Naija Notes: Paid Mourners And Rented Crowds

by Toni Kan Onwordi

Those who read this page must know now that I am no fan of General Muhammadu Buhari and I make no apologies for this.

As a politician, Mohammadu Buhari is an anachronistic aberration. Like a mini–skirted whore at a DeeperLife crusade, Buhari sticks out in the political space…a terribly sore thumb.

The fact that Buhari goes for a rally and finds more than one person to address speaks to a basic problem in our polity: our people will sell their mothers for a mess of porridge.

Those who know me know that I have always said that when politicians give you money, never refuse it (after all it was stolen from us). Accept it but go on and vote your choice. That is the spirit.

Those who attend political rallies are usually lured by financial inducements and my father swears that a close study will show that the same set of people attend all the rallies whether ANPP or PDP or AD or MDJ.

Attending rallies has become an industry, just like paid mourners or rented crowds. It’s all, as we say in Lagos, for show.

I read a very interesting piece in Thisday of Tuesday, April 1, 2003. Writing under the banner This Nation, Godwin Agbroko gave detailed, analytical and factual reasons why Buhari will never become the president come April 19, 2003.

Citing his undemocratic credentials, Agbroko surmised that “bad people” set Buhari up to contest for just one reason: to make OBJ look good.

While I agree with the whole piece I must say that this is not about why Buhari will never win. This is about the fact of a peculiar trait the gap-toothed and skinny general has displayed over time.

Permit me a little digression. Back in secondary school, we had “bad boys” whom we couldn’t yab to their faces. These boys stole but no one could accuse them to their faces. So you’d hear people say things like: ah, be careful o. when xyz pass, something go miss o!

Thinking of Buhari, I can’t help being swept away on the roaring waves of nostalgia, to a more innocent, more sedate time.

It seems like every time, Buhari passes “something will miss”. While on the board of the NNPC before his coup with Idiagbon, Buhari was accused of misappropriating N2.8bn.

When the man served under Abacha as head of PTF, huge sums of money allegedly grew wings too.

Buhari, count your tongue with your teeth, or whatever they say.


Still on Buhari, a very cheeky ad has been running in Nigerian newspapers and I think it’s the best we’ve seen so far since politicking began.

The advert makes a simple call: send in a quote made by Mohammadu Buhari in support of democracy prior to his dalliance with politics and get N50,000.

What is it they say about a needle in a haystack?


I heard a story recently about a joke OBJ made at Kris Okotie’s expense.

OBJ is said to have agreed that God spoke to Okotie telling him he would be president.

OBJ however wanted to know whether God also told Okotie the name of the country he would be president of as well as the year in which he would be president.

Put simply, ain’t no vacancy here.


And still on OBJ, I was pretty pissed yesterday when I saw Brenda Fasie(?) of South Africa prancing about the stage at the official commissioning of the Abuja Stadium.

True, Daddy Showkey and Shina Peters had their turn, but it was annoying to see a South African getting top billing at a show meant to commission an edifice that represents national pride.

And OBJ was there grinning like the cat who got the cheese.

These farmers!

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