OBASANJO: A nation with short memories (Opinion)

When Obasanjo became President in 1999, Nigeria was on a ground zero, it was a frustrated nation with years of dirty and tribal politics of IBB, Abacha and Abdul Salam.

It was also a nation with a dirty military with loyalty only to the assasinations of political opponents with almost $50b debts and $2.4b foreign reserved openly stolen by Abdul Salam regime in the last days of his administration, it was a task very few could handle.

Nigeria of 1999 was a people traumatised by the years of oppression in which a President Obasanjo had to contend with, his health was in problem due to years of incastration by Abacha and, his diabetic condition took a downturn on his look, a robust Obasanjo before he was jailed appeared ugly and mean, despite all that, he never went out of the country for medical attention, he believed in his people and like the last soldier in the Biafra war, Obasanjo became the redeemer of Nigeria.

The Military was cleaned up, with massive retirement of those who worked in any political capacity with the past military leaders, he went for the best hands to handle both politics and economic policies of the nation, he hired technocrats in and out of Nigeria to help in nations re-building.

Obasanjo was not a failure, he got results for his efforts, the military became an institution ready to listen to civilian authority, his administration introduced EFCC and other agencies to battle corruption and he got vissible result, he jailed his Inspector General of Police, and 3 Senate Presidents lost their jobs, and his VP Atiku was almost removed.

In his job, nobody could accuse him of tribalism, because he gave his best to his nation, those who tried to be like him failed on the platform of three goals of religion, tribalism, and godfather mentality, Obasanjo is above the class of all Nigeria leaders since 1960.

Those who hated him wanted him to be like them, but Obasanjo is above all sentiments, he covered his behind with solid facts, he documented things beyond ordinary, he wrote too details even in his books.

General Danjuma at one time called Obasanjo as the greatest President Nigeria ever had, he knew him as boss, and as a friend. No doubt Obasanjo is a proud man, he loves to make fun of those with half education, and he is a man very difficult to fool, and his words are just what it is.

The nation’s electricity in 1999 had no base with only Kainji dam to feed the whole nation power grill, President Obasanjo created a new foundation for electricity in Nigeria, with new six new power stations based on gas pipeline from SS, and two new hydro stations in Mambilla, and Zungeru.

Private stations like AGIP, and Mobil went into energy prodiction but Nigeria population outspaced the very much he could do in office, which was why he asked for a third term and was denied.

All his projects started the new energy revolution which Yar’Adua and Jonathan mismanaged, as frugal and misery Obasanjo’s presidency was, it is difficult to see how he will not be freed of corruption if Buhari is strong enough to drag him to Court.

When Obasanjo said, even though $16b was approved for electricity, he made it clear his administration actually got less than $10b and only $3.7 was spent, and the balance of $6.3b was kept in the escrow account of Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Oracle says It is very easy to believe Obasanjo because of his records in documentation. If not, why did the CBN not dispute his words?

However, when you live in a nation where leaders are too lazy to read, rumors and beer parlor stories will be the bedrock of political decisions.

EFCC and CBN can still take a second look at books of Obasanjo on the $16b but it is doubtful if it will not end up as a wasted venture.

– Kunle Sowunmi writes from Brooklyn, New York

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