By EHICHIOYA EZOMON
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s extensively publicized open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari has its root in two words: “righteous” and “indignation,” as contained in the Holy Books. As explained, and analyzed in letgodbetrue.com, righteous, of actions, is characterized by justice or uprightness, while indignation is anger at what is regarded as unworthy or wrongful.
Interestingly, both words are foundational to and associated with God by His expectation of holiness from His people, and they run the gamut of the Scriptures – from Genesis to Revelation. Hence, if we say, God has righteous indignation, it means “holy anger, fury, and jealousy at sinners.” (Ps 69:24; 78:49; Isaiah 30:27,30; 34:2; Jeremiah 10:10; Ezekiel 21:31; 22:31; Nahum 1:6; Malachi 1:4; Micah 7:9; Habakkuk 3:12; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 1:12; Rom 2:8; Heb 10:27; Rev 14:10)
Men, too, according to letgodbetrue.com, may have natural indignation at mean acts inciting disgust (II Kings 3:27; II Sam 10:1-7). In other words, “righteous indignation is anger and hatred for evil that pleases God.” (Ex 32:19; Ps 45:7; 97:10; 101:3; 119:128, 163; 139:19-22; Prov 8:13; Am 5:15; Mark 3:5; Rom 12:9; Ep 4:26; Heb 1:9)
A good example was Moses’ righteous indignation against Israel for worshipping the golden calf (Ex 32:19-29), leading him to cast the tablets of stone (Ten Commandments) from God on the ground and broken them to pieces; took the calf, ground it to powder, put it in the water, and made them drink it; and angrily confronted Aaron for his heinous act of sin against The Lord.
Flowing from the above biblical excursion, one could hold that Dr.Obasanjo’s obvious righteous indignation was based on “a sense of wrong, or by meanness, injustice, wickedness, or misconduct” reportedly committed by President Buhari.
Indeed, Obasanjo enumerated the president’s alleged weaknesses in the areas of economy and foreign affairs; condonation and cover up; wittingly or unwittingly allowing herdsmen/crop farmers’ issue to turn sour and messy; and partisan endorsement of Buhari for a second term on the day 73 people killed by herdsmen in Benue were being interred.
Other supposed “sins” of President Buhari are: Nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness; inability to discipline errant members of his government; poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics, culminating in a divided nation, widened inequality and insecurity; and passing the buck, and blaming past governments for his (Buhari) administration’s shortcomings.
Chief Obasanjo held that these reported deficiencies in conduct, condition, thought, and ability, coupled with his health and age conditions, disqualify President Buhari from seeking re-election in 2019, and he so advised the president.
Nobody should begrudge Chief Obasanjo his inalienable right to speak truth to power. But in doing so, he should be mindful not to fall prey to imprudence, malice, hypocrisy and insubmission, going by the same letgodbetrue.com reportage, as exhorted by the Holy Books.
It cautioned, for instance, that, “The wise man would instruct us to use prudence in reporting evil to avoid trouble” (Prov 22:3); and that, “Anger against a brother without a cause is wicked, murder, and will be judged” (Matt 5:21-26).
Besides, “Hypocrisy in judgment is sin” (Hosea 1:4 cp II Kings 10:29-31; Obadiah 1:10-16; Matt 7:3-5; Rom 2:1-3); while “Our duty is to pray and submit to the national authority” (I Tim 2:1-3; I Peter :11-17).
Despite these biblical references, there’s a saying in Esanland of Edo State that, “The sleep that falls the farmer enables the rat to jump over his body.” Meaning, it’s President Buhari that arms the likes of Obasanjo with the ammo to attack him. Were it otherwise, there wouldn’t be grounds for Obasanjo and the opposition to impugn Buhari’s fidelity to his avowals, and his government’s record of achievement.
At the height of the surreptitious return of the fugitive former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, the public started exhuming similar “unattended” allegations against government officials.
Accordingly, I wrote a piece on October 30, 2017, “Time for Buhari to show he’s totally in charge,” querying, “Is there a ‘government’ (a fifth column), within the Government of President Buhari, out to undermine its agenda, particularly the fight against corruption that the president promised Nigerians, to earn their votes?”
I signed off by saying that: “Surely, Maina’s ghost shouldn’t have resurrected had the president publicly done the ‘needful’ in the (alleged) cases involving Messrs Ibrahim Lamorde, BabacirLawal, Ayo Oke, Ibrahim Magu, TukurBuratai, Ibrahim Idris, Ahmed GamboSaleh and MaikantiBaru: Sanction them if they are found culpable, or officially clear them if innocent of the allegations against them.”
And in an article, “Buhari, herdsmen and traumatized citizenry” of Jan. 15, following the burial of the people killed in Benue, I urged the government to “come clean about this issue, which has become an albatross on the necks of President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress administration he heads.”
The Obasanjo open letter to President Buhari demands no less a response! These times are inauspicious for the luxury of “slow in taking actions without exhaustive consideration,” as the president told a select group of APC top shots last week. He must be proactive, and should not be viewed or seen as shirking from initiating measures that could timeously douse tensions as they incubate across the country.
* Mr.Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.