Nigeria’s Politics And That Distasteful Verbal Diarrhea – By Taiwo Adediran
In the recent past, a great lot has transpired under the planet earth subdivision called Nigeria. Standing out like a sore thumb was the several unprintable utterances of politicians and their ilk, many of which have now been incorporated into our political lexicon under the sub-topic – Hate Speech. The political atmosphere was submerged in raw shows of unhealthy rivalry by supposed conveyors of peace. There was blazing display of babyish protestations for and against. An instance was an elder’s show of shame before the array of domestic and international cameras, one that spurred Wikipedia into action and prompted a profile update. Then, the vituperation of an Oba – a five-minute no-holds-barred ebullition that opened the monarch to all manner of reproof and punctured the sanctity of the traditional stool. These are just a fraction of the low moments.
Prior to this, key promoters of this shade of politics had in their unrefined approaches, formulated various theories and acted the scripts practically, one that formed the template for what was to become a core course in ‘bad-belle’ politics. Not long ago, one of the recent-time unascribable broadcast messages dotted the social media. The originator’s pick up line was:
JUST CHECKING MY MEMORY CARD: Buhari may die in office like Abacha – Ayo Fayose
“I wish they can see spiritually what I am talking about, that Buhari, despite the hullabaloo, will never be president.” – Ayo Fayose.
My over 70 years old mum wears diapers – Ayo Fayose.
“Wetin him dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate. Old man wey no get brain, him brain don die pata pata.” – Patience Jonathan
“Patience Jonathan was right, Buhari is brain dead.” – Femi Fani-Kayode
“If they (APC) don’t crumble and disappear by 2014, don’t call me Okupe,”- Doyin Okupe
If APC wins, I will go on exile. – Bode George.
“If anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water. – Oba Akiolu of Lagos.
Yorubas will not vote for Buhari, we don’t trust Fulanis – Gani Adams.
There will be bloodshed if Jonathan loses in 2015 – Asari Dokubo…
All these were said a couple of months back. For politicians who among others, should esteem and dread the strength of utterances, it is doubtful if today, they still hold the same opinion. The last time I checked, Fani-Kayode who believed the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s democratic credentials are questionable apart from the “atrocities he committed when he was in power,” was begging Nigerians to cooperate with him (Buhari). Does Doyin Okupe still believe APC will crumble before 2014? What happens to his vow of a name change? Could we have expected a tribal annihilation had Ambode not won the gubernatorial election in Lagos as threatened by Oba Rilwan Akiolu? How appropriate is the word ‘Never’ as used by Gov. Fayose? Where does Dokubo stand at the moment and is Dame Patience now preparing to do a stint in prison as personally forecast?
The issue has again been exhumed following the faceoff between President Jonathan’s campaign organization and the PDP National Working Committee. Fayose has emerged the mouthpiece for the former while party chairman, Adamu Mu’azu is leading the latter pack. With the party’s stakeholders still nursing the hang-over that greeted the party’s traumatic performance in the 2015 polls, Mu’azu and his NWC attributed PDP’s flop to the hate campaign strategy adopted by the campaign team. Notable among those who were Ayo Fayose, Femi-Fani Kayode as well as the first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan. The party’s resolve to now restrict sources of its official pronouncement is a testimony to the fact that the verbal liberty in the recent past was simply the wrong way to go.
Although, with obvious claim of no regret of the near past, many will live to battle a retraction of some of this sensitive, dehumanizing and inflaming utterances to redeem battered images. That may seem a futile attempt at redemption anyway, as the activities that necessitated the detestable expletive were as blatant as they were self-seeking, and condescending as were non-retractable, for they were spewed with wanton recklessness and impunity. The reason why many of our political figures went thus far is however a topic for another day, but then, naivety and altruism appear out of the question.
There have been various attempts at justifying most of these actions with a claim of professionalism and party loyalty, but that seems baseless and belated. As the Yoruba will say, it’s too late to cloth Omoye; Omoye has already stormed the market naked. In fact, that has done nothing more than further damage. A recent scenario was the effort made by Dr Doyin Okupe. Apparently peeved by the reminders sent to him regarding his words during electioneering, an obviously irritated Okupe was full of smoking remarks for his ‘detractors,’ with an excuse to have done what he was being paid for.
But as much as the vociferous media aide tried to let the public buy into this, the more he opened himself to more vitriolic jibes like a boxing tyro in a fight with a World Champion; Additional errors of fallacy committed and more ludicrous damage done to his person. A laughable instance was the comment: “Firstly I never said if APC survives “call me a bastard,” what I said was that “I will change my name” that is the truth. So the prerogative of changing my name is mine. Bastard is not an alternative. But u(sic) can continue to say that if it gives u the kick. I really and truly don’t care.” Why a man of his status will in the first place go as far as putting his name on the line beats every right-thinking man’s imagination. Except you hold no belief in healthy contest, the race between two or more can go either way, which portrays it as a legitimate gamble. While we have not heard much from Mama Peace herself, with Fani also becoming suddenly taciturn, it seems the quotes of yesterday are biting today. They should have known better.
That said, I am of the opinion that the intent of Governor Fayose’s early message congratulating Gen. Buhari and his party is more disturbing than sportsmanlike. Although, the Ekiti state helms man may likewise hide behind mere political reasons, it does not change the fact that it’s been politics taking too far. Firstly, it was done with strong and make-believe will. Secondly, the voice and body languages were quite bad for students of politics and the polity as a whole. Thirdly, it gives more reasons why the words that come from the mouth of a politician should not be trusted no matter what. Fourthly, it is never seen in the same phantom manner by political followers who extemporaneously put up a reactionary gab. Again, the right political will calls for no forgiveness in this manner. The clamour for one and call for reconciliation by Governor Fayose is thus an admittance of guilt in an act of misdemeanor for which you were called to order severally but turned deaf ears.
Little did they know that this crude and distasteful approach does more harm than good. On several occasions, it appeared like trying to deodorize dog shit, while in others, it smacked of self-centredness – a mourner crying more than the bereaved. Although, defeat or failure is never a product of a single factor, yet, the botched return bid of President Jonathan can indeed largely be attributed to it, likewise, the political fiasco in Ekiti at the moment. The assertion of the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh and the party’s NWC that drew the wrath of Gov. Fayose cannot thus be wished away.
For Governor Fayose, the battle against the camp of those APC lawmakers is self-inflicted, unnecessary and should have been avoided at best. The imbroglio has today dwarfed his party’s victory at the polls and even his gubernatorial mandate at the Supreme Court. As helpless as the 19 lawmakers seem to be, they have to a large extent projected the government in a pugnacious light just as the lingering rigmarole has impeded him from focusing on meaningful affairs of governance in the state. Picking needless issues with the opposition is fiddling with the sleeping dog. They are the weaklings, who cannot extract milk from the cattle’s mammary glands but it cost them next to nothing to make a wasteful mess of the extracted milk. More painful is it that this acrimonious episode was forecasted but naughtily unheeded. Today, the chicken has come home to roost.
Perhaps, by now, the first lady have also come to terms with the reality that the energy, time and resources expended on tossing mud at her husband’s legitimate rivals could and should have been lavished on a better course. It is a lesson for all. Let me draw the curtain by asserting that although, he held a significant portfolio as SSA to the President on Media and Publicity, the difference between Dr Reuben Abati and the rest of the President’s mouthpiece is his refined, sagacious and mature approach. Even when the message tends to rock the boat, he is professional enough to be the messenger but stand aloof from the source. Hope a lesson has been learnt.
You can follow Taiwo Adediran on twitter @adedirant1759