Naija Notes: A Pox On You Sir!

by Toni Kan Onwordi

Cinema buffs would no doubt recall the character Keyser Sose in Bryan Singer’s movie, The Usual Suspects.

The movie was a cinematic phenomenon. Unarguably the best crime thriller ever made it earned two Oscars for best original screenplay and best supporting actor for Christopher McQuarrie and Kevin Spacey respectively. And it also established Bryan Singer’s reputation as a technically proficient director. His ability to keep two close-up faces in view at the same time still remains a cinematic marvel.

Who is Keyser Sose? Keyser Sose is nobody and somebody at the same time. He is your nemesis. Your worst nightmare. The unseen benefactor. The unknown enemy. Keyser Sose is a mystery couched in a conundrum.

Let us step away from reel life a moment to allow us anchor this in real life. In present day Nigeria, IBB has become something of a Keyser Sose. The mere mention of his name can strike fear in the sturdiest heart. To invoke IBB’s name is to utter the magic word, Open Sesame.

In these days of political machinations, any one wishing to make it invokes his name. A casual “I Have been to Minna o” is a enough to paralyze the opposition with impotent fear.

This past weekend I sat back and tried to deconstruct the IBB myth and my thesis is a simple one: IBB is over rated. IBB certainly is not all we ascribe to him.

He might be heavily loaded. He might have a coterie of loyal followers. His home might be a Mecca of sorts but he is not as all-knowing and all-seeing and all-able as they make him look.

The fact is that IBB is a mere man, a sad and scared man, pursuing a vain campaign to reconstruct and rewrite history. And the only reason why the IBB revisionist project is so much in the news is because there are a lot of people benefiting from the gap toothed general.

What IBB must learn now, is that a people can choose and reject a god. This god has been rejected. And all those banking on IBB to make it politically should pause a while and think of the political quagmire Ekwueme has found himself in.

Did I hear someone say Buhari?


Last week Ekwueme said the PDP should hold another primaries because the first one at which he was comprehensively beaten by OBJ was a charade.

Now, why would a 70-year-old man sit through a charade that lasted almost 24 hours only to complain at the end? Maybe he thought it would favour him?

His behavior reminds me of a child who won’t let other kids play just because he’s not part of the game.

Sour grapes. Ouch!


Buhari told some foreign journalists that he and IBB have settled their differences and that he expects IBB to campaign for him.

Last time I heard, IBB was not part of the skinny general’s campaign team. But then I gave it some thought and realized that old habits die-hard. Once IBB’s superior officer, Buhari still thinks he can issue commands.

Never mind. Election results have a way of humbling the arrogant. Time will tell.


Years back, when I was much younger and with too much time on my hands, I used to read the papers and write out words that really pleased me.

Two come to mind now. Wole Soyinka’s “atavistic nonsense” and Ikemba Ojukwu’s ” selective amnesia”.

Let’s talk amnesia. When I woke up and found my wife watching the marathon broadcast of the PDP primaries, I was shocked to find a short rotund man directing the proceedings. That man was Tom Ikimi, Abacha’s Goebells and the man who made the announcement in Auckland that cost me a commonwealth scholarship in 1995.

If the whole PDP has been struck with amnesia, selective or complete, I have not and I say this now: it was an insult on Nigerians to have that man directing affairs at such an august event.

As Shakespeare would say a pox on you, sir.

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