What kind of help will Obasanjo render to Guinea Bissau?

Olusegun Obasanjo and Jose Mario Vaz

Written by Emenike Emmanuel

We got a message from the Presidency quoting Muhammadu Buhari, a former military General and now a democratically elected President of Nigeria recommending the assistance of Olusegun Obasanjo to the President of Guinea Bissau as a good mediator in bringing to an end the political crisis in their country. And the BIG QUESTION that quickly came to my mind was; “What kind of help will Olusegun Obasanjo render to Guinea Bissau?”

So far so good, Olusegun Obasanjo remains one of the most popular Nigerians alive. It will only be a village idiot who has never seen the four walls of any formal education centre and is completely ignorant of current affairs that won’t know “Baba” as he is fondly called by Nigerians. 

Despite having a military cum political experiences; with due respect to my former President and President Buhari who had enlisted him, I think Obasanjo remains the worst option to suggest when issues of conflict resolution is mentioned. This is because when it comes to using the 21st century approach, which is “dialogue”, Olusegun Obasanjo had never led by example. The case of Odi massacre which some unofficial sources had claimed that over 5,000 soldiers in more than 50 army trucks invaded the village to ground every standing statue is a disqualification for him.

To refresh your memory, let me give you a preamble of what happened six months after former President Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as President in 1999. 

On November 20, 1999, sixteen days after 12 policemen sent to Odi in Bayelsa State was killed, then President Obasanjo sent military troops who overtook the entire community and burnt down everything standing in that area just because he wanted peace and tranquility to be restored.
With no iota of regret for the genocide he committed, Obasanjo was quoted to have said; “I sent soldiers to a place and nineteen of them were killed. If I had allowed that to continue, I will not have authority to send security whether police; soldiers and any force any where again. So, I had to nip it in the bud and that was the end of that particular problem…”

For refusing to copy his measures in resolving the Boko Haram crises when it was still not as popular as it is today in some parts of Borno, Taraba, Yobe and Adamawa, Obasanjo publicly called former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan a “weak leader”.

President Muhammadu Buhari while at an audience with the President of Guinea Bissau, Jose Mario Vaz at the sidelines of the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa said; “I sent President Olusegun Obasanjo because he is the only person living or dead that has ruled Nigeria for 11 years. I served under him as a military Head of State. He has a strong commitment to Nigeria and Africa. That was why I looked for him and asked him to collaborate with President Macky Sall of Senegal to stabilise the situation of Guinea Bissau.”
Guinea-Bissau has never seen a democratically elected leader serve a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974.

We got report that President Jose Mario Vaz and Prime Minister Carlos Pereira, a powerful figure in the ruling PAIGC party, had been locked in a long-running power struggle exacerbated by their overlapping duties under Guinea Bissau's political system.

Should there be news of massive killing of protesters who will choose to rise against the stubborn leadership of President Jose Mario Vaz, I know who to blame.

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