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USAfrica: Obasanjo’s terrible record of picking Nigerian leaders. By Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd)

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Special to USAfrica [Houston] & USAfricaonline.com

Nigeria’s former head of state Olusegun Obasanjo asking Nigerians to vote for Atiku Abubakar is an insult to our collective intelligence. 

With the benefit of hindsight, can anyone truly say Obasanjo’s sense of judgment in choosing leaders can be trusted? Some of us who knew him in the military and were privileged to see him operate during the civil war know if there is one thing Obasanjo is not blessed with, it is a good sense of judgment. Nigeria unnecessarily lost thousands of soldiers because of his poor judgment at the war front. But for the paucity of arms, ammunition and food, the Biafrans would have turned the tide against the Nigerian Army. Alabi Isama, retired General, has done justice to this topic in his book – The tragedy of Victory – so one need not repeat. 

Take a look at history. Through the clandestine maneuvers in 1979, he foisted on Nigeria a reluctant Alhaji Shehu Shagari at the expense of a cerebral Obafemi Awolowo or Nnamdi Azikiwe.  After his second coming, he so manipulated the electoral system such that he fraudulently installed an unhealthy Umaru Yar’Adua as president alongside another reluctant character in the person Goodluck Jonathan as the deputy. He denied every other interested member of his party while employing all sorts of machinations including threat and blackmail. Then came 2015, he told Nigerians Buhari is the best man for the job. As he has done to every presidential candidate he installed or supported, a few years down the line, he says Buhari is unfit for the job again. 

What do you say to a man who once gave a damaging testimonial against an 

employee now coming back to tell you to employ the same employee as the CEO of your organization? What do you say to a man who once said “with what I know of Atiku, if I support him to be president of Nigeria, God will not forgive me”? 

What do you say of a man who once tore his party card in the open glare but is now promoting the same party? What do you say of a man who said he was going to create a “third force”, fooled some impressionable characters to buy into such idea and later left them in the lurch to return to his vomit? The bible says something about such people – “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”- James 1:8. 

Obasanjo is not a man whose judgment can be trusted. Period! I am warning Nigerians not to fall for Obasanjo’s antics, again. Remember the saying – “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. How many times have Obasanjo fooled Nigerians? 

But I don’t blame him. I blame the Nigerian media who have continued to give him an undeserved attention thereby misusing their agenda setting function. The Nigerian media appear to have forgotten they are indeed the fourth estate of the realm. They are gatekeepers. They owe Nigerians the responsibility of keeping this irritable man where he belongs – the waste-bin of history. Like his daughter – Iyabo reminded him in her letter, Nigeria does not belong to him. He should allow Nigerians choose who they want and stop goading the citizenry for his own selfish interests.  

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