The leaking thatch roof called OBJ By Philemon Adjekuko

Philemon Adjekuko
Philemon Adjekuko

“Why would OBJ not learn from George Bush who had two terms, messed up big time and retired quietly to his ranch in Texas?”

In traditional folklore of the Urhobos, the irritating experience of a leaking thatch roof is only comparable to the nagging of an intemperate garrulous house wife.

This odious comparison arose from the old days when palm fronds were used for roofing. As they dry up and become old, their propensity to leak increases exponentially. And when they leak, they do so all over, such that fixing the problem was a nightmare. The best solution then was to change the entire roof for a new one.

Therefore, when a man marries an intemperate woman who is also a talkative, he is said to be leaving under a massively leaking thatch roof. However, whereas you can attempt to fix a leaking roof or change it entirely, there is hardly anything you can do about a talkative wife. Even if you send her packing, she will simply mutate from a talkative wife to a talkative ex-wife.

Former President Obasanjo has sculptured himself into the triad of a leaking roof, an intemperate garrulous old man and a bad coin which nobody wants but finds a way of remaining in circulation.

I was pretty young when OBJ became Head of State in 1976 following the assassination of Murtala Mohammed. The only vivid recollection I had of him was his so called “Operation feed the nation” project which was only successful as a jingle on radio and television and his controversial handover to Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979.

But despite his handing over government to a band of bandits in the then National Party of Nigeria(NPN), OBJ’s profile rose like a rocket in the international political market which is often quick to glorify any African leader that deviates from the median, no matter how little, to the right of their desire. OBJ became a superstar of some sort, hanging out with other world leaders who often pontificate over world problems while things remain basically the same.

Nonetheless, at that point, OBJ was becoming a pretty likable person to my impressionable young mind. Little did I know of his advanced form of Jekyll and Hyde personality which will only become legendary much later to the general public.

By the time the gap toothed and deceptively ever smiling General from Minna came along to intensify the “kaki” boys assault on the Nigerian state, OBJ had become a crusader for good governance. Along (although always wanting to stand alone) with the fiery band of political activists in the South West axis, OBJ heaped tons of burning coal on IBB and made the General’s cunning life miserable.

Then came the 1993 elections draped with so much colour and hope. Hope that the “HOPE 93” man, Chief Moshood Abiola, will steer the ship of this great nation away from the waterfall that was clearly in sight as IBB became dizzy from his own endless dribbling. Suddenly the unthinkable happened. The presidential election result was brutally cancelled.

Suddenly too, OBJ began to sing in a twisted tongue that only those who truly knew him could understand. To the amazement of many Nigerians, OBJ boxed all logical reasoning into coma as he proclaimed that Abiola was not the messiah Nigerians were expecting.

As activists headed back to their trenches for the final attempt to push IBB over the cliff, OBJ’s Jekyll and Hyde coat become unbelievably visible across the country. Therefore, when the Interim National Government, which I later understood, OBJ heartily supported and actually wanted to head collapsed and he had the temerity to dare the dark goggled, no nonsense, general from Kano State, the chicken farmer from Egba Land unexpectedly found himself at the gate of death with little or no sympathy from his fellow countrymen and women.

But with some twist of fate, OBJ was raised from the dark depth of Nigeria’s prison system to become the next president of Nigeria. Many were shocked to their bones as Nigerians debated the propriety of allowing a man who drove against the traffic of equity and justice to be rewarded with the crown of power again.

Those who thought they could ride on the back of OBJ to take over power down the road learnt a hard lesson. As soon as the man got into Aso Rock, be began another Jekyll and Hyde show which terminated in a third term conflagration and the half hearted, double hearted and want of heart hearted transition cum controversial handover in 2007, leaving the country on the floor panting for life.

Since forced out of office by a gale of “we have had enough of you”, OBJ has continued to leak like a worn out thatch roof, behave like an intemperate garrulous house wife, and force himself into circulation like a bad coin. Why would OBJ not learn from George Bush who had two terms, messed up big time and retired quietly to his ranch in Texas? Even in the heat of the last U.S. elections, Mr. Bush kept his mouth shut?

OBJ had an unrivalled opportunity to lift the country from its crouching position. He did not do that. Rather he schemed shamefully to transmute into something unknown to the Nigerian constitution.

Instead of spending more time with his chickens in Ota, he is busying rattling his party, his party’s government and the country without any good intention. Meanwhile, he has lost all the international political capital that he fraudulently acquired in the 1970s. Is there still anyone out there in the western world who still genuinely listens to OBJ or take him seriously?

It is about time the old man went on self exile or be forced to. If he so desires, he may elect to overtake Alex Ekwueme into the departure lounge, which may be a good twist of his own inappropriate joke at Ekwueme’s birthday party. Somebody should tactfully guide OBJ out of the china shop before he loses the little that is left of his reputation.


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  • ojo


  • Serere

    Thanks Philemon for this piece. I like it. Obasanjo is a greater deceiver who Nigerians do not know. In those days when we heard about “Operation Feed the Nation” we actually thought it was a national project that would help Nigerians to escape poverty without knowing that it was Obasanjo’s personal project. Also, look at the terrible role that he played during 1993 election that robbed MKO his mandate. This is the person who has been in Nigerian politics since he was born and yet he and his ruling colleagues could not move Nigeria an inch to compete with any western nation. Is it not disgraceful and shameful that people of his age are still around the corridor of power? I think it is time for him to get out of Nigerian politics and keep his mouth shut just like George Bush of America, and remain silent forever.

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