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The agonies of Buhari and Oshiomhole



Saturday, November 6th is Anambra’s date with history

Tunde Odesola

For the All Progressives Congress, it’s not raining, it’s pouring but the umbrella is with the hot-chasing rival, the Peoples Democratic Party.

Each time Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), boots a penalty kick into throw-in, I begin to ponder the importance of secondary school education as a useful tool for political leadership.

Whenever I imagine how former comrade, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, hid his tragic flaws, and led labour unions out against governments, only to now fall face down to the very ills of hypocrisy and highhandedness for which he had countlessly grounded the country back in the day, I take heed of the idiom, which says character, like smoke, can’t be trapped in a fist.

The illogicality of some self-indicting pronouncements by Buhari leaves so much bile in the stomach and provokes the mouth to snarl the Igbo proverb, “If the oracle asserts too much power, it will be shown the tree it was carved from.”

Last week, Oshiomhole’s rootless invincibility was dragged naked to the Ovia River by his ruthless ex-godson, Godwin Obaseki, who decimated the godfather and set Edo electorate agog.

Devastatingly, the Interstate Ballistic Missiles deployed by the coalition of enemies-turned-friends in the Edo electoral blitzkrieg also hit the chief priest of godfather politics in Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, ripping apart his political carapace while the song, “Edo no be Lagos,” erupted in the camp of the prodigally famous PDP.

Aside from demystifying Buhari’s APC and disgracing the Lagos-Edo godfathers, the battle for the soul of Edo between the two major political parties reveals that lust for power was the superglue that binds Nigeria’s political elite, and not the love of the masses because the countdown to the election was totally bereft of masses-oriented issues but abusive rants by both parties.

I, hereby, invite Nigeria-loving comrades, not labour union-exploiting, brown khaki-wearing ‘come-raids’, into the world of Yoruba mythology as I tell the story of Ifa and Okete.

Every land has a name for the okete. Among the Yoruba, okete is the pouched rat with the famed white-tipped tail. Long before it was demystified and became a choice delicacy in earthen pot soups, okete was a bosom friend of Orunmila, the grand priest of Ifa – Yoruba’s traditional religion and system of divination. Okete was also an adherent of Ifa.

According to the Araba of Osogbo, Ifayemi Elebuibon, Orunmila grew suspicious when the secrets of his divination became subjects of discussion in the marketplace. Thus, Orunmila consulted Ifa, who told him what to do.

On the third day, as commanded by Ifa, Orunmila stood before his shrine and looked skywards, chanting some incantations and suddenly brought down his spear, driving it hard into the earth in one fell swoop. There was a violent vibration within the earth as the spear pierced an unseen creature. The creature had burrowed a tunnel from its house through to Orunmila’s shrine, where it daily listened to Ifa divinations from under the ground.

Orunmila yanked out the spear together with its kill from inside the ground and okete was seen at the long end, bleeding from a cracked skull with spilled brains. Disappointed, Orunmila lamented the treachery of Okete in these very words, “Okete, ba yi ni iwa re, o ba Ifa mu’le, o da Ifa.”

Without jibber-jabbering, the oath President Buhari swore to, on behalf of Nigerians, is to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic. And the Constitution guarantees the inalienable right of Nigerians to aspire to any post in the land, among many other rights being more honoured in breach than in observance by the Major General Buhari regime.

The Nigerian Constitution guarantees equitable representation in appointments at the federal level – in line with the dictates of the country’s federal character policy which seeks to build national unity and foster a sense of belonging among the geopolitical zones of the country.

Buhari’s unsurpassable kith-and-kin governance, however, has consistently negated this constitutional provision with ALL key security headships, except one, going to northerners. Similarly, the heads of more than 80 percent of critical non-security agencies are from the North with Buhari hand-picking junior northerners above their far more competent southern superiors – to head the organisations.

Last week, I read with mouth agape, the strident call of a president with an unenviable track record of nepotism, demanding from the United Nations an equitable representation on the Security Council. Major General Buhari who comes to equity, mustn’t come with bloodied hands.

In a video sent to a virtual meeting by world leaders to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, Buhari said there was the need for fair and equitable representation in the Security Council ‘if we must achieve the United Nations we need’.

By his penchant for clannishness, unjust distribution of appointments and projects, I’m strongly persuaded to believe that Buhari never made that equity-demanding statement credited to him by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. That could never have been Buhari talking because equity won’t rehabilitate Boko Haram members while their homeless Christian victims are still in sackcloths, gnashing their teeth and mourning dead relatives. Equity won’t support Fulani herdsmen usurpation of southern territories while the Buhari government comes up with various policies seeking to legitimise their criminal activities.

Like okete, Buhari has clearly not stayed true to his oath to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the citizenry.

What about Oshiomhole? For some days, Oshiomhole went incommunicado from the public after the crushing defeat in Edo only to find his voice in a gym, where he futilely attempted to downplay the PDP victory by trying very hard to appear strong, unperturbed and sportsmanly.

In the same manner that okete was eventually subdued and exposed, the one minute, forty-seven seconds video exposes a subdued Oshiomhole painfully swallowing his pride and putting up a show, pretending to be oblivious that Obaseki now stands astride a certain coffin with a sledgehammer and nails in hand.

A hitherto tough-talking, no-nonsense, almighty Oshiomhole caught a pitiable sight as he sweated and clasped his hands like a defrauded merchant, prevaricating on the electoral loss.

Oshiomhole tried very hard to gloss over the loss but he failed. Without mentioning the nightmarish loss, Oshiomhole, in the video, also didn’t mention the name of his party, his party’s candidate, the PDP or Obaseki – all screaming telltales of living in denial.

If he was as strong, sportsmanly and undisturbed as he tried to evince in the video, Oshiomhole should’ve commended the electorate and the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of the largely peaceful election. Also, he should’ve praised the standard bearer of his party, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for putting up a good fight, and spared Obaseki and the PDP a word of congratulation.

But Oshiomhiole appeared devastated by the loss that put paid to a golden opportunity to reinvent himself in his Edo home base after he was sacked in Abuja as national chairman of the APC.

In retrospect, I think Oshiomhole would probably have wished he had tolerated Obaseki and retained the Edo Government House. Ize-Iyamu too would likely have fancied his political prospect if he had remained in the PDP. May the Lord direct my steps, lest I mismove in life.

Unwanted in Abuja, rejected in Edo, it’s now Oshiomole’s turn to taste the bitter pills he served his predecessor and former National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun; a former Edo governor, Lucky Igbinedion, and the late Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, whom Oshiomole boastfully declared he retired.

In the next four years, it will take political mismanagement on the path of Obaseki for Oshiomhole to bounce back in Edo, a state intolerant of godfathers who shout hosanna in the morning and chorus, kill him at night.