The Intrigues Of Letters



The last has certainly not been heard of diverse open letters that have engulfed our national life of late. Such diatribes are not new in themselves, but the sting in these letters and the vituperations that are emanating from them, are simply unprecedented.

Known for his unguarded tongue and unrivalled wit, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo pounced on his latest causality, President Goodluck Jonathan. The content of his 18-page letter is now public knowledge, but the fallout from the sermon still reverberates. In more saner climes, it is difficult for a former president to openly undermine the office of the incumbent in the manner OBJ did in his diatribe. While some of the concerns he raised were dire, many of them had the sonorous sting of a bitter and drowning godfather whose script had gone unhatched. It is obvious that things have surely fallen apart between Baba and Jonathan. The love that seduced Jonathan to Baba that made him give a decisive blow to the political fortunes of Peter Odilli, has undoubtedly gone sour.

However, just as every well-meaning Nigerians, Obasanjo is surely entitled to his own opinions. What he should have known is that having been the rudder that steered the Nigerian ship for about twelve years (Military and democratic), he had attained a status of dignified statesmanship; a position that demands a lot from him. Without mincing words, Baba should never be in a position to preach a homily to any one on good governance and corruption. The foregoing statement is not to vindicate President Goodluck Jonathan, however, it leaves a smack of political irritation for a man who plunged us into untold national ills to try and act like a ‘Mandela’ overnight. OBJ’s place in the history of Nigeria is forever assured, but, how will he be remembered? No doubt, age and time might have changed Obasanjo, but there is a better way a former president should advice a sitting president.

Days after Baba’s December 2nd letter, a letter supposedly from his daughter, Iyabo, went viral. Debate still ensues on who the true identity behind the letter is. But, if feelers from several quarters are anything to go by, then the ink of that letter has Iyabo’s fingerprints all over it. It is very unfortunate that a child should ever write such a public letter to her father. Not only is it demeaning, it speaks volumes of the family decadence that is becoming prevalent in our society. Nonetheless, such is life in the Obasanjo clan. From father to daughter, logic is defiled. Yet, if that letter is truly from Iyabo, both father and daughter should bury their faces in eternal shame. In truth, their shenanigans have done Nigerians grave injustice.

And then, there is the December 20th letter from the office of Mr. President. Since OBJ’s letter became public knowledge, it has become the delicacy of pundits in the country. Like is the hope of all journalists, it was a dream story. However, GEJ avoided the knack to act swiftly. He was always going to respond, it was a matter of when. Though the letter had the skeletal frame of Goodluck Jonathan, it is likely that it was Reuben Abati that supplied it with flesh. Whatever be the case, it was typical of Jonathan to take on anyone who criticizes his government. One wonders if this was not one scenario where silence would have been golden. As much as he tried in addressing some of the issues raised by Baba, he was still guilty of throwing stones at the old man, by drawing comparisons of his government with that of the former leader. While that is not an entirely bad thing to do, it was not needful. Also, President Jonathan tried to vindicate himself by nullifying some of the charges labelled against him by the former leader. In all honesty, he struggled to convince many people. It is apt to state that the current Nigeria situation is in a state of debacle and it leaves plenty to be desired. The ills of corruption remains extant, unemployment continues to be a scourge, and the menace of Boko Haram has not abated (to rehash but a few). At times, actions speak louder than words. Jonathan does not owe Obasanjo an explanation. It is the Nigerian people that gave him his mandate, and it is to them he owes an allegiance. It is not likely that many Nigerians are happy with him either. In sum, he has not simply done enough.

Pen ultimately, beyond all the deceits and sincerity of letters, is an undeniable tussle for placements towards 2015. The signs remain ominous, and unless there is a swift intervention, the 2015 elections could be a messy affair.

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