What do we make of the feud? It’s politics, nothing more. It’s a game of interest, nothing more. The people are the pawns in the chessboard.
OUR country, in the past week, has been enmeshed in tales that would challenge the imagination of the movie script writer. What was once thought not to be a routine in our land, became shockingly possible. A pretty, some say brilliant, federal minister crashed out of office due largely to pressure from the people. Triumph of people power, if you like. In Lagos, the Lion of Bourdillon is in an endgame with his political godson, the man he anointed barely four years ago. What happened?
It’s the season, isn’t it? 2019. When political gladiators across the party divide go on the hustings; making all kinds of pledges, some realistic, many not meant to be kept; promising to ‘build bridges where there are no waters’ and to do better than the men in power now, while those in power swear to behave and do better than we are currently experiencing. Haba, politicians!
Like charming suitors, they have swarmed on the perplexed brides (the electorate). Singing, clapping, dancing, literally rolling on the floor. All to win our hearts, for our votes. At this time, the voter is king, the PVC is gold. Please, change that to read: the voter ‘ought to be king,’ the PVC ‘ought to be gold.’
If you are a Nigerian, who lives in Nigeria, and has witnessed how elections are conducted and won in this part of the world, you will have no problem understanding that here, the votes don’t always count; it is the men who count the votes and monitor the counting that count. Prof Mahmood Yakubu has promised to change that narrative in the forthcoming general polls. We pray so. We wait.
Another point to note in the electoral character or personality of the Nigerian political space is the issue of godfatherism. Here, the godfathers reign supreme. I don’t think there are many people who doubt the preeminence of that factor in our politics and polity. It is well and alive. Sorry, we will continue to have godfathers as long as we have willing godsons!
That brings us to the thrust of today’s column: the godfather-godson tangle or more directly, the Tinubu-Ambode saga.
Like the question posed earlier, what happened? How come the man who was favoured and crowned three and half years ago, suddenly fell out of favour by the same forces that threw him up? How did things degenerate to the level where he is now being shown the ‘exit door’ and close to being shoved into the cold, where they want him to resume life as ex-governor? Questions, questions. But, not a single answer. Indeed, the answer you get depends on who you are talking to, and which side of the divide the party belongs.
The Tinubu camp alleges that Gov.Ambode soon became ‘swollen headed’ after he got to power, and systematically began to alienate party officials, elders and all those who helped him to office. The Lagos garbage issue, land use charges are also among the charges against the Lagos helmsman!
However, the Ambode camp insists that the guy is a victim of political intrigues and power game; that he refused to surrender ‘Lagos purse to those who wanted more than their fair share of the state’s largesse.’
Like in all wars, and situations like this, truth becomes the first casualty. Truth is unfathomable. We can’t tell who to believe or disbelieve. But, what’s not in dispute is that the godfather and godson have fallen apart and the center can no longer hold.
What do we make of the feud? It’s politics, nothing more. It’s a game of interest, nothing more. The people are the pawns in the chessboard. We can only pray that the man who eventually wins will have the greater interest of the people at heart.
This Lagos tangle is symptomatic of the godfather-godson issue ravaging many parts of the country. My humble view is that godfatherism will not end in Nigeria, at least not so soon. The reason is simple: there will always be willing godsons and benevolent godfathers.
Take this scenario: The godson enters into a deal, any deal to grab power, but soon reneges when he gets there. The godfather becomes irritated and war begins. It becomes a case of Mutually Assured Destruction. The puzzle remains: Why will a man enter into all kinds of agreements just to grab power, only to turn around to criticize and cry out against the same system he was a beneficiary of? When did the godfather become so monstrous that he can no longer be accommodated? Before or after he got to power?
Am I then justifying godfatherism? Not in the least. Godfatherism should have no place in a true democracy. That is the ideal we must strive to attain. But the reality, at least for now, is that the mercantile politics and voter manipulation give undue advantage to the muscle men called godfathers. The rule should be: don’t court godfathers. They will always play god and father. But, when you do, you take what you get. That, I believe, is the honourable path.
Where I stand is clear: I have no sympathy for the godson, neither do I have love for the godfather. Let them fight. Maybe, the people’s true liberation will come from the godfathers and godsons feud.
…AND ADEOSUN FELL
She is charming. She speaks well. Her admirers claimed she had her head and hands on the job. Maybe, maybe not. But, she fell all the same, in very sorry circumstance. She was accused of faking the exemption certificate of the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
There were two offences. The first, is that she dodged service, having graduated at less than 30 years of age. Then, she forged the paper that exempted her, which is another offence.
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For 69 days, the government played hide and seek over the issue. But, the people, ordinary Nigerians would not let go. And she had to go. She became ex-minister of finance. I would not like to kick a woman who is already down, so I would keep some things I wanted to write. But, suffice to say that her fall should be a lesson for all Nigerians, not just public officials. We should not be careless in little things. We must not take things for granted. She thought, like Prof Itse Sagay, that it was just a mere NYSC exemption letter, and asked trusted aides to get it. The aides procured it, according to her story. End of story? Not at all. Seven years later, old sin cast a long shadow, to haunt and hunt her out of office. Pity.
But, let no one gloat over her fall. She was just an unfortunate victim of the Nigerian malaise and penchant for doctoring and falsifying documents: Age, drivers licenses, academic records, among others. Another lesson: crime has short legs. Goodbye, Kemi.