DEMOCRACY is a remarkable way of organising human society. It throws up often, unlikely individuals into the public and social spaces of society. A most poignant example is President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2011, he touched the emotions of millions of Nigerians with the genuine propaganda line that he went to school shoeless. It resonated with a lot of people who saw Dr Jonathan as just like the folk next door. He harvested millions of votes but used the next four years wasting the goodwill of many of those who voted a “shoeless boy” from the backwaters of Otuoke as their president.
Four years down the line, the table turned; emotions became decisively against the man who celebrated his modest origins, but in power, became captive of a cabal who made him forget where he came from. The man turned the acquisition of new business jets into an expensive presidential diversion. He found out much later, that his deliberate effort at manipulating the fault lines of religion, ethnicity and regionalism could not save him. He was voted out of power!
The past few years in our democratising Nigeria, threw up many characters,who were in our faces, most of the time, for the worst possible reasons. In the long run, they became some of the “crimes” for which Nigerians punished Jonathan.
Old man E.K. Clark heads my cast of characters in the Nigerian theatre of the politically absurd. The self-styled Ijaw leader carefully cultivated himself into a presidential elderly Rottweiler. He confronted whoever dared to cross his ‘godson’, President Jonathan. He dominated the scene amongst an unofficial presidential ‘defence force’. We were both Delegates at the 2014 National Conference, and even there, he carried on, as if he had presidential imprimatur for whatever verbiage he spewed.
He was eternally handing out his call cards to many people, but especially women, who were probably looking for all types of favour they believed EK Clark could secure for them. Chief Clark’s brusqueness with other Nigerians contributed so much to alienating President Jonathan from many people. He forgot too late in the day, that an election was going to come. In the end, he helped ensure that his ‘godson’ lost! It is a new era. We will not miss Chief EK Clark when he disappears from our social space.
Chief Tony Anenih, the wily old, colonial-era policeman and political dinosaur, enjoyed the halo of being addressed as Fixer-in-Chief of the Nigerian political scene. His house was the ultimate Mecca for the flotsam and jetsam of political society. He enjoyed the attention and maximally exploited the myth he was surrounded with.
A man who never ever won an election, but was stupendously rich and with a typically colonial police cunning; Tony Anenih, is a recurrent decimal from the Second Republic through to the June 12 era. He is best remembered as the party chairman who allegedly traded off Chief MKO Abiola’s June 12, 1993 mandate. By 1999, he returned with vengeance to political reckoning, and like a cat with nine lives, was disgraced and rehabilitated severally, until President Jonathan lost his re-election bid. Chief Anenih has expended all his cat’s nine lives. He HAS to vacate the scene. We won’t miss him.
Then there is Jerry Gana. Good old Jerry Gana, Nigeria’s AGIP-in-Chief! He has a unique place in the Nigerian political system, as the SOLE HOLDER of the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) to the corridors of power. He has served and has been dumped like a bag of potatoes and re-appointed by EVERY regime, from the days of military dictatorship till the ill-fated Jonathan administration. Jerry Gana has politically expired. He would be obliged to vacate the scene. We will not miss the past master at exploiting religious identity to stay politically relevant.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was eventually sacked by Obasanjo in her first incarnation in the Nigerian public space. We thought we had been rid of one of the most reactionary individuals ever to happen, like an accident, on our public space.
But President Jonathan, who always felt he must kowtow to imperialism, went back to Washington to beg the most archetypal intellectual in the service of imperialism, Okonjo-Iweala, to return as Finance Minister and a new ego-massaging addendum was even added to fit Ngozi’s larger-than-life ego: Coordinating Minister of the Economy. She lapped it up, while strutting around as if she was God’s only gift to Nigeria. Controversies and all, Okonjo-Iweala will have to vacate our political space, without doubt, back to the imperialist redoubt where she was plucked from. We won’t miss Ngozi!
Certainly we will not miss Diezani Alison-Maduekwe. President Jonathan’s Minister of Petroleum Resources became one of the most unpopular faces of the government. She removed heads of NNPC at will, for as long as she was through with those poor folks or when they would not stand her overbearing arrogance.
She was so special and thought the position she held was eternal, that she even organised the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, around her position as minister. But everything ends!
In recent days, pictures have emerged online of Diezani allegedly arriving, dressed like a Northern Nigerian housewife, at General Abudusalami Abubakar’s residence in Minna. The regime of private jets and expensive designer bags seems to have ended. Diezani is gone! We won’t miss her.
Please add your own individuals to this non-exhaustive list. The old order changeth, paveth way for the new. If we wait long enough, everything changes!.