Nigerian writer, playwright and poet, Nobel Prize Laureate (1986), Professor Wole Soyinka had his say on the most discussed news of the weekend - All Progressives Congress leaders' visit to Nigeria's ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. He criticized the move to court Obasanjo's support, saying the country is heading "for a shipwreck" with such political "romance".
Prof. Soyinka, one of the most prominenet critics of the former President, titled his statement "Shipwreck Ahead". In it, he alleged that our country would need "rescue operations" should the APC choose Mr. Obasanjo to "serve as a navigator for the ship of the state." Such patron-seeking strategy, he remarked, lacks moral focus, and has the feel of "political prostitution".
"An APC-led group, we understand, has been paying courtesy visits to former Heads of States. Would it be correct to state that their purpose is captured in the following Mission Statement? 'Tinubu added that the APC had resolved to rescue Nigeria, appealing to Obasanjo to lead the mission. We're resolved and determined to rescue Nigeria. We want you as navigator,' he said," the short statement read, in part.
"If this attribution is correct, may I urge you, as an urgent public service, to advise families to begin the stockpiling of life-belts for the guaranteed crash. Don't forget to alert the coastguards — ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), AU (African Union), UNO (United Nations Organization) etc, to be on the alert for possible salvage operations.
"If General Sani Abacha were alive today, would he also have been on the ship's complement? As Captain, perhaps?" Prof. Soyinka rhetorically asked in the conclusion.
In the latest development, the APC leaders visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently wrote an 18-page letter complaining among other things, the state of the PDP. It will be recalled that Mr. Obasanjo wrote a public letter criticizing President Goodluck Jonathan for "deception and dishonesty," stating that the incumbent President was "reneging on a commitment not to seek a third term in office."
In her response, former president's Boston, Massachusetts-based daughter Iyabo Obasanjo wrote her own public letter to him, accusing her father of being a "liar, hypocrite, megalomaniac and narcissist". President Goodluck Jonathan has also issued a reply.
A number of Nigeria's pro-democracy activists have also disapproved of APC's invitation to former Presidents Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to join them.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Femi Falana stated the APC leaders were recruiting the former leaders who have been excluded from what he termed the "come and chop" policy of the PDP.
Lamenting that the APC leaders did not have any plan to woo the youth who constitute more than 60 per cent of the country’s voting population, Mr. Falana said the mobilisation of the past leaders and other PDP chieftains had basically shown that the opposition leaders were only interested in power.
Another lawyer and activist, Bamidele Aturu said he was not surprised by the visit of the APC leaders to some of these prominent Nigerians, adding that he had always known that there was no difference between the PDP leaders and their APC counterpart.
"APC is not different from the people they are visiting," Mr Aturu said. "They belong to the same ideological camp. They (APC) are not progressives as they claimed. You are not a progressive because you gave yourself that label.
"They are going round to woo these people because of the succession crisis in the PDP. What then is the difference in ideology and vision? PDP believes in selling everything. They sold PHCN. I won't be surprised if some of them (APC) leaders bought it."
Mr. Aturu challenged the APC leaders to tell Nigerians how that they are different from the PDP members they are wooing.