By Ibukun Akinnawo
Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo (R) and the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) vice presidential candidate Goodluck Jonathan (left) speak during a PDP presidential campaign rally in Ibadan, March 8, 2007. (Sunday Aghaeze/Courtesy Reuters)
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, had ample time to meditate and write an 18-page long, considered scandalous, acerbic letter
to current President Goodluck Jonathan recently. Obasanjo stated that he had made the letter public because “none of the four or more letters” he had written elicited any response from the President. He went ahead to touch on several issues affecting the country including foreign investors’ hesitance to invest in the country, Boko Haram, the disaster called the “Niger Delta militants”, Jonathan’s intent to run for second term, the unrest in PDP, sycophants posing as aides to the president, Buruji Kashamu. Obasanjo clearly knew the consequences his letter would bring so well that he said, “Knowing what happens around you most of which you know of and condone or deny, this letter will proke cacophony from hired and unhired attackers but I will maintain my serenity because by this letter, I have done my duty to you as I have always done, to your government, to the party, PDP, and to our country, Nigeria…I have passed the stage of being flattered, intimidated, threatened, frightened, induced or bought… ”
The reaction to the letter by Nigerian youth, the supposed leaders of tomorrow, has been apathy (but that’s an article for another day). The few responses in form of open letters have blamed Obasanjo for making the letter public, carefully ignored the inconvenient truths and have unconsciously been slathered with unintellectual, selfish ambition for attention. I believe the reason Obasanjo made the letter public was not to maliciously condemn (in fact, he gave ten non-malicious reasons for making the letter public) but to desensitize and enlighten Nigerians forcing Jonathan to finally face the fact that “Nigeria is bleeding and the haemorrhage must be stopped”. PDP, Nigeria’s leading party, is divided by selfish ambition, Boko Haram plays a game of tag with the Joint Task Force up North while Jonathan sings “Kumbaya” on national television and Nigeria youths are distracted by Beyonce’s new album and Iyanya’s obscene waist movements. As is the usual trend, Nigerians are promised a timely response by Mr. President that will never come, and come Christmas, everyone will forget there was ever an 18-page long letter packed with inconvenient truths talk less of the long-promised “timely” response by Jonathan the same way we are forgetting Stella Oduah’s ?255 million car scandal and the other shameful acts our leaders are perpetrating.
Silence would be an admission of guilt on the President’s part. Dealing with things “privately”, as one attention seeker wrote, is improbable. If they could be handled that way, they would have been. Now that the issues raised are public, Jonathan may be forced to respond to this fifth letter from Obasanjo.
It is my fear that the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter will simply be swept under the carpet along with everything else that is wrong with this country and, in the same breath, my hope that they will not, my belief that there is no more space under the carpet.