By Sorie Fofana.
President Olusegun Obasanjo is considered by many people as one of the most influential people in West Africa. He shot to fame in 1979, when he peacefully handed over power to a civilian government in Nigeria after the assassination of his former boss, Murtala Mohamed.
In 1999, President Obasanjo contested the Presidential elections as a civilian and won.
In 2003, he was re-elected for a second and final term. Before the end of his final term, President Obasanjo attempted to change the Nigerian constitution, to allow him to run for a third term. The opposition to his third term bid was led by his Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abu Bakarr.
President Obasanjo retired from active politics in 2007, after he failed woefully to secure a third term. He is a born-again democrat!
Involvement In Sierra Leonean Politics
According to a news item posted by the State House Communications Unit on 2nd November, 2017 President Obasanjo visited Sierra Leone on 29th October, 2017 to congratulate President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma “on the successful selection of the APC Presidential candidate and his running mate”.
According to the State House news report, “The President introduced former aspirants, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, John Bornor Sisay, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joseph Fitzerald Kamara and Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma to President Obasanjo”.
The State House news report states that, “Some say this visit could be likened to an endorsement of the candidature of Dr. Samura Kamara as the heir apparent to the Presidency”.
The State House news report reminded all of us that, in 2007, “Obasanjo endorsed the SLPP Presidential candidate, Solomon Berewa, even though the former was still President of Nigeria”.
In 2012, in front of the cameras, President Obasanjo openly campaigned for President Koroma’s re-election bid in Kabala.
Obasanjo Should Remain A Statesman
According to a State House news item published on 2nd November, 2017 “Obasanjo is being regarded as a political heavyweight in West Africa”.
I would even go further to say that, President Obasanjo is a respected statesman in West Africa.
Given his special status in West Africa as a former head of state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Obasanjo should stop meddling in the politics of Sierra Leone. He has no business to come here and begin to interfere in the politics of this country. That is totally unacceptable!
President Obasanjo should stay out of the politics of Sierra Leone, by maintaining a neutral position. He should not, in any way, try to create the impression that, he is supporting one particular political party Presidential candidate against the interest of others. This cannot be tolerated anymore!
Any attempt by President Obasanjo to help any party’s prospects of winning the forthcoming election, will be opposed by the people of Sierra Leone.
President Obasanjo is making a very unwise move, by openly leaning towards the APC party in a very unpredictable election slated for March 7, 2018. The election of 2018 can go either way!
As a respected statesman, President Obasanjo should minimize his involvement in the politics of Sierra Leone by refusing to even appear openly with any of the Presidential aspirants desperately looking out for a photo opportunity to boost their chances of winning the forthcoming election. He should be careful not to play into the hands of unknown and unpopular Politicians!
Meeting With Failed APC Flag Bearer Aspirants
State House Communications Unit reported on November 2nd 2017 that, “On Sunday 29th October, 2017 the President (Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma) hosted at his Femi Turner Drive residence the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General (Rtd.) Olusegun Obasanjo for a working lunch”.
According to the State House Communications Unit, the President “went on to present Dr. Samura Kamara as the party’s Presidential candidate as well as Hon. Chernoh Bah as his running mate at next year’s ballot”. All of this was done in the presence of four failed APC flag bearer aspirants.
The questions that come to mind are (a) Why do you have to introduce the APC Presidential candidate and his running mate to a visiting former head of state (b) Why introduce Alimamy P. Koroma as the most popular flag bearer candidate that was never given the flag? (c) Why did VP Victor Bockarie Foh and Alhaji Alpha Kanu not invited to the meeting at Femi Turner Drive?
Reports, though unconfirmed state that, President Obasanjo will be leading the African Union Election Observation Mission to Sierra Leone during the March 7, 2018 elections. Will the opposition parties allow him to come here as head of the AU Election Observation Mission?
If President Obasanjo continues to be meeting with ruling party officials and their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, his chances of coming here as head of any election observation mission will be jeopardized.
My best advice to President Obasanjo is for him to stay out of the politics of Sierra Leone, by not directly or indirectly trying to influence the outcome of the March 7, 2018 elections. If he does not, it will be deeply embarrassing for him and demeaning for his great country!
I hope he takes my advice in good faith.
God bless President Obasanjo!
God bless Mama Salone!