Between Mugabe and Oshiomhole
The Interview Magazine
A little drama unfolded recently in Accra, Ghana. A non-profit group which prides itself on being promoters of African solidarity and renaissance had announced an elaborate award to honour Africa's "champions, icons and legends" with an elaborated ceremony slated for the ancient city.
Expectedly, invitations were sent to all and sundry, the high and the mighty. Ahead of the occasion, quite a big noise was being orchestrated in the media to ginger public interest in the event. Of course, when organisers go to that length, it is expected that someone somewhere would somehow be made to pick the bills even though the group openly professes to be "non-profit".
Incidentally, our own Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was chosen from Nigeria to be among the continental roll-call of awardees. According to the statement by the group, the Edo governor, often regarded as the most influential labour leader in Nigeria's recent history having served two terms as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) before becoming Edo chief executive in 2008, was being honoured for excellence in public service.
Smart guys, the organisers also targeted some governors of APC-controlled states they believed would be too willing to fly down to Accra to support Oshio Baba at the award ceremony. Of course, any form of financial assistance from the "committee of friends" to cover "logistics" would not be rejected.
But despite all the hype and razzmatazz, neither the Comrade Governor nor any of the APC governors invited, including the wave-making Governor Akin Ambode of Lagos State, showed up at the event.
The immediate conclusion of most observers was that the awardee's absence was caused by the ongoing campaign in Edo for the governorship polls already around the corner.
Well, findings by The Interview confidential point in a different direction.
When the notification of the award first came, it was impeccably gathered, the Comrade Governor was a bit enthused, particularly given that public service was mentioned as yardstick and moreso, given that he would soon be handing over power. Such is the sort of laurel anyone would covet to climax his/her stint in public office.
But Oshiomhole, we gathered, developed cold feet immediately a follow-up letter landed his desk in Benin City on finding out who the organisers proudly announced as the chairman of the occasion - wait for it - Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe! Yes, the same nonagenarian who seems sworn to die in office, having rigged elections over the years to become Africa's longest-reigning and world's oldest president.
Realising he would not only suffer the dishonour of possibly receiving the plaque from the much-despised Zimbabwean dictator physically, but also the embarrassment of sharing the same table with him, Oshio Baba instantly cut communications with the award organisers.
At that point, Oshio Baba seemed to have realised that if such award would carry any worth at all, it probably would only be a little more than the Zimbabwean dollars!
Nemesis catches royal Papa
The other day, lots of cultural dust were raised following reports that a prominent royal father had been abducted from his palace in one of the Oduduwa states. Many screamed taboo! Meanwhile, some busybodies soon began to whisper about whatever happened to juju powers kings are thought to possess to make them invincible in the eye of danger.
To rub it in, not only was the king kept away for several days, huge sums of cash, as reported, also exchanged hands before his captors let him off.
Well, we are not about to dabble in any metaphysical or psychic inquiry here as to why the king was plucked away so easily by the sons of dogs that fateful day.
Rather, of grave concern to us is the intelligence just reaching us as to why the boys from the underworld struck. Contrary to the impression created in the public, the gist is that it was a case of a shady deal gone awry. The boys, we gathered, embarked on the action to exact a pound of flesh and humiliate the monarch for double-crossing them. Both parties were said to be neck-deep in the illicit sale of stolen liquid black gold. Usually, after sale, the proceeds would be shared. But this time around, the king was said to have played a fast one on the boys who decided to hit back by taking him hostage.
When the news of the king's abduction first broke, the gomina of the king's province was aghast and swore to deploy state powers to crush anyone involved. But when incontrovertible intelligence reached him about the real story behind the abduction, the no-nonsense gomina became weak. Reason why he more or less he left the king's relations to settle their "debt" themselves.
But the story has not ended. Stay tuned.
An exit quite undiplomatic
Contrary to tradition - at least one established with us for as long as anyone could remember, the diplomatic rep of the Yankee land in our country recently left us rather abruptly and, worse, unceremoniously. Naturally, this has led to all sorts of theories with regards to the reason. The most hair-raising so far is the speculation that it might not be unconnected with the dispatches entered before last year's general elections in the country, suggesting that the home government might have become too uncomfortable.
Well, we cannot confirm any thing yet. But be sure our intercontinental satellite is already activated to get to the root of the matter. We shall keep you posted.
Hard times hit ex-Gomina
In this season of recession, truly wonders shall never end. It is no longer news that virtually all the avenues through which rats in the corridor of power in the Rocky city used to help themselves have since been blocked by the new Sheriff in town. But what has continued to shock and amaze is the coping strategy being devised by those who fought tooth and nail, gave an arm and a leg literally to get political appointments only to find on assumption of office that things are no longer as rosy as they used to be.
Stories have been told how a good number of the new Sheriff's appointees who are first-timers in the Rocky city are still squatting with friends as cash offer made to them in lieu of official accommodation is hardly enough to rent even a duplex in a decent part of town.
Now, the pathetic story of a former gomina who struggled to make the federal team assembled by the new Sheriff towards the end of last year is making the rounds. Before his appointment, our friend was literally vegetating because of the peculiar circumstances under which he vacated office in his last outing. He actually lost the election in a most shocking manner. For that reason, he least prepared himself in cash terms for life outside the White House. Worse, his entire war-chest had been blown on the election he lost.
So, when our friend was offered the headship of the "juicy" ministry, close friends were at least relieved that would offer him some rehabilitation for now. It therefore came as a shock to one of them recently on receiving an SOS from the ex-gomina for some "stimulus package". The guy in question was obviously his last resort being the most trusted among his contractor-friends while he was in power.
When ex-gomina's flamboyant spouse first delivered the message to the big boy on her husband's behalf, he could not believe it. He initially thought madam was trying to drop her husband's name to "obtain" him. To be sure, after madam left with the promise that she would be contacted soon afterwards, the contractor decided to place a call to the ex-gomina to confirm what he just heard.
There and then, his excellency swallowed his pride and said he needed the bailout to pay the fees of his kids schooling abroad, promising to pay back as soon as possible.
Hmmm, wahala dey o.
...Egunje spoils things for the oily man
Still talking about locking all the official cash taps. A big fish who defied the stern commandment of the new Sheriff is now licking his wounds quietly. Our friend was one of the few Oga Patapata appointed soon after he took over the tenancy of the Rocky castle from the last bowler-hat-loving occupier. After being put in charge of the oily portfolio, our friend was naturally viewed with envy by all and sundry.
But behind closed door, we gathered, Oga Patapata had rolled out a long list of dos and don'ts in line with his avowed principle of transparency and accountability. For a while, our friend kept the golden rules, to the admiration of his boss. But just when Oga's confidence began to grow came a gale of sleazy tales that his beloved appointee had begun to backslide.
Initially, Oga treated the stories as side-talks by those envious of the fortune of his anointed aide. But he changed his mind soon afterwards after being confronted with a smoking gun.
Poor guy, he actually fell for a bait of intrigues. Those eyeing his job were said to have recruited someone close to Oga's madam who began to make it known to the man in charge of the oily portfolio that, regardless of the austere posturing of her husband, she on her own would not mind anything for the "stomach infrastructure". When the signals became too persistent, our friend thought he got the message. Pronto, he was said to have packaged cool one million cowries "egunje" (bribe) in the Yankee's currency and passed it on. With that, he must have reckoned his job was further secured.
Somehow, the secret was soon leaked to Oga Patapata. To be sure, he set up a discreet panel to investigate the matter. In a matter of few days, the truth was not only established, it was further discovered that contrary to the one million cowries declared by the messenger, two million was actually put in the suitcase the oily man gave out.
This, we gathered, is the chief reason Oga Patapata decided to remove the oily cash cow from our friend's direct control, now reducing him to a ceremonial monitor.
Moral dust as US campaign gets more risqué
Those who describe the ongoing presidential race in the United States to decide President Barak Obama's successor the most divisive and the dirtiest in recent history can hardly be faulted. Just when you assume you had hit the nadir, things plumb deeper into the abyss. No thanks to the reality-show-star-turned-politician, Donald Trump, it has been one hell of a race. On the road to picking the Republican ticket, the voluble billionaire once stuck a below-the-belt blow by dismissing the spouse of his then arch rival, Ted Cruz, as not looking "presidential" compared to his ex-model wife, Melania.
Not to worry, a less than dignifying old portrait of Melania soon surfaced in the public as a topless model for one of the leading US leading tabloid couples of years back.
Long before Trump clinched the Republican ticket, another challenger, Mike Rubio, hurled his own sick missile by derisively telling a crowd of supporters that Trump's hands are relatively small, in a most suggestive manner. Just as many made of the dirty innuendo, Trump came up later to say that though his hands may be small, "I can assure you I have no problem down there." Of course, his defense was to puncture the biological stereotype that the size of a man's hand reflects the size of his genitals.
Now, somewhere in the heart of New York, residents woke up few days ago to find a giant-size statue of Trump in the nude overlooking a public square. Predictably, his private parts depicted look disproportionately too tiny for his elephantine frame.
But just when Democrats were still giggling with malicious pleasure at the obscenity, a no less unflattering topless bust of of Democratic hopeful, grandma Hillary Clinton, also surfaced.
Really, never have we had it this bad in the United States for as long as we can remember. Now, we ask: what is the meaning of all this? When will this stop in the name of decency?