Here, I come again, but without Alabi!

President Muhammadu Buhari

WE had rudely exited some four weeks ago without proper notice. There was nothing serious as such, except that after a sustained appearances for about 52 weeks, the body could not support the willingness of the brain and some things – BACKLASH and SUNDAY NARRATIVE – had to be sacrificed to appease the body. Alabi actually reached the breaking point and while I could still push anyhow, I saw better wisdom in hiding under his predicament to take a break and pretend to be waiting for him to rebuild energy.

The agreement today is for me to do some explanation and then announce our readiness to resume fully next week. Going forward, I shall guide against this sudden disappearance next time. No matter the circumstances, we shall try and ask God to bring them under our control one way or the other. In this writing business, breaking-off is usually much easier than kicking-off. I am just dropping this caveat so that if for some reasons in the future we fail to convince the Almighty to keep situations under our control, we shall remain covered.

Meanwhile, the short break is looking like eternity in view of the loaded happenings within the time. Something else other than a dancing python took place in the Southeast. Governorship election held on November 18, in Anambra State. In the end, those who had fasted and prayed for the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano to become jobless after the election failed big time. The Governor had his mandate overwhelmingly renewed by the people.

Willie Obiano, who has been basking in the euphoria of his first successful political battle, is talking big of joining forces with willing allies to annihilate the PDP in Anambra politics in 2019. He is actually addressing his mentor, ex-governor Peter Obi, who, in the course of Obiano’s first four years in office had wished he acted differently regarding Obiano in 2014. Obi openly supported the PDP candidate, Oseloka Obaze, who ranked third behind Obiano of APGA and Tony Nwoye of APC in the overall result released by INEC. But it still remains to be seen if the November 18, 2017 successful outing would make Obiano become one of the many oracles in Anambra politics.

And Dr. Alex Ekwueme died amid the electoral process in Anambra State. In fact, the former Vice President’s passing was announced by his younger brother, Prof. Laz Ekwueme on November 19, the same that INEC named Willie Obiano of APGA the winner of the Anambra governorship election. Ekwueme’s daughter, Mrs Alexandria Chidi Onyemelukwe was the running mate to the PDP’s candidate Obaze in the election. That also became a measure of the strength of Ekwueme’s character. He was among the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party and had remained steadfast with the party through rain and shine.

As with all heroes in Nigeria, the true worth of Dr. Ekwueme became fully manifest at death. Tributes poured in from North, South, West and East. All the writers maintained the same theme. After Pa Obafemi Awolowo, who died in 1986, Dr Alex Ekwueme died as the next best president that Nigeria never had. Prof. Pat Utomi also wrote. He was audacious. He avoided the convenience of political correctness and at the risk of sustaining life threatening political injury, pointedly accused many who rose in praise of Dr. Ekwueme at death of merely shedding crocodile tears. He said they were the same people who made Ekwueme to end up as the best president Nigeria never had.

According to Prof. Utomi, when it seemed good for Ekwueme to succeed Alhaji Shehu Shagari as president in the Second Republic, democracy was truncated by these same forces on the last day of 1983. And that in the PDP, these same forces, but under different names and operational mode, made Ekwueme to run in circles for years in search of Nigerian presidency. Utomi is angry that now that the man is resting in peace after what seems like a life-struggle to liberate Nigeria, the anti-liberation troops are everywhere masquerading as the most bereaved by Ekwueme’s death.

Utomi even said these same forces have been chasing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar around all the political platforms in Nigeria. As you know, Atiku, has become like an abiku that is coming and going with the political seasons. The Turaki is back in the PDP and it is the third time he will be enrolling as a party member in 18 years, since the start of this democracy. Recall he started with the PDP in 1999. He left in 2007 in search of higher stakes, which he didn’t find. He returned for the second enrolment in 2012 and abandoned the PDP class again in 2014 to return 2017 for this third enrolment, which everybody is hoping shall be the last.

What Prof Utomi was trying to say in his tribute was that if Atiku, who on account of seeking to offer alternative political leadership in Nigeria is today facing tribulations on all fronts (business, politics and even family) dies unfulfilled (God forbids), he (Atiku) will be enrolled automatically by the forces that have so far truncated his ascendance as the third best president Nigeria never had.

Still on Atiku and how best he can navigate through Nigeria’s treacherous political waters to destination, immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan has suggested something. He says for the Atiku’s third bid at the presidency under the PDP to be meaningful, he (Atiku) must seek the prayers and approval of “our boss” and “the boss of all bosses.” He is referring to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

I must stress that Obasanjo remains one of the luckiest men on earth. He has a way of always having his way. People he has ‘killed,’ resurrect to call him father. Jonathan is a doctor of zoology, but he appears to be doing exceedingly well in psychology too. He appreciates the expansive ego of Baba and knows what to say to make him feel cool and on top of Nigeria like a colossus. “Our Boss and the Boss of Bosses” is a line well made for Obasanjo.

And I hear Atiku is taking seriously to the counsel of Jonathan. He is putting machinery in place to storm the hilltop in Abeokuta to see the Boss of all Bosses. I can picture Baba continually enlarging to cover more coasts even at the grand old age of 80 plus. I mean, here are a Jonathan and an Atiku who were ‘killed’ at different times by the Boss, and who are only being resurrected by benevolent spirits, genuinely seeking to return to Golgotha!

It is not for me to enumerate here the charismatic ingredients that keep the old farmer and two-time Nigeria’s president tenable in all political calculations in Nigeria. Rather, it is for the entire country to rise above fear and see if really substance or death lies beyond the fearful façade of the red cloth at the shrine.

Overall, there has been good temple in the polity and economy. The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has encouraged us with positive statistics to feel cool; that the recession is over for good. President Muhammadu Buhari has been carrying on as if he was never sick and away from the country on medical vacation for 50 days and 103 days. He is everywhere at home and out there, attending to state matters including standing for more than an hour to present the 2018 budget proposals to a joint session of the National Assembly; and doing diplomatic shuttles to garner world support against terrorism in Nigeria.

But amid these sudden excitements, the Maina scandal almost lost grip of the headlines. In fact, the point that the one usually described as ‘fiery Lagos lawyer’ bought one of the houses seized from Maina for one billion naira almost passed uncelebrated. It goes to show that living in Nigeria has become episodic. Each episode brings its excitement; we live through and then move on.

Clearly lacking is a thematic vision that makes the relevance of yesterday to bear on today in order to create a better tomorrow. We usually stay on the excitement of the current episode and forget the last. I shall return with Alabi next week.

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