Nigeria Matters

I Will Miss Umaru… And Turai

According to a myth, it ought to be a no-strings-attached sex after a hard day at work supervising the economic interests of her majesty. After a nice meal that was probably topped with a cool bottle of gin, sexy Ross strolled in. She helped the lord with his shirts, socks, and other lord paraphernalia. The lord’s hormones- adrenalin and testosterone- surged to an unimaginably high level which necessitated the need for prompt swift action before pretty Ross changes her mind. Ross probably allowed the lord to take the lead for sometime after which she took charge, and the lord began to speak in tongues.

Ross’ expertise at sexiology was so good that the lord succumbed and allowed her to take care of his bodily needs. While at it, professional issues came up and Ross lent her voiced opinion, an action that culminated in the naming of a nation, our nation- Nigeria.

As first exemplified by Ross, women are powerful forces to reckon with. Their powers range from sexual prowess, to mental intellect. Their seeming tenderness and fragility are dual forces that could inundate and captivate the strongest man (if he’s not gay). Throughout global history, women like Hillary Clinton compete with their spouses for the spot light, and in most times they outshine as a result of their ability to take charge. This is why in Nigeria, women are rarely allowed to assume such power that would compete with masculinity.

In most parts of our nation, masculinity holds sway. Men are the decision makers and power brokers while women, at best, give advises. This is strong in the east, stronger in the south, and strongest in the north.

In northern Nigeria, the strong arms of Sharia law, cosmopolitan illiteracy and ubiquitous male dominance seem to be the undoing of most female emancipation advocacies. It is therefore thought provoking to realize that this region could produce a lady as influential as Turai, late Umaru’s heartthrob.

At a distance, Turai typifies a happy, jovial and very obedient woman who sees to the well being of her husband. This was the widely circulated notion until late last year when we saw another side, the real side of Turai.

Umaru and Turai will go down memory lane as the amiable couple who ruled the nation together. They complimented themselves such that Umaru is incomplete without Turai, and vice versa. Despite the numerous wrong steps. they still have some good tales to tell of their short administration.

Ezihe Henry, a friend, described Yar’adua as ‘a pivotal and erudite leader who for the first time in Nigeria, made RULE OF LAW his uttermost priority.He made sure all court litigations which upturned his elections were carried out to the letter.’ Unlike the kingmaker- Obasanjo- who should be silent for ever.

Yar’adua and Turai- led administration also gave us another option to contending with the perennial Niger-Delta crisis in the name of amnesty. Though widely criticized, his amnesty programme detoured from Obasanjo’s alienation and communal eradication as seen in his approach to the Odi crisis. It’s now left to Jonathan to consolidate and build on the pieces left of the amnesty programme. Though still far, the end of the crisis is in sight.

For the record, Yar’adua and Turai also exemplified transparency by declaring their individual and joint assets, a step that awakened us all to the fact we actually ought to know what our leaders have before, during, and after their tenure. This could only come from a truly and deeply learned ruler.

The central role of having leaders with in depth education in any administration was demonstrated by the late president and it will go down memory lane as the first learned president. He was well tutored, and lectured at the various institutions. Although, it’s still early to call, Yar’adua seem to have flung open the gates for professionals to contribute their quota in the running of our affairs. Unlike past poorly educated presidents, Umaru had a PhD, so did Goodluck.

Events that wound up his administration were in sharp contrast to the Umaru we all knew. According to BBC’s Caroline Duffield in Jos, central Nigeria, President Yar’Adua will be fondly remembered as a quiet and softly-spoken man whose integrity was respected. For once in the history of Nigeria, we had a president that couldn’t be associated, directly, with any financial impropriety. He wasn’t a stealing president, but a transparent one. The only major problem we had with him was his decision making process which seemed too slow for our nation.

He flung the gates of Aso Rock open for Abati et al last year in another unprecedented motive that wasn’t stipulated by the constitution. Although ephemeral and literally mundane, when the act is compared with past administrations especially Obasanjo’s, the action becomes monumental.

The late president, on his own, was a jewel to Nigeria, but in association with his conglomeration of cabals led by Turai, everything took a detoured route. His problem wasn’t lack of intention, but as rightly put by Yahoo! News thus: “his failing health and, arguably, a lack of charisma, prevented him from enacting his reform agenda.” May his truly gentle soul rest in peace.

Turai would be missed for her interesting speeches. She would be missed for her supportive and over protective affection for her heartthrob despite her ailment. Fellow women would miss Turai for being their worthy role model when standing by their husbands in times of trials.

I’m going to miss Umaru for allowing us to recognize the impact of a first lady, that if allowed to take the lead, she could lead all astray. I’m going to remember Yar’adua for being an innocent man, despite having numerous bad influences around. I’m going to miss the man who allowed us to start demonstrating our freedom of speech, rallies and expression as shown on this and several other media without fear of intimidation or kidnap. Above all, I’m going to know Umaru as the president that made Nigerians like me realize that at the next polls, it’s not only the contestants that should be scrutinized, the wives would also be under the spotlight to determine whether they are as smart as Turai, or just mere mistresses like Ross.

Adieu Nigeria’s most gentle, yet amiable Mr. President

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