BY AZIBOLA OMEKWE
Nigerians behave as if they own God. This may have been heightened by the abundant natural resources in our country. The natural resources in Nigeria close gap on the natural resources of the entire world. We now believe God is a Nigerian. Some Nigerians also use the name of God glibly to perpetuate their evil doings. It is in fact a business for them. That is why the generality of Nigerians reduce arguments to God as if to mock or tempt Him. A Nigerian can be heavily intoxicated with alcohol as a habit and yet drive out; urging God to take care of his irresponsibility. He will pay school fees, build personal and worship places with looted money; yet pray that God should eradicate corruption.
In the impending 2019 election cycle, Nigerians are going to be invoking the name of God to win election at all cost. Presently, God’s name is pervading the atmosphere just as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is wont to do. We commend this general for holding brief for God as to when God would forgive, especially on his interaction with Atiku Abubakar.
Will God forgive Obasanjo if he does not support Atiku for a good cause that will help Nigeria? By now Obasanjo is supposed to tell the whole world why he has consistently refused to support Atiku. He keeps it to himself and uses it to blackmail the latter. As a pastor and leader, will God forgive him for this abiding malignity?
In the journey to 2019, a lot of people who do not like President Muhammadu Buhari would eventually support him because he is deft at using Nigeria’s security system to win elections. That would include a directive to INEC to declare him as the president. The intimidated ones would have to support Buhari to be in the clear from EFCC. Does Obasanjo want to use this God and forgiveness thing to retrace his footsteps in the likelihood Buhari bends the machinery to win the 2019 elections? We already know what happened in Ekiti State. We should not expect anything less in Osun State. On that note, it is not too late for Obasanjo to retrace his steps and support Buhari. If he does, that would be running away from the battle and a display of cowardice. Opinions are rife that Obasanjo runs away when it matters most. Some of us were not born then and have refused to believe it, rather attributing stellar characteristics to him. This Atiku and God forgiveness matter seems to be a paved expressway for him to reconnect with Buhari that he and Nigerians had rejected ab initio. In fact, if out of this business he goes back to Buhari, then we have no choice to believe that he has always been a coward and what has been claimed about him in the Army is true.
Some political leaders as earlier stated are surreptitiously using any means to tell Buhari they are with him. By the action of our security forces, it is apparent they are going to work for Buhari. And so people are trooping to him on that pedestal. One sure way of supporting Buhari is that they would claim God directed them to support him. As we now hear them, the fear of God is going to affect their support for Atiku. God always! Might we clarify, having God in our national life is an advantage. We must not scorn true worship in the face of rot in the country. But by now we should be wary of political leaders whom we know ripped us off mentioning God. We could start stoning them when they call us to worship. That we know now is an issue for address. This is even more to wit in the impending 2019.
When Obasanjo was standing for president of the country, Atiku supported him more than anybody in the country. Now that Nigerians are saying it is the turn of Atiku, the former has suddenly developed mastitis. One wonders about this forgiveness Obasanjo is dangling to us. No political party has conducted its presidential primaries yet. PDP, the leading opposition party has many gunning for its ticket. Atiku would stand for primaries just like anybody and Obasanjo is using God’s name to choirmaster us away from Atiku. Is that a concession that he feared Atiku would emerge victorious? If not, then why is he always startled at the mention of Atiku’s name? He must know Atiku earned such acceptability. Granted Obasanjo might be a great man in Nigeria, but how does his interaction with God be a matter of consideration for our political choice?
Atiku has endeared himself to Nigerians. He has promised the most delicate thing in Nigeria now — true federalism. Of course, there are things Atiku cannot rescue like Obasanjo antecedents on Nigeria’s past presidents. He supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari to be president. He later denounced him. Though he was not part of the coup that brought Babangida and Abacha, was he? He later denounced them. He brought Yar’Adua, helped Goodluck Jonathan and also Buhari. He later parted ways with all of them. Has God forgiven him for aiding them come to power since he regretted supporting them? It is apparent even the presidents yet unborn would get opposition from Obasanjo. Pray, how does Atiku, a mere mortal, remedy Obasanjo’s (un)forgiveness? As a country we are in perpetuity encumbered with this Obasanjo courting God’s forgiveness. Atiku and Nigeria cannot solve this problem. We need to ignore it. The most we can do is to beg God to forgive Baba for all his absurdities. He deserves our sympathy because he has been around us for a long time and now an old man.
Atiku is impassioned to listen to the call of Nigeria to come forward and save this country. It is unmistakable what he intends to come and do. He has thrown his hat into the ring to solve a formational and structural matter that would put Nigeria on auto progression, yet someone is seen working against it. That is where the prayers for forgiveness come in. Nigeria is hitting the nadir; he cannot but help offer himself for this distress call by Nigerians for a true federal system of government. His popularity is soaring already, devoid of Obasanjo’s support.
My contriman apologies to Achebe, this God Obasanjo has stirred in us, how much of it do we see in Obasanjo? Nelson Mandela was not known to be religious, sort of a free thinker or atheist. On the other hand, Obasanjo we know as a sort of a pastor. Who amongst the two, commands respect in terms of godliness? By now we should be wary of mentioning God in our political life. We have heard that noise too much. We can hardly connect such leaders to good governance. They would tell us about God to weaken our guards. Nigeria has suffered this façade since independence. Obasanjo courting God’s forgiveness against Atiku fits into this perfectly.
Obasanjo has a stake in a registered political party that was formed to oust Buhari. Again the party, ADC, is meant to stop PDP which he first ate of its fruit. We believe ADC is good enough for him to elect the president of his choice. That is a sure way to work against Atiku instead of resorting to this cheap blackmail in the name of God. Obasanjo can hardly tell us about God. We challenge his ADC to market to Nigeria a more convincing message than Atiku’s and forget whether PDP would give Atiku presidential ticket or not. Obasanjo has always used “national interest’’ as the reason for not supporting Atiku and has vehemently held on to that vague reason without specificity. It clearly shows that it is unfounded personal interest and nothing more. Until he clearly tells Nigerians the reason he has that unfounded loathe for Atiku and seek for forgiveness from God then he truly has to slug it out with his conscience.
At any rate, it would be ironical for PDP to deny Atiku its ticket because he alone has what it takes to defeat Buhari. Obasanjo wants to stop that by clutching to any straw, going media-wise and reminding us of going against the will of God. How pitiable!
Obasanjo thinks because of his penchant for casting aspersion against Atiku, that would make the latter take his pound of flesh if he becomes the president of Nigeria. Atiku is a different breed. That is the reason most Nigerians and indeed politicians love him. He has severally and selflessly used his resources and time to support politicians across Nigeria to win elective positions. He never comes back to ask for payments – cash or kind. His presidency would concentrate on making Nigeria work. He would establish structures so that there would be latitude for looking inwards. There would be no issue of putting tax payers money on an individual’s hand with our only collateral to such money of being diverted is that the person is a Christian or Muslim. At the end of his tenure Nigeria would be heavily localized in terms of revenue generation. Killer herdsmen would be a thing of the past because multi-nationals would invest in cows instead of allowing them roam around in the bush and in the streets. There would be no time for vendetta.
At any rate if anyone says, in blind hatred, that he cannot support Atiku in this sterling project to revamp Nigeria then God truly has to forgive that person for he does not know what he is doing.
Omekwe, a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, wrote from Abuja.