Let us start this week with the ongoing political drama – nay, tragicomedy – in Imo state. We have seen great attacks and dribbles that have got our sense of humour tickled. And we have seen fantastic defences that keep us wondering and wandering. What is it about Nigerian politics that makes it inherently do or die? And why are our politicians not afraid to unveil their desperation?
The state governor, Rochas Okorocha, a man never too far from controversial headlines, has for long endorsed his son-in-law and the state’s Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as his successor. Through a release of the government’s Chief Press Secretary, he recently reiterated this agenda, in reaction to claims that he has retracted his steps. Not only that, the governor has also recommended his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, to represent the people of Imo East at the Senate while he would do the same for the Imolites of the Imo West Senatorial Zone.
He has even said his endorsement enjoys a greater endorsement from none less than God Himself. But, the fact that he holds the highest office in the state and is the deputy’s direct boss has not stopped conflict from ensuing between the two state officers in question. In a recent interview, Chief Uche Nwosu, has embraced this blessing, while noting that his personal relationship with the governor has nothing to do with his ambition and merits. He also said any opposition to his gubernatorial bid is baseless.
But Prince Mademere will not back down so easily. Being merely a deputy cannot be enough, when the full cake is up for the taking. He has vowed “nobody born of a woman could stop his ambition, saying that God remained the ultimate decider of anyone’s future.” Both say they are qualified, and certainly both are entitled to run for the office. But what is worrisome is how they are going about their ambitions, and how it is appearing more and more like a battle for personal elevation than for the good of the people of Imo state.
Moving on quickly, on the national level we have the mysterious cancellation of the President’s trip to Rwanda for a meeting of AU Heads of State and Government. The first set of his advance team had already landed in Kigali, the host country’s capital, but the second set of personnel were abruptly asked to return to their homes and places of work after they arrived at the airport. More disconcerting is the silence that has trailed this event from the President’s media team. It is probably too early for assumptions, but with Mr President’s medical history, it is hoped that this is not indicative of another health breakdown.
Though this has happened a little above a week ago, let us not easily forget the not-so-shocking revelations from Senator Shehu Sani about the lawmakers’ monthly jumbo pay. According to him, each Senator rakes in N13.5 million monthly as running cost, which does not include N700,000 monthly consolidated salary among other allowances. He further revealed that the annual N200 million worth of constituency projects are often fraught with fraud.
This has been confirmed by the Senate, and leaves us pondering how much Nigeria has lost to this institution since its reintroduction in 1999, compared to what she has gained in return. Shall we stop with the advice of the rebel-Senator and advocate for the abolition of the running costs and constituency allowances? Or shall we take it a step further by giving a red card to the Red Chambers itself, like our brethren in Senegal? Or, yet again, shall we just forget this was ever said and move on with our lives, hoping our government officials will turn a new leaf?
Well finally, let us talk about weddings. There have a lot of high-profile marriage ceremonies taking place of recent, from that of the Ajimobi’s and Ganduje’s to that of the Dangote’s and the Abubakar’s. What is common to these ceremonies is their endogamous nature. We find that generally the rich wed the rich and, yes, the poor have none else to woo but the fellow poor. But that is not where we are headed.
What really caught our fancy was the low-profile (well, relatively), ‘private’ wedding, yesterday, between Damilola Osinbajo and Oluseun Bakare. It is not really about what went on at the event, much of which is not public anyway, but the mindset that went into it organisation. Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, having concern for the “mood of the nation”, had warded off pressure to do a “grand wending”, and instead insisted on a low-key ceremony.
An insider had said, “Left to the VP and his wife, it would have been the smallest and simplest of ceremonies, taking place in their backyard, especially given the current mood the nation.” Now this is leadership, accommodating of the sensibilities of the common man and not acting as though the world revolves around it. It is expected that others learn from such attitude – others, especially the number one man.
Till next weekend!