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OPINION: Why IBB may succeed OBJ

Posted by By Come Ovbiagele on 2005/09/29 | Views: 460 |

OPINION: Why IBB may succeed OBJ


Mark word, if there is going to be any handover of power at all, then the man that is likely to succeed President Olusegun Obasanjo is retired General Ibrahim Babangida the gap-toothed ex-Military President who for eight years ruled this nation and then “stepped aside”.

Mark  word, if there is going to be any handover of power at all, then the man that is likely to succeed President Olusegun Obasanjo is retired General Ibrahim Babangida the gap-toothed ex-Military President who for eight years ruled this nation and then “stepped aside”.


We are still reading the lips of the former Military ruler. He has not made any official pronouncement yet about his intentions but his body languages and surreptitious conduct are clear indices that the man is still interested in the job. This man they call “IBB” has a history of dribbling round the pitch but the day he comes out to announce that he would contest the presidency except God stands in his way, lie would not only have his say but he would equally have his way.


Never mind that he has been assailed by serious moral allegations that he annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election adjudged to be the freest and the fairest in the annals of Nigeria’s political history. If I were to play the devil’s advocate, I would argue that IBB only robbed Peter to pay Paul because the presidential diadem that he stole from Abiola the acclaimed winner, he had on a platter of gold handed it over to Obasanjo the “Governor-General of all Governors.”


Apart from IBB’s contempt for the Oputa Panel, there are other sundry allegations against him. Among which are that he introduced the punitive structural adjustment programme at a time when malnutrition was already making a mockery of the masses. That he could not account for the 12 billion US dollars Gulf war oil windfall. That the nation is still waiting with bated breath for IBB to confess to the gruesome murder of DeIe Giwa the “Odionwere” or the Dean of Nigerian Journalism.


These are serious charges. But they are charges seen only through the prism of morality. And when immorality is juxtaposed with empiricism or realism then it is not easy for such charges to derail the presidential ambition of the Prince of the Niger. There is no doubt that a man who commits iniquities of this magnitude obviously lacks the moral credentials to rule this country but if you are still holding on to that view knowing fully well that there are no moral hindrances that can stop a desperate IBB, then you are on your own.


Don’t forget that this General whose mortal sins have been attenuated by the healing powers of time, operates at the very apex of the inner caucus of the ruling class. Besides IBB is the grandmaster of “the retired military” and by extension an emergent socio-political force in Nigeria. He is also the godfather and the grand-patron of the nouveaux riche. That is talking about the new breed politicians made up of governors, senators, ministers, advisers etc.


The fact of the matter is that IBB belongs to the exclusive club of the billionaires and many of those who had been touched by his grace fiercely remain loyal to him even in retirement. And they cut across ethnic, religious, professional and ideological divides. This is the main base of IBB’s power and this is one of the most compelling reasons why IBB is the anointed Prince or the heir apparent to the throne.


At the other end of the political spectrum, President Olusegun Obasanjo is a very hard nut to crack, come weal or woe. Mr. President would never handover, until he is sure that he has got a credible successor.


Having brought Nigeria on the radar screen of international limelight, President Olusegun Obasanjo would want to handover to a man with a great sense of mission; a kind of incorruptible leader that would carry out his economic reforms and make Nigeria the country of our dream. When the chips are down, the man that is likely to benefitfrom this frantic search for a successor even though he is not “Mr Clean” is IBB.


IBB certainly is one of the best visionary, progressive and patriotic leaders that you can count on to deal with the forces of disunity. He will be a great president if given a second chance because he would have learnt his lesson. Since once bitten a man is a thousand times shy, a rejuvenated or a “Born Again” IBB, would want to use such a golden opportunity to put up a star performance that would launch him on the pages of history. The return of IBB, therefore, does not necessarily mean a return to the days of the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah or to the darkest era of the primordial addiction to corruption and avaricious lifestyles.


IBB may be an “Evil Genius” or a Maradonna with a reputation for scoring goals with his fingers, yet he is a gifted manager of men and resources in spite of himself For a man like IBB who brought a certain amount of panache or razzmatazz to governance, you really cannot but be enamoured of his excellent human relations at the interpersonal level. Even the innocent and infectious smiles of the retired-General would make


one’s bones melt like snow not to talk of his presidential military handshake.


Personally, I am opposed to zoning or to any geo-political zonal arrangement. The reason is that it cheapens the presidency. Since at this stage of our nascent democracy we cannot afford to trivialise the presidency, my recommendation is that every potential candidate must in addition to possessing the presidential endowment be popularly elected based on his unblemished track record. We must insist on electing the very best and brightest among the very top contenders regardless of whether a particular candidate comes from the North, East, West, or South or from the remotest part of the country.


For this arrangement to be workable some individuals, groups and institutions must be willing to sacrifice their interests for the general good of the country. It is this kind of large-heartedness that we all need in our quest for political power to satisfy our personal and sectional interests.


Even after President Olusegun Obasanjo, if a Yoruba man like Gani Fawehinmi or Harry Akande proves to me to be the most articulate and the most electable candidate for the number one job I will vote for him. The other candidate I will possibly vote for without any reservation of course, is Bamanga Tukur. If we begin to hammer too much on “rotational presidency” or the power-shift formula, then we might end up fielding candidates who neither have the prerequisites nor the talents for the job. Such a scenario in this age of digital and high technology, is like putting one step forward and a hundred steps backward.


 
 

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.