What do Nigerian leaders really do afterwards?

Senator Barnabas Gemade

In the United States of America, there are three ways a president can leave office mid-term: death, resignation or impeachment. In Nigeria, there have been several impeachments especially legislative heads, and a few conspired impeachments of governors, only a handful can be recalled to have honestly resigned. In the same USA, most presidents fulfill one or two terms and are either defeated in re-election or they retire. So what’s life like for a person who’s been the leader of the free world? Generally, it’s good.

Some presidents retire to a life outside the public glare. Many have published their memoirs. Others use the prominence afforded by the presidency to continue their charity work. Jimmy Carter, after leading an unpopular single-term administration, went on to create what many agree is the most successful post-presidency. The former president established the Carter Centre, a human rights organization, and became heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for the poor. So, in recent times, a Barack and Michelle Obama announced that, after taking a break, they’re opening a “centre for citizenship” on the south side of Chicago. 

Outgoing presidents get to open a presidential library in their home states. But Barack Obama says his library will be a “centre for citizenship,” and will take ideas from citizens on which young leaders and organizations they should be supporting. However, after fulfilling his civic duty as president now comes another role as a citizen: jury duty. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans told county commissioners the other day that Obama has been summoned for jury duty next month in Illinois.

The former president lives in Washington, but maintains a home in Chicago. With a Harvard Law School degree, experience teaching law and eight years as commander-in-chief, he is a good decent candidate for jury duty. Obama is not the first former president to receive a notice for jury duty. In 2015, former President George W. Bush reported for jury duty at a Dallas courthouse. Jurors in Cook County get paid $17.20 a day. 

So many of our politicians and leaders are experts in the art and act of transmutation. Debate on the worth and value of such is discourse for another day. These are men and a few women who move from being either governors to legislators, others have gone on to become ministers or board chairpersons. And did I add, collecting multiple salaries and pensions apart from stolen monies (not all of them though, but almost all of them). So where is the Chief-Servant, the big-eyed one. He was everywhere delivering papers, same way Peter Obi is currently doing and, no pun intended, it is good to do that, at least telling us those beautiful tales by the moonlight of power.

Politics and the accidents that follow, but the man on the streets deserve more than those papers in terms of service from these men. I recall a wonder working Muazu of Bauchi State, after the brief love affair as PDP Chairman he has vanished into some form of thin air, thin and otherwise. Like Bamanga Tukur, like Barnabas Gemade who is now a Senator.

Apart from Aminu Tambuwal and Amunu Masari his Katsina State compatriot, where are the likes of Chibudom Nwuche, Ghali Nabba, Austin Opara and others? We all know that most handsome governor. He plays Saxophone but how many of us really get to benefit from his night octane wind instrument and heavy laced elite crowd…that are part of his performances. Where is Imoke, how about that governor in the South West that made sure bleaching cream remained an expensive cosmetic item? He still continues to dance around political parties in the city with plenty Kings and chiefs. His bleaching counterpart from Kogi has simply disappeared, not sure any of his carpentry or upholstery shops are alive. 

You wonder why when leaders are elected, selected they loot you and I blind?  They never have to do any jury service. Their morality or otherwise will never and cannot be questioned. In fact they are chastised by their own for not stealing enough or stealing well. Where is the diminutive House of Representative corruption czar who at the height of his fame accepted dollars into his cap and agbada pockets?. And how about the hairdresser? And after her was the always white-wearing young Speaker Bankole.

After his travails with EFCC he simply has vanished and I see few attempts to re-launch.Nigeria is blessed with clowns everywhere. My granddad, Obj went back to study Theology, and asked us his kids not to call him Mathew. IBB my uncle for life, each time he speaks, you sense a bitter sponge of missed chances. I love Abdulsalam, at least if all he showed us was his white peaceful beard. Earlier I whispered EFCC, almost all our past governors have one outstanding assignment with the anti-graft agency, but how about the people that led this agency? Where is Farida Waziri, and how about the real deal Nuhu Ribadu? What has now become of Boni Haruna?

We are blessed with leaders who we know were broke ass before they got power, but the common lines or lie, I was comfortable before government…I had a thriving business before…Yet we all know how they all engage in anticipatory stealing via the CCB declarations. If indeed they were, why don’t they go back to those THRIVING businesses?  So imagine Babangida Aliyu was teaching Party Politics 101 in Change University in Umuahia or Orji Kalu, rather than dissipate energy fighting political enemies and a never-to-be-gotten senate seat he had put more energy into a few of his business concerns. At least grandpa has a Presidential library. What value can our former leaders bring to bear on our society?, How can they contribute to knowledge if they cannot thrive outside power?
Dickson is a research, policy, media practitioner and private investigator.

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