“A political lizard is saying he is going to end the political relevance of a political lion and you want me to debate? …He can claim that he is going to teach me a lesson but examination day is on Saturday; we will find out who is the teacher.”
– Mr. Adams Oshiomhole (in an interview with Seun Okinbaloye on Channels TV)
And the examination eventually held. The result, which came out on Sunday, silenced the political lion. In all the time I spend learning from the NatGeo channel on satellite television, I never saw a video clip of a lion, not even the cub, fight a lizard. Lizard in this sense refers not to Agama lizard or any of the bigger species of the lizard family. No, in this context, the political lion refered to the sort of lizard that you see on the walls of your home. I am even certain he wasn’t referring to the red-head, which is bigger in body frame. The reference was to lizard properly seen as the little creepy being that runs around your home.
Besides, it was despicable how someone of Adams Oshiomhole’s standing could characterize Governor Godwin Obaseki as a lizard. That was deeply hateful. Remember, the characterisation of humans as cockroaches and vultures played a role in the Rwandan genocide, and, much later, Ogoni crisis. I expect Oshiomhole to publicly apologize for such hateful outbursts.
Meanwhile, lizards don’t compare to lions. Lizards eat insects while lions hunt for big game –buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, etc. And these are animals that could decimate a lizard with just a step on the head. So, essentially, lions devour animals that cold decimate lizards without feeling that they even did something. I guess that is why lizards don’t co-habit with lions. Some interesting facts about lizards are, among others, that they drop their tails when threatened by a predator and re-grow them within one month. They also shed their skin as they grow and they smell by tasting the air around them by sticking out their tongues. Also, lizards are said to have existed more than 200 million years since the age of the dinosaur.
By ascribing the traits of a lion to himself, and those of a lizard to Bro. Goddy, Oshiomhole arrogantly refused to see that it is always very difficult for lions to prey on lizards. Simply put, lizards outwit lions and can hide in places where the claws and jaws of a lion can’t reach. In essence, Oshiomhole prided himself as the Iroko that couldn’t be moved not even by the heaviest of earthmovers. But, unknown to him, while the lion looked out for the big game, the lizard hid between the crevices of the lion’s zoo to snatch that which the lion believed belonged to him by right.
Oshiomhole’s biggest problem, going into the ‘examination’ hall last Saturday, was his ego. It was Lilliputian. It propelled his mouth and made him exhibit a certain kind of arrogance that also made him play God. Many Nigerians detest that. For that reason, too, they will always side with the weak and the underdog. Therefore, the outcome of the ‘examination’, last Saturday, was not a rejection of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu (he could be a nice guy), but a punishment to Oshiomhole for his pompous, nasty and intemperate arrogance, which made him forget the road he passed, and, to now see himself as the next big thing on Edo’s political firmament since the creation of that state. The legendary Prof. Chinua Achebe left us with these immortal words. He said “those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.” Oshiomhole forgot. But the people remembered. And, they reminded him that no one dances in the rain for too long; and that the lizard can survive very harsh climatic conditions, which the lion won’t. For instance, lizards live everywhere except in Antarctica, while lions are now sequestered mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. They have even disappeared from North Africa.
It is disturbing that Oshiomhole refused to understand that the politics of 2023, which ousted him from office as national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was following him all though his campaign for Ize-Iyamu in Edo, where he campaigned like he was on the ballot. It is the sort of politics that takes no prisoners. Those behind it do not look back when they have to kick and crush. They will kick you so hard in the groin to ensure you are incapacitated and if they have to put your head in the guillotine they will do it in so far as it helps them to achieve their purpose. For his inability to see, read and understand the writing on the wall, Oshiomhole sold himself out as a novice to politics who needed a shield provided by Mr. Bola Tinubu to survive.
The implication was that if the politics of 2023 was to consume Tinubu, it would necessarily consume anyone that is tied to his apron. That ought to be the correct reading of the palace coup that ousted Oshiomhole from the leadership of APC. Oshiomhole was seen as orchestrating, and working, the APC machinery for Tinubu’s 2023 aspirations (I do not see how that would have worked), which led to his refusal to understand the intricate interests of the four blocs that created the party, ANPP, CPC, ACN and nPDP, and thus the need for creative management of the contending interests. He was kicked out for that.
Therefore, winning Edo for APC would have been a revalidation of his ‘importance’ to the party and by implication keeping the Tinubu dream alive. This was something that even APC buffs in the South West wouldn’t accommodate, as many in the region believe that the 2023 game should be better with a serving governor than a Tinubu who self-appropriated a title that did not exist in the APC hierarchy.
That was why Tinubu’s face on Edo’s election riled many. The outcome was Obaseki or no one else. Tinubu’s involvement in Edo and that his video made victory easy for Obaseki. Essentially, Edo people voted Obaseki not because they dislike Pastor Ize-Iyamu. I believe they detested Ize-Iyamu’s chief marketers for their arrogant bragging and show of machismo to dare to dictate, or impose, a governor over them. I believe that was the essence of the phrase ‘Edo is not Lagos’. Those who coined that phrase learnt a lot from the travails of Akinwunmi Ambode and how Tinubu denied him a second term and appointed the incumbent as replacement in what has become one of the most brazen and dramatic abuse of the peoples will. Edo wasn’t fertile ground for such.
Therefore, the ‘examination’ signalled a change of format. It was a format where power would ultimately return to the people, not to some who pride themselves as godfathers. That change may continue in Ondo in a few more weeks and then become the new normal for elections in Nigeria, if, and only if, the leadership in Abuja agrees to wean itself of interference and imposition by wrongful use of state apparatus, irrespective of the people’s will. That is the expected new normal. Let power return to the people and let their will, expressed through the ballot, count. That will make candidates to spend more time marketing themselves to the electorate, not sitting in Abuja and waiting for anointment by the Presidency. As Oshiomhole said in 2016 “a situation where one man decides has been abolished. All I want is power to move to the people. The people should decide who becomes their leader and that leaders will not be answerable to any godfather, but to them.”
The people heard him clearly and responded.
Though he abused a promise he made to himself in 2016 when he said, “I have made a promise to myself that the day I leave office, I will never interfere or distract whoever governs afterwards,” by allowing his Napoleonic complex push him to a fight with a ‘political lizard’, Oshiomhole now realizes, albeit painfully, that the ‘political lizard’ will stay longer on the political table while the ‘political lion’ takes a ride into political Siberia to the humorous pleasure of the people to whom the ‘political lizard’ has proven that it has better survival instincts than the ‘political lion.’
Now, we know who the teacher is.