By William Ikhianosimhe Orbih.
Something happened recently on the floor of the Senate. Some find it amusing; others saddening. Smart Adeyemi; Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, brought human tears to the floor of the legislative chambers, a rare sight in the eighth assembly of the Nigerian Senate indeed.
The senator decried the current state of security as the worst ever in Nigeria’s history. “This is the worst instability we are facing. In fact, this is worse than the civil war.” He was certainly not oblivious of the fact that he belongs to the ruling party, the party at the helm of affairs and in control of all the security apparatus.
“I’m a party man, and I’m supporting APC, but it has gotten to the point that as supporters, we cannot keep quiet.” However, according to him, partisan politics must be cast aside for the meantime, for the wanton killing of Nigerians is more crucial than Politics.
What he said, the way he said it, and the fact that he chose to say it at all did not go down well with many of his fellow APC members. It was Senator Oluremi Tinubu voicing of her disgruntlement even while Adeyemi was still speaking passionately and calling his colleagues to legislative arms that got many Nigerians disgusted.
Remi softly reminded his fellow party member that he should avoid sounding like the opposition or like the many wailers on Twitter. “Are you in PDP? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing?” she inquired.
Many who expressed their anger spoke as though they have suddenly seen into the mind of a Nigerian politician for the first time. They were right in seeing in Oluremi Tinubu concern and whisper the portrait of the Nigerian politician.
The sheer selfishness encased in the alarm she raised startled them even as they recognized it as one of the hallmarks of the typical Nigerian politician: selfishness, partisanship, and bigotry. “Remi Tinubu wants to be first lady at the expense of the blood of innocent Nigerians,” one person tweeted.
Many even concluded that if she ever becomes the first lady of Nigeria, she would be the most wicked ever! “You think Aisha Buhari is wicked? Wait until you try Remi Tinubu,” Otaigbe Imadegbelo tweeted, garnering over a thousand likes.
I, however, want to argue that OluRemi is only half of the complete picture of the Nigerian politician. The Nigerian politician is not all vicious, all selfish, and all corrupt. The humanity of politicians persists even at the height of their depravity. There is an AdeYemi side that comes out every now and then.
Let me explain what I am talking about. Senator Adeyemi is not the only Nigerian politician to have ever spoken passionately. We recently saw Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River cry us a river. He spoke of his sincere desire to make the lives of the poorest of the poor Cross-Riverans better, lamenting his inability to bring his deepest desire to fruition.
The question is, what prevents Ayade from doing the right thing? Is his case akin to St Paul lamenting, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19).
Desperate politicking often comes at an avoidable prize, often much of which is unintended. Nigerian politicians are not utterly wicked. Many are good, simple, and humble people with good intentions. However, it seems, always at hand to stifle the humanity of politicians is the selfishness which Remi embodied in the senate-house recently. It seems it is the political context that makes it nearly impossible for politicians to persist in their integrity or good intention.
Remi is the personification of the force that makes the typical Nigerian politician put selfish interest above the development of his constituency. Remi personifies the voice that whispers to the politician trying to be honest, “na where man dey work na him he dey chop—workshop.” She personifies the voice that says, “Party and politics first, people and humanity last.” Unfortunately, this selfishness and partisanship is unarguably the dominant side of the contemporary Nigerian politician.
At the end of the day, we must not lose sight that this was only a moment of smartness for Smart Adeyemi; it is not enough ground for us to begin a cause for his canonization. We should never forget how the APC rigging machine helped him win ahead of our favorite senator, Dino MeLIAR (in Klint De Drunk’s voice). Nigerians died in that election, Senator Smart did not care.
Every politician has got a Yemi and Remi side. There is a Remi side to Senator Adeyemi. As noted above, it was on display in his desperation to win in the last election. There is certainly a Yemi side to Remi Tinubu. It is only now on holiday as she is desperate to see her husband succeed Buhari.
Perhaps, we should conclude by hoping that there is at least that one politician somewhere in Nigeria who is all Yemi and no Remi, that is, has never stolen public funds nor abused his office. By the way, Buhari is not that man! It turns out that all the talk about integrity was all propaganda with very little basis in reality. While they say Buhari does not steal public funds, I say I doubt. I also insist that it is not enough that you are not stealing public funds if your close associates are stealing and you are turning a blind eye.
I think of the story of the radical prophet Elijah. While Elijah was convinced that there was not a single Israelite left who has not bowed before Baal, God assured him that there are not just one but 7 thousand men who have remained faithful (1 Kings 19: 18). I want to believe that there is at least one honest Nigerian politician per each 774 LGAs.
Can these Nigerians stand up to be identified? Would we truly support them if they do?
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of William Ikhianosimhe Orbih and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”