Beneath the Mask… Farouk Lawan Adjusts to Life without the Exaggerated Panoplies of Power


The art of deception is indeed, a strenuous exercise, for those who are poor at it in particular. The latter are extremely poor at keeping up with their lies. When the truth finally catches up with them, it leaves a bitter taste for those who had to eat their words. Ask Farouk Lawan, he knows better. Until he was caught in the controversy of the bribe money he allegedly demanded from popular oil magnate, Femi Otedola, Lawan was popularly known as Mr. Integrity in the House of Representatives. He had championed the removal of Nigeria’s first female Speaker, Patricia Etteh, over an allegation that she misappropriated public funds. With such honest posturing and anti-corruption stance, Lawan effortlessly inspired the fear of his corrupt peers and admiration of a large segment of the electorate. But all that faded into thin air immediately the lid got blown off his dirty secret. Thus there was no hiding place for the lawmaker when he was fingered in a bribery scandal during an oil subsidy probe. Times have indeed changed for the diminutive lawmaker. His enviable fortune has morphed into misfortune.

From being a high ranking member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of the ad hoc House Committee on Oil Subsidy Probe, Lawan’s reputation and political career suffered rapid decline. Soon after he was accused of taking bribe by Otedola, Lawan who was being wooed to contest for the Kano governorship seat in 2015 by the political powerbrokers in the state was deserted and left out of the state’s power equation. In addition to the misfortune that has befallen him lately, Lawan lost the 2015 House of Representatives contest.

Angels fly because they take themselves lightly. They do not think too much of themselves, so does Herbert Wigwe, the MD of Access Bank. Like an angel, Herbert takes himself very lightly despite his socio-economic weight. He wears his badge of temperance and humility in the shape of a bow of ribbon; thus affirming that he isn’t what many of his disparagers make him out to be

Contrary to misconceptions about his character, Herbert, according to sources close to him, is actually a modest, compassionate, accommodating and understanding man. His only shortcoming if at all it could be considered ‘shortcoming,’ is his lack of tolerance for sycophancy, bribery or any form of corruption. The miracle-working banker is more of polished diamond among the rough, tarnished czars of Nigeria’s banking industry. It is often said that he who rides the tides of industry influences the thought of his times. Eventually, he commands the epochs that follow and impresses his name on eternity.

Such an individual no doubt sways the applause of listening Senates. If he is cut of the rare stock that Wigwe hails from, he effortlessly attracts the patronage of leaders of men. Herbert like most great men, did not attain his current height by sudden flight. While most of his rivals and other peers slept, he was toiling upward day and night. As head honcho of Access Bank, Wigwe understands the need to abide by the company’s corporate philosophy which is to become the world’s most respected African bank, thus he would never engage in any act or association that would be inimical to the progress and good image of his organisation.

After the storm…James Faleke gets his groove back

There is no gainsaying James Faleke is an astute politician. The former running mate to late Governor Abubakar Audu at the Kogi State governorship election, understands the wisdom of daring mighty things, like a general spoiling to win glorious triumphs.

The House of Representatives member lost in the political intrigues that charaterised his bid to become Kogi governor soon after the demise of late Audu and he is currently challenging the emergence of Yahaya Bello as APC’s candidate and consequently the governor of the state.

Despite the hurt he suffered on being denied the governorship seat, Faleke will not retreat into political oblivion. The former governorship aspirant has not given up on social life; recently, he attracted a large crowd of the nation’s high society as he buried his father-in-law in grand style.

Last weekend, Faleke buried his father-in-law with pomp and pageantry in Lagos. Contrary to rumours that Faleke had fallen out of favour with the political power elite, top politicians and business moguls were in attendance at the event, which had King Sunny Ade on the band stand.

The latter sang the praise of the politicians and businessmen who graced the ceremony to their delight. Faleke no doubt used the ceremony to prove to people that even without being the Governor of Kogi State, he is still a “crowd puller.” It would be recalled that he was cleverly tossed out of the power equation by the powers that be in the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in Kogi state.

After Audu’s death, by right, James Faleke should have emerged his successor as the party’s flagbearer and governor-elect, but politicians had their way and the party replaced Audu with the runner-up in the party’s governorship primaries, Yahaya Bello. He wept and wailed like a banshee then. Nothing happened. He filed a suit to challenge this in court and the case is still ongoing.