Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is arguably the 'King of Open Letters' in Nigeria.

Not necessarily because he writes more often but for every time he writes, the impact reverberates both home and abroad.

His era of open letter started when in 2013, he accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of driving the country to the precipice and allowing deceit, corruption and mutual distrust to tear at the fabric of the nation. 

In an eighteen-page letter, which the former president said he was making open, upon the president’s failure to act or acknowledge earlier letters; Obasanjo accused Jonathan of decimating the PDP through his determination for a second term against earlier promises of serving one term.

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Obasanjo went ahead to openly withdraw his support from his former party People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the build up to the 2015 elections and Goodluck Jonathan lost the election.

In the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, "Ignore Obasanjo at your own peril".

He said it while advising former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to find a way of getting Obasanjo's support if he intends to actualise his presidential ambition in 2019.

Even though Obasanjo's open letters are more popular and impactful, there have been times eminent personalities have written open letters to Baba Iyabo. 

1) 'Dear Daddy, You Don’t Own Nigeria'

It is not always you see a daughter calling her father out in the open but that was exactly what Iyabo Obasanjo, the first daughter of the former president did when she wrote an open letter to her dad in 2013.

Iyabo 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, 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.

Well, Iyabo has gone into political oblivion since then.

2) 'You Are A Trouble Maker'

Former Minister of Information and Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark in 2014 wrote a blistering open letter to Obasanjo describing him as an unrepentant trouble maker and hypocrite guilty of many of the things he recently accused President Goodluck Jonathan of committing.

In a 10-page letter to Obasanjo, Clark drew reference from the time of their common service in the Yakubu Gowon government and Obasanjo's relationship with all former heads of state that succeeded him to describe the former president as one who is determined to shape Nigeria according to his own whims.

Clark traced Obasanjo’s opposition to Jonathan to frustration arising from his failure to manipulate the president on issues just as he defended the president on his linkages with his Ijaw home base, saying that the president has unlike his predecessors, not given preferences to his people.

3) ‘Dear Baba’

Former President Goodluck Jonathan wrote to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2015, seeking the latter’s blessing for his next public engagement, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, and pledging to spend the rest of his life making the world a better place.

Given the bad blood that governed the relationship between both men towards the end of Jonathan’s presidency, the letter seemed to be an attempt at rapprochement.

The foundation will advance Jonathan’s interest in human development, peace and security, the letter, which begins with the endearing greeting, “Dear Baba”, said. 

Have we seen the last of open letters in Nigeria? I don't think so. More should be expected as the 2019 general elections draw near.


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