Whoever is celebrating Obasanjo’s comment on Atiku at their recent meeting in Abeokuta does not understand or have a good knowledge of the old fox. Doing a content and contextual analysis of his speech I find it more indicting of Atiku than exonerating. There is a lot in that speech to use as ammunition against Atiku. Judging by Atiku’s countenance from the photographs that have emerged from the meeting, I could see he was not comfortable with the presentation by his former boss. Perhaps, with the mode of conveyance. Or even with the presence of ’eminent witnesses. How could one easily stomach all that Obasanjo said of a man that proudly aspires to lead Nigeria in the full glare of the world? What kind of ‘endorsement’ was needed? What agenda on the table?
To me, the endorsement Atiku sought was served with a bag-ful of humiliation, seeing that Obasanjo carefully picked his words with telling effect. Let’s examine a few:
1. ” …my former Vice-President has re-discovered … himself
2. … it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the Party, the Government and the country.
3. I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.
4. There are still areas, nationally and internationally, where you have to mend fences and make amends. You will know how to handle what is already out and what may yet be put out by the opposition
5. With Nigerians voting for you, it will mean that you secure their forgiveness and regain their confidence. It will be with the hope or assurance of a Paul on the road to Damascus Conversion. After all, change and conversion are of man. I believe that with a contrite heart, change is possible in everybody’s life and situation.”
Without any doubt, the Old Fox cleverly exonerated himself of any wrong positioning in all he ever said concerning Atiku. He firmly established his case against his former deputy, leaving the latter no room for rebuttal. He pushed Atiku’s case to the court of public opinion and, like Pontius Pilate, washed his hands clean. How peacefully Atiku slept after that visit may never be known, perhaps, until he writes his memoirs. One thing that is sure is that the sequel to Obasanjo’s trilogy – My Watch – will contain juicy details of how he exacted his pound of flesh from the man to whom he was compelled to prostrate to secure a second term in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What is more, the Sermon on the Presidential Library, Abeokuta has further revealed the quality of trade offs that imperil the soul of our nation.
We must ask questions, for, as Pilate famously asked: ‘ What is the truth?’
So, too, must Nigerians now ask Obasanjo before they decide to cast any vote for Atiku. Let the people ask:
1. What, as Obasanjo proclaimed in his speech, did Atiku do against the country that he has to correct?What should he show contrite for?
2. What are those things he did that were not approved of by the International community, which Obasanjo wants to help him remedy? We shouldn’t accept parables in this case but a full disclosure.
3. We knew the sins of Paul before he got on the road to Damascus. What are the sins of Atiku before he got on the road to Abeokuta?
Obasanjo needs to tell us. He can only forgive Atiku for the sins committed against him and his government, certainly not the ones against the country and against Nigerians. Obasanjo should allow Nigerians to decide that.
4. In his several publications in which he indicted Atiku, Obasanjo has made public those ‘characters and attributes’ his former deputy exhibited. We are not sure a single trip to Damascus, or Abeokuta in this case, by Atiku accompanied by the Jonathan clerics could overnight have changed all that.
By the way Atiku’s ‘trip to Damascus/Abeokuta’ has revealed to us where some ‘revered’ “men of God”belong on the issues confronting our nation – especially in respect of graft.
We also now know that our erstwhile hero and Awo associate, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, was not just a worshipper at Jonathan’s altar but is a full blown PDP apologist. We are watching as the game kicks off.
May Nigeria succeed!
_Senator Babafemi Ojudu , Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters writes from Abuja._