OBJ And His “Satanic” Letters By Alaba Abdulrazak 

In the political history of Nigeria, no leader—dead or alive—has received the favor of God like Olusegun Obasanjo. Even with his divisive nature and penchant for mischief, Almighty God has always been good to him.

What ordinarily would have consumed many leaders, God has always had a way of making OBJ triumph. Despite his shortcomings, luck has always smiled on him.

In fairness to him, he has never been desperate for political power or leadership until his second coming as a democratically elected president.

Even when Murtala Muhammed was killed in a failed coup on February 13, 1976, Obasanjo, who was then the Chief of Staff at Supreme Headquarters, was reluctant to take over as the most senior military officer. It was General Theophilus Danjuma who prevailed on him to take over the government as Military Head of State.

To his credit was the 1979 election, after which he handed over control of Nigeria to the newly elected civilian president, Shehu Shagari.

After that, he retired to Ota, Ogun State, where he became a farmer, published four books, and took part in international initiatives to end various African conflicts.

In 1993, when Sani Abacha seized power in a military coup, he openly criticized Abacha’s administration, which led to his arrest in 1995. He was convicted of being part of a planned coup, despite protesting his innocence, and imprisoned.

While many, including the winner of the June 12, 1993, election, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola perished under Abacha’s military junta, God still kept Baba Iyabo alive.

After he was released following Abacha’s death in 1998, he was again lured into politics by a powerful cabal, and he emerged as civilian president in 1999.

Though many believed that his emergence as President in 1999 was a compensation to Yoruba people for the death of Abiola, OBJ never admitted to that fact.

Rather, he argued that Abiola was not the messiah Nigerians wanted. Baba Iyabo never admitted or even hinted that he was the major beneficiary of Abiola’s political struggle.

And let’s fast-forward to his new letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, telling him to order the cancellation of presidential polls and even suggested a new date for fresh elections.

Like Salman Rushdie, the author of controversial ” The Satanic Verses,” Obasanjo has become a writer of many “Satanic Letters.” Letters capable of setting the country on fire.

While Baba Iyabo is calling for the cancellation of some polls based on unsubstantiated claims of rigging, he has forgotten that he also never held a free and fair election during his 8 years of two terms as democratically elected president.

As a former President of Nigeria and an elder statesman, OBJ should endeavor to let go of personal vendetta and be a unifying factor rather than a destabilizing factor to a country in search of peace, unity and development.

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