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Lest Nigerian Youths Be Deceived By Obasanjo’s Sanctimony And Revisionism

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By Dele Alake

On the whole, the latest epistolary misadventure by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a gratuitous insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians. In particular, his laborious attempt to prey on the innocence of much younger generation constitutes a grievous assault on public morality, seeking to force morsels of sheer falsehood down the throats of a demography perhaps too young to comprehend events which Obasanjo furiously tried to misrepresent.
It is noteworthy that it was the Obasanjo administration that abolished the teaching of history in Nigerian schools ostensibly to aid this kind of historical revisionism he routinely engages in; a decision now happily reversed by the President Muhammadu Buhari government.

Contestants for the presidential office in Nigeria routinely consult with and court Obasanjo , not because of his electoral value which is minuscule, but out of respect for his status as a former Head of State. It is, however, obvious that the man himself has no respect for that status, as he continuously embroils himself in partisan politics in a most pretentious and dishonest manner and refuses to rise to the demands of statesmanship.

In the statement entitled “My Appeal To All Nigerians Particularly Young Nigerians”, General Obasanjo rtd plumbed into new depth in hubris and hypocrisy never seen in all his career as political busybody after office who seems to see Nigeria as a movie where only he is the all-conquering hero while others are doomed villains. Some psychoanalysts are wont to diagnose this Obasanjo’s peculiar political affliction as post-power-withdrawal-syndrome (PPWS): false omniscience compounded by chronic inability to accept the reality of being out of political office.

Even in the US, whose variant of presidential system of government we practise, former Presidents maintain a decorous distance from government after office, opting wisely not to be a distraction to their successors. Not so the meddlesome Obasanjo.

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That same mindset led him to stab MKO Abiola in the back in faraway Harare, Zimbabwe, by saying he was not “a messiah” even when most Nigerians had started viewing the winner of the June 12 polls of 1993 as the symbol of democracy after the annulment. It soon came to light that whereas a group of retired generals including Muhammadu Buhari and Theophilus Danjuma were resolute in their call for the de-annulment through the platform of a “committee of elders”, Obasanjo, the supposed “convener”, was said to have plotted the floating of an “interim government” to replace the now discredited Babangida regime.

While Obasanjo’s right to support any candidate of his choice in the forthcoming presidential polls must be recognized as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution, how condescending of him to decree his preference on Nigerians based on a cocktail of bare-faced lies and crude revisionism. In fact, there’s a widespread allegation that the latest gambit by the political busybody of Ota is part of a larger nefarious scheme to incite disorder around the country with a view to clearing the grounds for the resurrection of his favourite contraption: interim national government (ING) !

Third term agenda

Contrary to his posturing as a democrat who came to office for the second time at a questionable age 62 and left at 70, Obasanjo’s feverish gamble for life presidency between 2005 and 2006 was actually thwarted by a pro-democracy coalition of progressives like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and several others.

Bribes ranging from N50m to N100m (amounting to whopping N20bn of public funds) were allegedly handed over to federal lawmakers to approve a clause smuggled into the list of amendments proposed by a “confab” (hurriedly set up by Obasanjo), removing the cap on the two-term limit enshrined by the 1999 constitution. Despite the outrage expressed across the land, Obasanjo had soldiered on through his battalion of political foot soldiers. But on the day the contentious bill was to be decided, the lawmakers voted their conscience and stood firm on the side of Nigerians against Obasanjo’s imperial life presidency ambition.
Is it not therefore ironic that a man unwilling to vacate Aso Rock at 70 (in 2007) is now moralizing against anyone above age 70 aspiring for the same office today? It’s always been known that Obasanjo suffers deep insecurities manifesting in his “Mr. Too Know” antics. But never did anyone imagine that the chicken farmer would carry his accustomed charlatanism as far as arrogating medical expertise to himself as to now also be certifying who is fit or not for the rigor of office through nothing but the estimation of the eyes based on “my own personal experience”.

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Obasanjo’s waste versus Buhari’s prudence

While it can be said that prevailing anaemic circumstances of the world economy in 2015 were not quite favorable to the Buhari administration upon takeoff, we make bold to say that, contrary to doomsday scenario painted by Obasanjo, President Muhammadu Buhari has been more prudent in the management of the little the country has earned. How ironic that Buhari that inherited a wrecked economy in 2015 from PDP under the influence of Obasanjo is now being blamed for the hardship suffered by Nigerians, hardship that truly resulted from systemic damage inflicted by PDP’s 16 years of sustained squandermania. Discerning Nigerians surely know better. They can see and feel the relief brought about by Buhari’s rail revolution, massive investment in infrastructure like the second Niger Bridge and numerous roads built or reconstructed across the country. However, despite that oil price averaged $100 per barrel for most of the Obasanjo years and two subsequent PDP administrations, Nigeria has very little or nothing to show for it, other than tales of bare-faced looting and waste for 16 years.

Under Obasanjo’s watch, a senate panel found that national assets — indeed our common patrimony built from independence in 1960 — worth $100bn were auctioned to cronies and fronts at a ridiculous $1.3bn through a dubious privatization programme. This constituted the root of the massive joblessness in the country.

Also, House of Reps committee found that Obasanjo wasted $16bn on the so-called power projects. Rather than electricity, Nigerians experienced worst darkness. According to his deputy then and incidentally the present PDP’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, “In some cases, some contractors were paid 100 percent of the contract sum’’ …without performance !
So pervasive was sleaze under Obasanjo that Atiku, while testifying before another senate committee in 2007, revealed that his boss was fond of “sending handwritten notes to PTDF (Petroleum Trust Development Fund) to release money to buy vehicles for his girlfriends”.

In one last act of moral, political and financial atrocity in 2007, Obasanjo literally commandeered captains of industry and PDP governors to Ota to raise over N7bn for the building of his personal library (memorably dubbed “Presidential Laundromat” by Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka).
For a man who enrolled in PDP in 1998 with only N20,000 reportedly in his bank account after a stint in prison, Obasanjo left power in 2007 stupendously wealthy with vast farm estates in many states and private university.

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False claim of mentorship

Typically, megalomaniac Obasanjo lied that the leading presidential candidates who had visited him addressed him as “mentor” and that, according to him, their respective quest for the No 1 job in the land was to continue where he stopped his “good work”. We presume that included Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. It is another shameless lie by a meddlesome interloper in an orgy of self-adulation.

To start with, many will easily recall that the same Obasanjo had issued a statement shortly after the APC candidate paid him a courtesy call months back categorically stating that the visit was “non-political” in response to “misconception in a section of the media”. So, how come this contradiction now? In any case, keen watchers of political events will attest that Tinubu’s accustomed progressive leaning is antithetical to Obasanjo’s imperial messianism. It is an ideological contestation dating back to 1999.

All through Obasanjo’s eight-year imperial presidency, Tinubu’s fidelity to progressive ideology led him to challenge Obasanjo’s excesses through the instrumentality of the courts and constitutionalism. Indeed, through constant diligent litigations, Lagos under Tinubu was able to win over 13 landmark cases against the federal government at the Supreme Court that not only enriched constitutionalism but also extended the frontiers of federalism in Nigeria.

Tinubu’s opposition also manifested in his refusal to be deceived by Obasanjo’s antics in 2003 in the latter’s desperation to capture the South-west and end his personal shame as a President without political home-base. It is on record that Tinubu emerged the only Yoruba governor who survived Obasanjo’s onslaught against the entire South West. Ever so treacherous, Obasanjo betrayed the other five AD governors by rigging them out of office, with Tinubu becoming “the last man standing”.

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His petty hatred for Asiwaju and lack of vision led him into scuttling the first-of-its-kind Independent Power Project (IPP) initiated by Lagos State in 1999. It also explained Obasanjo’s illegal withholding of councils fund belonging to Lagos for over two years following the creation of 37 additional council areas. Even after the Supreme Court ruling directed the release, Obasanjo continued his unconstitutional perfidy of withholding the state’s local government revenue, to punish Lagos. The funds were not released until President Umar Yar’Adua assumed power in 2007.

Indeed, the redrawing of Nigeria’s electioneering calendar is a testament of Obasanjo’s rigging inclination. Today, off-season governorship contests are organised by INEC in states like Edo, Osun, Ekiti, and Kogi due to the theft of popular mandate under Obasanjo’s watch, having declared the 2007 polls a “do or die” for his party. In Edo, Osun and Ekiti in particular, it is a well-known fact that Tinubu spear-headed the struggle to retrieve the stolen mandates through the court. So, how could Obasanjo therefore list Tinubu among his “mentees” who wish to continue where he “stopped”?

He mischievously twisted Tinubu’s ‘Emilokan’ statement before the APC presidential primaries out of context in a futile bid to de-market the APC candidate. The very poor understanding of that phrase by a supposed Yoruba (?) man will only fuel doubts already expressed in some informed quarters about Obasanjo’s roots. Tinubu made his statement within the context of the internal dynamics of APC , and the fact that he later emerged as candidate by an overwhelming majority shows that his claims are infallible. Nobody worked as hard as Tinubu to win the support of delegates during the primaries and today he is second to none in aggressively seeking the support of voters across the country to achieve success in next month’s elections. Ironically, the only concrete reason Obasanjo offers for supporting Peter Obi is that it is “the turn” of the South-East! What a contradiction!!

Capacity to identify and nurture leaders

It is laughable that Obasanjo has the temerity to deem himself qualified to lecture Nigerians on who to elect as a leader. Throughout his political trajectory in public life, he has unfailingly demonstrated gross incompetence in this regard. In 1979, his military regime was designed to produce the weakest leadership in a political terrain that had such proven leadership talents as Adamu Ciroma, Aminu Kano, Maitama Sule, Waziri Ibrahim, Nnamdi Azikwe or Obafemi Awolowo among others. In 2007, after his two-term tenure and the failure of his third term agenda, he influenced the emergence of two PDP successors who failed partly because of weak institutional foundation he had laid and partly because of their own limitations. Obasanjo in a fit of mindless hypocrisy claims that strength and vitality are requirements for the presidency but was the same man who knew of the late good man Umaru Yar a dua’s terminal condition and still used the coercive agencies of state to impose him on Nigeria ! The late president Yar adua himself publicly acknowledged that the 2007 election under Obasanjo was extremely flawed . This is in sharp contrast to Lagos State where the Tinubu administration designed a 25-year development Masterplan for the state and inspired a succession of competent leaders who not only sustained but also improved on the legacies of Tinubu’s administration, making Lagos the fastest growing in Nigeria and the 5th largest economy in Africa today.
In endorsing Obi, Obasanjo resorted to verbose and nebulous generalities without telling Nigerians in concrete terms what were his preferred candidate’s track record of performance as governor in Anambra state.

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The shame of Anambra

Perhaps the most laughable of the megalomaniac stunts by Obasanjo was naming Peter Obi among his “mentees”. Older Nigerians and just anyone old enough to comprehend series of abominable occurrences on the political landscape around 2003 must have reacted to such claim with derisive laughter and guffaw. It is perhaps a reflection of Obasanjo’s penchant to prey on the poor memory of the average Nigerian that he now seeks to dress Obi, his one-time victim, as a “mentee”. Given the well-known facts of history, many are left wondering if it was not the same Obi that Obasanjo’s thuggish enforcer, Chris Uba, robbed of Anambra governorship in 2003. It took the refusal of Dr. Chris Ngige to surrender Anambra’s treasury to Obasanjo’s surrogates (Chris Uba and co) for Nigerians to know that the polls were rigged in favour of PDP in Anambra at the expense of APGA’s Peter Obi. While the dirty fight lasted between the electoral robbers in Anambra, the police were implicated in a botched attempt to kidnap the then sitting Anambra governor and force him to resign from office. When that failed, hapless people of Anambra woke up one morning soon afterward to witness a reign of terror unleashed on Awka, the state capital, with Government House and other government structures either razed or vandalized by armed thugs. Fingers were pointed at Chris Uba, the self-styled “godfather of all godfathers”. While the show of shame lasted, it came to light that the Uba was working for Obasanjo. When asked to clarify his relationship with Chris Ubah during a Presidential Chat transmitted live by NTA soon afterwards, Obasanjo shamelessly downplayed the infamy by describing him as an “enthusiastic party (PDP) supporter” in Anambra!

With this brazen attempt at revisionism by this political megalomaniac, discerning Nigerians are unlikely to miss the audacity of willful mendacity. This speaks to Obasanjo’s incorrigible penchant to always twist facts, manufacture lies to launder his dirty undergarment and project himself as Nigeria’s only messiah since independence.

But informed Nigerian voters surely can see through Obasanjo’s chicanery. That is why they will not heed his self-serving call. Rather, come February 25, they will go out in large numbers and vote Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the only one among the present parade of candidates with the requisite capacity, competence and character to leap Nigeria from a country of potentials to one of greatness.

Obasanjo’s selfish plot to impose a puppet and regain his lost maniacal grip on power shall fail , again…just as his perfidious and pernicious third term agenda !

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Alake , former commissioner for Information and Strategy Lagos State, is the Adviser Media, Communications and Public Affairs of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

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Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

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“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”

 

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Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life

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Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

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While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

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Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks

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The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

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DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

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ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

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  • Source: Independent

 

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