The Oasis Reporters
May 29, 2018
” If you live in a glass house, Don’t throw stones
And if you can’t take blows Don’t throw blows “
Above are the words of the legendary Reggae musician late Peter Tosh in that epic song ” If you live in a glass house “. Peter Tosh left behind these letters of gold that the whole of humanity may be so guided, but are we so guided?
Nigeria is such a huge theatre with more than enough space to accommodate every actor. Not many of the actors may have the opportunity to display what they have in mind yet, there are others who have been called up to the stage more than once. These include the likes of Baba Iyabo and the current President of the Federation.
One major commonality between the 2 most lucky individuals in this country not necessarily in terms of happiness of mind but on account of the fact that twice they had the rare privilege of being Heads of State as well as democratically elected Presidents.
A major difference between the duo is that in one of the characters you see a garrulous, bombastic and dictatorial personage as against the other who is largely taciturn with a moderated temperament. At a time, they were all coupists against supposedly democratic governments and military autocracies.
One was allegedly involved in yet another coup plot and was subsequently incarcerate but as events would have it, he was later dredged up from prison, dressed in the garment of a democrat and went on to win an election making him the first former head of state to become a democratically elected civilian President.
The garment of democracy that he had on was only a veneer on the body of an unrepentant military dictator. He went on to win a second term as president and having aggregated power to himself suddenly thought up a dubious scheme to manipulate the Constitution so he could contest for a third term but he met a brick wall in his Vice-president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar. This schism formed the basis of the parting of ways between them.
When Baba Iyabo was dredged up from prison, some people said that his finances were at rock bottom as low as under N50,000 naira but while he reigned as president for 8 years he amassed a fortune and some concerned Nigerians are still wondering how he did it. We know as ordinary Nigerians that it is while Baba Iyabo held sway that some of our choicest national assets went under the hammer mostly to either themselves, their friends or fronts. Sadly, those assets were auctioned in the make believe that government ought not be involved in doing business or to improve their efficiency. After many years the stark realities are before us, the nation lost NITEL, Nigeria Airways, NEPA and many others and the nation has receded into more darkness in the case of NEPA and there appears no end to the darkness.
Baba Iyabo manipulated the process to impose on the nation an individual who was obviously looking frail and sickly as president and yet another inexperienced individual from the restive Niger Delta as deputy president. Baba Iyabo’s script played out as intended when eventually his successor passed on and the vice-president became president.
Even as he retired for a second time Baba Iyabo was not yet done with flaunting himself about as a kingmaker and wanting to influence every decision about this nation. The way he flaunts himself around is so menacing that not many will have the patience to ignore him.
One of his favourite pastime is letter writing and he has written quite a few. The last letter he wrote to the President raised a number of issues which caused some concerns at the presidency. Many people wondered why Baba Iyabo chose to resort to letter writing when he could very easily have secured an audience with the President to put across his views with regard to governance in a general sense.
But wait a minute, what makes Baba Iyabo think he knows just everything and has solutions to all the problems of this country ?
I thought that he should have respected his elder statesman status retracting his tentacles away from the political space as much as possible. He has just recently stirred the hornet’s nest by making very reckless statements when the issue of $ 16 billion US dollars meant for the power sector was raised by the present government. Baba Iyabo as expected came out firing from all cylinders without taking specific aim. He refuted the story but not entirely as he was quick to refer to a portion in one of his books in which he outlined the entire story about the money. Baba Iyabo should have known that not many Nigerians are interested in reading his book. In any case, I wonder if, were Baba Iyabo to be arraigned before a court of law, will he tender what he has written in his book as evidence?
If he had kept his cool, it is possible that the issue would not have lingered to this time. But because he prides himself as all knowing, he must reply to every issue where his name is mentioned. Baba Iyabo clearly failed to heed Peter Tosh’s warning with regard to the dangers inherent in living in a glass house and throwing stones.
Baba Buhari on the other hand was once upon a time a head of state until he was removed in a coup and held in detention for about 3 years. After his subsequent release if he had any story to tell, he chose not to, at least not yet.
In contrast the other Baba would have spilled the beans. Baba Buhari was not done with the quest for power and this time political power so he joined one of the extant political parties of that time and contested for the presidency and lost. On two other occasions he contested yet again, losing both.
After the third time, it is said that Buhari announced his retirement from politics. But just as in boxing, politicians hardly truly retire, they wait for the most opportuned moments to announce their return.
And so it was with Buhari when a grand coalition of four Legacy political parties including the nPDP was formed with Buhari as presidential candidate. The magic worked and Buhari became president and it is not yet clear if Baba Iyabo is resigned to this reality. He has in the past been involved in speculative firing on a number of national issues, invited or not. As a former Army Engineer officer, Baba Iyabo should know that he is attempting to cross an unmarked minefield. He knows the danger involved in such an endeavour. I know of prisons in Brazil, Argentina,South Korea, Israel and Egypt housing some former presidents.
Nigeria may not have risen to such standards which is why no serious probe of a past government has been undertaken. It is not because former Heads of state or presidents are angels but simply because they have been conspiring to cover their own tracks.
The dust that is currently being thrown up about the $ 16 billion US dollars power sector rehabilitation may well be a good starting point. Let us see if we can make progress from here as Continuous Map Reading starts from the known to the unknown.