Failed leaders: The Gowon, Obasanjo, Babangida notoriety
by Chin Ce
IT is inconceivable the indignity Nigerian people are made to suffer daily by having to listen to the utterances of past tyrants and failed leaders like Gowon, Obasanjo, and Babangida.
These notorious elements of African failed leaderships never tire of every gale of chance to proclaim, in their pious fraud, how their fascist ideas of unity and (mis)governance was good for their country. Yet if these ombudsmen hadn’t squandered, in their own times, the opportunities for lasting peace, and eliminated progressive voices that sought to hold them to different account, Nigeria and, indeed, Africa would not have become the mess it is today.
By his recent statement, two-time head of state, General Obasanjo, has proffered his usual double-talk that he has ‘no apology, but explanation’, for their past deeds, which included prosecuting a needless civil war wherein they massacred two million Biafran innocents.
Civilised society should rather have these specimens of failed humanity spend the rest of their lives in prison, exile, or silent seclusion. And why not? A member of this cabal of failures, Shehu Shagari, is wryly remembered by many for the dignity of his quietude, if only in tacit acknowledgement of his having messed up four to five years of opportunity for democratic greatness under his generation of co-travellers.
But not so for Obasanjo.
Olusegun Obasanjo 1937 –
A man of rooted clumsiness, mind and mien, analysed by his kinsman Wole Soyinka, as suffering from incurable inferiority complex, every accidental escapade of this creature, in uniform and agbada, has seen unmitigated disaster for the Nigerian nation since the late nineteen sixties of Nigeria’s war with itself.
Obasanjo will be remembered for his three years as military head of state after the assassination of his commander-in-chief Murtala Mohammed in the Dimka-led coup. In those brief years, his lame-duck foreign policy witnessed reversal of the declarative actions of the Murtala initiative that saw the final nationalisation of British Petroleum in the fight for a free and independent Angola and all of Southern Africa. In Obasanjo’s uneventful, unremarkable, feudal-guided tenure, positive action was replaced with loud mouthed sterility.
Recall the ludicrous declaration in 1979 that Nigeria will become one of the ten leading nations of the world by the end of the (twentieth) century. His OFN programme, Operation Feed the Nation, which soon became kindergarten sing-song among civil servants and school children, left only the memento of his commandeering adventure at Otta farms – a bogus acquisition that could not even feed the general himself, until regrettable intervention by meddlesome political interlopers brought his rather undistinguished portraiture back to state house in 1999 as ‘civilian’ president.
The quote mark on civilian comes from experience of Nigerians that there can be nothing civilian in any soldier whose avowed career and temperament have been inebriated in the mind-control reptilian mechanism of the armed forces, the zombie mindset which they mistook for, and kept calling, patriotism(1).
That end of twentieth century which Obasanjo had predicted for Nigeria’s rise to world status was to culminate under his presidency in harrowing eight years of national corruption, abuse of power and sale of government assets in the name of privatisation and monetisation policy.
Allied with an insane bid to alter the constitution to allow him a third tenure, Obasanjo’s twice-failed despotism offered nothing to actualise the potential of a nation, or improve the lot of the suffering majority of Nigerian people.
Lacking in true compassion, a symptom of being stoked in occult demonism, Aso Rock under the author of literary drives, namely, My Command and This Animal Called Man, slipped in positive international rating by Transparency International and descended in odium as one of the most corrupt governments of the world. His Financial Crimes Commision was first to morph into a witch-hunt machinery against political opponents, while a satanic band of his preferred sycophants and toadying hangers-on in PDP fed fat on the cabalism and mediocrity of his civilian dictatorship.
After sponsoring corruption at senate, and bribing assemblymen to have his less-than-nationalist way with the constitution, Obasanjo’s second leadership of Nigeria ended ignominiously, but not until he had succeeded in turning himself and his scandalous cult followers into millionaires from state capture and fraudulent privatisation exercises.
It is the forgiving spirit of Nigerian masses that still allows our horde of aged despots to strut round the country in the manner of Orwellian Napoleon, attending FEC meetings, and making a hogwash of pronouncements which only serve to massage their egos and further cast question marks on their real objective for national integration beyond primordial self interest.
Ibrahim Babangida 1941 –
Perhaps the more vexatious of the hypocrisy of Nigeria’s failures is Ibrahim Babangida whose seeming reticence nowadays might be due to his self confessed preparation towards meeting his maker. This man’s corrupt ‘You-chop-me-I-chop’ regime, in local Nigerian parlance, like Obasanjo’s, presided over serial liquidation of Nigeria’s intelligent citizens.
The apparent official complicity in the gruesome murder of Dele Giwa signalled the end of bold investigative journalism for Nigerian media. Today’s mainstream traditional and online media are awash with quackery, dumbed down in sensationalist trivia, replete with poverty of vision and lack of studious housemanship, squarely from that horrendous despatch of Dele Giwa by military parcel bomb under Babangida in 1987.
While true patriots like the immortal Gani Fahewinmi who cried wolf and sought justice were being hounded and jailed by his gulag, inflation from the clueless Shagari austerity measures spiralled under Babangida’s structural adjustment programme. Cronies and cohorts of queer psychological orientations ruled the nation by his proxy. Babangida was making millionaires of his debauched minions across the length and breadth of a twice-impoverished country.
A pervert’s gimmick of compromising credible Nigerians became his game. Wole Soyinka, Tai Solarin, Humphrey Nwosu fell unsuspecting victims of one man’s bid to widen the corruptibility and ultimate reductionism of progressive elements into lap dogs and hedonist ego worshippers of the emperor.
Finally and most unforgivably came the reversion of a national trajectory, where people had united in real tolerance, unity, faith, peace and progress. Babangida’s junta annulled the only credible, free and fair elections of 1993 since the history of Nigeria for the simple unacknowledged reason it was won by a powerful, independent-minded Moshood Abiola from Nigeria’s west and not the clueless nonentity, Bashir Tofa, from Nigeria’s north.
Yakubu Gowon 1934 –
Before then, Yakubu Gowon, a pitiful no-brainer from Nigeria’s north, had been nose-led by the cabalists of the feudal estate in the horrid sixties to help sink a whole country in an internecine warfare he should have averted if only he had the steel and honour to keep the Aburi accord.
Occasionally, these days, the inane octogenarian in him finds relevance in pontificating national unity on the pages of newspapers.
It is currently a joke in local circles how both Gowon and Obasanjo had retarded their nation states to pristine bankruptcy, signed off to go get some education they never really had in the beginning, and were back few years later with their PhDs in mental and continental retardation.
Hypocrites of moral reprieve
Till date, these commissioned national hypocrites and agents of national ridicule in the comity of civilised nations have not had the moral imperative, let alone the introspective realisation of old age, to own up to their roles in extinguishing an African hope. Gowon, Obasanjo and Babangida have preferred the rotten old path of farcical dissembling of their historical culpability in the parroting of Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
Such is why Africa is slow to heal
A continent of chronic kleptomaniacs masquerading as leaders and fathers of nations seems the lot of Africa. And so with sheer diabolism a legacy of KLEPTOCRACY was foisted upon the continent, empowering government and legislation by worthless thieves as evidenced all round by Nigeria’s history of thieving senators, assembly men and sitting governors.
Which is why the ghosts of Nigeria’s past looters, especially Obasanjo’s, Babangida’s, Abacha’s, Gowon’s, Abdulsalami’s, these hypocrites of Nigerian unity who cannibalised their nation under the watch of whole generations, must remain so sordid, so contemptible, so morally reprehensible to our collective sensitivities, as to be completely ostracised and finally exorcised, by every means necessary, from our private and public domain.
Where it is inevitable to engage our discourse on these vile groups of humans who incarnated upon our nation space, no self-respecting writer, journalist, lawyer, historian, educationist and academic should fail to remind the readers, listeners, students and successive younger generations the amoral legacies of these reprieved murderers, literally and figuratively, these desecrators of our purer minds and general estate.
Only when the ugly facts of their history are established upon the collective memory might we, the people of Nigeria, breathe a new air of enlightenment. Only then might we rise to the moment of justice, enthroning progressive change with the new order that we have vowed to bring in through a restructured Nigerian federation.
- Fortunately it seems a collective Nigerian resolution that, after the current Buhari misadventure, no retired general of any Nigerian army, navy, air including the eternally corrupt police, force should be allowed the commanding heights of national leadership ever again.