Michael Orodare: Obasanjo and his integrity theory (Y! Politico)
I am not a fan of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and I don’t think I will ever be. He does not inspire me. Notwithstanding, I appreciate some of his leadership methods while he was President. If there is one thing I like about him, it is his ‘undemocratic’ way of solving escalating national problems. Give this to OBJ because he is good at that.
The former President will never cease to amuse Nigerians whenever he is in the news and media practitioners must have fallen in love with having him in the news because whenever he is, there is always a new agenda for discussion in the media, most times stirring the hornet’s nest.
As usual, OBJ was in the news again and this time he took a swipe at the younger generation of leaders in his keynote address at a Summit at the University of Ibadan where he said the younger generation of leaders “had poor performance record in terms of integrity and probity,” this is if some of them even believe there is anything called integrity.
Could that be true? Yes, I agree with him on this, the Toronto-gate of Salisu Buhari and the Chicago-gate of Bola Tinubu are enough reasons to agree with the former President.
A good number of these younger generation of leaders are good specimen to test the validity of the OBJ’s ‘theory of integrity,’ which says; when you give a younger person the opportunity to hold political office, they mess up the opportunity and leave the seat in scandals.
Specimens like Dimeji Bankole, who assumed the number 4 political office in the nation, but left the office amidst corruption scandal. Others include Femi Fani Kayode (FFK) who rose to the level of a Federal Minister, but has had EFCC chasing him on corruption charges since he left office. Also still fresh in memory is the nationally acclaimed Mr Integrity – Hon Farouk Lawan of the famous Subsidy-gate. Sadly enough, even when we know allegations of corrupt charges against them will never yield any result, remembering these specimens will always make one have a rethink whenever one sees the poster of a young man aspiring for a political office.
Not even NANS is spared of this integrity bug, taking a cursory look at representation among the students at the level of NANS, where we have Yinka Gbadebo parading himself as NANS President, a MAN only concerned about how to enrich himself within the period of one year in office, and doesn’t give a damn about the industrial action embarked upon by lecturers which has held millions of Nigerian students at their homes. (At least, he should have pretended to have a feel of the plight of Nigerian students, even when we know he is not a student). But to be candid, this is always the result when people manipulate their way to the seat of power, even at the NANS level.
However, among this younger generation of leaders, we still have men who haven’t ‘bowed their knees to Baal’ but there are just few of them, very few.
As much as I agreed with some of the issues raised by Saint OBJ, there is also a need to let him realise that he didn’t come to equity with clean hands on the lack of integrity issue among the younger generation of leaders. Do we need to remind Baba how his generation has also failed the younger generation of followers? Or how his generation has made education in Nigeria public schools watery compared to what they had during their own time?
Does Saint OBJ even realise he is a major contributor to the low quality of our educational system and poor quality of graduates our public tertiary institutions now churn out annually?
Has Saint OBJ quickly forgotten how his generation has monopolised power, ensuring that only their children and that of their associates get anointed to political office.
The Lucky Igbinedion, James Ibori, FFK, Dimeji Bankole and other corruption ridden members of the younger generation of leaders, were not raised on the streets of Oshodi and Ajegunle like many of us, neither was the Asiwaju of Chicago-gate. Most of them were raised with loots from public funds, and you expect them to have integrity?
Unfortunayely, the truthful ones may never have the opportunity to get there because their parents are not associates of the Tinubus and the OBJs.
Saint OBJ generation’s inability to create employment for the teeming youths has only increased the trend of generational poverty and dimmed the hope of the younger generation of followers for better lives, thereby multiplying the tribe of hooligans, armed robbers, kidnappers and suicide bombers.
Poor performance on the integrity indices by the younger generation of leaders OBJ referred to shouldn’t be a parameter to judge those coming behind them and shouldn’t be an excuse to monopolise power among the few old generation of leaders. But in actual fact, are we even better? I doubt if ours is only of poor integrity or a typical specimen of religious and ethnic bigots. Well, this might not be our fault because its what they have unfortunately and consciously or unconsciously passed on to us.