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As you read this, the high-scale contest between the Iroko and the Jagaban is taking place. The two combatants are right in the village square called Ondo State. The two characters seem fully kitted to undo each other. Yes, it is the Ondo State gubernatorial election. Three main candidates are on the line up. They are Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP). The latter is the incumbent governor, seeking re-election. The contest is strictly between the last two contestants. While the first two candidates are lawyers, the last is a medical doctor. Although Akeredolu is flying the flag of the ACN, he is largely seen as a proxy fighter. The real combatant is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, alias Jagaban, former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the ACN. He is squaring up against Mimiko, alias Iroko. The deep determination to crush Mimiko is seen in the attendant verbiage of the ACN campaign lines: “we’d chase him out”, “we’d show him the way out of the Government House”, “Mimiko is an ingrate” , “We’d unseat him”. We will send him packing…” etc.
In a sense, it is an ego fight for Tinubu and the ACN machine. It is taken as an affront on the Jagaban fiefdom for one supposed subject –governor, to dare to stand against the regional political order. The crying task is therefore to rein-in Ondo State, the only oil-producing state in the South west. This is even more so given the sold notion that Tinubu had indeed supported Mimiko in reclaiming his mandate. “I spent millions of Pounds on Mimiko”, Tinubu announced. If that be true, then Tinubu is even more determined to spend more million of Pounds to “chase out” the Iroko. But will the Iroko be moved? Will the Iroko be trimmed? Will it be uprooted? Not likely! All the expressed angst and deft political stratagem from the Tinubu arsenal may amount to not more than a wild wind on an Iroko, which will cause the shedding of only weak leaves. Nothing will happen to the trunk, nor the roots. At the end of the storm, the Iroko will stand firmer and fitter having shed some tired leaves.
I hear the understanding was for Mimiko to decamp into the ACN, after settling down. But he did not. He chose to be his own man, to the pain of Tinubu, the region’s godfather. And so the determination of the Jagaban squad is to teach the Iroko a lesson or two on how not to challenge one’s political chi.
And that is the crux of the matter. Will the Jagaban push down the Iroko or will the Iroko disgrace , defy and even demystify the Jagaban? The Ondo electorate are right now deciding the verdict. But if all the pre-election readings are correct, I fear Tinubu will return to Lagos with a broken ego and weaponry.
Instructively, the polls have not been consistent. Those commissioned by the PDP favour PDP, and those commissioned by the ACN say the ACN is leading and ditto the one commissioned by the LP giving victory to the LP.
The Ondo electorate are informed and sophisticated. They will decide who will govern them, believing that their choice will not be circumscribed through electoral manipulations.
Aluu Four and the Lies of the Police
For whatever the reason is, the truth is that the society hardly believes the Police. It is not for nothing. Not much truth comes from them. While seeking to exonerate itself from blame in the murder of the UNIPORT undergraduates by a mob, the Police Spokesman, Mr Frank Mba claimed that when the Police got to the scene of the lynching, the mob repelled them by pelting stones at them. Really? It is even more disappointing for the police to announce this excuse as reason for their failure to save the lives of those young men. Police were prevented from securing lives because of just stones. Yes, stones! So what if it was bullets? Were those Policemen not trained on quelling riots? What happened to their teargas canisters often used to disperse crowd? What happened to firing into the air to scare away the gathering mob? What happened to firing rubber bullets? The Police just revel in telling cheap and silly lies. Remember the Apo six?
Anyway, an elder sister of one of the victims, Miss Ibisobia Elkanah, who was at the scene, gave a graphic account of how the Police arrived the scene, addressed the mob, and one of them advised them to burn the victims alive. One of the arrested suspects, David Ugbaje further confirmed that one of the Policemen actually joined in the beating of the boys. I hear the policeman in question has been identified and fired. But he must now join the suspects being prosecuted for murder. Mr Inspector General of Police, over to you!
Okonjo Iweala and the $5 Wahala
I have followed all the hoopla over whether the budget should be based on the oil benchmark of $75 or $80 per barrel. While the Finance minister argues that $75 per barrel is the appropriate benchmark, the House of Representatives believes that it should be $80 per barrel. The difference between both positions is $5. And that is what is threatening to tear down the budget. But I see it as purely a case of storm in a tea cup.
While the executive believes the figure ($75) will further boost savings by swelling the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the lawmakers believe it is needless saving up treasure when the country’s infrastructure are virtually collapsed, and that it does not make sense seeking foreign loans to build infrastructure, while saving the nation’s wealth. The lawmakers think the difference could be used to settle local debts. So while the one wants some money saved, the other wants it spent. But whether the benchmark is pegged at $75 or $80, the money remains ours. All I see is mutual suspicion and distrust worsened by ego on both sides. Monies saved in ECA have severally been drawn down before, on governors’ demand. So what is the big deal on this $5 differential? The senate, in taking a near middle ground, opted for $78 per barrel. But even if it is $80 per barrel, the executive will still be the one managing the funds, not lawmakers. And what even if oil in the international market falls below $70 per barrel? I believe the House is just behaving like high school delinquents in insisting on a trivial issue and threatening to tear down the process.
As the First Lady Bounces Back…
All hail our First Lady, she is back to her busy life style. She is even looking brighter and better. Did you see that her colourful, dazzling boubou, with dark shade to match? Shame to bad people.
Yes, we are happy she is back. But why are you rubbing-in some invectives?
What do you mean? Didn’t you hear all that was said about her, while she was away? Didn’t you people say she went for the treatment of all kinds of unimaginable ailments? Didn’t some say she had ruptured appendicitis, even as some others said she went for tummy tuck so that she will be more attractive to Mr President? Didn’t some people even say she had died? Was that not all the gibberish you people were spreading around?
Why are you attacking me? Did you see me among those spreading such rumours?
If you did not help in spreading the rumours, what did you say or do to dispel them?
What could I have said or done? Did the Presidency tell the nation anything about the sickness or the reason why the First Lady traveled? Were they not perpetually denying it?
Yes, the Presidency said she went for some rest. That she was stressed after hosting the African First Ladies’ Summit. But you people will not believe. Now Madam First Lady has come and declared herself that she was not ill. That she never went for any treatment or surgery. That she does not even know the hospital they said she was rushed to in Germany. She even cited God as her witness. Yet you doubting Thomases will not be convinced. Shame to bad people! (clapping hands)… Huuuuu--huuuuu!!!
Ah…, you are taking it personal. Don’t you know the First Family is a public votary? Why didn’t they speak on what took the First Lady away? Don’t you know their grave silence gave rise to conspiratorial theories? Do you blame Nigerians? They wanted to know why their First Lady suddenly vanished from public glare. But nobody was saying anything. Of course the rumour mill had to be activated. And the result is what you saw.
But she has said she was never ill. And she reminded those mischievous “busy-bodies” that her husband, Mr President himself, loves her as she is and that she is not planning of adding anything to her body or subtracting anything either. Is that not declarative enough?
And you want us believe that? So where was she for 57 days? Why did the President have to go visit her twice? If she was not ill, why the huge fanfare on her return? The story does not add up. Is it not true that she was ill? The ailment may have been mis-guessed, but did she just travel for leisure for almost two months? Do you believe our First Lady will like to spend that length of time in a cold foreign land, just like that? Ok, so if it is true she wasn’t ill, why were such inscriptions like “God Saved You” “You will Live Long” on those T-shirts? Look, go and tell them that whatever happens to them is of public interest. Tell them not to pose as indomitable Deus ex Machina. That….
(cuts in) Please save me your archaic grammar. What is Dues ex… what? Look, I don’t have answers to your many questions. All I know is that the Dame is back and I can tell you her itinerary has been drawn up. She will visit all the women in the various refugee camps, I mean those sacked by the flood. She will soon announce her visitation programme. And trust her, she will be accompanied with truck loads of relief materials and NTA camera men, to those women and children whose prayers and good wishes saved her from whatever.
We surely welcome her back. The Jonathan presidency had lacked all the spice of laughter and fun ever since she left. I know those mischievous Nigerians who always like to cook up expressions for the First lady will be back to business. Surely, Nigerians have missed our dear First Lady.
The array of dignitaries at the airport to welcome her bespeak eloquently of how well-loved the First Lady is. Imagine even royal fathers, the top hierarchy of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , female ministers, Gov Dickson and his wife, Governors’wives, masquerades, dance troupes, Senate President’s wife, national lawmakers etc, all filed out to receive her. What better proof of love and importance do you need?
Hmmm, don’t mind those members of cheer crowd. They will do it for anybody in power. Don’t think it is such a show of love.
I am tired of your cynicism. I am content with the fact that our First Lady is back. She has bounced back to reckoning and attention. And please be warming up for a national Thanksgiving service at the Ecumenical Centre very soon.
Hmmm. Mr Insider!!!!!!