Iyabo Obasanjo Writes Father, Says: ‘Dear Daddy, You Don’t Own Nigeria! Oh Well

Update: Iyabo Obasanjo has said she does not know anything about this letter. She phoned in to AIT and said the letter is false.

In what is turning out to be a season of open letters,
daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Iyabo, has ruled out further
communication with her father till death, describing him as a liar,
manipulator, two-faced hypocrite determined to foist on President Goodluck
Jonathan what no one would contemplate with him as president.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo in a letter to her father accused him
of having an egoistic craving for power and living a life where only men of low
esteem and intellect thrive.
In the 11-page letter dated December 16, 2013 exclusively
obtained by Vanguard, Iyabo accused her father of orchestrating a third term
for himself as president, cruelty to family members, abandonment of children
and grandchildren, and also, a legendary reputation of maltreatment of women.

Iyabo who forswore further political engagements in Nigeria
denied any political motive for her missive, and described Nigeria as a country
where her father and his ilk have helped to create a situation where smart,
capable people bend down to imbeciles to survive. She particularly noted her
experience as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health when she led the
committee on a retreat appropriated for in the budget only for her to be
prosecuted for it.
Iyabo, first child of the former president, started the
letter titled, Open Letter to my Father with a 4th century Chinese proverb by
Mencius which states: “The great man is he who does not lose his child’s
Her letter:
“It brings me no joy to have to write this but since you
started this trend of open letters I thought I would follow suit since you
don’t listen to anyone anyway. The only way to reach you may be to make the
public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering
mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you
but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person
you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records
“I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother
later in this letter.
“Like most Nigerians, I believe there are very enormous
issues currently plaguing the country but I was surely surprised that you will
be the one to publish such a treatise. I remember clearly as if it was yesterday
the day I came over to Abuja from Abeokuta when I was Commissioner of Health in
OgunState, specifically to ask you not to continue to pursue the third term
“I had tried to bring it up when your sycophantic aides were
present and they brushed my comments aside and as usual you listened to their
self-serving counsel. For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously
practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality.  Everyone around for even a few minutes knows
that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have
learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that
can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat
like shit (sic) apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like
“Before I continue, Nigerians are people who see conspiracy
and self-service in everything because I think they believe everyone is like
them. This letter is not in support of President Jonathan or APC or any other
group or person, but an outpouring from my soul to God. I don’t blame you for
the many atrocities you have been able to get away with, Nigerians were your
enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect
“Getting back to the story, I made sure your aides were not
around and brought up the issue, trying to deliver the presentation of the
issue as I had practiced it in my head. I started with the fact that we copied
the US constitution which has term limits of two terms for a President. As is
your usual manner, you didn’t allow me to finish my thought process and listen
to my point of view. Once I broached the subject you sat up and said that the
US had no term limits in the past but that it had been introduced in the 1940s
after the death of President Roosevelt, which is true.
I wanted to say to you: when you copy something you also
copy the modifications based on the learning from the original; only a fool
starts from scratch and does not base his decisions on the learning of others.
In science, we use the modifications found by others long ago to the most
recent, as the basis of new findings; not going back to discover and learn what
others have learnt. Human knowledge and development and civilization will not
have progressed if each new generation and society did not build on the
knowledge of others before them.
The American constitution itself is based on several
theories and philosophies of governance available in the 18th century.
Democracy itself is a governance method started by the ancient Greeks.
America’s founding fathers used it with modifications based on what hadn’t
worked well for the ancient Greeks and on new theories since then.
“As usual in our conversations, I kept quiet because I know
you well.  You weren’t going to change
your mind based on my intervention as you had already made up your mind on the
persuasion of the minions working for you who were ripping the country blind.
When I spoke to you, your outward attitude to the people of the country was
that you were not interested in the third term and that it was others pushing
it. Your statement to me that day proved to me that you were the brain behind
the third term debacle. It is therefore outrageous that you accuse the current
President of a similar two-facedness that you yourself used against the people
of the country.
“I was on a plane trip between Abuja and Lagos around the
time of the third term issue and I sat next to one of your sycophants on the
plane.  He told me: “Only Obasanjo can
rule Nigeria”.  I replied: “God has not
created a country where only one person can rule. If only one person can rule
Nigeria then the whole Nigeria project is not a viable one, as it will be a
non-sustainable project”
“I don’t know how you came about Yar’Adua as the candidate
for your party as it was not my priority or job. Unlike you, I focus on the
issues I have been given responsibility over and not on the jobs of others. It
was the day of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Abeokuta during the
state-by-state tour of 2007 that Yar’Adua got sick and had to be flown abroad.
The MKO Abiola Stadium was already filled with people by 9am when I drove by
(and) we had told people based on the campaign schedule that the rally would
start at noon.
At 11 am I headed for the stadium on foot; it was a short
walk as there were so many cars already parked in and out. As I walked on with
two other people, we saw crowds of people leaving the stadium. I recognized
some of them as politicians and I asked them why people were leaving. They
said  the Presidential candidate had
died. I was alarmed and shocked. I walked back home and received a call from a
friend in Lagos who said the same and added that he had died in the plane
carrying him abroad for treatment and that the plane was on its way to Katsina
to bury him.
I called you, and told you the information and that the
stadium was already half-empty. You told me to go to the stadium and tell the
people on the podium to announce that the Presidential candidate had taken ill
that morning but the rest of the team, including you and the Vice-Presidential
candidate would arrive shortly.  I did as
I was told, but even the people on the podium at first didn’t make the
announcement because they thought it was true that Yar’Adua had died. I had to
take the microphone and make the announcement myself. It did little good.
People kept trooping out of the stadium. Your team didn’t arrive until 4pm and
by this time we had just a sprinkling of people left.
That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had
insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although
you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a
cold?  And you said “I would rather die
than have the man die at this time.”  I
thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me.  Then I thought it a stupid statement but as
usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would
be used against me.  When Yar’Adua
eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his
I left Nigeria in 1989 right after youth service to study in
the US and I visited in 1994 for a week and didn’t visit again until your
inauguration in 1999. In between, you had been arrested by Abacha and jailed.
We, your children, had no one who stood with us. Stella famously went around
collecting money on your behalf but we had no one.  We survived. I was the only one of the
children working then as a post-doctoral fellow when I got the call from a
friend informing me of your arrest.
A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark
and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very
offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest
or kill you as was occurring to many at the time.  The source of my information was my mother
who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in
the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that
they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please.  The consequence of your bravado is history.
We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty
and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the
benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little
respect you have for your children.
You think our existence on earth is about you. By the way,
how many are we? 19, 20, 21? Do you even know? 
In the last five years, how many of these children have you spoken to?
How many grandchildren do you have and when did you last see each of them? As
President you would listen to advice of people that never finished high school
who would say anything to keep having access to you so as to make money over
your children who loved you and genuinely wished you well.
“At your first inauguration in 1999, I and my brothers and
sisters told you we were coming from the US. As is usual with you, you made no
arrangements for our trip, instead our mom organized to meet each of us and
provided accommodation. At the actual swearing-in at Eagle Square, the others
decided to watch it on TV. Instead I went to the square and I was pushed and
tossed by the crowd.

I managed to get in front of the crowd where I waved and
shouted at you as you and General Abdulsalam Abubakar  walked past to go back to the VIP seating
area. I saw you mouth ‘my daughter’ to General Abdullahi who was the one who
pulled me out of the crowd and gave me a seat. As I looked around I saw Stella
and Stella’s family prominently seated but none of your children.  I am sure General Abdullahi would remember
this incident and I am eternally grateful to him.
Getting back to my mother, I still remember your beating her
up continually when we were kids. What kids can forget that kind of violence
against their mother?  Your maltreatment
of women is legendary.  Many of your women
have come out to denounce you in public but since your madness is also part of
the madness of the society, it is the women that are usually ignored and
mistreated. Of course, you are the great pretender, making people believe you
have a good family life and a good relationship with your children but once in
a while your pretence gets cracked.
When Gbenga gave a ride to help someone he didn’t know but
saw was in need and the person betrayed his trust by tapping his candid
response on the issues going on between you and your then vice-president, Atiku
Abubakar, you had your aides go on air and denounce the boy before you even
spoke to him to find out what happened. 
What kind of father does that? Your atrocities to some of my other
siblings I will let them tell in their own due time or never if they choose.
Some of the details of our life are public but the people
choose to ignore it and pretended we enjoyed some largesse when you were

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