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VAT & Fuel Price Hike: Obasanjo’s Vindictive Venom

NOTE: Though just uploaded on this new site, this piece was first published in 2007


I had an interesting dream. It could be called a strange dream, but there was really nothing strange about it. I would call it a vision perhaps, because it involved a journey through ex-president Obasanjo’s strange and vindictive mind. It was all about his parting gift of venom as he grudgingly exited Aso Rock Villa in May 2007. It was all about his vindictive hike in VAT and petroleum prices.

I happen to be one of those Nigerians who believe that the ex-president is forever bitter at Nigerians for killing his third-term agenda. In my dream was a debate between him on one side, and the entire population of Nigeria on the other side. Obasanjo was donned in the uniform of an Army General. Nigerians were all in civilian dresses, and they, or should I say we were all speaking in unison. Partly engulfed in thick black smoke, General Obasanjo was bellowing at us through a megaphone. You do know how crazy dreams can be sometimes, so imagine the rest of the scenario as you read the dialogue, thus:

          Nigerians: Baba, what have we done to deserve this venomous parting gift from you? We have been obedient children all through your eight years of terror. We tolerated your uncouth behaviors and accepted all your dictatorial, oppressive policies. We even ignored all your follies in the area of management of our funds. And now you plunge us into economic despair as a parting gift!

          General Obasanjo: I have always said that you bloody civilians are very stupid, and now you are all confirming it with such stupid question. You rejected my bid to rule you forever, and now you turn around and ask me what have you done to deserve my wrath. What a stupid question!

          Nigerians: All we said was that you have gotten old, and you need a rest. You have contributed your own little quota to the development of the country, or destruction of the country as many of us see it. Anyway, whatever it was that you did, we do insist that we need some new blood in the system. Lets face it, baba, you have become obsolete and counter-productive.

          Obasanjo: Shut up, you nitwits! Have you ever heard of a Messiah that a simple matter of old age stopped from protecting his people? Now, let me ask you, how old was Moses when he led the Israelites to…well, he almost led the…

          Nigerians: Haba, baba (father), you cannot even finish your own sentence. You have realized that Moses never really made it all the way to the Promised Land, maybe because he was getting too old. The Almighty God in his wisdom probably decided, among other reasons, that Moses needed to hand over to a younger generation with fresh ideas. Or, maybe God felt that he should not allow one man the monopoly of wisdom.

          Obasanjo: Shut up, you fools! What does any of you know about wisdom? If you were wise you would not kick me out of Aso Rock, my heavenly villa, after all I have done for you. You ungrateful nitwits! And now I have to leave in the little town called Ota. I have to battle with traffic jams everyday, often for three whole hours. Can’t you understand that that alone can drive a man crazy? And you are asking me what you have done to deserve the pain I have inflicted on you. You should be thanking your stars that I did not do worse. Come to think of it, maybe I am really getting too old; I can’t even inflict terrible pains on people any longer.

          Nigerians: Haba, baba! Do you understand what you are saying? The cost of everything has sky-rocketed to hell. Remember that you refused to approve pay rise at our workplaces. How do you expect us to get to work now that the cost of transportation to work is higher than our monthly salaries? Indeed, where do we get the money to feed, clothe and shelter our families with all this inflation? Haba, baba…

          Obasanjo: I said, shut up! And you must stop calling me baba. Who is your baba? Fools! I only know Iyabo as my child. First, you rejected my move to rule you forever. Then, I gave you a simple compromise to install my stooges in the right places to protect my interests, but you won’t even let that be. You are complaining and petitioning all over the place to remove my boys from all the positions. Look what you already did to my boy Andy Uba just within sixteen days! Then you turn around and call me baba. Baba ko, Alhaji ni!

          Nigerians: Haba, baba! Your rigging was too blatant to accept now…ah, ah! You were not even clever enough to conceal it just a little.

          Obasanjo: Shut up, you bloody civilians! Hide what? Why should I hide anything from you? Did I not tell you on national television that I was not going to hand over my country to anybody except my stooge? Did I not tell you that it was a do-or-die affair? And now you are complaining…fools!

          Nigerians: By the way, baba, why do you keep calling us fools?

          Obasanjo: And why not? Are you not fools? Wasn’t that why God freed me from prison to save you all from yourselves?

          Nigerians: All 140 million of us are fools?

          Obasanjo: Of course, all of you! What did you do when I was acquiring many of the country’s public assets and selling the rest to my cronies at peanut prices? Where were you when I violated the constitution of this land at will and ran this country as my personal company? And then, when you saw that I had gotten used to it all, you suddenly woke up and decided to kick me out of Aso Rock. Now you are complaining about my little vengeance of VAT and petroleum price increases. Leave my sight, you fools. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Obasanjo’s sinister laughter was still bellowing in the air when I woke up from my dream. Silly as the dream might have been, most Nigerians can actually identify with it as a reality. As his apparition said in the dream, Obasanjo took Nigerians for weakling-fools for so long because we swallowed all the bullshit that he shoved down our throats in his eight-year take-it-or-leave-it, do-or-die militocracy.

He found it difficult to accept when we finally woke up from our slumber and said no to some of his evil machinations. He especially can never forgive Nigerians for destroying his dream to remain in Aso Rock until his dying day. The vindictive part of him had to do something to hurt Nigerians really badly. Why else, I pray, would any sane person do what the man did with the VAT and petroleum products?

Please, spare me the stupid arguments offered by Obasanjo’s cronies such as Afe Babalola, who are paid handsomely with our stolen money to launder the man’s evil image. The propagandists cannot even articulate their own words properly. They stutter all over the place when they talk, because their consciences know that they are propagating evil. Tell me, what do they have to say about the fact that, typically, their lawless baba (not mine) did not bother to consult with our lawmakers, our representatives?

Show me any person that supports Obasanjo’s vindictive VAT increase and hike in prices of petroleum products, and I will show you one of the looters of our treasury, period. The looters do not give a damn that prices of all Nigerian commodities and services immediately skyrocketed. They have stolen all our national wealth, and they can afford any price of anything that they want at any time…and that’s a lot of Bullshit!

Harry Agina writes from the USA

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