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VIEW FROM THE GALLERY BY MAHMUD JEGA
Very much like Mungo Park allegedly discovered River Niger, talent hidden in plain view was accidentally discovered during the recent presidential primaries of political parties. Let’s place them in appropriate positions, and this talent will galvanise this country to greater good.
For example, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was running, literally, for Athletics Coach of the Federation. He launched his campaign with a sprint around Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, leaving his security details gasping for breath. It was not the first time that a Nigerian Minister of Transport recommended to us a means of transport other than vehicles and trains. Twenty years ago, Dr. Ojo Maduekwe tried to persuade Nigerians to ride bicycles to work. Amaechi now wants us to run. No wonder convention delegates rewarded his talent by electing him as the Runner Up.
Governor Yahaya Bello was not running for President but for the post of Not Too Young To Run of the Federation. By appointing him to this post after his tenure as governor expires next year, we would inspire young Nigerians to run for every post including UN Secretary General, President of FIFA and Capo di Tutti Capi of the Mafia.
Governor Nyesom Wike was running for the post of Not Too Controversial To Run of the Federation. In his seven years as governor, Wike stirred up almost daily controversy. He dressed down a visiting Army GOC for alleged oil bunkering. He told a traditional ruler to stop nodding his head because he was dressed like Dan Fodio. He still finished a very good second at the convention and only narrowly missed being nominated as running mate. Wike has proved that controversy is not a disability in Nigerian politics.
If Mr. Peter Obi’s insurgent online campaign does not deliver him to Aso Rock next year, he should be appointed Statistician General of the Federation. The way he reels out figures about the performance of other countries, with him as head, National Bureau of Statistics will not even need computers. If that post is not available, he could be considered for Stingyman General of the Federation on account of Father Mbaka’s referee’s report. The post should replace Accountant General of the Federation.
The most impressive of all convention ground speeches was delivered by Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Most probably this man was once a University Orator, the man that reads the citations when the university is conferring honourary degrees. Osinbajo should assume the post of Orator General of the Federation when he steps down from the Vice Presidency next year. We need it if the next president resuscitates national honours, which President Buhari did away with.
Senator Ahmed Sani’s long Muslim prayer at the convention ground, in Arabic, which up to 99% of the delegates did not understand, was a campaign for Grand Mufti of the Federation. Young Nigerians do not know that in 1976, the Constitution Drafting Committee which Chief F.R.A. Williams chaired recommended the creation of a Federal Shari’a Court of Appeal headed by a Grand Mufti. In case we dust up the report and create the post, Yariman Bakura is most suited for it.
Before anyone shouts “Islamisation,” Pastor Tunde Bakare campaigned for the post of Grand Overseer of the Federation in charge of all the General Overseers. Once he is ensconced in this post, we should call him “No 16” for short. His prophesy must be true; it was newsmen who ignorantly misinterpreted it to say he was shown the road to Aso Rock, when it actually showed him the road to the nearby National Christian Centre.
Don’t be fooled. Dele Momodu did not run for President. Those delegates that gave him zero votes because he shared magazine copies instead of dollar notes at the convention ground knew not what they did. He was running for the post of Ovation General of the Federation. The next president should be ushered in with spectacular inaugural parties of the kind they do in America. All of it should be documented in a full colour magazine.
Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso shot into overnight sensation to occupy a post once touted by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Beautiful Bride of the Federation. The Kwankwasiyya political cult leader’s new party, NNPP, may not have nationwide structures but it stands to reap millions of votes in Kano State. Major contenders for the presidency must be angling how to get into Kwankwaso’s good books.
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal did not run for president, as some folks thought. He ran for the soon to be created post of Artful Dodger of the Federation. This Nigerian Artful Dodger is skilled and cunning like the character in Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel, only this time as a political pickpocket. He snatched the House Speakership from under the Jonathan Presidency’s nose in 2011, smuggled into the chamber camouflaged in a Niger Delta hat. In 2015, he artfully dodged APC’s presidential race, went to Sokoto and became governor. When he lost PDP’s presidential primaries in 2019, he raced back to Sokoto, displaced a “placeholder” and snatched the governorship ticket. This year too, he quit the presidential race at the last minute, rushed back home, displaced a placeholder and grabbed a senatorial ticket.
Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, on the other hand, was running for Comeback Kid of the Federation. No one gave a labour leader a dog’s chance of becoming governor of Edo State but he did. After his unceremonious removal as APC national chairman two years ago, Adams splashed back into the presidential race, cunningly refused to submit his forms, then dashed back to Edo and grabbed a senatorial ticket.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki must be the It Is Not Enough of the Federation. Those misguided youths who ran around Ilorin in 2019 saying they had enough of him as Special Assistant, Governor, Senator, Senate President and Godfather soon learnt that Nigeria has not had enough of Saraki. He finished third in the PDP primaries and, with age on his side, could still be a big factor in 2027.
Kayode Fayemi was not running for president, thank you. Deeply intellectual, thoughtful and poised, he was running for Political Make-up Artist of the Federation in order to make up with his old godfather, Bola Tinubu. All the while his attention was on installing his successor in Ekiti, which he successfully did last weekend.
Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan must get the newly created post of Gambler General of the Federation in charge of the National Lottery. As Number Three in the National Order of Protocol, he was within breathing distance of Aso Rock. Someone convinced him that he would become the Consensus Master of the Federation. He forgot to put a reliable placeholder in place and when he came back for his Senate seat, Machina held fast to it.
Tall, athletic and eloquent, Emeka Nwajiuba tried to do a Great Leap Forward from Minister of State to President. He tried to leap over the political stepping stones of full minister, governor or senator. Most probably he had China’s Great Leap Forward of 1958 in mind. He leapt into the abyss because when he was called to give his speech at the convention, he was nowhere to be found.
Atiku Abubakar is running his 6th presidential race. He finished third at SDP’s 1993 convention, finished third as AC’s candidate in 2007, finished second at PDP’s primary in 2011, finished third in APC’s primaries in 2015 and finished second in the 2019 presidential contest. He has already earned the title of Marathon Presidential Runner of the Federation. If he wins the 2023 race, the word “Legendary” should be added to the title, in addition to President and Commander-in-Chief.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, considered to be the front runner in the 2023 race because his political platform is the largest, could be running for another title, Godfather General of the Federation. He is the country’s most successful godfather who installed—and sometimes removed—governors in many states. Forget about failed godfathers such as Chris Ubah. Tinubu is the first bonafide godfather who has leapt very close to the Throne and might end up sitting on it.
Who said Godwin Emefiele wanted to the president? Whoever becomes president next year, is it not Meffy that he will beg to print naira notes in order to prevent the hard-pressed federal treasury from going bankrupt? The post he really wanted was Werewolf Aspirant of the Federation, so that people will be talking about his aspiration when none existed.
Akinwumi Adesina was not running for president either. Why should anyone abandon an Africa-wide treasury in exchange for the pitiable Nigerian treasury, which is looking for N180 billion from its former gatekeeper? You think his conservative bowtie is for nothing? He was running for Political Scarecrow of the Federation, a soon to be created post which should scatter our hapless politicians like an eagle appearing over a chicken coop.
Those Fulani folks who went and bought N100million forms for Goodluck Jonathan knew not what they did. Oga Jonathan was running, not for president but for Commanding General of Recycled Forces. This country has already recycled two former military dictators as civilian presidents. It could complete the cycle by recycling a civilian president. But Oga Jonathan was out in Europe when the forms were submitted.