28th June, 2010
Former Nigerian leader, Olusegun ObasanjoÂ has been described a Judas, â€œwho would betray his people,â€ whoÂ lacks credibility and squandered â€œall the enormous goodwill,â€ which he carried into office â€œwith aÂ performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements.â€
Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland made this character portrait of Obasanjo in an autobiography launched at the weekend at the Awujaleâ€™s 50th coronation anniversary at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, South-West Nigeria.
Obasanjo himself attended the launch of the 275 page book,Â now in mass circulation countrywide.
Oba Adetona recalled an event on 24 July 2002, the late Abraham Adesanyaâ€™s 80th birthday in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, when in a ride with Obasanjo to a makeshift helipad he told Obasanjo how disappointed he had become over Obasanjoâ€™s pussy-footing on the issue of federalism.Â â€œThis was the dividing line for me in our relationship,â€ Awujale recalled and
Adesanyaâ€™s birthday presented an opportunity for him to tell Obasanjo how he felt about him, when they rode together in a Mercedes Benz limousine, withÂ former Ogun governor, Olusegun Osoba, as witness. â€˜â€˜It was going to be a short trip
but I had something to say and so it had to be said quickly enough while the three of us shared some privacy. I said there was a time whenÂ I had trusted Obasanjo so much so that I could swear by his name, but that the trust was now gone. Obasanjo askedÂ why.Â I answered that Obasanjo was no longer credible.â€ The Oba recalled further in the book,
that at another time when he visited Obasanjo in Aso Rock, Obasanjo revisted their earlier conversation duringÂ which he told the Awujale, accusatorily, that heÂ painted himÂ a Judas.Â Awujale reconfirmed the labeling according to his account.
â€œI told him that I not only remembered but still maintained that he was a Judas who would betray his peopleâ€¦I had no qualms about speaking plainly to him. In high office, people who surround leaders tend to skirt around the truth,â€ Awujale wrote.
The Awujale book also threw some revealing light on the travails of Globacom Chairman, Mike Adenuga in the hands of the Economic and Finnacial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and how Obasanjo , in â€œthe heat of the messâ€ did two puzzling things.
â€œHe (Obasanjo) called Mike to meet him at a social event in Lagos – Engineer Olapadeâ€™s birthdayÂ celebration. Mike and Obasanjo were both captured by press photographers in the newspapers at the event. Following the celebration, Obasanjo asked MikeÂ to accompany him to Ota. It was in Ota that he solicited for the construction of the administration block of his university, Bells University in Ota. Mike agreed and Carchez Turnkey Projects Limited handled the project for him.â€
But as the Awujale penned, even this gesture did not keep the EFCC off the trail of Mike.
The Awujale was clearly not impressed by Obasanjoâ€™s tenure as Nigeriaâ€™s leader as he dismissed his efforts in this way: â€œall the enormous goodwill which Obasnjo carried into office was squandered with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements. Eight years in office was ample time to put electricity on a very strong footing. Eight years was enough to put down a strong foot against corruption and make a clear difference. Eight years was adequate for orderliness and the rule of law to triumph in every facet of our society. These were the basis upon which I gave my support for the office.â€
The book dwelled on Awujaleâ€™s story from a rascally young boy and school truant, who later became his townâ€™s monarch, to his family life, his business engagements , his many political involvements, interventionsÂ and battles with national and state leaders. He also told the story of his relationship with former Ogun State governor, Chief Bisi Onabanjo and his leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.