LOUD WHISPERS With Joseph Edgar

Ernest Shonekan: Came in Peace, Left in Peace

The news of his passing was quite shocking. Sadly, this was one statesman that I never got to meet. The closest was me going for a written test at their UAC in Lagos and failing the thing woefully. But as I no dey gree, I wrote him a passionate letter explaining why I failed and telling him that their refusal to employ me as a result of this ‘yeye’ aptitude test was their loss.

Mbok, somehow the chief saw the letter and got UAC to send for me and took me to their guest house in Ikoyi and for five days, they tutored me and coached me to retake the test. My people so much confidence was placed on me by Chief Shonekan, they gave me food, transport fare and all of that. Finally, I failed again. This time, I just accepted my fate and ‘carry my wahala go back to Shomolu’.

Not far from then, he was announced ‘something’ of the Interim Government. He looked and felt like fish out of water. For he wasn’t cut for the throat and treacherous minefield that was military politics. Throwing such a distinguished and accomplished man into the murky waters that Abacha, IBB and Gado Nasko were swimming was really terrible.

He was not comfortable. From my black and white TV, I will be watching him giving speeches without his soul being there. He will be doing like he is looking behind his back, hoping that the googled one will not just strangle him.
I pitied him. He did his best under the circumstances. He was a man of dignity, passionate about this country and for a fleeting moment there, must have thought that these Draculas in uniform would at least allow the nation be.

‘Whosai’, the court verdict came and Abacha did the inevitable and threw the country into an abyss of terror, corruption and a reign of perfidy.
Chief came back to Lagos to a quiet life. A sweet life of restitution and rest. At least the vampires did not take his life or throw him into jail like they had done to those like him in the past.
Today, we have lost him physically, but his legacy remains intact and Nigeria will continue to cherish the quiet man who came in quietly and left quietly.
To his son my friend, Yinka, let me send a huge Duke of Shomolu consolation to you. Help send to the rest of the family. You guys truly gave Nigeria a great one. Well-done.


It has been reported that ‘our’ candidate has gone to the President to inform him of his intention to vie for the position of President of our Federal Republic. This has been the worse kept secret in the land.
The other day, I was with one of his main men eating Afang at the sweet Senator Ita Giwa’s Restaurant and in between Afang and some sweet snails, I dropped the question, ‘Bro, what is the situation with your principal’s ambition?

He dropped the morsel of Fufu and looked at me squarely in the eye and said, ‘We are coming out and we are very confident we will win it’. I say, ‘My brother swallow your ‘okele’ before the thing choke you. Na simple question I ask so I no understand this red eye o.’
Lord Tinubu has received some flak from a lot of quarters for going to tell the president of this his ambition. Me, I do not see anything wrong in that o.

For those of you, who are cute students of history, you will remember that IBB statement, ‘We do not know those who will replace us but we certainly know those who will not.’.So, you now see why Baba had to enter night bus, wear his Sunday best, brush his teeth and go to Aso Rock to tell the skinny one of his ambitions before we start to see another June 12.

Well, I love excitement. I love drama and I love a good fight. We are getting there. Asiwaju has finally thrown his hat into the ring. Oya, let the games begin. I wish him luck and Godspeed in this journey. God will protect him and most of all, ‘like they have said in the Bible, in Revelation 20 vs 25,26 and 28 – if thou ownest Nigeria, thou will surely getteth it. Thank you.


Me I like you. Don’t mind that I used to yab you and say all sort of terrible things about you. The truth is that I really like the way you look unruffled despite all that is going on.
The other day one person from the EFCC called me and asked me to report in their office. My Lord, I lost weight o. I didn’t get an erection for the period. Fear enveloped me. I called the whole world to please go ahead and beg them before I reach there. If you see me, you will know that something was the matter with me.
But you, you are a cool cucumber. The whole place can go to blazes, you will still be calm and unruffled. Baba, you need to take us on a Masterclass in keeping calm in turbulence.

That is how, I was watching your recent TV Interview with two ‘small’ journalists from Channels TV. That Seun, me I don’t like him o. He was just doing any how like he was the one that sent you to primary school, talk less of the secondary school that we are still looking for the certificate.

He sat there in his cheap suit and afro hair and he was asking questions like he is the only one that is paying tax? How much tax is he paying sef that he will be asking you that kind questions and be doing face like ‘monkey’ when you did not answer well.

Did he fight civil war? Was he there in 1978 when how many billions miss? How many elections has he lost? Has Tinubu come to wake him at 4a.m. to tell him about one yeye presidential ambition?

After now they will all be shouting, ‘Buhari is not a democrat.’ Can he sit down like that and cross his leg and be asking Governor Udom of Akwa Ibom question like that without being on his knees? Doesn’t he know that in Akwa Ibom you cannot even wear red tie, because the Governor as a Zenith Bank Alumnus is always in Red?

Lord, I liked your composure. The fact that I wasn’t understanding some of your responses didn’t matter, but your freshness and that slippers got me. You know I am a sucker for slippers.
You looked quite handsome, almost like them put lipstick on your lips. Kai, don’t come near my side chick o baba Buhari.

I will miss you when you finally leave. You have tried for Nigeria. Since 1963. He don do. You truly deserve rest.


You know I told you guys last week that I have a strong affinity with Oyo State especially Ibadan. So, things concern me in that area.
The news of the passing of former Governor on the same day 16 years later after he took power from Ladoja was striking.

He was different. Brash and confident maybe from his police background, he took on opponents’ by the horn and didn’t ‘send.’
He remained relevant till the end and even tried some comeback at some point. Anyways, that has gone now. We will continue to cherish his contributions. He was truly an enigmatic personality. Sleep well my Lord.

My Lord had made the statement which although legally correct came out without tact and insensitive especially if you consider the delicate situation of the country viz a viz the fight for restructuring.
My brother Ken Etete had called me immediately and screamed over the phone, ‘Edgar, did you just hear what Obasanjo just said? I am not coming for the retreat again. I said, ‘aghhhhhh’. What did he say o.
I rushed to go and read the statement and saw that Chief Obasanjo had said that no ethnic grouping had control of the resources but everything was domiciled with the federal government.

My brother, I weak. Na the one wey concern me we will look na. This is me organising a retreat where over 60 emerging Leaders have all accepted to spend a weekend with the very influential Statesman and see what he just said.

Not surprisingly, one or two people from the Niger Delta pulled back in protest asking for a refund – that one I say they will have to involve EFCC, DSS, NIA and Interpol because I will never do that one. We will be in court till my great grandchild’s naming ceremony. Lol
Anyway, Chief Clark came out firing and Chief Adebanjo also jumped in and with spittle everywhere dropped the gauntlet.

For me, it is not every time you just say the truth just like that not especially when I am doing something like this retreat. Chief Obasanjo by now should know about timing. It is not every time, you will just say your mind na. This baba want to kill me na.
You should be asking, who it will affect, is there anybody doing a project that this statement will affect? Get someone to call me and ask if there is any play or something coming up and then you will now choose your words and talk very gently.

Baba please don’t bankrupt me o. You know I have done your play and people are seeing me as your close paddy and I cannot be the grass in any elephant fight.
You know I am going to Warri to do a play on the Itsekiri nation next easter, don’t go and use your own to do my own.
Please Chief Clark, the oil on your land is your own. Go and take it, nothing will happen. Even all the Afang in Akwa Ibom is our own. What is federal government, mbok what is even a federation? Please go and take your oil o make we rest.

This was a phrase credited to Chief Orji Kalu in response to Tinubu’s declaration. In pushing his own position, he was said to have said that he will fight for the Presidency against Tinubu’s candidacy in person and in pocket. Whatever that means.
Let me state it here very categorically. I don’t know about the rest of you, but me I am personally tired of this Chief Kalu. His politics are not in sync, his outlook not synergistic with the new Nigeria that we are trying to build and his understanding of the sensitivity of the Nigerian state as presently configured, is suspicious.

Throwing the ethnic card in his statement, that the South-east was ripe fell flat. Yes, the South-east is ripe and I am in very strong support of this position but not with your type of ‘jangrova’ candidacy. He is old, fermented and dried out with really nothing to offer.
We are looking for freshness. Not perfection, but freshness. Youth, a different angle in approach and a pan Nigerian candidate that will galvanise the forces brimming for true and responsive change.

Where Kalu is appearing in this description, I am not seeing. Bro, go and concentrate on the EFCC matter that in my estimation, should be your concern and not this distraction that you are trying to throw in.
Igbo Nation ‘whereforthe’ are thy candidate. Not this one. This no be candidate, this na okrika bale. I am ready for a Pan Nigerian Presidency arrow headed by an Igbo Candidate. No be Kalu oooooooo, no kill me.

As I watched the coronation, I was transfixed by its opulence. It was grand and the continuous use of deep red in the attires and paraphernalia caught my attention. For the days the whole ceremony lasted, I followed it with passion and true involvement.
The fact that the new Olu was physically handsome and modern and with a beautiful wife in tow further held my attention. The part I liked the best was the part where he was asked to choose a sword from where his name will come out and he chose a sword. I developed goose pimples.
Then the regatta, the songs, the dance, the close affinity to the water, the deep history and the stories all mesmerised my mind.

I am all for our stories. Our people, our tradition and I felt it was time to go to Warri. We had done Isale Eko, we had gone to Bini for Emotan, Uyo for Ufok Ibaan, Abeokuta for Aremu and will be doing Abuja for Emir Sanusi and I felt it was ripe to hit Warri for ‘Ogiame Erejuwa II.’
This epic will be written and directed by theatrical genius William Benson and I am working with my brother Evans Jakpa-Johns to deliver this fresh and sizzling.
Itsekiri Nation rise, the Duke of Shomolu is on his way.

He has been very quiet for a bit. He has not really been involved in anything of nationalistic fervour and that is why observers have been taken aback by the silent but ever-increasing murmur of his presidential ambitions.
If you ask me, I would say he lost the momentum. Long ago, the platform was strong, with goodwill and popular support. But somehow, he let all that go to the point that his sisters were now better known for the struggle.

But anyhow, I have heard severally of his intentions and during the week, I heard it again but this time from a very close associate of Mr. Abiola.
So, what are my thoughts? My mind is open and will not fire until I get more information. I have asked for a meeting and I am sure by the end of the week, I will get it and in between some sweet bowls of Afang we will talk.
If he impresses me, I will pay for the food and if it is otherwise as expected he will pay. I will send you guys’ pictures on WhatsApp. We dey wait.

Let me send my heartfelt condolences to my brother and big Uncle General Buba Marwa on the recent loss of his lovely wife Zainab.
On behalf of all of us here in Shomolu, we send our prayers and condolences. It can never be easy to lose a wife. In fact, it can never be easy to lose anybody, but a lovely wife like Zainab, it must be terribly hard.
Allah, will give you and the rest of the family the strength to bare this huge loss. Be strong my brother. Be strong.

My brother Donald has just been appointed acting Managing Director at Fidelity Pensions. He is taking over from very brilliant Amaka Azike who was a classmate with me at the Lagos Business School.
Donald comes to the job with years of corporate experience spanning so many Investment and commercial banking franchises. His job, I must say, has been made easy with the wonderful structures Amaka had berthed and bequeathed to this young but equally powerfully brilliant young man.
I once had an engagement with him on the pension industry and its continued relevance in the system especially as you see that returns on the PFA accounts are not doing very well when compared to the rate of inflation.

He calmed me down. He took me down a cursory discuss on investment management, strength of regulation which ensures safety which is very critical in pensions management. He ended it with his strong belief that the industry which is already playing in infrastructural development and the rest will continue to play its role as a strong engine of national economic growth.
I say, it’s ok. Na me find trouble that is why you want kill me with talk.
Let me use this opportunity to wish him well at his new job. Congrats bro.

I say let me just hail this beauty this Sunday morning. Don’t mind me, I am trying to bribe her. I want her in my Itsekiri play. Her carriage is naturally regal. If you saw her in Emotan, you will climb fence.
Her height, her voice quality and her delivery made Emotan the massive play it was. But Elvina is not easy to get and work with o. Na Queen. Edgar, the food is not ok and I don’t like the way the young girls are being treated. Why are you giving them water and not wine, she will lament?
She is a mother at rehearsals and will rather walk away than see any of the younger ones suffer and what I like most about her is that after sometime she will start to bring her own food thereby saving me a lot of money.

You see why, Elvina must be in this Itsekiri Play. Please anybody that has her number or attends her church or knows her gate man or knows Obuks or knows her doctor or knows her cook, please lets put pressure, after all this thing is for all of us na. I cannot be begging alone.
Elvia Ibru, let’s do this fine woman. I will send Afang to you, you hear. Oya na.

Related Articles