President Olusegun Obasanjo has returned to his farm in Ota, Ogun State, after the inauguration of Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, as his successor.

The curtain was drawn on Obasanjo’s eight-year almost uneventful occupation of the office of president.

For sure, Nigerians will not miss him; but whether the chickens in the farm will be happy about their master’s final return home to roost is a different matter entirely. That President Obasanjo has left Nigerians worse than he met them in 1999 is rather sad. It is not that the Obasanjo years were completely hopeless, but he performed far below expectations, especially considering the quantum of money at his disposal.

•Culled from The NATION.

Yet, President Obasanjo had everything going for him at the beginning. I remember vividly how millions of Nigerians watched his historic inauguration at the Eagle Square in Abuja on television that fateful May 29, 1999. Even as a Yoruba man who did not support his candidacy then, I was still touched by the aura of the moment because it was infectious. There was tremendous goodwill, with so much hope and expectations from the government. This was not unexpected, considering where we were coming from.

Sixteen consecutive years under the jackboot of military dictators, many of whom were corrupt and inept could not have elicited anything less. Nigerians had despondency hung on their necks like a necklace of stone. They wore mournful looks like someone who is bemoaning the loss of his mother. We were in dire need of a comforter; someone who would wipe off our tears and in whose arms we could find comfort.

President Obasanjo seemed to understand their plight. His speech after he got the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to run for the party, as well as his inauguration speech, captured the mood of the nation. “I understand the clear message of the Nigerian people. In giving me the mandate, they have asked me to lead this country by example. They want me to lead them aright. They want me to restore the dignity of our country. They want me to revitalise our political institution and reinvigorate the economy. They want me to alleviate their poverty and to reduce corruption. They want me to ensure the security of their lives and property. They want justice and equity in a country they can truly call their own”. These were excerpts from President Obasanjo’s acceptance speech shortly after he was declared president in 1999.

Great words on marble! But, eight years after, how many of these promises did the president succeed in fulfilling? Space will not permit any sector-by-sector analysis here. Suffice it to say however, that President Obasanjo is leaving the stage a bundle of disappointment. He did not do quite well in the first term. So, in line with the recommendation of the father of one of our governors, we gave him a second chance in 2003. His scorecard this time, unfortunately, is even far worse than that of 2003. Indeed, it would have been more honourable for the president to have quit the stage then. When there was still some ovation left. At least, in 2003, even if he had not touched our lives much, he would have repeated the feat he performed in 1979 when he voluntarily relinquished power, in spite of the sit-tight syndrome that was then the vogue among many African leaders.

But for our eternal vigilance, the president even wanted a third shot that would have enabled him to stay beyond May 29. But, where on earth is that done? A student that fails a class twice is shown the way out. That was what we did last year when we said a resounding ‘no’ to third term. Now, the same President Obasanjo wants us to believe that he was never interested in tenure elongation. This shows how unrepentant he is, even in these dying moments of his administration.

Certain problems effectively constituted impediments on the president’s way to success. Chief of these was that he virtually wasted his first four years in office. He himself admitted this much on an Ogun State Television (OGTV) programme shortly after his re-election in 2003. He said then that he had spent the first term learning the ropes. I almost wept for this country when he said this and what came to my mind were the trillions that had gone into the experimentation by way of annual budgets.

Then, he spent the last four years pursuing third term. When that failed, he began to run after the real and imaginary enemies that he believed worked against this inordinate ambition. Governance took the back stage. The result could not have been better than what the president is now leaving behind, with the critical sectors of the country lying prostrate, in most cases despite the committal of huge sums of money to make them work. As they say, ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

If I am harsh on the outgoing president, people should understand my frustrations. Firstly, failed governments have socio-economic ramifications on the people since we all have limited time to live. Secondly, I am a Yoruba man and I cannot be happy that what President Obasanjo has achieved is the best that the best of Yoruba brains can offer. Yet, he was not the choice of the Yoruba; he was foisted on this illustrious race by the rest of Nigeria. Proof? Twice of the three times that elections had been held in the country since 1999, he lost right in his own ward.

Even though I do not have any apology to offer for criticising the president, it has not always been so. Indeed, I have had cause to praise him in the past despite the misgivings I have about his government. In an article in my column in ThisDayof September 14, 1999 titled “Obasanjo: The rejected stone”, I had said of his administration, inter alia: ” If truly morning shows the day, one may safely predict that by the time Obasanjo clocks one year in government, there would be reasons for Nigerians to rejoice…. That is, assuming he does not allow himself to be distracted by enemies who pose as friends, whether within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or from outside”. Nothing could be further off the mark!

As Nigerians rejoice over President Obasanjo’s impending exit from the political scene, the animal kingdom in Ota Farm must brace up for a hard time since the president is finally returning to their midst. If human beings dread and resent their president this much, the fate of the animals in the farm could better be imagined. These hapless creatures are in trouble. Sooner than later, the birds may start committing suicide by submitting cheaply to bird flu! Sometimes, it pays to be dead than be alive!

Nigerians’ gain with President Obasanjo’s exit from the political scene might be the chickens’ loss! But the prevalent dull atmosphere in the country is like a befitting epithet for a president who went perpetually in search of disgrace and never looked back until he was almost thoroughly disgraced.


It is a very big surprise that the Osun State Governor, Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola continues to deceive Osogbo indigenes and the good people of Osun State. Before coming to power in 2003, the governor promised the people of Osun State many things including Osun State University to be located in Osogbo, the state capital.

After three years, the same governor said Osogbo indigenes should provide N26 million. Later, the same governor of Osun State said the

university was not going to be created again and if Osogbo people did not vote for him, they could vote for another person they like.

Later, he begged that people provoked him to say so. After the incident of Oroki Day, when their (PDP) plan failed, a secret meeting was held, and at the meeting, Tajudeen Oladipo, the Commissioner for Finance and four other commissioners and a leader of PDP in Osogbo Local Government told the governor that he should prepare for N2 million.  That they are going to use the money to deceive people of Osogbo and the entire people of Osun State in general that they are going to create the university to get their votes.

Oyinlola replied them at the meeting that there was no money but Taju Oladipo said the amount was not too much to get the vote of Osogbo people.  Oladipo said after the election, they would stop the project and tell Osogbo people that the state capital cannot have two universities. Because NASFAT has located its university at Osogbo. The governor approved the plan.

The question now is as follows: have they (the Oyinlola Government) collected the two billion naira from Osogbo people? Where did he get the N2 billion? Can this man continue to deceive us? The election is approaching now, it remains only 90 days, can PDP and Oyinlola finished the university before the elections?

The Aregbesola Victory Group will not like the Osogbo indigene and the whole Osun State people to deceive themselves. This Oyinlola government can not do anything better again. The PDP government knows that they have failed.

On January 6, 2007 at an Open and Close Forum, Oyinlola said Aregbesola wanted to come from Lagos to rule Osun State. Has he forgotten that he also came from Lagos to rule us? The Lagos people know and call him GOVERNOR NO BITUMEN. He used the Lagos government money to build 13 petrol-stations for himself. All the Petrol Stations was located at ALIMOSHO and AGEGE Local Government areas.

PDP is a good for nothing party.

If you can remember, Oyinlola is a former soldier, and soldiers are not born to rule. They are born to destroy, sorry some of them are good about 20 per cent. The Governor said at the same last Open Forum that he knew that he had made a mistake by disgracing some of their members out of the party, people like Pa Shuaib Oyedokun, former leader of AC and others and he has gone to beg them.

These people are the founders of PDP and they (Obasanjo and Oyinlola) have hijacked the party from them. We, the Aregbesola Victory Group appeal to the good people of Osun State to come together and SWEEP the PDP out of Abere and Government House in this coming election.

ADEMOLA is  AVG State chairman, Osogbo.


The gimmicks being used by political parties to achieve their selfish goals may continue to transcend the knowledge of the ordinary citizen as long as ethnic and religious sentiments and number-game remain inevitable determinants of electoral success or failure in Nigeria.

One of such gimmicks was the choice of the Katisna State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, as the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2007 presidential election. His allegedly premeditated election at the party’s primary in Abuja on December 16 beat the imagination of the common citizens who did not expect the presidency to rotate back to the North so soon without any of the South eastern zones having its own turn.

Before the party’s presidential primary, there was a bitter controversy over an alleged pact on the zoning of the presidency between the North and South. Protagonists of the North-South zoning system claimed that the presidency should be the turn of the North after the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007. The controversy came at the wake of the agitations by political leaders in the South-East and South-South zones of the country for their own turn of the presidency after the expiration of the South-West’s turn in 2007.

The agitators attracted supports from all Nigerians that believed in political equity, natural justice and fair play. Governors Peter Odili of Rivers State, Donald Duke of Cross River State and Goodluck Jonathan of Beyelsa State were among the favourites. Political and economic marginalisation was, according to political observers, the bane of national unity and political harmony in Nigeria. They therefore suggested the rotation of the number one political office in the country among the three former regions in order to douse political tension in the country.

The fact also remains that three distinct and independent regions with different tribal and cultural heritage were amalgamated in 1914 to become a nation called Nigeria, with the understanding that they had common interests and equal opportunities in the federal set up. But the political maladies of the First Republic, the incursion of the military into national polity and the 30-month fratricidal civil war betrayed the lofty objectives of the amalgamation!

Specifically, the political face-off between the Yoruba’s of the West and the Hausa/Fulani of the North led to political annihilations in the Western region in 1965. The first military coup of 1966 led to counter-coups that compelled a prolonged civil war. These events caused distrust and suspicion among the three integral parts of Nigeria and jeopardized national unity and political harmony in the country!

The northern politicians were scared by the strong political mechanism of the Yoruba in the West and the secession bid of the Igbo in the East and felt that any moment the power slipped to West or East, the North would be politically doomed. Hence some coup plotters in the Nigerian Army monopolised powers in trust for the Northern politicians for more than 30 years at the expense of democracy. The twelve-two-thirds mathematical joker was allegedly adopted in 1979 to decide the winner of the presidential election in favour of Alhaji Shehu Shagari while annulment of the June 12, 1993. presidential election was also adopted to deny Basorun M.K.O Abiola of the presidency!

In the opinion of some Nigerians, Obasanjo was picked up from Gen. Sani Abacha’s dungeon by the PDP-controlled by the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy to contest the 1999 presidential election in order to douse the political tension caused by the June 12 annulment and Abiola’s controversial death in Abacha’s dungeon. He was allegedly expected to execute the Northern agenda that included the shifting of power back to the North immediately after his tenure.

Therefore, it is not unlikely that the Caliphate still dictates the political tunes in the country; or else the PDP would not have zoned the presidency back to the North so soon without the East having their own turn immediately after the West. The allegedly premeditated outcome of the party’s presidential primary apparently vindicated the northern politicians over their claim on the North-South zoning conditionality that gave the South-West a chance to taste the presidency in 1999, just as the sudden assassination of Gen. Murtala Mohammed allegedly enabled Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo to taste power in 1975.

In defence of the party’s action, some political observers claimed that the choice of Yar’adua was aimed at sustaining the supports of the northerners for the 2007 presidential election that it could not afford to loose. More so that the recent North-South zoning controversy and the current Obasanjo-Atiku face-off allegedly generated disaffection within the party especially in the North.

It was also claimed that the decision of as many as possible northerners to contest the presidential election on the party’s platform was a ploy to compel the return of the presidency to the North in 2007. Aspirants either withdraw from the race or stepped aside when they saw the handwriting on the wall that a fellow northerner had been favoured by the party’s hierarchy. Or else they would have deflected to another political party to enhance their presidential ambition or throw their supports behind another political party that picked a northerner as its presidential candidate. And the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) or Action Congress (AC) that chose Gen. Muhammad Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as their flagbearers respectively may have been favoured.

Nevertheless, the South-East and South-South zones have consolation in the choice of Governor Goodluck Jonathan as the presidential running mate. More so that half bread is better than nothing. But the fact remains that much as the vice-president ticket was given to the zones in order to restore normalcy to the Delta Region, the sincerity of the Igbo, Ibibio and Ijaw on national unity and federalism remained indicted by the atrocities of the militant youth that continued to rampage oil installations in the Delta Region.

In order to reassure the rest of the country that they are integral pasts of Nigeria that they are actually entitled to the presidency by rotation, they should be advised to jettison their secessionist tendency and give peace and industrial harmony a chance in the Delta Region. Or else, they will continue to play the second or third fiddle at the mercy of the Caliphate.

Omisore wrote in from Ile-Ife.