As former president Olusegun Obasanjo turns 79 tomorrow, President Muhammadu Buhari sent him a congratulatory message saying: “The President warmly commends Chief Obasanjo’s vision and commitment to the growth of Nigeria and Africa, which translated into a historical growth rate of 6 percent for the Nigerian economy after a long period of slow growth, and also created a rippling effect that buoyed other African economies”.
Obasanjo, as leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ruled Nigeria from for eight years from 1999 to 2007.
While running for president last year, Buhari said: “16 years of PDP has been a very nasty experience.” He also claimed that the PDP “wasted the last 16 years on altar of corruption”.
For eight out of those 16 years, Obasanjo was the High Priest on the “altar of corruption”. Now, he is one of Buhari’s closest advisers and we are being led to believe that half of those 16 years were not so “nasty” after all.
Very little of what Buhari says makes much sense. This was why former governor of Kano State Ibrahim Shekarau wondered why Buhari was “romancing” with the same politicians he claimed destroyed Nigeria in the last 16 years: “Buhari has said that he has come to right the wrongs of 16-year mess by the PDP. So, I said, ‘Mr. President you are welcome, but reminded that 10 of those 16 years belong to ex-President Obasanjo.
“He had his eight years and by indirect remote control, two years of late President Umaru Yar’Adua was Obasanjo’s. And Obasanjo was the one who produced Yar’Adua and Jonathan. Until three years ago when they fell out (Obasanjo and Jonathan), Obasanjo was in charge.
“Obasanjo today belongs to those who are chief advisers to President Muhammadu Buhari. Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, was one of the major hit men of Obasanjo, my former governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was one of the boys of Obasanjo as well as former Governors Bukola Saraki, Goje and all the rest of them.
“They were part of those 16 years which President Buhari was saying that PDP messed up Nigeria, and today because they are APC [All Progressives Congress], they are saints. They are now surrounding the President as his chief advisers. The Amaechis are all part of the PDP.
“So what sense does it make that I said you are thief for 16 years, I have come to correct the wrongs that you did and now I am calling you the chief adviser in order to right the wrongs that you committed.
“Does it make sense? We are waiting to see how they will come out of this.”
Buhari, is Obasanjo a saint or a high priest in the altar of corruption?