Nigeria: A battle game of the Ex-Generals
By Hakeem Babalola
By Hakeem Babalola
Shortly before his death, Wada Nas predicted it: That the military will rule Nigeria for the next 60 years. Wada Nas died on January 3, 2005. He was a social critic, education minister, and then minister of special duties under General Abacha, who ruled Nigeria with maximum penalty. Note the meticulous precision of Mr. Wada Nas' assertion. If the late critic/politician is correct, then the military has some 50 years more to rule or misrule Nigeria, whichever preferred.
In any game, you must master the rules to win. In some cases you must be aggressive, or even brutal in your thinking - all in anticipation to defeat the opponent. You don't go into a boxing ring and then pretending to be a gentle boxer. The rule of the game simply does not recognize gentility - of a tiger.
This probably explains the roforofo fight gradually rising in the name of Nigerian presidential elections already shifted to March 28 from its earlier schedule on February 14. They have to fight dirty, and they must fight even dirtier. Name calling, death calling, bad mouthing, slandering, libeling and what have you. It is the rule of the game in my environment. It is called a do or die affair; it is called kill them before they kill you.
Apparently Nigerians do not understand the weight of Wada Nas prediction and may never. And like every other thing no one bothers to probe further; not even the press. And so events after events, politics after politics, history after history; and today history has repeated itself, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. And now that a big voice has echoed what Wada Nas foretold ten years ago, it dawns on me there is a thin line between prophecy and fulfillment. Mrs Patience Jonathan, the wife of the current Nigerian president is being quoted thus: PDP will rule Nigeria for (the) next 60 years. Well, there must be something so special about this number called 60.
There may be ten years difference in both predictions, but the substance remains the same. Like Wada Nas, nobody is treating Mrs Jonathan's insolent statement seriously. Nigerians are joking about it just like they did when Nas came up with the 60-year-rule platform. Whether the military or civilian-military, one thing to note about both predictions is the fact that it carries authority and it is predicted by insiders. But Nigerians joke too much about important things. Tarry a little and you would see that the military has been playing games; ruling even in the so-called democratic dispensation.
And they are using you. You're like a pawn brother. I once talked about Roforofo fight in which I told you to let these people fight each other. But you have been a bad mediator; a sacrificial lamp. Each time they want to "kill" each other, you go in between and sacrifice your own blood. But they must get rid of each other before your own life becomes meaningful. Oh, you still don't get it!
I have told you several times that certain people must go. Blood must flow. Not your own blood, brother. The blood of the wicked, who have unleashed sorrow in the land. They are behind every bad thing happening in your environment, because it is in their favor to do so. Stop being naive brother. Although they are touchable, you shield them with your own blood; hence they are still alive. You allow them to use your own blood to live. That is what you do each time you take side.
Love thy neighbor as yourself, that's what the book says. But it seems you love thy neighbor much more than yourself. It is not practical; it is not tenable. It is impossible to make somebody else happy without being happy yourself. But that's exactly what you have been doing. You have all along being unrealistic fellow regarding Nigerian elections.
Now let me interpret what Wada Nas' prediction portends in the context of Nigeria today. It simply means Nigerians would continue to take bull-shit from those jerks for 60 years - Period. It is not an insult to say categorically that Nigeria has been having stupid fatuous persons at the elm of its affairs. And the social critics; pseudo intellectuals have been helping them - directly or indirectly.
Nigerians know these people very well. Prominent among them are Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo and Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. OBJ and IBB for short. Both of them ex-soldiers who once misruled Nigeria, still much around and still nursing the ambition to rule. Can these two ex-Generals be playing games with the country they profess to love? Every indication seemingly points to that direction.
Perhaps Wada Nas had these people in mind when he unleashed his prediction. Obasanjo and Babangida may not be around in 50 years' time, but their spirit may. Pharaoh, Goliath, Herod and Jezebel spirits still live on. OBJ and IBB's spirits may come in form of Musa Yar'Dua or Jonathan Goodluck or David Mark and so on. And they will continue to wangle for the next 50 years unless a spiritual exercise is carried out in a wanton manner.
What Nigerians are witnessing now is the game battle of two mean spirited souls who must rule through the back door. They are afraid because the guilty are always afraid. Two of them are the same product of different packages, and they would do anything to stay alive; to be king's maker; to rule.
Does anyone remember IBB parting words when he was forced to relinquish office? On 27 August 1993, Babangida, having annulled the elections held on June 12 that year, told the nation in an arrogant, overly self-assured and conceited manner. "I am stepping aside". That is after 8 years of "maradoniac" misrule. That's a wicked statement from a wicked spirit; a rule at all cost bravado.
It was Babangida who brought another unrepentant equally intimidating and stiff pompous Obasanjo from the prison to misrule after being jailed by another lunatic General. Of course Babangida was acting the script. They are soldiers who know the secret code of the game. In short, IBB expected OBJ to hand over power back to him. But instead the latter handed over to an overtly sick Yar'Dua. It is a betrayal IBB never forgets. Since then it has been a secret game battle between these two ex-soldiers. A sort of hanky-panky.
Apparently Obasanjo does not trust Babangida. He once described his junior: "If IBB tells you good morning please run out to check if really it is morning". That's a humorous way of calling somebody a liar and a dishonest fellow. Mark my word, IBB never forgets that. In fact both of them do not forgive and forget. It's part of the rules of their game.
So it is an open secret that both men still want to rule or misrule Nigeria. And they are fighting it hard. Step aside and 3rd term bid are the same side of a perpetuation coin. Who will lose more? Because historically none of them shall win. Time will tell. While Babangida is cool and calculated, Obasanjo is somehow rude and exuberant. I mean, see the way he has been fighting the office he once occupied. And that seems to be his undoing. Obasanjo is fighting Jonathan dirty and thereby pushes the latter to seek protection from Babangida.
Jonathan definitely needs one of them for confidence build up; for him to reach his own destination. Only a fool in Jonathan's position would underrate these two ex-soldiers. Mind you, they still have their boys in key positions. You don't expect Obasanjo for example, to like such arrangement whereby Babangida pals like Aliyu Gusau and Sambo Dasuki is appointed Defense Minister and National Security Adviser respectively. This is too much a bitter pill to swallow for Obasanjo. Hence he must fight Jonathan under the pretense of patriotism - "I love Nigeria" trick.
Meanwhile one thing distinguishes them, and this to IBB credit. The Minna super rich prince knows when and how to talk, while the Ota super rich farmer talks pompously and anyhow with the illusion of being the god of Modern Nigeria. Obasanjo desperately wants history to be kind to him, but he is not kind to history. The more he does so, the more he goes overboard; the more he dances naked. Na wa o.
There's just no way Babangida would allow Buhari to rule because of retaliation. Remember it was Babangida who overthrew Buhari. Obasanjo too does not really want Buhari to rule again, but because he is afraid it might happen, he Obasanjo has no choice but to back Buhari - for now. It is part of the rules of the game. If Buhari wins, courtesy demands he should not punish Obasanjo.
Obasanjo, alias Baba ke seems to me a wounded lion. And when Jonathan declared that "Babangida is my father", Obasanjo gba ina je (Obasanjo flare up). However you look at it, Babangida loves interim government and he has been chewing it ever since. So there could be the plan for this. Never rule anything out with IBB, especially when Jonathan is now his son. It is getting more interesting because Obasanjo is now behind Buhari. So whichever way, Wada Nas prediction continues.
Obasanjo's gamble is simple. If Jonathan eventually wins, then Obasanjo can easily mend with bloody civilian Jonathan and retains his godfather's status. Silly it may be, Obasanjo does not rule out being called once again to lead the Interim Government. Interim Government? Yes, oh the man fought so much for a third term bid and a stubborn fellow for that matter! So the fight for Interim Government can be intense and brutal, but there's no way this can manifest without the support of Bola Tinubu, APC national chairman and heavy financial backer. He might be offered a VP slot to appease him. After all, Babangida once declared that every Nigerian has a price.
Lastly, I submit here that someone must be very careful otherwise a Abiola-Abacha scenario might repeat itself. Therefore let not Jonathan drink tea for now. If Buhari likes, let him eat apple, or sleep with any woman other than his wife. They are both Generals. And they are both coup-plotters who are only lucky to be alive. Let them continue fight each other secretly for you to live.