OBJ’s missing guests By Louis Odion, FNGE

T.Y. Danjuma & Family….An old Best friend turned Best Enemy of OBJ

It was inevitable that a deluge of
stirring tributes and a contagion of saccharin smiles would pervade the
unveiling last weekend of Chief Olusegun
Obasanjo’s
latest monument, the Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to mark his “estimated” 80th birthday.

Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo….A man who makes and wastes friends?

Doubtless, OBJ’s odyssey in the past
sixty years is intricately woven into the nation’s own trajectory, as acting
President Yemi Osinbajo pithily
observed.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo….Says OBJ is a symbol of Nigeria’s Political Development

But hard as family, friends and fans
tried at the august occasion, the avalanche of eulogies still cannot, in all
honesty, obscure certain truths. Justice is hardly done anyone desirous of
fully isolating the facts and contexts of that segment of our recent history.
Especially those still too young to understand things at the time of such
momentous happenings.

The Author, Louis Odion FNGE….Named OBJ’s famed friends who shunned his 80th birthday party
Out of charity, let us even evade
the propriety or otherwise of a sitting president literally using incumbency
factor to arm-twist state governors (as already attested to by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti) and
business tycoons into parting with a whopping N6b (then $45m circa) for
an undertaking that is entirely personal.

Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose ….Alleged OBJ got N10 million donation from him and he wants it back with interest

It is in the curious absences that
day of some national figures who yet graced the fundraiser twelve years ago
(and some of whose paths had also significantly crossed OBJ’s during his life
journey) that some of the missing links of the said narrative will undoubtedly
be found. The circumstances of their epic falling out should then offer some
illumination on the other dimension of the OBJ
enigma.
Clearly the most notable among the
absentees last weekend was General T Y
Danjuma. In the power triumvirate
that evolved after Murtala Mohammed’s
assassination in 1976, Danjuma was
the third leg (Army chief), the second being Musa Yar’Adua and OBJ as
commander-in-chief.

Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Adetona….Fought Chief Obasanjo with his memoir over his boy, Mike Adenuga

Upon OBJ’s release from Abacha’s gulag in June 1998, his
erstwhile Army commander was among a power oligarchy that offered him quick
rehabilitation and virtually railroaded him back to power on May 29, 1999 as
civilian president. While deploying his awesome financial war-chest ahead of the
February 1999 presidential polls in support of an old comrade, Danjuma famously declared “I will go on exile if Obasanjo loses”.
At inception of the Obasanjo administration, the Taraba-born General came out of
political retirement by accepting the draft as Defence minister.
But six years later, their
relationship had deteriorated so irreparably that Danjuma would sensationally declare, “I will throw Daisy out of my house if she voted for a Third
Term for Obasanjo”.

General T.Y. Danjuma….Threatened to sack wife if  she ever supports OBJ

As a parting shot at the twilight of
OBJ’s second term in 2007, he
unequivocally told an interviewer that  “Aremu of Ota deserves another term in
jail”.
Whatever happened to the old
brotherhood, the camaraderie forged during a grisly civil war to keep Nigeria
one? An account has it that after Danjuma
was dropped as Defence minister, OBJ
rubbed salt on his wound by tampering with his Sapetro oil bloc considered the source of his fabulous wealth.
Neither lost on anyone at the
launching was the absence of Abubakar
Atiku
.

Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar….The Servant who lost favor at the eleventh hour

Yet, the Turaki Adamawa
was his deputy for eight years, with their relationship particularly tumultuous
from the beginning of the second term. When the going was good, OBJ used to refer to his deputy
affectionately as “my hand
bag”.
After a long-drawn murky fight, both ended in 2007 mutually
bruised with the shameful distinction of constituting what is now commonly
identified as the most acrimonious presidency in Nigeria’s history.

Nor could anyone have also failed to
notice Aliyu Gusau’s absence.

General Aliyu Gusau…Another victim of Chief Obasanjo’s behavioral complexity?

The
General had literally anchored the high-level mission that paved OBJ’s way from prison to presidency in
1999. He was named the National Security
Adviser
immediately Obasanjo took
over. But few years down the line, the duo had become so estranged that the
commander-in-chief was rumoured to have resorted to offering covert support to
opposition governor in Zamfara State
then to whittle down Gusau’s
influence at home.

We also did not sight Ibrahim Mantu at the event.

Ex-Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu….OBJ’s Magic Boy turned Sad Man

At the
height of OBJ’s imperial presidency,
the senator from Plateau State was his key ally in the upper chamber and, as
deputy senate president, widely seen as the arrowhead of the powerful lobby to
ram the Third Term pill down the
throats of other senators. In fond recognition of his past exploits, he was
often hailed as “the magician”
in OBJ’s inner cycle.

Curiously, during an outing
recently, the same Mantu allowed
himself to be publicly introduced and complimented as “one of the key strategists that killed Third Term” at the senate in 2006.
No less illustrious on the
absentees’ list was Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr.
At the 2005 fundraiser for the Presidential Library, the Globacom boss shelled out N200m
(then roughly $1.5m). The next moment, there was a rumour of some grumbling on
the high table that the sum was “too
small”.

Mike Adenuga….The Billionaire who was rubbished by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

Few months later, the EFCC was viciously unleashed on the
businessman over what events have proved to be nothing but a witch-hunt.
Even when the dust raised by the EFCC arrest had not settled, OBJ, according to Awujale’s memoirs, still did not consider it inappropriate to
invite embattled Adenuga over and,
during a car ride together, allegedly asked him to donate an edifice to his
private university in Ota.

Ex-EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu (R) Was used to run Mike Adenuga out of town over ‘arrogance & pomposity towards 3rd term?’

Equally missing in action was Chief Tony Anenih, the now retired
political godfather of Edo. At the
fundraiser in 2005, Anenih topped the
list of PDP bigwigs who turned up to give Baba
“moral support”.

Mr. Fit it aka Chief Tony Anenih….OBJ gave him several bouts of disgraces until he forgot his own name

Earlier in his reign as civilian
president, Anenih was the key
sorcerer OBJ relied on to navigate
the treacherous waters of party politics as “Mr.
Fix It”.
But he did not hesitate to trade in the Uromi-born chief for Atiku
Abubakar
to support his second term bid in 2003. He was booted out as Works
minister.
After several months in the
“wilderness”, the retired old cop eventually found rehabilitation as
chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees. But in his desperation to wangle for
himself relevance, no matter how illicit, after his third term adventure came
to grief, OBJ masterminded the change
of the pre-qualification for the BoT chair in a manner that clinically stripped
Anenih bare. Before the old cop could
figure out the hand that dealt him the sucker punch, OBJ had been coronated PDP’s new BoT chair. Put differently, he
practically “stole” Anenih’s “pot of soup” (apologies
Tom Ikimi).
That marked the final dissolution of
a political partnership that had weathered many dirty wars in eight heady
years. Once, when Anenih was invited
to lead the prayers after Umar Yar’Adua
had taken over in Aso Rock and began
to cut off OBJ’s apron strings, he
reportedly started by beseeching God in heaven to furnish the new landlord the
enablement “to clear the mess he
inherited”.
Of course, the missile could only be meant for OBJ. Momentarily, not a few among the
supplicants present were said to have opened their eyes to exchange alarmed
glances while Anenih intensified his
ministration.

Ex-Edo State Governor Adams Oshionhole….OBJ personally visited him to say ‘Thank you for annihilating Mr. Fix It’

Trust OBJ never to allow any dart or slight pass without exacting a pound
of flesh. Once Comrade Adams Oshiomhole
meted a humiliating defeat to the PDP godfather in the July 14, 2012
governorship polls in Edo State, Baba would soon made a stop-over at the
Government House in Benin to pat then
opposition governor on the back for “a
job well done”.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun, CON, FCA….He must have been surprised not to see ‘OBJ’s Missing Guests in Ogun State’

Truly, bizarre are the ways of the “Ebora”
(strange creature) of Owuland.

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