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Soyinka: Obasanjo failed woefully.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recorded “sumptuous spectacular failures” in the 11 years he steered the affairs of the nation as military Head of State and civilian President, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said.

Soyinka’s assessment of the former leader is contained in the preface to his 148-page book, “Intervention VIII: Gani’s Unfinished Business”.

He described Obasanjo as having a phobia for education and intellectualism.

According to Soyinka, Obasanjo’s records in office are clothed with lies, deceptions, misrepresentations, distortions and denigration of others.

The Nobel laureate said it would be the highest form of moral dereliction to fail to present a glimpse of a dark, sinister side of such “a paternalistic, caring figure”.

Soyinka faulted Obasanjo’s “seductive pretensions of ease and benign, protective assurance among school pupils”, noting that even Adolf Hitler loved children so much that “he created a Nazi Youth Brigade, a mind bending induction from which a subsequent leadership generation still strives, remorsefully, to dissociate itself”.

“Such mitigation cannot however be conceded if our subject persists in burnishing his rulership records with the ragged cloth of lies, deceptions, misrepresentations, distortions and persistent denigration of others – including non Nigerians, some of whose records in their zones of responsibilities, objectively leave his self attributed achievement open to dispute, and even outright dismissal.

“Mitigation cannot be rationally considered if the nation’s present condition of intra-religious hospitality of the most blood curdling dimensions can be traced all the way back to his policy of appeasement when forces against national cohesion through religious fundamentalism first unfurled its banner.”

Soyinka wrote on the much publicized “bid” by Obasanjo for a third term – an allegation the former President denied. He said if he had wanted a third term he would have asked God who would have given it to him .

Soyinka said: “There can be no amnesty for a leader who lavished bribe on legislators in his attempt to subvert the constitution and foist himself on the nation as civilian dictator for life, yet continues to deny it. Such denials are insultingly offered in the face of robust, documented and repeated affirmation of this treasonable conduct, including by a number who collected his money and ran.

“The denials continue from this practised obscurantist, depart open admission by those who were co-conspirators against democracy. The opportunism of image laundering in a season of popular discontent is a further denigration of the public capacity for objective discernment.

“And yet, despite such glaring crimes of both commission and dismissive contempt, Nigerians are a people of almost hyper-naturally gifted for bypassing the past, cauterising their memories even to the point of collective perdition, determined to move into the future.”

The playwright condemned Obasanjo’s efforts at building a nationwide coalition for a new leadership. He said: “When, however, such an individual under the lens moves yet again to insert himself into a process of national recovery, attempts to hijack both tested and untested efforts, frustrate new energies, recruits and recycles jaded and equally compromised figures, the a gauntlet had been thrown at the feet of those who ‘watch the watchmen’, and a renewed battle line is drawn against any such Coalition of the Corrupt and its Convener.”

Continuing, Soyinka said Obasanjo, “strikes as one being tormented by a hidden past, probably experiences the urge to make amends- don’t we all? I would not dare encroach on the province of psychologists but, with my limited deductions from a lifetime of literary engagement, I would diagnose, in this leading character, symptoms of a child at heart.

“So has it been with the aspiring mongoose known as Bros Shege, raised and bred in the sinister hatcheries of Otta Farm.”

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