If only the handlers of former President Olusegun Obasanjo could have him hold his peace on matters that are better forgotten, then he would probably earn his hero status in a country that has few heroes. But for a man who made the famous remarks that he advised his advisers and not the other way round, then one can imagine that he (man) handles his handlers if he ever had any.
Age ought to mellow and mature, wizen and make wiser and most important, makes a man come to terms with himself, his people and his maker. As a man sitting in the departure lounge of life, to borrow from Chief E.K Clark, one expects Chief Obasanjo to travel light, shed all excess baggage and be at peace with his world.
But that is not the case with the Owu deity who enjoyed the rare privilege of ruling Nigeria for about 13 years, first as a military head of state and then as an elected president for two terms of eight years. But Obasanjo comes across as a man in prolonged and un-assuaged agony. Like all agonists, he is always seeking to be seen, to be heard and to be courted. He seems to covet and cherish the high table of relevance all the time. When he is not in the limelight, he creates his own lime and light and bask in it.
Such was the case last week when the former president granted an interview to Channels Television explaining why he chose his late successor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. For a classic Obasanjo mala fide that happened eight years ago and for which the nation had agonised and moved on, why Obj had to be scratching the scar of our wound cannot be fathomed.
The underhand event happened before our eyes: Obasanjo the incumbent wanted a soft and weak successor and he found his best bet in the late Yar’Adua, a visibly ailing man. He paired him with a yodeling yeoman straight from the creeks of Otuoke. The Yar’Adua/Jonathan ticket for the 2007 presidential race must rank among the most debilitated and puerile pairing to be found in modern democracy.
At the end of that era on May 29, 2015, a cycle of a debacle that was total and comprehensive had been completed. Anarchy was almost loosed upon the land. The nation still roils from it till this moment. A slew of mind-boggling corruption, abandoned projects, misery and poverty for the populace were what Obasanjo’s singular succession perfidy earned Nigeria.
Yet he would not let us be. Unprompted last week, Obasanjo told us that choosing a terminally ill man to preside over this vast country was the right thing to do. All the other seekers of the job were corrupt, he said.
If only Baba Obasanjo would hold his peace, if only he would keep quiet and allow time to heal the wounds he has inflicted on us. But Hardball knows he won’t; he can’t until he has achieved catharsis. But there lies the dilemma; Obasanjo is not likely to achieve such a redeeming state of self-purification. What a pity.