Nigeria’s Imperial Family, By Babayola Toungo
Nigeria is in trouble. Big trouble. We are in a ship in turbulent waters with a big, ugly iceberg ahead of us and our captain is claiming not to see it. Worse still, his crewmen are telling him that the road onward is clear. That the next port of call, 2015, can be reached even if all those who paid (with their votes) for a smooth cruise will die or fall in the water before the destination is reached. While the captain is playing dumb, his hired rabble rousers are busy adding more coal to the engine while the ship is fast cutting short the distance between the ship and the iceberg. Some of the passengers, who may be on a death wish trip, are urging the captain to maintain course and whoever criticises his leadership of the ship should be thrown to the shark-invested ocean.
I am at a lost at how a country of 170 million people got saddled with a president with an addled brain – a country of brilliant and intelligent hardworking men and women, including a noble laureate. We have a president with a one-track mind tagging a wife bent on embarrassing Nigerians in the international community with her lack of basic knowledge on either how a country is governed or the role of a presidential spouse. Things are made more worrisome when you have a security leadership that is willing to be summoned and abused by a person with no known constitutional role or responsibility aside from entertaining her husband. Here I am referring to the Borno State Commissioner of Police who presented himself to be insulted and disgraced by Patience Jonathan. We can count ourselves lucky that no provision was made in our constitution recognising the spouses of elected officials. Well, at least for now. One may be celebrating prematurely – what with the way Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President is lending himself as a vessel for the introduction of unpopular presidential Bills.
While the whole world is mourning with Nigerians on the abduction of over 200 of its kids from a school in the north east, Patience Jonathan decided to audition for a Nollywood flip in front a crowd made up of governors’ wives and a compliant media. For a B rated movie, the performance was an insult on our amateurish movie industry. Even though the movies that are daily churned out are insults to the word movie, hiring Faka (Fake?) Jonathan based on the performance that Sunday night/ Monday morning will be visiting violence to the movie industry, no matter how bad they are. She came across as a bad play act even with almost three weeks of rehearsals. Patience’s actions that weekend were insensitive, callous, uncouth, heartless, uncalled for and an unmitigated disaster to her image (if she has one).
The verbal violence she unleashed on the traumatised parents, relations and teachers of those poor girls, who has been in the hands of killers for about a month now, was the height of superciliousness by anyone whose primary responsibility is to keep the bed of the president warm. Many people were amused by her display of contrived emotion. I was not. To crown her show of power and disdain for the devastated parents and officials, she ordered the arrest of some of those who came to represent some parents who couldn’t make it to Abuja from Chibok for one reason or the other. Apart from the mental anguish they are going through, they don’t have presidential jets to ferry them to be at her Imperial Majesty’s presence. I don’t blame her for the insults she hurled at the Borno state officials. I blame Kashim Shettima for allowing them to answer her summons, though his wife wisely opted out. Would the punishment for not attending the ‘meeting’ be worse than the verbal violence they were subjected to?
I have been trying to twig in what capacity did Patience Jonathan subpoenaed these people and coming three weeks their kids have been whisked away – potential first ladies. What was she doing all this while? If she really cared, wouldn’t she have gone to Chibok the morning after and not send her husband to be dancing with Sani Danger and Shekarau in Kano few hours after the dastardly act was done? Accusing the aggrieved of “sharing blood” is a notch higher than insensitivity. And then she went on to practically accuse them of stage-managing the whole thing to mortify her husband, in cahoots with those against his 2015 ambition. Mortify Jonathan? Is it possible? Has it crossed her mind (if she has any) that these people are in unspeakable anguish not knowing what unimaginable things their daughters are going though?
While she was acting her script, her husband was “catechising” officials of the Borno state government on whether the students have actually being abducted. What a slur! While Jonathan and his wife were sleeping in the three weeks that the girls have been away from their parents, these people that he is grilling couldn’t get a wink because of the pressures they are subjected to by the parents of the kids. To compound their tomfoolery, they introduce sectional dimension through our current moron-in-chief, Asari Dokubo and a religious angle through the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in particularly the not long ago formed Northern Christian Elders Forum. While the whole world is united in outrage over what happened to these poor innocent kids, the president is exploiting our fissures to escape from responsibility. As far as he has shown, he is angry that the abduction has put a hold to his junketing across the country campaigning for an election we are told he may not contest.
The anger shown by Jonathan towards the members of the House of Representatives for daring to invite his favourite Minister, Deziani Allison-Maduekwe was more real than his animus towards the terror merchants who rendered a whole community sad and miserable. What gave the members the audacity to label Allison-Maduekwe corrupt? Don’t they know the difference between a thief and a corrupt person? Saint Deziani is not corrupt but only a thief who intermittently dips her hands and pilfers some billion dollars. They are lucky he doesn’t have the power to sanusi them. They should ask the Danmaje who couldn’t even travel to neighbouring Niger all because he labelled the saint of the Petroleum Ministry corrupt.
Goodluck Jonathan and his wife are ready to play Russian roulette with the lives of not only those poor abducted girls but the lives of all Nigerians just so that they can remain in the Aso Villa for may be another four years. They always recourse to ethnicity, regionalism and religion whenever their incompetence is manifested by one avoidable mistake or the other. And we always buy the scam. From being a shoeless poor fisherman’s son from a minority tribe to being hated by northerners for being southerner, to well publicised church pilgrimages, we are gradually being diminished by Jonathan’s actions. And we always buy into his scam. While we are at each other’s throats, the couple are steadily creating and Imperial dynasty. I just pray there will be a country left by the time they take their final bow.
And there are clowns like Doyin Okupe and the recently kicked out Ali Gulak wiling to do hatchet man’s job for their Imperial majesties. Instead of admitting their incompetence, they unleashed the likes of Okupe or Asari Dokubo to remind us of how low we have sunk as a nation. When a nation’s policies or lack of it; when a nation’s leader’s image is managed by those who are more comfortable living in the sewers than in comfortable, then the nation has retrogressed to prehistoric times.
A badly written script, acted by amateur thespians to a divided house. God save us from this combination. Chai, there is God wo!
Babayola wrote in via Babayolatoungo@yahoo.co.uk
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