Where in the world would people congregate to say morning prayers and the next act immediately after is a conspiracy; an ungodly act? Well, on the morning of December 16, 2006, it happened in Olusegun Obasanjo's Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
That was the day then Governor Peter Otunuya Odili was forced to abandon his presidential ambition that had received national acclaim; with a promise, mind you, to be chosen as the running mate to Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the man who would become the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate and later president.
But Nigerians should not be too bothered that the country's seat of power is the venue for such a vile act. Ask Audu Ogbeh, former chairman of PDP, from whom a resignation letter was extracted - he was reportedly locked up in a vast living room to allow him time to draft the letter and append his signature. Obasanjo wrote the script for that drama, a drama that saw him send his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on an official assignment in an Eastern African country. Here was the same Obasanjo who had had pounded yam for lunch with Ogbeh in the residence of the latter just a few days earlier.
For those who conspire, they forget one simple fact of human existence, which is that every mortal is a mere pawn and, therefore, can not play God - even Obasanjo, who was the all-in-all while he was in power, is only trying to seek relevance today by constantly haranguing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with contradictory suggestions on how best to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency.
Men (as in human beings generally) easily forget or choose not to believe that they are pawns and, so, conduct their affairs in a manner suggestive of their being in possession of some powers to make or mar. Merriam Webster Dictionary describes a pawn as "one that can be used to further the purposes of another" - one that can be used indeed.
If the reason why James Ibori, Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir El-Rufai, who were being used as pawns by Obasanjo to scuttle Odili's ambition, was altruistic in nature and for the general good of Nigeria, it would have been better. But their biggest consideration was just to help Obasanjo accomplish his plan (which he consistently denies) of foisting a weakling on Nigeria. Even after succeeding with the first plot to force Odili out of the race, they went a maliciously devious step further to deny him the vice presidential ticket.
That was why Ibori, Ribadu and El-Rufai chose that night of December 16 through the early hours of December 17, 2006, to terminate whatever was left of Odili's ambition. They succeeded. But because they were mere pawns, what has become of all three men? Ibori is cooling his feet in a London jail; El-Rufai continues his visceral outburst against the Jonathan presidency in a manner that is at once laughable, when his criticisms are placed side-by-side his role during the Obasanjo years; and of course, Ribadu, who already saw himself as prospective president because he was hand-picked to fly the banner of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, his adopted political party, but whose members voted overwhelmingly for PDP's Jonathan - even the tokenistic handout of chairing a committee whose report was never intended for implementation - has not been able to burnish his relevance in national affairs.
Men who play God do not know God. Pure and simple.
We proceed to help them.
According to the catholic encyclopedia, God can variously be defined as "the one Supreme and Infinite Personal Being, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, to whom man owes obedience and worship.... When we say that God is infinite, we mean that He is unlimited in every kind of perfection or that every conceivable perfection belongs to Him in the highest conceivable way".
From Obasanjo to all his boys (some of the upstarts actually hustled to succeed Obasanjo as President and Commander-in-Chief) they assumed a false sense of infinity, thereby doing and undoing and believing they could play God.
Unfortunately, because men who are pawns are not infinite, as they play God, they toy with the destiny of a nation and the people therein.
One way or another, their actions and inactions go a long way to determine the development or underdevelopment of a nation.
Though Nigeria does not possess the sole franchise for conspiracies in high places, the melancholy which attends the outcome of every conspiratorial endeavour of Nigeria's leadership class, makes all the difference for all the wrong reasons.
So, when you wonder why Nigeria continues to grope in the dark, with leaders who are very clueless, remember the mode of their emergence - we can go as far back as independence.
But from Obasanjo in 1999, to Yar'Adua in 2007 and the emergence of President Jonathan, there has almost always been an intricate web of deceit in the way each had emerged. For Obasanjo, the military foisted him on Nigerians; for Yar'Adua, Obasanjo imposed him on the nation; and in Jonathan's case, he side-stepped his party's rule on zoning which he had voted for on December 22, 2002, and sought solace in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In Odili's autobiography, CONSCIENCE AND HISTORY - My Story, is a compendium of the series of wickedness in high places which occurred just three days before the PDP national convention of 2006, the way and manner some leaders of the party, led by Obasanjo, imposed one Celestine Omehia as the candidate for the governorship election in Rivers State (against the ordinarily legal candidacy of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi); as well as his legal battles to free himself from the planned and intimidating vice-grip hold of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as well as his achievements as the governor of Rivers State.
The book also radiates goodness from the man, his family and upbringing. On the link below, you will read excerpts from the book, excerpts which represent less than one percent of the revelations by Odili. And he waxes confident by challenging any individual who has anything contrary to the truth he has written by his own hands to come out.
The soon-to-be-launched book would send tongues waging. And there would be heated responses. Just wait.
Read excerpts: Inside Obasanjo's Aso Rock: 'After morning prayers, let us plot evil'