Obasanjo Has Achieved His 3rd Term Agenda By Amir Abdulazeez


Chief Olusegun Obasanjo sought for a third and unconstitutional term in Presidential office, but he was massively rejected by the Nigerian masses and some well-meaning elites including those among his cult-like ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

In trying to elongate his tenure, Mr Obasanjo shamelessly approached Nigerians through the door and when they refused, he didn’t give up. Rather, he turned around and approached them through the window and he got it. In other words, ‘Baba’ Obasanjo failed to achieve a third term in office physically, but he managed to achieve it ideologically. This is obvious because amongst his purported evil plans for Nigeria contained in his third term agenda, many of them have been fulfilled, although not by him directly, but indirectly by his PDP successors. 

Let me stop speaking in parables and begin to speak clearly now. The ‘statesman’ Obasanjo achieved eight uninterrupted years in power, having enjoyed the grand crime of 2003 in the name of election victory, although we may only express our opinion because the Supreme Court has told us that we have no right to challenge that since it has since approved and legitimized what happened in 2003. With that in mind, he nursed a deceitful ambition since probably early 2005 or may be earlier, to replicate the 2003 fiasco in 2007 in order to continue in power. He later even managed to better the 2003 rigging in 2007, but he was not the direct beneficiary.

Apart from that, Chief Obasanjo tried to work with the legislature to have some legitimacy or you can call it legal backing if you like. He knew it was possible, based on his previous give and take experience with both chambers of the National Assembly and with the successful ouster of Ghali Umar Na’abba and other stubborn lawmakers from both chambers, he was optimistic. However, they did Nigeria the biggest favour at that time by surprising him eventually when it mattered most.

Obasanjo was not done with Nigeria yet and he went ahead to field Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as the PDP Presidential Candidate and by doing so, it was clear that he has not relented on his 3rd term bid. His ‘nomination’ of Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President also confirmed his continued pursuit of this illicit agenda through different approaches. The illness, tiredness and unwillingness of Umaru to accept any further burden beyond his eight years governorship sojourn of Katsina State was not a secret. However, Obasanjo exploited the latter’s weakness and used his domineering influence to force him into the Presidential race and he succeeded in anointing him to the Presidency. Secondly, very few people know of Goodluck Jonathan and it was well evident that he has not being fully prepared to succeed even as Bayelsa State Governor when he was dragged overnight to become Umaru’s running mate. This was a job which he has absolutely no idea on how to even handle, not to talk of succeeding in it. Obasanjo knew better that, his plan could back-fire in the long run if he gave Umaru a competent Vice President like Donald Duke or a powerful one like Peter Odili.

It was clear that by assembling such a ticket, Obasanjo wasn’t after Nigeria’s well-being, he was trying to portray the Nigerian Presidency as a mediocre office without him. That is, it is only when he is in charge that the Presidency should be seen to be anything serious. Well, if I may ask, was it that Obasanjo was smarter than all Nigerians, or were all Nigerians too foolish to fall prey or both? 

Going by what unfolded later on and if we are to be fair to Umaru, his Presidency showed clearly that he was not pursuing Obasanjo’s agenda, but that soon came to past. If you look at the huge responsibilities of a President, how does a fully healthy and strong man copes with the demand of the office, not to talk of a sick and tired man? I don’t want to accuse anyone of causing President Yar’Adua’s death, but one thing we certainly know is that, Umaru would have been a healthier and better man without the Presidency.

Most of what has happened has now become history despite the fact that it is still haunting us and the rest will by the Grace of God soon also become history but we must tell ourselves the bitter truth that Obasanjo has succeeded in executing his third term plan for Nigeria. Going by the record of Obasanjo’s 8-year tenure as President, few people will argue with me that he was not seeking the elongation of his tenure to do anything good or positive for Nigeria. He was indeed planning to continue with his non-performance, recklessness, dictatorship, corruption and other landmarks of his administration. This is because, up to his last day in office, there was never any sign that he will correct his past mistakes, if they were mistakes at all.

One of the main reasons why I rarely criticize President Jonathan is that, I don’t even believe in him because I know he became President by chance; he was never prepared to become even a Vice President. The main problem is that, the Presidency is always looking to be bigger than Jonathan and he has failed to grow or learn from the demands of the office over time. Despite spending roughly four years in power, Jonathan always looks like someone who assumed office last week.

I don’t know the secret contents of Obasanjo’s third term agenda but I think he has achieved most of them through Jonathan. Never mind his deceitful letter to the President pretending as if he never knew all that is happening now was going to happen. That notwithstanding, there are five broad and open objectives of the third term agenda which Obasanjo needs not to tell us before we know them and from my analysis, he has achieved all of them.

First, he wants to show Nigeria, Africa and the world that he was the only one who can govern Nigeria. He therefore sought a third term and when we refused he installed a weaker leadership which makes many Nigerians to prefer his rule in spite of his atrocities and abysmal performance.

Secondly, he wants to escape trial and justice from all the wrong-doings he has committed. Apparently, he needed a third term to consolidate his grip on institutions so that nobody can question him after he has left or maybe he needed it to pave way for a 4th and 5th term in office so that he will escape justice forever. Now, who has given Obasanjo at least a formal questioning or an official inquiry with regards to his 8 years in power? All what he has done has been swept under the carpet, perhaps forever. Maybe that’s why Obasanjo would rather die than have Buhari as President, because he knew he must account for his actions, no matter what. By masterminding the 2003 and 2007 riggings, he thought he has succeeded in frustrating Buhari out of politics, but Buhari has emerged more determined to help build a new political party that may bring the likes of Obasanjo to justice.

Thirdly, Obasanjo wanted PDP to remain in power, may be for the next 300 or 500 years. Although he’s not the one in charge, but PDP is still in power simply because, with the help of his former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former INEC Chairmen, Maurice Iwu and Abel Guobadia, he has built a notorious PDP rigging machine which may not be easily dismantled for long.

Fourthly, he wanted power to remain in the south and preferably in Yoruba land. He may not have gotten both, but at least power is in the south which is a complete betrayal of an agreed gentle-man zoning arrangement which he was not only the biggest beneficiary but without which he may never have emerged President in the first place. I don’t agree with zoning because it is highly undemocratic, but I respect agreements. 

Fifth and final, Obasanjo wants to remain relevant in Nigerian and international politics and that, he has also achieved. He activated a time-bomb in the PDP which he knew exactly when it w ill explode and after it has exploded, he carefully studied the resulting problems which he has been capitalizing on every now and then to assume the role of mediator. Therefore, as far as PDP is having problems, he will continue to remain relevant. At this juncture, may I show my tremendous gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for detonating Obasanjo’s PDP time bomb, much to the advantage of Nigeria’s democracy. This is because, as long as PDP is doing well, then Nigeria’s democracy is under threat.

Unfortunately, Obasanjo’s 8 years in power is seen internationally as a learning process in Nigeria’s nascent democracy and he is often hailed as a hero for coming out from prison and accepting to serve under a ‘learning process’. Furthermore, he is still relying on his 1979 achievements to attract accolades world-wide, besides, during his time in power, his government did not directly inflicted on international interests. This was a man who was freely giving out Nigerian territory just to please the International Community.

To me, Obasanjo’s 18-page letter to Jonathan was only a confirmation and a testimony to the fact that, all his third term plans for Nigeria has been achieved to the letter. The former president’s only problem was probably of jealousy that he wasn’t the one who executed the plan himself.

Let me conclude my analysis by borrowing Mahmud Jega’s words on Obasanjo: “He went within 8 years from a Commonwealth Eminent Person, African Candidate for UN Secretary General, prisoner of conscience and De Gaulle-style national saviour called out of retirement to a normal self-serving, corrupt, manipulative and sit-tight African ruler”.

 Amir Abdulazeez is the President of Foundation for Better Initiatives (FBI) and wrote from Dawakin-Tofa L.G. Kano. 

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