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Loud Whispers with Joseph Edgar

Loud Whispers with Joseph Edgar

Bola Ahmed Tinubu: My Emperor, My President
There was this arrogant confidence around this campaign. Yes, politicians are eternal optimists but this one moved around with the confidence that this was in the bag. From the declaration of ‘Emilokan’ to the golden speech in Abeokuta where he ridiculed the incumbent Buhari, to the last one where he said in Yoruba at the height of the Naira scarcity that – it is not where they are looking at that the road is, one felt that these ones were not really relying on the one man one vote mantra to emerge.

Fumbling and wobbling all over the country, Tinubu kept pushing. The more they pelted him with rotten tomatoes, the stronger he moved. The gaffes didn’t stop coming, the ridiculing, the falls, the missteps but the man kept trudging.
He got to Uyo and called the Governor a ‘boy’ and another firestorm erupted but he survived. He had developed thick skin and it was looking like nothing could stop him. His people had moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the sitting Government, the respect for the incumbent had gone and we were looking at a really lame President who had no choice but to join the campaign trail even though his policies were looking like they were carefully designed to strangle Mr. Emilokan.

All these came to a head as the votes started coming in and the INEC Chairman in a very dull and strange performance announced Mr. Tinubu our new President, marking the climax of a 30-year journey and leaving Nigerians in utter amazement and national gloom.
This story is epic. A man literally dropping from the sky, with no known parentage, no acceptable educational qualification, a colourful relationship with the law, both local and international, a brilliant anti-military dictatorship career, a very interesting tenure as Lagos State governor, an admirable career as a regional godfather, careening that into a very powerful ‘unseater’ and imposer of presidents and finally imposing himself on a now confused country.
Our mouths remain open with shock. Did this really happen? We are asking ourselves. As I write, 3 am, a good 24 hours after the announcement, and Nigerians are still dazed in silence, not really comprehending what has just happened.
An Emperor President has just been imposed. This is going to be a real rollercoaster ride, I swear. Na to buy popcorn and siddon look. Nigeria has just entered the real one chance. Chai. Na wa.

Peter Obi as the People’s President
You know how they console those who ‘carry last’ during the Olympics, they will say that the Olympic goal is to participate and not to win. Na lie o, na stupid consolation be that. Anyways, this time around, that mantra seems to be golden.
The true winner of this very Freudian race is Peter Obi and not the colourful and suspicious character that emerged. Peter Obi, I have always said, should never look at his endgame as the trophy but as the morality of his journey. The fact that he has been able to drive conviction into national political discourse. The fact that his campaign rose above the shallow ethno-religious gallows that normally characterise our political space to me is a massive victory.
A minority Christian candidate in black traditional wear and black cheap shoes to move with such confidence and pool over six million votes in a campaign that was less than stellar can only be seen as massive.

Obi defeated the emperor in his stronghold, took out more than the required 25% in strategic states, cleared the whole South-east, made some very good showings in the North, and permanently cemented his personality as the hero of the struggle. His campaign was deeply emotional and resonated with the urban intelligentsia and the youths but failed to engage the northern powerful electoral machinery, and this is where his inexperience at such levels began to show.
Three weeks before the elections, it would have dawned on him as it did on the rest of us, just how the elections would go. At that point, he should have immediately done everything within his power to build bridges with either the PDP or Kwankwaso’s NNPP. I hear attempts were made but failed. He should have been very insistent because even if it was only Kwankwaso he got, he would have forced a rerun and then recalibrated and moved in much more strategically.
But his inexperience made him feel he could do it alone. He didn’t have the energy or sagacity to push further at the last part of the race, especially with the willy-nilly APC Candidate he had to contend with, and as such came third.
Anyways, he remains the people’s President. The president in our hearts and the true winner of the 2023 presidential race. Well done my brother, you truly have run a super exciting race and, in the process, reset our thinking and outlook as a nation.
For me, the next four years will be a ‘close out’ period, where the darkness of epileptic leadership occasioned by corruption would gradually draw to an inevitable eclipse and the dawn of purposeful, relational leadership will emerge. Thank you so much, Mr. Obi. Thank you so much.

Atiku Abubakar’s Amateurish Display
Me, I did not feel his energy o. Watching the Atiku charade was like watching Larry Holmes, the great heavyweight champion being beaten to a pulp by a much younger and spirited fighter. I still remember that fight. It was in the 80s and it was at night. I had woken up to watch the fight with my dad who had great hope and believed in Holmes.
I had wondered just how this great blob of a man with all that fat will be able to beat the younger, well-toned fighter. Come and see beating, the former champion was just looking like a badly made ‘Eba’ in the ring. People in the audience started crying at the painful humiliation he was going through. His legs wobbled, his face bloated from the blows, blood pouring out from all over his face and his eyes pleading to be let go.
That is the image of Atiku in this campaign. A huge heavyweight who had lost the nimbleness that made him a champion. Surrounding himself with court jesters who made a career of mimicking Mr. Tinubu and trading words with Mr. Tinubu’s wolves, but lacking the understanding of the shifting voting terrain occasioned by the fiery movement led by Mr. Obi.

He stood to lose severally from the Obi wildfire and he stood there doing nothing. Only a political novice and you cannot call Mr. Atiku that, will sit down there and watch the Obi phenomenon, knowing fully well that he would be the greatest loser and still will be nudging his big head at Dino’s lame jokes instead of going out there to rein in Obi or build a working partnership that will see them strongly push out Mr. Tinubu.
It is no wonder that Obi took him out in his South-east and South-south strongholds, killed him in the South-west, and shared some of his votes in the North.
While still at that, he also watched Wike mess him up with his weird contraption- G5. This Atiku surprised me o. He had lost his edge. Age telling very seriously and the battering from OBJ taking a final toll.
Sad, like Larry Holmes, Atiku has received the very last heavy beating of his political career. Sad end to a very colourful career. Well-done sir.

Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour: An Intern Seeking to Make Impact
On one of my many WhatsApp groups, someone asked, “Please can someone send me GVR’s resume?” Up until that time, we knew very little about this candidate whose profile had started ramping up as a result of the anger the people were feeling as a result of the rape during the national elections.
As the results were churned out and people were seeing the blatant inconsistencies and the brazen lack of respect of the people’s will by our traducers, the image of the Labour Party candidate who up until that time had run a very lackluster campaign began to drum up.
So, someone dropped his resume and we all opened our mouths. It was empty! This particular group is a group of intellectuals – investment bankers, media people, and a motley sort of professionals who yearn for advocacy in leadership.
The resume was purred over and the consensus was that this person cannot for the life of me run the 5th largest economy in Africa with all the complexities that come with that positioning.

We saw very strong pedigree keying into the yearning for an indigenous leadership of Lagos away from the ‘Iragbiji’ throng of raiders. His marriage and maternal links gave him a good balance in the ethnic tensions that beset the state. He was just a lucky ‘boy’ in the right party and at the right time who so happened to be at the toll gate #EndSars uprising.
A further look at the resume saw very strong educational qualifications unlike the Chicago type one that continues to be bandied on our faces and a very strategic engagement with public policy at the master’s level. This is quite impressive, showing very clearly a very early intent at leadership.
But the question is that are we now going to elect a new governor for the most important city in Africa simply on emotions? People are saying, “Edgar, he will learn on the job,” and I ask them will you give your phantom Rolls Royce to your son to learn? Won’t you give him a tokunbo car to go and learn first?
Nigerians, nay Lagosians should kindly look very closely and beyond all of these and see the very important work that needs to be done and take a decision based on logic and rationality and not because ‘he fine’. Thank you. Kai.

Obasanjo: Saint or Resident Devil?
Like it or not, we are stuck with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the crusader elder statesman. He sure knows how to look for our trouble and for his efforts, he gets all sorts of abuses and attacks. The man doesn’t seem to mind because the very next day, he is shooting another letter.
This time around, he dropped another bomb asking for the immediate cancellation of the elections on the grounds of the massive infraction that we all witnessed on live TV.
My own problem with Chief Obasanjo is totally different from that of the APC. So, the footage of him signing the letter was released so that people will know that he was the one who actually wrote it. As he walked towards the table and the letter handed over to him by his media aide – Kehinde, I was excited as I looked out for my collage from the play ‘Aremu’ that I did on him.

After the play, I presented to him a huge collage of images from the play which had veteran actor Yemi Shodimu play the lead role Aremu. He hung it in that particular room and during all that Covid period, whenever he did a Zoom press conference, you will see the collage with the ‘Duke of Shomolu’ written boldly on it and girls would be calling me, saying, “Duke, I saw you behind OBJ,” and I would say, “come let me tell you more about it.”
But this time, as he signed the ‘yeye’ letter, I did not see the collage o. Somebody has removed it and I am sure it is Vitalis that removed it — that one does not really like me o. At that point, I did not care what the letter said.

If they rig nko, what concerns Baba? Is it today we have been rigging in Nigeria? Rigging is part of our culture, abeg. We have been rigging since 1960. Didn’t we rig in 1979? Abeg Baba go and put my picture back o because me I don’t understand what is happening o.
You see why them Dele Alake and Bayo Onanuga will be yabbing you up and down when you will be removing my picture. Thankfully, Buhari also ignored the letter for the same reasons I am ignoring it. Me, I had called Buhari in anger and said, “Lord, OBJ is writing letter again o, please ignore him o because I did not see my picture behind him,” and you know that one does not joke with me. “Duke, abeg no mind that Baba, that is how he will not mind his business. Na wa.”
Baba, put my picture back o, otherwise, it will not be funny if I come to Abeokuta oooo. It will not be a town hall meeting when I get there o.

G5 as a Comedic Quintet
These ones just came to do side attractions during the elections. Role players who served as pretenders on the big stage, they just offered us a laughing interlude and at the end of the day fizzled out into oblivion.
Their leader was very engaging. His speeches and his dances all gave us momentary lapses of fun as the very serious business of campaigning was going on.
So, they fell out with their party on the back of positioning. Broke away, but didn’t leave the party and went ahead with an unprecedented anti-party jamboree, daring the party to expel them while at it.
At the end of the day, despite their camaraderie, they couldn’t come up with a uniform candidate. The leader went to the left, the deputy leader in his Benue went right and the others simply just meshed into incognito and at the end of the day, the only real winner in this tragic game was their tailor. Na wa. Nigerian leadership, na wa.

Dino Malaye: It’s All About the Jacket
Nigerians are a rare breed. It was all about Dino’s jacket as he stood up to engage the hapless INEC Chairman as that one reeled out leprous figures. Dino stood like a man, bold and confident as he shouted, “Mr. Chairman this is wrong…”
He sounded like Martin Luther King as he waved a finger at the Chairman who was intent on spewing the poison chalice on us. Dino cut a heroic figure that one could be tempted to put his name in the democratic hall of fame being compiled.

The only snag was that it now looked like he was wearing a fake jacket while making history. Kai! Dino yab me. Apparently, some people on social media had done their investigations and came up with the sad fact that the original jacket had only one letter N but Dino’s own came with a double N.
Be like say, Dino has some friends who deal with okrika or second-hand clothes from China. They must have supplied him with the jacket and he now wore it boldly on national TV for over 30 million people to see. I am sure even the jeans sef must have come from the same supplier and we have seen pictures of him without underwear, so I will not need to hazard a guess as to the originality of his boxer shorts.
My brother, your jacket symbolized everything that went wrong with the Atiku campaign. Just as the jacket was not original, na so the campaign lacked originality. Na wa egbon.

Prof Bakare Ojo Rasaki in Legendary Dance
Prof is a very gifted dancer. I have seen him in action in some productions and have marvelled at the seamless flow of his movements. His carriage bellying his eloquent movements. His gazelle-like interpretation of the sequences of dance is legendary and it is no wonder he is the first professor of dance in Nigeria.
Prof, as I call him who is the Commissioner for Culture and Arts in Ekiti State will be directing one of Nigeria’s most exciting theater productions this Easter.
Ladi Kwali is my take on the very attractive potter who amazed the world with her superlative gift of pottery. Her fame rose and attracted world attention and on the back of that, Nigeria immortalised her by putting her image on the Naira note.

This Easter, Prof Rasaki will be dropping this superlative production at the Muson Centre. The production would be a 100% dance sequence that will tell the story of this wonderful lady in pure superlative dance moves. I really cannot wait and well done in advance, my dear Professor. Well done.

Segun Awolowo: Grandpa Duty Calls
I do not know if it is okay to release this information. But you know that the whole world really knows that I cannot really keep a secret. During the week, I stumbled on pictures of my great egbon receiving his first grandchild. Oh, it was so touching and romantic. The baby was handed over to him by his daughter and he cradled him with prayers with little tears in his eyes.
I cannot wait to be a grandfather. I quickly sent the pictures to my son Joseph Edgar II, and Chantal and said to them, “what’s up?”
Congratulations my Lord and may our Heavenly Father bless and keep the baby and give us all long lives to allow in the warmth and loving embrace of our children and their children. Wow!

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