by Adesina Tosin Nathaniel
Let me start by congratulating former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his newest title of Baba Onigbagbo Ogun (Leader of Christians in Ogun State) conferred on him by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Branch on Sunday, February 26, 2017 in celebration of his 80th birthday. This is a position that should make the former President speak the truth no matter the condition he finds himself but alas it wasn’t so. On Monday, February 27, 2017 at a programme organised by the Kaduna State Chamber of Mines and Commerce, Obasanjo challenged Nigerian youths by asking them what their generation would do for Nigeria.
He stated that his generation fought for the unity of Nigeria and laid the foundation for democracy but forgot that his generation also undid the two things they did for Nigeria. His generation fought for the unity of Nigeria and still introduced disunity in like manner. The democracy that was given to Nigeria by his generation was a fake one as it is “lootocracy”, a democracy that is based on looting, looting and looting.
The evil done to Nigeria by Obasanjo’s generation is unequalled and unparalleled. Obasanjo and his contemporaries like Gen Sani Abacha, Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari among others are the reason why Nigeria is at the zero point we are today.
Nigeria gained independence in 1960. That independence was truncated by Obasanjo’s fellow military men when we had the first coup and Maj. Gen. J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi emerged as the Head of State. The casualties of the coup included the Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello; the Premier of the Western Region, Samuel Akintola; and finance minister Festus Okotie-Eboh, among others. These shining stars were lost to the coup plotted and executed by Obasanjo’s generation and Nigeria has not been the same since then. After this, there were coups and counter-coups including the one involving Obasanjo in 1975 that saw to the removal of Gen. Yakubu Gowon from office and the circus continued until “democracy” came back fully in 1999 with the same Obasanjo as President of the Federal Republic.
The military coups were the first actions that created division in our country. The same unity that Obasanjo’s generation claimed they fought for. The coups were plotted and executed based on religion and ethnic coloration and till today, the fruits of those ignoble actions are being reaped by Nigerians. Apart from the coups, this generation destroyed the commonwealth of Nigeria and positioned us for the breaking point of today.
The military governments headed by Obasanjo’s generation were characterised by looting, state sponsored assassinations, mysterious disappearance of people from the country and other evil vices. When Buhari as a military officer toppled the democratically elected president Shehu Shagari from office in a bloodless coup in 1983 and took over the reins of power with his deputy, Brig. Tunde Idiagbon, they succeeded in leading the country into its worst economic mess, the value of the naira dropped and there was hardship everywhere coupled with the 52 suitcases issue too. So, what has Obasanjo’s generation done for Nigeria?
After a period of time, Buhari was removed in a palace coup by Babangida in 1985. Babangida’s tenure was a continuation of the maladministration of the Buhari regime, from assassinations to looting and other vices including the introduction of the failed Structural Adjustment Programme; this tenure stood out. Under the leadership of the Evil Genius (as fondly called), Dele Giwa was killed in a parcel bomb on a Black Sunday. That was the first and only time that a Nigerian had died by parcel bomb and this was long before Boko Haram started deploying bombs everywhere.
Under Babangida, the June 12 election which was adjudged the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history was annulled for no reason. Till today, what happened to the $12bn Gulf War oil windfall under Babangida remains a mystery. So, what has Obasanjo’s generation done for Nigeria?
The maladministration of Obasanjo’s generation continued with the government of Yar’Adua/Jonathan. This government will be in competition with Abacha’s tenure based on corruption perception index. It was all about looting, looting and looting. We can’t forget so soon the alleged missing $20bn among other looted funds as was revealed by the EFCC. So, what has Obasanjo’s generation done for Nigeria?
The same Buhari that was a beneficiary of a coup that removed Shagari from office in 1985 is now the President of Nigeria after winning the 2015 presidential election and as it was in 1983, so it is in 2017. The Nigerian economy is experiencing its worst recession in 25 years courtesy of the Buhari-led government.
The security situation is still a mounting challenge. From the north to the south, it’s all shades of civil unrest and terrorist attacks and our President is currently in London on medical vacation after campaigning against foreign medical treatment. All because Obasanjo’s generation didn’t build a world class health system for Nigeria. So, what has his generation done for Nigeria?
Adesina Tosin Nathaniel