Obasanjo in the face of history
By Femi Orebe
Wole Olujobi, in his withering
‘2023: Obasanjo And The Legend Of Tenea‘, article approximates former president Olusegun Obasanjo to “Oedipus orientation in consummate complexity”.
“Raised and reared to preserve a kingdom, Oedipus, a grand patron of hubris, fell into a complex interplay of fate and pride to become an albatross to the kingdom he sought to preserve”.
Let us quote him at some length.
“Sophocles in his play ‘Oedipus Rex’ presents a gripping narrative of a man at the mercy of fate, but who pride would not allow to rediscover himself until he suffers irredeemable consequences.
“The ancient legend of Oedipus, the mythical king of Thebes who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother, in several of his sojourns, lived in Tenea, a mythical lost city in Greece, according to the Greek mythology.
“As recently as 1984, one of Greece’s top archaeologists, Eleni Korka, a Greek-American, made the biggest discovery of her 40-year career: the mythical city of Tenea, which was built by Trojan prisoners of war sometime around 1100BC.
“After a laborious excavation by Korka and her team, the abandoned Tenea City in ruins was discovered to harbour golden carvings and other precious, high levels of art that could turn the fortunes of the delerict city of Tenea for good.
“As it is with both Oedipus and Tenea, so it is for Nigeria and General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as Nigerians again prepare for the February 2023 ballot to elect their President. After long years of misrule that left Nigerians at the mercy of poverty and Nigeria herself in the throe of ruins, conscious efforts were made to find a befitting leader to turn the nation’s fortunes for good after the conspiracy among the Nigerian ruling elite claimed MKO Abiola’s life in 1998, the unfortunate incident that sank Nigeria in the abyss like was the case with the lost city of Tenea.
“And so like archaeologist Korka, Nigerian ‘archaeologists’ in military fatigue led by Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalami Abubakar, dug through the length and breadth of the thoroughly degraded Nigeria to find a leader to turn the nation’s fortunes for good. Their search through ‘diligent excavation’, just like that of Korka, yielded Obasanjo, who had already decayed in General Sani Abacha’s gulag like the ruins of Tenea. Pronto, most parts of Nigeria hooted, prospecting that the nation had found fortune and so had hit the road to prosperity.
“But unlike Korka, what Nigeria’s excavators found was never gold, but a crippling albatross in the class of Oedipus: a fortune turned awry that opened the floodgate to compound-complex problems that stalk Nigerians even in their sleep.”
Obasanjo, who I suspect usually momentarily forgets about himself when writing about the presumed failings of others, became something of a teacher of morals in the letter, which he described as an appeal to Nigerians, especially the youth. Therein he easily painted a picture of Nigeria the country was certainly not under him as president. He also attempted to give the impression that he left power of his own volition, forgetting that the National Assembly had to rescue Nigeria from his longed for life presidency through an ingenious Third Term project, for which reason he coyly convoked a National Political Reform Conference, NPRC i00n 2005 but which was angrily voted down by a diligent National Assembly.
It is apposite to state at the very beginning that Obasanjo has all the rights, human as well as legal, to endorse any presidential candidate of his choosing, but it is equally important that the Nigerian youths, to whom he specifically directed his appeal, should be adequately informed that this is a man of incomparable hubris; a very brilliant man who
can easily sell a poke for a pig, and who, having cancelled the teaching of History in Nigerian schools, has , a priori, denied the same youths, the knowledge of the past which they sorely need in determining the truth, or falsity of his preachment.
A past master in decoy, he had cleverly harangued the youths as follows:”My dear
young men and women, you must come together and bring about a truly meaningful change in your lives. If you fail, you have no one else to blame. Your present and future are in your hands to make or to mar. The future of Nigeria is in the same manner in your hands and literally so. If for any reason
you fail to redeem yourself and your country, you will have lost the opportunity for good and you will have no one to blame but yourselves and posterity will not forgive you.