Conversation Nigeriana (4)
By HOPE EGHAGHA
Ojo: Alhaji sir!
Abubakar: Are you a goat?
Ojo: No Alhaji!
Abubakar: So why did you respond when I called you Goat?
Ojo: It is a political season Alhaji. Anything you call me I will answer. That way my meals will be guaranteed! Baba o! I hail o!
Emeka: Politics of survival is the game in Nigeria. Promise anything and everything and ignore the electorate later.
Timi: It’s not everyone who plays stomach politics. See the way Atiku treated Wike and Wike’s reaction. That man is like a mad dog oo. They should not mess with him. The Rivers State guy doesn’t care. He is ready to go for broke in the tradition of ‘emilokan!
Ojo: Hehehehehehe! Emilokan and other stories will make a good title!
Omokomoko: Republic of Emilokan! After Tinubu takes over, we shall change the name of the country. Federal Republic of Emilokan!
Ojo: Or Oduduwa Republic!
Abubakar: If Atiku takes over we shall become Fulani Republic!
Emeka: Hahahahahaha! That is a joke. Nnamdi Kanu will not accept it.
Banjo: Igboho will not accept it either!
Tega: If Obi wins, we shall become Biafra Republic!
Ojo: This is all nonsense you guys are spewing! We have only Federal Republic of Nigeria which can and should be renegotiated.
Abubakar: Will ISWAP of Boko Haram accept it?
Timi: Is this conversation for real? Are we really taking these anarchists as factors in the development of Nigeria?
Abubakar: Ignore them to your own peril!
Omokomoko: Calm down everybody. Calm down. Let us get back to the core of our discussion. Atiku’s choice of a running mate and Wike’s reaction. Everything is intertwined but let us have a focus. Abubakar, you were making a point!
Abubakar: Thank you Omokomoko! My point is that Atiku made his choice. It should be respected by all parties. Period.
Tega: His personal choice is not, should not be the most important factor. Atiku set up a committee to screen the candidates and majority of the committee members chose, recommended Wike, not Okowa. Okowa’s choice is an imposition by Atiku, undemocratic. Period. See how PDP is struggling to keep the factions and people together.
Banjo: It is true; Wike came out second and he should be the logical choice for running mate. If he was able to garner so many votes from delegates, then he should have been the running mate.
Abubakar: Politics is not like that. Atiku feels uncomfortable with Wike as his running mate. He doesn’t want a loose cannon as Vice President if they win. Says Okowa is calm and as we know Okowa has invested heavily money-wise in the project! A man must choose the person he can work with. Just imagine if Osinbajo were a typical politician, he would have fallen out with Buhari by now, especially when he saw the northernization agenda of Buhari.
Ojo: The nation would have been better served with a vibrant Vice President under Bubu. Not a Mike Pence type of VP! The Buhari administration is a disaster to the country!
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Tega: But Okowa has a lot of baggage! He cannot win the South-south or the South-east having gone back on the Asaba agreement.
Abubakar: Who says? You cannot say that with any certainty. His name is Ifeanyi. The Igbo will remember that when push comes to shove! Besides, personal survival and interest cannot be ruled out!
Banjo: Is there any politician who has no baggage? Even Atiku carries baggage international and national. Wike’s baggage is big.
Timi: They all have baggage. Okowa is presiding over a split party in Delta State caused by his decision to be an emperor, singularly selecting people to run for positions at all levels! He alone chose the governorship candidate and his running mate ignoring other stakeholders in the state. That is baggage. Can he alone deliver Delta State for PDP?
Banjo: That is not totally correct. Okowa is shrewd. He has full control over the Party structure because he built it over the years. His candidate has a lot of support among the other leaders in the party. We should advise him to make up with other leaders in the State to go into the elections as one party, especially after the Appeal Court has ruled on the governorship matter. Ibori must not be disrespected by any politician in the state because he virtually made them all! Very important.
Abubakar: As for Wike, is he popular or it was money that spoke for him at the Convention? As President, would you like to have a VP who can run his mouth against everybody and anybody?
Tega: Is Atiku popular or it was his money that bought over everybody at the Convention? When I remember that it was Atiku who stole the rotation of power from the South, I will never vote for him. We need to respect the constituent parts of the federation. We are told that in 2019, he asked southern politicians to support and promised that for 2023 he would support a southern president. But see what he has done. No honour. No integrity.
Omokomoko: Is there any honour among thieves? Abubakar: Excuse me, you cannot, should not brand all our politicians as thieves! They may be fantastically corrupt as Prime Minister Cameron described them. But you cannot say that they are thieves. There is a difference.
Banjo: Look here, the word ‘corrupt’ is not of Nigerian origins. In the 1890s, Liberal Party MP Jabez Balfour was exposed as running several fraudulent companies to conceal financial losses. In 1915, the Shell crisis led to the fall of H.H. Asquith Liberal Party government during WW 1. In 1922, in the Lloyd George scandal honours were sold for large campaign contributions.
In 1980 Baron Kagan was convicted of fraud earlier ennobled by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s notorious Lavender List. In 2010, there was the cash for influence scandal in which undercover reporters for the Dispatches television series posed as political lobbyists offering to pay members of Parliament to influence policy. Corruption sits in Britain in nice terms. What about Boris Johnson? Made laws and serially broke them. Let us not demonize our political class!
Timi: In plain terms, corruption is universal.
Banjo: The wealth of America is built on corruption. It was built on the sweat of slave labour, black men and women who were kidnapped and worked without pay till they dropped dead. Corruption is everywhere my people!
Tega: Are you for real? Justifying corruption in Nigeria because it happens in other places?
Banjo: I’m not justifying corruption. I am saying we should not tar all politicians in the same brush and that corruption is worldwide!
Omokomoko: Is there any country in the world that has been run aground by the political class through looting public funds? We have borrowed trillions of naira; what has the nation got to show for it? Instead, we have made millionaires and billionaires from stolen funds. The AGF stole billions. We do not have a record of the others yet.
Ojo: Back to Atiku and Wike. How will the matter be resolved? There’s an impending implosion in PDP.
Tega: How’s that any of our business? Our business is Nigeria.
Ojo: Is PDP not a part of Nigeria? Was that not how internal disagreement within Action Group in the First Republic snowballed into a national conflagration? Have we recovered from that inferno? So, we must pay attention to the madness in the political parties. APC and PDP are birds of the same feather and the earlier we curbed their excesses at the polling booth the better it will be for Nigeria.
Timi: That is why we must vote in Peter Obi. He will change the narrative.
Emeka: How are you sure he will make a difference. Please stop campaigning for a man who is saying sweet things. That is the same thing Buhari, and his gang did in 2015 that made us vote out a government that had a grip on the economy and moved on to welcome a sleepy and sleeping presidency!
Timi: Why is that it is you an Igbo man that must be the first to dismiss Peter Obi? As for me any Igbo man who doesn’t support Obi is free to do so; but any Igbo person who campaigns against Peter Obi, is in the words of Chinua Achebe, ‘efulefu!
Banjo: Must everything degenerate into ethnic politics? I am leaving. Bye!
Abubakar: Me too! Bye…
•Professor Eghagha is a member of The Trumpet’s Editorial Board