Amb. MK Ilyasu

Since Former President Olusegun Obasanjo decided to make a habit of communicating his thoughts on the “State of Our Polity” to the public, its import can not be mistaken as “FRIENDLY” thoughts for public domain. I believe that he was privy to more avenues where his ventilation would have more impacts and could serve the Nigerian State better, yet he chose public domain.

It is often suggested that the highest form of friendship is actually a friend who helps us realize more of our potentials and makes us better persons. From this perspective, i suppose that Obasanjo holds the belief that his “EPISTLES” may turn out sufficiently to challenge us by helping us to grow. This therefore makes OBJ wanting to prove to be the kind of person as a true patriot and friend of Nigerians who wants to be seen to help us to grow. This is very typical happenstance within a diverse community.

What seems to stop surprising and amusing me with OBJ is that while we concede that technology has facilitated and expanded our ability to connect with people, bridging the gaps of space and time, the former President has failed to realize its limitations and how it is complicating the nature of his CONSISTENT COMPLAINTS AND INTERVENTIONS BY LETTER WRITINGS.

I totally believe I could understand his mindset, considering his near total conviction in the wonders of God who ordained by his infinite mercy on man not only raising him beyond his widest imagination but could also endow him with comfort through well designed relationships like when he declared that “It is not good for man to be alone and went ahead to create a spouse, a factor in the definition of relationship. This act alone decreed that God has firmly planted the need for serious human relationships at the epicenter of the human experience and dealings.

Each passing day since his last Friday 18th January 2019 “Epistle” on “State of the Polity”, I tried to situate his concerns by examining different areas of our relationships in order to understand where the possible “failure” may exist and why he felt so concerned as he persistently through his letter writings continued to manifest serious BEHAVIORAL TENSION in the polity.

One fact people across political divides today may still agree, is that civil discourse between the political divides is turning less and less civil. The sheer lack of desire to try to understand those with opposing political opinions (or political identities) and disagree constructively over critical questions is posing an existential threat to nascent democracies. SO, NIGERIANS CONTINUED TO ASK WHAT IS IT THAT OBJ WANTS AND/OR NEEDS? HOW CAN HIS LETTERS BRING ABOUT HIS DESIRED CHANGE? WHETHER THE COUNCIL OF STATE, THE HIGHEST POLICY DECISION BODY WHERE HE BELONGS, COULD NOT MEET HIS DEMANDS AND THEREFORE HAS NO USEFUL PURPOSE IN OUR POLITICAL EXIGENCIES?

Could he for some unknown reasons believe that by instigating the public, a radical change of government would happen? Or is it that our leadership has become inaccessible to him and his homologous who we understand meet periodically as “MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE” with the powers to decide the fate of every living organism on Nigerian soil.

Let me for the sake of our political expediency suggest that OBJ should please further his understanding on “How to Disagree Constructively”. I know that he is open to quest for more knowledge and understanding of human complexities and his concerns on sacred matters having studied hard and bagged a Doctorate Degree in Divinity from National Open University of Nigeria not so long ago. So, my question is shouldn’t the will of God take precedence over moral sensibilities? Who comes first, Nigeria or Nigerians?

He should further avail himself to other methods of bringing to fore his interventions on current political discourse. I have found at the core of his “EPISTLE” has traditional conflicting opinions without proffering probable mechanism of addressing those issues raised that could bring about a method that can be of use to increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political opinions that should enrich and improve civil discourse.

OBJ who was considered a “hero” at one time in his military career when he received the surrender of Biafra in 1970 at the end of the civil war, was also made Military Head of State against his wish in 1976. He was the same OBJ who had successfully handed over political power to civilian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979 and he was regarded as a man of “Honour” who enjoyed public sympathy due to his incarceration during General Abacha’s regime. He was the elder statesman and had array of political sympathizers and foreign friends that were more than willing to spend money to make him the President of Nigeria that he was from 1999 to 2007. This was a considerable National and International Goodwill.

The question that begs for answer is “CAN WE LOVE OTHERS IF WE CAN NOT LOVE OURSELVES?

WHY SHOULD OBJ RESORT TO CHARACTER ASSASSINATION THROUGH HIS INFAMOUS LETTERS? WHY HAS THE HERO OF OUR TIME FAILS TO CONQUER ANY EVIL INCLINATION? For it says, BEING SLOW TO ANGER IS BETTER THAN BEING STRONG AND A PERSON IN CONTROL OF HIS EMOTIONS IS BETTER THAN A CONQUEROR.

“I also need to know what is the balance between giving of oneself and protecting oneself.”

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