Babayola M. Toungo
I like politicians, especially the northern Nigeria variant. They enjoy talking from both sides of the mouth or tongue-in-cheek. They can swear at the slightest reason that they are in politics to protect and project your interests without knowing what those interests are. They will seduce, cajole, or even intimidate you while trying to convince you that they are in politics because of you. I sometimes wonder how they do it. Worse, they are not averse to destroying reputations if it advances their ambitions.
I read a promoted article in the Premium Times, an online newspaper a litany of complaints, inuendoes and crass insinuations against the Adamawa state governor and the Secretary to the State Government. It was a pathetic attempt at achieving two things, in my opinion. One, which is the paramount reason for writing the article is to sell the author to Atiku Abubakar by telling him to come get the author. The unrequited display of the author’s CV and the professed ‘love’ for the PDP presidential candidate is taking sycophancy to a whole new level. The author went to the painstaking length of establishing a long-standing relationship with Atiku dating to the days of his engagement by Atiku’s logistics company – Priam Integrated Logistics Company – to his joining partisan politics. He was just short of saying he joined politics because of Atiku. I was flummoxed by the author’s obsequious behaviour, which one can see drooling from every single word penned in that piece.
‘Loving’ Atiku is no crime – at least not by any extant law in the land. Selling yourself to Atiku is equally legitimate. I know in politics, ‘positioning’ is crucial for those who want to be recognised by those who may be lucky to be voted into office. Ambition is legitimate and laudable. Now that Atiku is a candidate, everybody would like to associate himself with him. I recognise that all politicians want to be appreciated, appointed, and drawn to the candidate’s inner circle. This way, when the candidate wins, that with ‘rich’ CVs and has been visible to those who call the shots in the candidate’s kitchen, will remember who to recommend for appointment. This may be the author’s way of registering his presence as an early bird. Very commendable indeed. I don’t have any problem with that.
The second reason in my view of why the author penned his piece, may not be unconnected to his failure to accept that he was defeated by an aspirant, whose CV may not be a paragraph long. As a “professional human resources and healthcare facility management consultant”, who has fulfilled his professional dreams, it is unthinkable that somebody from the backwoods of Girei, can easily trounce him in the primaries. It must be the governor, who dislike him because of his ‘love’ for Atiku that caused his defeat. The Secretary to the State Government is the instrument used to achieve this outcome. Therefore, the governor and his SSG must be exposed for what they did to this professional. It seems we are reliving the 2019 campaigns all over again. A kind of a déjà vu.
In 2019, several people tried to put a wedge between the then PDP gubernatorial candidate, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. The plot failed flat on its face. The allegations then were that those around Fintiri were not supportive of Atiku. I wondered then if one doesn’t have the right to support the candidate of his choice. I can support Fintiri and then another candidate from another party. I think this is my inalienable right. Anyway, both Fintiri and Atiku won Adamawa state in 2019. The rest is history.
Four years down the road, with another election cycle looming ahead, it may appear the same old tactic is resurfacing. The same old currency is back in circulation – Fintiri’s lackadaisical support for Atiku’s presidential ambition. This was their refrain in 2019 and the old song may seem to be getting back in vogue.
I am at a loss as to how the governor or the SSG may ‘anoint’ (this annoying political lexicon) a candidate and then the candidate fail to clinch the party’s ticket, knowing how a governor in every state holds control over how “delegates” (another word that got corrupted by our politicians) vote. I know there was a meeting convened by the stakeholders of the PDP in Yola North local government to prune the number of aspirants from the local government vying to represent Yola South, Yola North and Girei Local Governments in the House of Representatives. There were seven aspirants from Yola North and the stakeholders felt this may minimise the chances of the local government from clinching the ticket, hence the need for the stakeholders and the aspirants to come together and harmonise their thoughts with a view to trimming the number of contestants. The SSG, I learnt, attended the meeting in his capacity as an indigene of Yola North not as the Secretary to the Government. He was also not there as the envoy of the governor.
The author knew very well his allegations are a complete misrepresentation of what transpired at the meeting. He knew it was those at the meeting that selected Modibbo Yushau as numero uno among the rest of them and not the governor. Equally, when the selection was to be done, the SSG excused himself from the meeting. The modus of the selection was also suggested by the aspirants, who promised to abide by the outcome of the meeting. Yushau emerged the preferred candidate of the stakeholders using the criteria suggested by the aspirants. I fail to see how Fintiri is complicit in this exercise.
Sometimes the ability to manage failure beclouds our sense of judgement and this leads us to throwing punches (futile) at those we perceive to be against our ambitions. We blame everybody but ourselves. Our egos may not allow us to see us for what we are. I know failure is traumatic, but we shouldn’t lose our sense of balance. Using such strong words like “tyrant’ and “hypocrite” on your state governor by someone demanding respect for his candidate leaves me baffled. I cannot fathom how the author demands “respect” for Atiku and in the same breath denigrates the governor. Anybody that can contest on different occasions is by no means looking for any “relevance” anymore, unless the word has taken another meaning altogether.
Sometimes back I wrote about the target on Fintiri’s back. It may seem that players have started throwing darts at the target.