The name Olusegun Obasanjo resonates deeply with anyone within the geographical boundary of Nigeria and even beyond. A former career soldier who first ruled Nigeria as Head of State between 13 February 1976 and 1 October 1979 before returning as a democratically elected President between 1999 and 2006. Since leaving Aso Rock, 'Baba Iyabo', as he is fondly called by his apostles, has continued to play his game of politics. Somehome, he just manages to always sneak himself into the limelight.
The Nigerian Political space was on a lockdown in February 2015 when Obasanjo publicly tore his membership card of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party with which he had political intercourse for so many years. According to the 'Ebora of Owu' in a statement he sent out the following day, he would "rather tear the PDP membership card than sit down and let Jonathan use PDP and corruption to tear my beloved country apart".
"I have national and International standard to maintain," he had said. "For this reason I’d rather stand alone than be in the same political party with Kashamu”.
Not done yet, the former Military man added" “If there is anything that requires my comment, position or views, I will say it. It is only when you kill me that I will stop doing so."
The former President has indeed kept to his word as he as continuously lent out his voice even when he was not asked to. It will be recalled that he recently wrote a 13-page special press statement, titled 'The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement', in which he stated his disappointment in the administration of President Buhari further and advised him not to seek re-election in 2019.
Obasanjo said: “President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.”
“I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.” He had said in the Press statement.
On February 1, 2018, he then officially registered as a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).
“I am happy to be a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement which is a movement for good governance. This is the commencement for our popular and grassroots association," he said at the launch.
"The membership will be free to collectively decide on whether it will become a political party and if it decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member.”
Fast forward to today, Nigerians woke up to the news that CNM had fused with the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to become a political party.
This was disclosed on Thursday at a world press conference in Abuja where CNM Coordinator Olagunsoye Oyinlola explained the move thus: “We have said it before and we are stating it here again that the current state of despair and despondency in our dear country is an ill wind. It is foreboding and can only lead to a conflagration.
"Between January when CNM was formed and now, can we say that the story of Nigeria has changed for the better? Have things not worsened at all levels? You will all recall that in January this year, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, CNM, was formed by some of us across the country as a political platform to create a new generation of leaders for our country. Between that time and today, a lot of ground has been covered in achieving the set goals. One of such is what we are doing here today — the formal fusing of — our movement into the African Democratic Congress.”
Obasanjo was one of the founding fathers of PDP, a party widely accepted to be at the heart of the country's leadership crisis — and there can be no arguments about this since PDP was in power for 16 straight years, the longest by any political party in the country's history.
Now, can ADC, Obasanjo's new political creation, be trusted? Only time will tell!