Politics in Nigeria is extremely screwed up, but that is not exactly headline news. For several decades, Nigerians have mourned, bemoaned and agonized over the kind of politicians they have been cursed with. Some argue that a people deserve the kinds of leaders they get, but Nigerians are yet to be convinced that what they have received is really what they deserve. Presidential politics is literally out of the league of the common man – knowing that such permutations are reserved for the gods, however ward councillors, local government chairmen and states assemblymen have routinely proven that nothing amazing should be expected of any Nigerian politician. In a crazy nine-day span during which state governors seemed to be desperate to outdo one another, Governor Babatunde Fashola (legitimately or otherwise) withdrew the sources of livelihood of thousands of Okada riders, Governor Aliyu Wamakko turned village headmaster and flogged PHCN officials in his state, Governor Danbaba Suntai decided to take a fancy helicopter ride to survey his beautiful city and Governor Rotimi Amaechi flaunted his pretty new private jet. What a dynasty!
Enough has been said about the wisdom or wickedness of Fashola’s dictatorial decision regarding commercial motorcycles in Lagos, and apparently Governor Aliyu Wammako in far away Sokoto State was rueing his prolonged absence from the front pages of national dailies. And so what better way was there to make a majestic return to national consciousness than to invite the Business Manager of PHCN Gwiwa Business District to his private residence and flog him till he became unconscious. Recreating the scene seems to be an arduous task for anyone – a grown man picking up a locally-made whiplash to trash another grown man? For what crimes? Understandably, PHCN officials need to be reprimanded if they indeed have failed to deliver the two SMVA transformers to Wamakko town as they were commissioned to do, but have all official channels been exhausted? By physically assaulting Engr. Moses Osigwe, Mallam Isyaku Daura and Nurudeen Mohammed, Governor Aliyu Wamakko did not crown himself in glory; he rather belittled himself and descended to the lowest depths to which any public official could sink.
The Nigerian Governors Forum, apparently kicked off a ‘Mediocrity Week’ a while ago without remembering to inform us, otherwise how else could one explain Governor Danbaba Suntai’s unwise decision to fly a private Cessna 208 jet from Jalingo to Yola in pitch darkness? Having been warned by his private pilot that it was unreasonable to embark on such a foolish mission at the dead of night, knowing that the Yola airport was ill-equipped to accommodate flights beyond 6pm, he refused to read the writing on the wall, even when his pilot declined to fly with him. He instead headed for the cockpit, relying on his private flying license (hoping he didn’t skip the class where flight safety rules were taught) and took three loyal aides along with him on a ride to death. Not unexpectedly, the aircraft lost contact with the Yola airport and headed straight for hell’s gate.
The problem was not Suntai deciding to take his own life because he thought he knew how to fly a jet or because he could afford one, the problem was compelling three hapless assistants to embark on the flight with him. As expected, he is possibly now sipping fine wine and receiving world-class treatment in Germany on the sweat of Taraba’s poor taxpayers while his three comrades languish in hospitals in Abuja. No matter how the Taraba State Commissioner for Information tries to spin it, there is no logical justification for airlifting one of four passengers to Abuja and then Germany within 36 hours of an air crash while the other three are shuffled between Yola and Abuja up to seven days after the same crash. How else could one explain this than the fact that some animals are definitely more equal than others in the jungle called Nigeria?
In the spirit of flaunting private jets, Governor Rotimi Amaechi has decided not to be trumped by any of his contemporaries and the way to do that is to debut a stunning Global 5000 Bombardier jet at the peak of dealing with the aftermath of destructive floods in his state. Whether the fancy jet cost $45million or $50million, whether it was purchased two years ago or whether it was freshly minted, whether two other expensive jets were traded off to purchase this amazon or whether it was bought in cash, the question is not about affordability, the question is of priorities. And as if matters couldn’t get worse, media sources have recently confirmed that Governor Godswill Akpabio also owns a similar private jet to Amaechi’s. In their private capacities, no one cares what Amaechi or Akpabio does with their money, but as the custodians of goodwill for the people of Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, Amaechi and Akpabio have just ostracized themselves unnecessarily from the citizens of their states. True enough, there are transportation needs for any Governor, but the insensitivity of actions such as these ring louder than any other amazing tasks that they might have performed.
Will Nigerian politicians ever change? Possibly not. Neither will the ill-feelings and curses of the good people of Nigeria towards them. After all, one good turn deserves another, doesn’t it?
You can follow Faith Abiodun on Twitter @FaithAbiodun