Nigeria Matters

Naija Notes: Naaba the Ghali-vanter

I generally do not bother about politics or politicians. Why? An Irish proverb says: you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Lawan Farouk is the official spokesman of the House of Reps. Like all short men, he makes up for his vertical disadvantage with his loquaciousness. I have known Lawan Farouk for years now, right from my days in Kano when he was my Father’s colleague at Kano Poly. Smart and articulate he has a way with words and with people.

After the liar, Salisu Buhari was ousted, Lawan was to step into the position having been instrumental to Buhari’s crash. It didn’t happen because Ibrahim Tofa had designs on the speaker’s seat. He wanted it for his nephew, Ghali Umar Naaba. Now for those who have been away too long, Ibrahim Tofa ran against MKO in 1993 under the silly slogan: TOFA IS THE ANSWER!

As we all know, Ghali Naaba won and has remained speaker ever since. And Naaba has become a veritable thorn in Baba Iyabo’s side. At the mention of Naaba, I hear OBJ actually relives the sound of Biafran made Ogbunigwe bombs dropping during the war.

The fear of Naaba has marked the beginning of OBJ’s wisdom. But it is funny how we throw stones and forget all that jazz about glass houses.

The recent edition of The News has thrown some illuminating light on the person of Ghali Naaba. As we have just learnt, Naaba who has accused OBJ of being arrogant and traveling too much, amongst other charges has as we see in the magazine a great love for Ghali-vanting too.

OBJ has made 90 trips since 1999. Naaba has made 87 and if you consider the fact that OBJ had a head start you’ll make the deductions I made.

Naaba also has a penchant for drawing and spending money without going through due process. Another charge he leveled against the president. But the funniest one is that Naaba has forbidden his siblings from calling him by his given name. They all must call him Mr. Speaker.

Just imagine if he were Yoruba. They would call him Egbon Mr. Speaker.

Arrant nonsense!

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My dad’s former neighbour came to visit recently and when he learnt that I had just published a book, sent N4,ooo for a copy of the book as his contribution to the book presentation he missed. The man is a lawmaker in IMO State.

But that is not the story. The story is that when I called on him to say thanks for his support he told me something very poignant. He said “if you want to know the hidden history of your family, join politics!”

His words came to mind when I saw the latest edition of The News where a picture of the house Naaba lived in before he became a Legislator was shown. The house spoke of a humble beginning. But this is not about Naaba. It is about that very corpulent Anyim Pius Anyim.

When Anyim was elected just a few of us had heard about him. He was just a fat lawyer trying to make it in Abuja. Today Anyim is well known as Senate president. Another spicy information we just gleaned is that Anyim used to own a law firm in Abuja before he became a senator. The law firm was based in a BQ apartment in Abuja.

Well, two years as Senate president things have changed. Anyim’s law firm is now domiciled in a duplex in Apo village Abuja. The man who made this information public is a fellow Senator and he has fallen into infamy in the eyes of Anyim.

Last week when Anyim called at Vanguard media to launch their new computerized newsroom he took opportunity of the occasion to lash out at journalists for publishing rumours. I turned the teevee off. He was talking nonsense.

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Important people die every day in Nigeria but sometimes, people pause long enough to really wonder why this important person died the way he or she died. That has been the case with Victor Nwankwo, younger sibling of politician and publisher, Arthur Nwankwo. According to the elder Nwankwo his brother’s death has political colourations.

The same tint colours the death of Chief B.C. Igwe, who, until his gruesome murder last week, was the NBA chairman in Anambra state. The man was killed with his wife on their way home. It was a terrible death. They were cut to pieces, then a Range Rover drove over their remains. The police are still looking for their killers. They may never find them

Bola Ige’s murder still stares us in the face.

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And OBJ finally traveled after three long weeks in “detention”. Ha, wanderlust is a terrible thing. He travelled to South Africa and even though no one asked for explanations, his aides offered one. He was constrained to make the trip because other World Leaders were waiting for him. You know, as a fellow world leader.

Well, when they impeach him he will go and rule the world.

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To end this, let me relate this story, a true-life story. A journalist had gained admission to study in an Australian university. When he got to the embassy he was told that he couldn’t get a visa. Why? He asked. Because there was a test he had to pass. Ok, let me defer the admission while I take the test, he told the embassy official.

But the Australian scratched his head and told him there was a slight problem. What? Our journalist friend asked. The test can only be taken in Australia.

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