We have been inundated with calls from the media and our esteemed friends over comments reportedly made by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Aremu of Ota, to the effect that General Ibrahim Babangida “is a fool at 70”. According to the report, Chief Obasanjo was said to have rolled out series of issues which he considered, in his infertile mind, to be the sins of General Babangida.
He was reacting to earlier comments made by General Ibrahim Babangida that the Obasanjo eight years administration lacked creativity and innovation, and that given the huge resources that accrued to the Obasanjo government, Nigeria should have improved better. General IBB had stated inter alia; “in my eight years in office, I was able to manage poverty and achieved success while somebody for eight years managed affluence and achieved failure”. It is in response to this that the Ota farmer has decided to throw decency in the air to describe General IBB in such uncouth verbiage as a birthday message. We do not want to believe that he truly said that, but if it is true that he did say that, Nigerians know who the greatest fool is.
It is certainly not in the tradition of General IBB, such a refined gentleman officer; to join issues with his subordinates’ and superiors, but for the price we owe history, this riposte becomes appropriate and necessary. We expected Chief Obasanjo to react to the substance of General Babangida’s submissions and not deploy this distractive strategy to shy away from the real issues at stake. The statistics of the government they both ran at different times, speak for them. The history of Chief Obasanjo is an open sore that is irredeemably contrived in several incongruities and contradictions. When he pleaded with IBB to be given another chance to extend his tenure, IBB was not a fool then. When he was released from prison and granted state pardon, bathed in cerebral ornaments and clothed in royal beads and later crowned as President of Nigeria, IBB was not a fool then. Now that he is at the extreme of his thoughts and engagements, he can decide to dress IBB in borrowed robes. But the histories of both of them, when put to public scrutiny comparatively, IBB is far glowing and instructively stands poles apart from Obasanjo. In terms of decency, finesse, class, distinction and general conduct, IBB could be described in the superlatives but for Obasanjo; God bless Nigeria.
For a man who cannot possibly tell his true age, one may excuse his present outburst as the effusions of a witless comedian trying effortlessly to impress his select audience. On the issue of performance, Obasanjo cannot contemplate a comparism of his conquistadorial and largely acquisitive regime that plundered our hard-earned state resources, with that of IBB government with verifiable record of achievements. Despite the fact that he carried out a clinical investigation of IBB’s regime, what did he establish against him? Nothing! We wish to refer Obasanjo to the National Assembly to give his own side of the story to the several revelations that have become themes of his orchestra when he held sway as President of Nigeria. Perhaps, he would be able to tell the world how he managed Nigeria’s resources during his regime.
Chief Obasanjo should ponder on these incontrovertible facts: The revenues that accrued to former President Obasanjo during his eight years are more than those that accrued to the nation from independence till 1999 before he took over. Despite such stupendous wealth of the nation, what was his performance profile? The number of high profile deaths by assassinations and politically motivated killings during Obasanjo’s eight years is more than any other in the history of this country. Besides, is it not curious that after Obasanjo’s exit, there has not been any reported case of plane crashes? What was his human rights record? The people of Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki-Ibiam in Benue State are yet to recover from the massacre visited on them by Chief Obasanjo. Again Crude Oil sold for as much as $180 dollars per barrel for the better part of his eight years, what benefit did Nigerians derive from such excess crude? With the revelations coming from the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly, Nigerians are now coming to terms with the profligacy of the Obasanjo era.
Against the backdrop of the above, it is ludicrous for him to raise any intellectual debate on the achievements of the governments they ran at different times in the life of the nation. Calling IBB “a fool at 70” especially by a man reportedly and allegedly accused by his own son of incest, is at best a compliment. Nigerians surely know who is truly a fool or the greatest fool of this century.
Signed: Prince Kassim Afegbua, Spokesperson to Gen.(rtd) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.