Naija Notes: Teaching Obj A Lesson

by Toni Kan Onwordi

This is something new and I hope it strikes a good chord right from the very start. The big idea is to chronicle on weekly basis events taking place in Nigeria, which we feel, would interest those of you in the Diaspora.

The last week to begin with has been very eventful. It was eventful in the sense that our globe trotting president and globally respected statesman has finally been humbled. Talk of the humble pie and OBJ has it sticking out of his ears. He got a full dose of it and I don’t reckon that he will be thanking Thisday Newspapers at all.

It all began innocuously enough with a trip embarked upon by the president. His plane was barely airborne when Thisday came out with a screaming front-page comment: AS THE NATION BLEEDS: OUR PRESIDENT GOES TO JAMAICA AGAIN! That was the spark of light that excited the keg of gunpowder.

The reaction across the land was spontaneous and resounding. Thisday got kudos from vendors and readers alike and the encomiums came laced with criticism.

That was all the leadership of the Lower House needed to set them off. Courtesy of paid adverts in the papers they recalled their members from their recess to discuss a matter of urgent national importance. The outcome of that deliberation is now sure of a page in our history books.

For the first time in these parts a president was issued the Nixon option: resign or be impeached. Nixon did and evaded impeachment.

OBJ will not resign but will he be impeached? The answer is a no-brainer. Of course not. But was he rattled? Of course. As we say in Bendel, Dem wan rattle am die?

For the first time OBJ realized the folly in shooting off his mouth. Gone was the arrogant swagger and quip that gave new meaning to the phrase: I dey kampe! Gone was the holy indignation that saw OBJ berating a resident of the Ikeja Cantonment with: Don’t be silly. I am not supposed to be here!

For once OBJ receded into the background and let his aides earn their fat salaries, never mind that there were a few gaffes.

OBJ will not be impeached. Infact by this time next week it is safe to assume, the crisis will be over. But things will never be the same again. With the motion calling for his resignation the members of the House of Reps have scored a big victory. They have tamed OBJ’s excesses. Never will the Otta farmer treat Nigerians with disdain.

Beginning from the planned South African trip, which he cancelled in the wake of the motion, OBJ has learnt to listen to the voice of the people of Nigeria. Before now, OBJ behaved like he was a messiah and we owed him for condescending to be our president.

Today OBJ has fallen off that high horse. A few days ago he was shown embracing children at a charity home. Obviously staged managed, it showed however that the all knowing OBJ has learnt a valuable lesson. He doesn’t know it all.

Benin is three hours away from Lagos. That is assuming you discount the time you spend wading across River Anenih. The stretch separating Ore from Benin has been bad for a long time and because no one paid it any attention it totally collapsed this year as the rains came down.

But no one paid it any attention still. Then a troublemaker with a camera was sent on an assignment and instead of saving his rolls of film for the event he was meant to cover he proceeded to take graphic pictures of a road ravaged by neglect and erosion.

Those pictures were given ample space in Vanguard and no essay no matter how well written could have spoken as eloquently of neglect, apathy and total lack of direction on the part of the Minister of Works and Housing.

It is gratifying to note that a few days after those pictures were published the FG awarded a N1.7bn contact to rehabilitate the road.

If you haven’t realized what this is all about let me point you to it There is awesome power in the pen.

It took two intrepid reporters to bring down Richard Nixon after that break in. It took the Thisday editorial to curb OBJ’s wanderlust and it’s taken a photojournalist’s graphic images to make Mr Fix It fix that terribly bad road.

Give it up for the pen.

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TJ November 11, 2006 - 5:02 am

Very good peice of work. Yea give it up for the Pen!TK is prolific

Anonymous March 1, 2006 - 6:37 am

keep it up Toni, your part in our nation building /democracy is so great and has acheived more result than those of our military & political leaders put together. Pen they say is stronger than sword.


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