On Thursday, July 15, 2010, my article on this page was entitled "Jonathan And The Obasanjo Template". I commented: "What fresh ideas are the Jonathan group canvassing if his whole structure is composed of the discredited and corrupt remnants of the Obasanjo group; if his methodology is that of Obasanjo, and if his ultimate goal is to follow the Obasanjo template?
It is really unfortunate that President Jonathan will be remembered as one who had a golden opportunity to print his name in gold but did all he could to squander it."
Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, as the saying goes. It is now becoming obvious that Obasanjo is like a co-president and chief campaigner for Dr. Jonathan. In the South-West, it was Obasanjo who organised the zonal meeting that purportedly adopted Jonathan as their candidate. In Plateau, a few days ago, when the president went there on a state visit, Obasanjo had to follow him even though it was not a PDP affair. Obasanjo is a recurring decimal in all the schemes going on for 2011. And, in many respects, the Jonathan presidency is turning out to be an Obasanjo incarnation.
Obasanjo never implemented any full budget for the eight years he was a civilian president. Dr. Jonathan has been acting president since February -- he signed the 2010 budget into law early this year in that capacity. The National Assembly is already querying Finance Minister Aganga for non-implementation of this year's budget. A Jonathan presidency turning into an Obasanjo one?
Obasanjo was known to have given out mega contracts and moneys were released but many of these contracts were never executed. Today, the Federal Executive Council under Jonathan is treading on the same path. The cabinet sits down to award mega contracts, as if they are a glorified tenders board instead of a policy-making body, and no one can convincingly see the jobs executed. A real Obasanjo incarnation!
Obasanjo refused to allow internal democracy in the political parties, which is an important foundation for functional democracy in the polity. Dr. Jonathan is now walking on that road with his insistence on getting his appointees recognised as delegates to give him undue advantage in the primary election. In short, what INEC said they want to change in the Electoral Act is the election date/timetable and nothing else. But he wants to bring other extraneous issues that will reverse the little gains of electoral reform. In any case, if the National Assembly members are being promised automatic tickets, among others, to pass what the president wants, then, where is the democracy? And Dr Tafida, the president's campaign director-general, in Kano last week, has already assured that Jonathan will pay any price and must win at all cost! This is a new Obasanjo in action indeed.
Under Obasanjo's regime, there were many avoidable high-profile deaths of ordinary and extraordinary citizens such as Bola Ige and Harry Marshal. No one was arrested or charged to court for all these losses of precious lives to the nation. From the Boko Haram incidents to the bomb explosions, this administration is yet to prosecute anyone for these deaths. If anything, there is politicisation of national security and securitisation of politics, making nonsense of the primary responsibility of government in the first place - protection of life and property of the people.
As they say, "Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are". Today, the people around the president are Tony Anenih, Ibrahim Mantu, Cairo Ojougboh, Hassan Adamu and their like. Are these not the people who were in the Obasanjo inner circle? The only addition may be EK Clark who is the deputy masquerade in the current dispensation - the real one being the Owu chief who recently got a title for a chief in the Villa from his kingdom. Obasanjo is still there and very much in charge. A vote for Jonathan is a vote for Obasanjo. But regardless of his rigging capacity, Obasanjo cannot give power; otherwise, he would still have been president by now and his false political edifice in the Southwest wouldn't have been crumbling like the ACN victory in Ekiti last week. Only God gives power.
But there is a slight difference due to differences in exposure, experience and expertise in statecraft. When the Odua People's Congress members were killing non-Yoruba in the South-West, Obasanjo never denied that like Jonathan who is now trying to shield the MEND militants from the bomb blast they owned up as being responsible for on October 1, 2010. Obasanjo would have been too smart for that and wouldn't do that. He would have known the implications.
And, throughout Obasanjo's period in power, he did not claim to be the presidential candidate of 46 political parties even before the election guidelines were out or a substantive electoral law was passed. That is sheer madness. Obasanjo was satisfied with being the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Being adopted by virtually all the political parties in existence in Nigeria and having thousands of mushroom newspaper support groups was characterised by one past military dictator in the nation's history.
Again, Obasanjo did not appoint the national security adviser from his state or the chief of staff of his presidential villa from his zone. That would have diminished his status as a national leader who is supposed to have a national platform.
In matters of higher national interests, one can be sure that Obasanjo would never be found wanting, even though he has many shortcomings as a human being. Obasanjo would never have allowed his wife to cause hardship to the people on Friday, which is normally a bad day for traffic in Abuja, just because of a pet project. He would have asked her to do it on a weekend. But he is still the piper dictating the tune of the Jonathan-Obasanjo presidency.
God save Nigeria.