By Wole Olujobi

He appropriates Oedipus orientation in consummate complexity. Raised and reared to preserve a kingdom, Oedipus,  a grand patron of hubris, fell into a complex interplay of fate and pride to become an albatross to the kingdom he sought to preserve.

Sophocles in his play ‘Oedipus Rex’ presents a gripping narrative of a man at the mercy of fate, but who pride would not allow to rediscover himself until he suffers irredeemable consequences.

The ancient legend of Oedipus, the mythical king of Thebes who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother, in several of his sojourns, lived in Tenea, a mythical lost city in Greece, according to the Greek mythology.

As recently as 1984, one of Greece’s top archaeologists, Eleni Korka, a Greek-American,  made the biggest discovery of her 40-year career: the mythical city of Tenea, which was built by Trojan prisoners of war sometime around 1100BC.

After a laborious excavation by Korka and her team, the abandoned Tenea City in ruins was discovered to harbour golden carvings and other precious, high levels of art that could turn the fortunes of the delerict city of Tenea for good.

As it is with both Oedipus and Tenea, so it is for Nigeria and General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as Nigerians again prepare for the February 2023 ballot to elect their President.

After long years of misrule that left Nigerians at the mercy of poverty and Nigeria herself in the throe of ruins, conscious efforts were made to find a befitting leader to turn the nation’s fortunes for good after the conspiracy among the Nigerian ruling elite claimed MKO Abiola’s life in 1998, the unfortunate incident that sank Nigeria in the abyss like was the case with the lost city of Tenea.

And so like archaeologist Korka, Nigerian ‘archaeologists’ in military fatigue led by Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalami Abubakar, dug through the length and breadth of the thoroughly degraded Nigeria to find a leader to turn the nation’s fortunes for good. Their search through ‘diligent excavation’, just like that of Korka, yielded Obasanjo, who had already decayed in General Sani Abacha’s gulag like the ruins of Tenea. Pronto,  most parts of Nigeria hooted, prospecting that the nation had found fortune and so had hit the road to prosperity.

But unlike Korka, what Nigeria’s excavators found was never gold, but a crippling albatross in the class of Oedipus: a fortune turned awry that opened the floodgate to compound-complex problems that stalk Nigerians even in their sleep.

For instance, Obasanjo met Nigeria in her sorry state with the power supply capacity at 4,700 megawatts in 1999, but after spending $16billion by his PDP administration, Nigerians discovered that their leader had spent such colossal sum to purchase darkness as power generation plummeted to 3,500 megawatts after eight years in government.

During his administration, mass political murders debuted in Nigeria, and symbolically, from his party, as all unprecedented political murders in Nigeria were recorded only in PDP  during the administration that lost the nation’s chief law officer, the late Chief Bola Ige, Obasanjo’s bossom friend, to PDP’s top marksmen in the game of death.

From Halliburton multi-billion scam to Third Term bribery scandal that shocked the world when millions of naira in cash were ferried into the National Assembly Chambers to bribe lawmakers,  other anti-social conducts debuted that threatened the moral fibre of a burgeoning society that Nigerians hoped to build after Obasanjo won the cake but held the stick.

As it turned out, Nigerians knew poverty as a common room-mate while alleged personal fortunes of the President reportedly grew in leaps and bounds as revealed recently by former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, a member of PDP.

Propelled by depravity fuelled by monopolistic mania to control power in his native Yoruba land with scant regard for any other Yoruba man to climb the same ladder of power, and stoutly buffeted by his messianic pretensions, he had sold a confounding quixotic allegiance to nation-building, posturing as the only one with the magic wand to fix the nation’s problems. Or that if he can’t take the lead, the choice of who leads must be his exclusive preserve. He allegedly did everything possible to block the evergreen sage, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, from governing Nigeria and he allegedly succeeded, according to history books.

Even though Nigerians voted for the late MKO Abiola in the June 12, 1993 presidential election in what turned out to be the freest and fairest election in Nigerian history, this megalomaniacal fantasy and contempt towards fellow Yoruba leader allegedly seized Obasanjo and took him around the world, raising false accusations against Abiola and claiming that he was not the Messiah that Nigerians needed. Yet the same Abiola did his best to canvass support for Obasanjo while seeking to contest as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Instead of supporting Abiola, Obasanjo was allegedly selling a formula that would make a Yoruba man the head of an Interim Government with himself as the figure that must allegedly lead that selfish contraption.

Any wonder he has chosen another anti-Yoruba assignment for himself, this time, to allegedly campaign against the nation’s foremost promising presidential candidate with impeccable records of performance and achievements, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the February 2023 presidential election, all because he will not support any other Yoruba man to aspire to any position that seeks to compel and confer same authority he once enjoyed in the nation’s political leadership.

He started his political domination in 2003 when the greatest electoral heists were recorded in Nigeria by foisting his men on Yoruba people as governors in what later turned out a disaster for the Yoruba people. Except in Lagos where Tinubu  resisted  Obasanjo’s onslaught, the entire Yoruba land came under Obasanjo’s jackboots, as the people moaned in shrieks of pains, even as all stories of political assassinations in Nigeria were mainly reported from the South West states.

According to Aremo Segun Osoba, all the South West governors in the opposition Alliance For Democracy (AD) rallied support for Obasanjo to weather his impeachment storm masterminded by his own party only to turn around against the same AD governors in an election fraud allegedly orchestrated by Obasanjo that swept all of them from power in 2003 polls.

Just a few years after his jack-knife democracy began, virtually all the leaders he allegedly forced on Yoruba people as governors were in courts facing criminal trials over alleged frauds and assassinations.

The blood-cuddling accounts of political misfortunes of that epoch in the South West will remain an evergreen memento in the Yoruba chequered political history.

Even though Obasanjo is never reported as having recorded sterling performance in both military command posts as well as in government, he prides himself as the best to happen to Nigeria. And when he was confronted in a foreign television interview over alleged misdeeds in government, he offered no concrete evidence of a disciplined leadership,   instead, he raved, raked and raged in a tempest of anger as he stammered to no end in a croaking voice.

He is the man now out to work against Asiwaju Tinubu, an exemplar in modern governance and an urbane visionary scholar of the Harvard school, who knows the rules of engagements in political thoughts, and an immense influence on young Nigerian professionals and politicians in their tasks to climb their leadership ladders.

This is the difference between a dream killer and destiny helper. While Tinubu chooses career progression for young Nigerians North or South, Obasanjo chooses wreckage of their leadership ships. Ask Bode George, Murtala Ashorobi, Adolphus Wabara, and Fayose, among others. This much his daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo, admitted in her media expose and supported by her mother in another burst of anger fuelled by alleged famed Obasanjo’s moral deficiencies.

He did it to his Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, over alleged offences bordering on inappropriate conducts in governance, even though Nigerians can’t differentiate between himself and Atiku during their party’s 16 years rule that took Nigerians to the Golgotha of want and hopelessness, particularly after PDP members shared security funds allocated by the Federal Government to fight terrorism in the country. For that sleaze and theft in the nation’s till, terrorists now knock Nigerians’ doors 24/7 effortlessly in careless raids to seize their wives and other possessions.

While Atiku has his albatross in poor performance as Vice President over alleged sale of national patrimony to cronies at half-pence, Nigerians are today talking about Peter Obi’s notoriety in alleged uncanny capacity for telling lies;  all hidden in the famed Pandora Files and misrule that turned Anambra people on their heads for survival. He is Obasanjo’s candidate in the prized poll.
Obi will soon find out that he is just a cannon folder in a complex game of wits to achieve a predetermined end.

Conversely, Tinubu has a background he is coming from as a brilliant accountant with a clear vision and mission in governance process. He deployed this process when Obasanjo erected roadblock on his mission to grow Lagos to a bustling economy for millions of Nigerians, North and South, to survive by seizing the federal allocations to the state.

But Tinubu showed his strength of character and avowed commitment to growth as a philosophy in governance by even creating more local governments that thrived  without federal pay to the amazement of Obasanjo in the malice corners of his Aso Rock precincts.

Today, Lagos is the fifth largest economy in Africa, courtesy of Tinubu’s visionary leadership; a record Obasanjo never achieved, can never achieve; and the feat he hates to appreciate and will never acknowledge about the quality of the presidential candidate of APC.

A distraught cynic in a viral video moans that Nigeria will never make progress until Obasanjo bids farewell to the light. I do not share that sentiment.

While the abandoned Tenea held promise for the glory of Greece, the rehabilitated Obasanjo from Abacha’s dungeon in full throttle stands for the sabotage of his own race.

As the nation prepares for the February 23 presidential election, Nigerians should not seek solidarity with Obasanjo in his aberrant design or allow his counsel to sway their political behaviours. Obasanjo’s counsel in political thoughts and choice is nothing but a poisoned chalice.

Olujobi is Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Ekiti State APC Presidential Election Committee,