I plan to do this article in 3 parts to make is shorter for some of the fans of this column who have problems reading some of my stuff because they are always too long. Those fans are right and I am wrong. I hear them loud and clear and I am trying my best to reduce the length of those articles. One of those critics actually reminded me that 2 or 3 articles could be taken out of most of my articles because they are always loaded with information. I take the last observation as a complement but still I am trying to make a conscious effort to make those articles shorter by focusing on just one central theme.
I have seen 2 telltale signs or predictors that give me an insight into Balarabe Musa’s prediction I would want to share with all of you in this article. Whatever matters to Nigerians is everything to me. The first telltale sign I saw was the rumor of Obasanjo’s willingness to return back to the Federal Government a sum of 200 million Dollars that he claimed as illegitimate money and his promise to become a whistle blower on some other Nigerians who need to return part of their stolen loot.
The fear of God we have been told is the beginning of wisdom. In Nigeria today it is the fear of God and the fear of General Buhari who made a very profound statement that none of us should dismiss with the wave of the hand. He said and I quote that “If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria” The same Obasanjo once made another statement, which he has not denied. He said that he would rather support Buhari and go to jail support than his own handpicked political son, Jonathan. Even though he was fully aware that Buhari could end up putting him (Obasanjo) in jail. He knew the risk he was taking, but the risk has not deterred him from going all out to support Buhari against his own party.
It was one statement that tells me loud and clear that Obasanjo wanted to make atonement for some of the foibles and criminality that had occurred under his watch as the longest-serving Head of State of Nigeria. Hate him or like him. One thing you cannot take away from Obasanjo is the fact that God in many ways has used him as the center of gravity in Nigerian politics for better or for worse. Obasanjo has remained an enigma in Nigerian politics who has succeeded where individuals like Obafemi Awolowo has failed despite their superior talent and education.
Nigeria is lucky to have an ex- President who is willing to admit he was wrong and who has had the courage of his conviction to seek redemption and forgiveness before his death. If Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Emperor Jean Bokasa of the Central African Republic or Idi Amin Dada of Uganda or Moammar Gadhafi of Libya had done what Obasanjo is known to have done in Nigeria, the situation in their different countries would have been different.
Obasanjo, for some reason, is the only one among our past Heads of State who has not shied away from still playing some proactive and dominant role in the governance of Nigeria and speaking the truth to power regardless of whose horse is gored. Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Sonekan, Abdulsalam Abubakar prefer to be seen and not heard. Babangida would have loved to play a more prominent role like Obasanjo, but his role in annulling the most credible election in Nigeria and his role in institutionalizing corruption in Nigeria has been a self-inflicted wound and deterrence if you see what I see.
Nigerians must not underestimate or trivialize what Obasanjo has done and is still willing to do to help stabilize Nigeria and to help the APC and General Buhari to clean up some of the mess his regime and other regimes in Nigeria have created.
Those who point to Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and General Buhari as the leaders the effort to move Nigeria in a different direction in 2015 election must never forget that Obasanjo was a one-man battalion in that effort if the truth must be told. If Obasanjo had not parted ways with the PDP at the time he did, and if Obasanjo had lent his weight to some of the criminality and impunity of the Jonathan Government to win the 2015 election by all means, Jonathan would have won the 2015 elections regardless of what Professor Jega and his INEC had done and regardless of what the Nigerian voters might have said or done. I can tell you that.
I strongly believe that God has helped the APC and General Buhari to gain power in Nigeria in what I would call a miracle that only God Himself can explain. There are many in the PDP today and most especially in the Southeast zone who could not believe what has hit them. The Igbos of Nigeria if you follow their “modus operandi” as closely as I do for years could not believe that the PDP could be dislodged from power in Nigeria. They always pitch their tent with the Hausa/Fulani power bloc for that reason.
You would have thought that Odumegwu Ojukwu after his return from exile in the Ivory Coast was going to lie low for some time before rushing to pick sides. He had a chance to pitch his tent with the NPP led by Ogbuefi Nnamadi Azikiwe, but he chose instead to go with the Shagari-led NPN for precisely the same reason and it worked out fine for the Igbos because the NPN won again as expected. The Igbos were expecting the same scenario to play out again, but they miscalculated this time around because of the “God at work” factor. Who in Nigeria would have expected the collaboration between the Yorubas and the Hausa/Fulani and some minorities to produce the outcome we have just witnessed in the last election? I saw it coming though as I predicted in all of my articles.
God guaranteed the victory for the opposition when God created an unbridgeable cleavage and irreconcilable differences between President Jonathan and General Obasanjo. Jonathan sided with newly elected Ogun State PDP senator Kashamu, a suspected drug pusher and fugitive offender from the United States and an implacable enemy of General Obasanjo. It was one reason Obasanjo could never reconcile with Jonathan. President Jonathan broke ranks with the 5 PDP Governors who later decamped into the APC to give the party more credibility as a force to reckon with in Nigeria. God put the PDP and the APGA party in the Southeast into a Jonah-like slumber. They woke up from that slumber too late for them to stop the moving train of the A.P.C.
God did it his own way when he blinded President Jonathan and his power-drunk First Lady with ego and pride not to recognize the strategic import of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers who became the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors but Jonathan foolishly sided with Governor Jang who scored 16 votes while Amaechi scored 19 votes. President Jonathan who has a low tolerance level for corruption and dishonesty in Government failed to realize that Governor Amaechi was not a Governor to fool around with as clearly stated by Babangida to Jonathan when the Jonathan visited Babangida at his Mountain top Mansions in Minna. It was a bad move and a calamitous miscalculation on the part of the President and the First Lady.
God guaranteed the success of the APC and their victory in the 2015 elections when Jonathan chose a no-nonsense man like Professor Jega to head the Electoral Commission and could not remove him as suggested by some of his party men like Ayo Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko and Chris Uba who wanted a puppet they could use to rig the elections in favor of the PDP in 2015.
God guaranteed the victory of the opposition when the Igbo-dominated APGA walked away from the merger of the opposition parties in Nigeria to throw their full weight behind Jonathan because many powerful individuals among them like Deziani Allison Madueke, Okonjo- Iweala, Anyim Anyim and the former Aviation Minister and the successor to Lamido Sanusi at the Central Bank have benefitted the most from the Jonathan Government and they wanted the Igbo bloc to back Ebele Jonathan. The only voice in the wilderness was Governor Okorocha of Imo but the Igbos ignored him hoping they could easily rig him out of office and return the Owerri Government House back to the PDP on a platter of gold.
The gang-up by those individuals might not have served the best interest of the Southeast zone per se, but it gave some individuals of Igbo origin a chance to enrich themselves. If you don’t believe me, wait till Buhari and Osinbajo take over on May 29 and they are in a position to see from the inside how much havoc has been done by the departing Jonathan Government before and after April 11 till now. Nigerians would be shocked by the level of looting of the Federal Treasury in the last 6 years of Jonathan. It is a prediction that I am happy to make that many would call on Buhari to either force those individuals to return part of the money they have stolen or go to jail. Most of them would be willing to return some of money they have stolen rather than spend the rest of their life in jail. Buhari has said he is willing to consider Amnesty for them if they return some of the money because Buhari would need all of that money to carry out many of the things he has promised to do.
If APGA had joined the merger of ACN plus CPC and ANPP, the merger would have imploded due to intrigues and infighting the APGA would have sponsored. Their walking away was an act of God and therefore a special blessing in disguise. They walked away because they were convinced the opposition could never beat an Octopus of a political party like the PDP with its grass root support in Nigeria and with the limitless funds available to the PDP to fight the elections as the party in power at the Federal level.
Remember that the party was able to raise more than 21 billion Naira in 4 days. The PDP was so sure it would outspend the APC and it did. Mimiko got 500 million to deliver Ondo State. Ayo Fayose got close to the same amount to deliver Ekiti even though he later argued he got only 30 million. Only God knows how much Bode George and Jimmy Agbaje got to deliver Lagos State and how much Iyiola Omisore and Fani Kayode got to deliver Osun State. Only God knows how much Kashamu got to deliver Ogun and how much was paid out to their party loyalists in Oyo and each of the remaining 30 states of Nigeria and the Federal Territory.
I did try at one point to wire a personal donation of 1000. Dollars thru my Citi Bank in New York to the Buhari campaign because I wanted the man to win so badly, and I knew he was running out of funds because he was an upright man who did not steal like Jonathan and the rest of them. I knew him from my days in the Federal Ministry of Defense from 1968 to 1970 and I knew he was as clean as a whistle. I wanted to help him not because I needed anything from him but because I wanted him to win and because I could afford to throw the cash away if he does not win. I regret to say that the transfer could not be made because my Bank, the Citi Bank of New York has demanded the swift code for the Buhari Campaign Account at the First Bank in Nigeria.
The Jonathan Government had tried at one point to make sure Buhari or the APC could not get any infusion of funds from abroad because they wanted to put the APC at a clear disadvantage. They used the last few weeks before March 28 and April 11 paying out bribes in Dollars to any registered voters in Nigeria who was willing to vote for the PDP or risk their lives to snatch ballot boxes or jam the PVC scanners and what have you. The Nigerian Bank refused to send the swift code because I heard rumors that the Federal Government had put some embargo on any transfer of money into that account from abroad. So my bank could not complete the transaction.
Have any of you noticed that the word “Power” has suddenly dropped out of the Lexicon of the PDP ever since Jonathan lost on March 28 and the party was again humiliated on April 11. I give much of the credit to God Almighty and to individuals like Obasanjo, Asiwaju Tinubu, General Buhari and Fani Kayode and Ayo Fayose that God had used in different ways for better or for worse to secure the victory of the APC at the polls. God made it possible for Jonathan in his foolishness to pick Fani Kayode of all people to be the Director of News Media for his campaign. Fani Kayode was a liability to the Jonathan campaign if you factor in his antecedents before leaving the APC to join the PDP.
The second telltale sign I have seen is the recent pronouncement made by General Buhari to all state Governors telling them they should go find funds to pay salaries in their state from the funds already released to them by the outgoing Government. The most important statement he made, as far as I am concerned, was his rejection of the attempts by newly appointed APC Governors to request him to pick or include all or any of their handpicked candidates in his Cabinet. He rejected their plans to submit a ministerial list and ambassadorial appointees. He told them point-blank the Constitution does not mandate him to take their list. State Governors may have gotten away with that imposition with Jonathan. He was going to operate within what is allowed by the Constitution, the supreme Law of Nigeria in keeping with his determination to observe the rule of Law in the way and manner he governs the country.
I am sure there would be other initiatives or pronouncements Buhari is going to make after his inauguration on May 29. He has left no doubt about his intention to end corruption in Nigeria. Balarabe Musa is now predicting with some justification that the Buhari war against corruption in Nigeria would not last or succeed. He gave one of his reasons for saying that but I could also list a number of other reasons in this article based on my eyewitness account and insight as an insider in the Public Service for 25 years. I want to make this contribution to help other Nigerians who did not have all of the advantages I had as an insider in Government.
Balarabe in his brilliant statement has identified that the APC as a party would be the first to gang up against Buhari and therefore make it impossible for him to succeed in his war against Corruption. I agree with him but I would expand on his theory in the Part 2 to this article to articulate the other factors that may work against Buhari in a society riddled with corruption and pathological dishonesty in most of us myself included.
I would use the Part 3 to discuss the ramifications of what Buhari could do to ensure that the Balarabe’s prediction would not come true. Why do I say that? I say it because I strongly believe in the Buhari’s mission statement that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. Part of my goal in doing the 3 part article is not to let that happen.
I rest my case.