By Editors of Chidi Opara Reports (April 23, 2008)
When Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo, who as a military President had ruled Nigeria from 1976 to 1979, was imposed again on Nigerians for another run on the political leadership of the country, most were willing to give him benefit of doubt.
The word "imposed" needs explanation here. Obasanjo in his first adventure in power was imposed on Nigerians by the politico-military power mongering clique, when his boss, the then military President, General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in a bloody coup d'etat. His second coming as civilian President(1999 to 2007) followed same pattern, the difference being that though the latter imposition was by same clique, they are now retired and desperately inclined to protecting their huge ill-gotten wealth.
The inclination to give the retired general, who was released from prison and hurriedly granted state pardon, benefit of doubt in 1999 came as a result of the mood of the Nation at that time. Nigerians were just coming out of a nightmarish five-year-rule by the worst military regime the country ever witnessed since independence. The second reason was the positive credentials Obasanjo garnered for himself between 1979 and 1999. He was then the first and only military President to willingly hand over power to civilians, his international statesman image also helped.
The retired General though did show some anti-democratic sentiments, like supporting the annulment of the June 12th 1993 presidential election believed to have been won by the flamboyant multi-millionaire businessman, Mr. Moshood Abiola. His anti-democratic sentiments were ignored, thus paving way for an eight-year-rule that can be rightly described as years of locust, in which the economy was privatized into the private pockets of Obasanjo, his political associates and hangers on.
The Nation is now being informed daily of massive frauds perpetrated by the regime. The wonder is that while these harvests of frauds were on, the news media in Nigeria, who prefers to be called the fourth estate of the realm (whatever that means), could not wear their investigative kits and expose these rackets.
We believe that if the so called fourth estate of the realm were proactive, the years of locust could not have happened, at least to the magnitude it happened. The Obasanjo years of locust are certainly, our collective guilt.