Obasanjo’s Attack Of Buhari, APC - Debate. Prince Henry Nwazuruahu Shield
On A Radio Talk Show
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Obasanjo’s attack of Buhari, APC - Debate. Prince Henry Nwazuruahu Shield on a Radio Talk Show. obasanjo ’ s attack on buhari was not altogether unexpected. He has played a leading role in the emergence and bringing down of all Nigerian civilian presidents since the Second Republic. And even the military regimes that he had no hand in propping to power such as IBB’ s and Abacha’ s (as far as information in the public domain is concerned), he made uncomfortable - at the opportune time. Based on his antecedents, many people felt that obasanjo moving on buhari and his government was only a matter of time. The early signs that obasanjo might be positioning himself for an attack on buhari came at a lecture he delivered at Oxford University on Africa’ s transformative leaders on January 8 2018. obasanjo omitted buhari ’ s name in what appeared to be a deliberate act (not that some of us believe that buhari qualifies to be included in the list). Not only that, when Thisday asked him shortly after the lecture whether he would support buhari for a second term, obasanjo retorted that it was not the right time to talk of supporting buhari ’ s second term ambition. It was obvious something was ominous. obasanjo ’ s letter to buhari of January 23 2018 entitled ‘The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement’, was a mixture of home truths, patronising comments and harsh words which will resonate well with buhari’ s critics. Basically in the letter obasanjo advised buhari not to run again - mentioning his weaknesses in the areas of handling the economy, foreign policy and his poor understanding of the “dynamics of internal politics”. He rejected both the apc and the PDP as likely to lead the country out of the woods and called for a national movement, which he called Coalition Nigeria. As he put it: “We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. “Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us.” There are several observations regarding obasanjo ’ s latest intervention: One, obasanjo embodies so many contradictions. Whatever he accuses any regime he wants to bring down - from corruption to impunity - he was also probably guilty of such during his time either as military head of State or during his eight years as civilian President. This has made some people to dismiss his interventions as self serving and undeserving. I believe such a manner of viewing obasanjo interventions is simplistic and naïve. The point is that whatever one thinks of obasanjo , he remains one of the most respected African statesmen by the international community. He leverages on this by choosing the time and place to launch an attack on a government he wants to bring down. Quite often when obasanjo begins his attacks (and largely because he waits until there is an undercurrent of momentum against such a government), those criticisms often become self-propelling both at home and abroad. obasanjo has a 100 per cent track record in bringing down any government he comes after. And that is not a joke! Two, whether buhari heeds obasanjo ’ s advice or not, the letter, just like the one he wrote to Jonathan in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, has irrevocably changed the permutations for 2019. For one, the letter is likely to embolden several people within the apc to mount a challenge against buhari ’ s candidacy. It is possible that the letter may have an opposite effect on buhari - heighten his resolve to contest even if he had not made up his mind to do so before the letter. Certainly as a retired General, he may not want to be seen as chickening out of the contest because of obasanjo ’ s letter. If buhari decides to go for a second term (as I believe he will do), and if obasanjo ’ s antecedents are anything to go by, he will most likely constitute himself as the spiritual director of the opposition - both at home and abroad. Since obasanjo is not a man known to go back on his vomit, he is unlikely to be persuaded to drop his opposition to buhari ’ s second term ambition. We are therefore likely to be in for a dog fight. Three, largely because of obasanjo ’ s track record in bringing down governments and his international connections, the letter is likely to impact psychologically on buhari ’ s cabinet and close advisers. We will therefore be watching out for the fickleness of human nature. I will therefore not be surprised if some of the Governors, advisers and members of the President’ s inner cabinet who always pretend to love buhari more than God loves
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