Tuesday, May 11, 2010


As soon as Babangida spoke on Hausa BBC radio, my telephones cell and land were bombarded with calls and people were screaming on top of their voices; a common phenomenon with Nigerians in diaspora and at home. It was Abati Vanguard that first carried the news. They were all mad as hell to hear that their children or brothers and sisters are not capable of ruling Nigeria at the apex of government. The Internet was on fire with vicious comments.

However, a story must be told with the memory of our late sage Papa Awolowo. During one of his numerous blunt challenges and tête-à-tête chat, Papa reminded his young followers that when he came into politics, he met the likes of Alakijas and Fanikayodes as the elders of the Yourbas.

As soon as these elders started to listen to many theories of Papa Awolowo on how to move the nation in the right direction, they were impressed and promptly demurred for Papa Awo to take up the mantle of leadership. Here were the Yoruba elders who saw raw and smart intelligence with courage in a young man and decided to embrace him to assume the role of a leader among culturally unbending elders who don’t normally tolerate affront.

So, IBB told the BBC interviewer that the young ones are not capable of taking over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria for now. What is new? Papa Awolowo once called the youth lazy drones that shy away from confronting their elders to contest elections on the same party platform. Papa went further to say that the youths sleep too much, are sexually liberated and neglect their home works. He once threatened to expose the young philanderers to their wives when they could not discipline themselves on campaign trails. Who else is capable of challenging the young ones other than fathers and the elders?

IBB might have short himself in the foot during that Hausa language interview; but who else should be in the position to say these things after creating the controversial new breed, old breed politicians that populated the polity today and the new breed politicians are running amuck and acting like vampires sucking blood out of their collogues’ veins, carting money across land and ocean to buy houses in Dubai, Ghana and South Africa.

If one is to advise, let the youth search their souls, reject the do or die affair in politics, sanitize the polity and create environment for good governance, put in place institutions that would destroy politics of money which prevents true representation of the people. If individuals could contest and win election without spending so much personal money that is currently preventing many to enter races for local, state and federal, Nigeria would move forward.

It might not have been politically servy to say what IBB said, but the truth always hurt and is always bitter to swallow. When my in-fatigable friend, the die hard Awoist, comrade Bari Salau contested the presidency and triumphed his first leg from Teju Pedro, Obanikoro ward in shomolu local government, we all dubbed him Fela Ransom Kuti of shomolu’s politics. Bari Salau won his ward and local government elections for the presidency.

He proceeded to the state where he conceded the little marathon experiment against those Ghana-must- go money baggers. This was the same election IBB finally annulled. Had Abiola been the president of Nigeria, then perhaps Alhaji Bari Salau could have been one of Abiola’s ministers because of his courage and his Obama’s “audacity of hope” approach.

Alhaji Bari Salau went all the way to Abuja as delegate and managed to add ‘President Contestant with Option A4’ to his political portfolio not necessarily because of his wealth but for his courage and high stake effort. Bari treaded where his elders never had courage to tread. As a political scientist and consultant today, we do know where he belongs in Nigeria political field, but he robustly continues to add humor and political ideas to this blog site. We all belong to IBB generation but our votes alone can not send IBB back to Aso Rock; we need all the young generation votes too, hence efforts on clarification of IBB’s utterances that set the internet on fire.

O.R. Almaroof, DDS
New York, U.S.A.

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