince words, as he voiced his rejections! He is on record for opposing undemocratic forces, in Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leona, Ivory Coast, Sao Tome and everywhere else in between, since his ascension to the presidency of Nigeria in 1999.
President Obasanjo does not seek to succeed himself in 2007!