“If we are in the habit of practising the opposite of what we preach, our admonition will not only lose the force and cogency, but also we ourselves will forfeit every claim to credibility. An ounce of example, it has been widely said, is better than a ton of precepts.” - Chief Obafemi Awolowo
(1909 – 1987).
his is obviously the season of open letter writing, a season when political banters are thrown from all angles by both politicians and non-politicians. With the next general elections fast approaching in February next year, more than three people had written open letters to Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These were: The Comedian “I Go Die”, A Bishop Sam Zuga from Benue State and former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Behold! The most publicized and much-talked about was that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has a penchant for writing open letters to whoever is at the helm of affairs whenever he thinks that the Nigeria ship is conspicuously heading towards an iceberg.
OBJ’s open letters usually come with positive or damning consequences, so let all those who have ears hearken. During the second republic, he wrote to condemn the corruption going on at the time, some few weeks later, the military struck to usher in the military administration of Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon (of blessed memory). Again, during the Babangida regime, he wrote to complain about the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) for not having a human face. Almost immediately, Ex-President Ibrahim Babangida flew to his Ota Farms to explain his government’s detailed economic policies; and also changed the leadership of all military formations.
In 2014, OBJ wrote again, but this time to his political Godson, former president Goodluck Jonathan. The letter entitled: Before It Is Too Late, which contained very serious complaints about the state of the Nigerian nation, but instead of Jonathan to yield to the voice of caution, he deliberately ignored the warnings and allowed some of his political acolytes to call Baba Iyabo all sorts of unprintable names. The damning consequence led to the alliance formed by Obasanjo and his supporters and the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) before the 2015 general elections which consequently led to the historic removal of an incumbent president from power.
In his latest missive entitled: The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Coalition For Nigeria Movement, he summarized the Buhari government’s performance thus: *“The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of its lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today”*
The former president also used the opportunity to showcase his achievements but conveniently failed to mention a soothing apology to Nigerians for his inability to bequeath a well-planned and competent successive leadership; and his failed attempt to introduce a constitutional aberration popularly dubbed as “third-termism” into the Nigerian constitution through the back door.
However, he raised some germane issues which the current government should address to correct its wrongs or missteps.
On the issue of corruption, he berated PMB for not dealing with corruption issues among members of his inner caucus; and then cited “Mainagate” as a classical example. This i strongly believe was a wakeup call for Mr President because a rotten apple spoils the barrel, therefore, he needs to change his undying belief that his trusted political acolytes are incorruptible; and his posturing that he is more interested in recovering stolen monies and assets than jailing treasury looters. Without enacting more punitive legislation; building more prisons and setting up special courts to fast-track corruption cases, we will continue to scratch the surface in the fight against corruption.
To Be Continued