Ameachi And A Bodyguard; Jonathan And The Scare Of Juju/ By Wale Odunsi
Sometime last year, I wrote in one of my articles that one of the reasons why I will always love and pledge allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria is because, no day ends without at least one hilarious situation going on record. Whether in the creeks of the Niger-Delta; a hut in the violence-ridden North-Eastern region; the jungles of South-West or suburbs within Igbo land, a rib-cracking situation occurs hourly. It comes as no surprise; the ever-fortitudinous citizenry have adapted to the harsh reality of existence and as such, they just live life. Oh yeah, we are actually the happiest people on the globe despite our challenges; Good people, Great Nation!
Initially, I didn’t see the entertainment in the latest headline-grabber which played out within the walls of highly fortified and expansive Presidential Villa, so I went to bed that night with the memory of a witty spectacle I witnessed forenoon. Two commuters – a man in mid-forties and a lady in early-twenties – had engaged in a quarrel following allegations by the alluring lassie that the fellow fondled her breasts while struggling to board the already packed high capacity bus, commonly called El-rufai (He introduced the fleet during his tenure as FCT Minster). It was a funny scene really; other passengers and I burst into peals of laughter as the strangers ceaselessly hurled insults at each other. For those familiar with the city, do a quick calculation of the time it takes a slow moving ‘El-rufai’ to get to Setraco bus stop (the defendant’s destination) from Kubwa Second-Gate. Taking into account the stops in between, you’d say twelve, may be fifteen minutes right? Trust me, the argument was that long.
The above is just one of the many squabbles residents currently face under the latest transport policy. These days in the territory where the Seat of Power is situated, women usually don’t mind “accidental touch” on the chest while men care less about their shirts getting torn; so long they don’t get robbed by bandits who now take advantage of the new order. The bad guys simply pose as commercial vehicle owners, dispossess you of belongings and speed off. Lobatan! This is the level an astute thinker and visioner, Bala Mohammed, has put us. A man who chose to punish Abujarians for being poor, restricted the operations of mini-buses (Araba in local parlance) and substituted with a miserable 400 high-capacity, when least required is 1000. On my radar, Bala is reportedly on the verge of ordering cabs out of motorways this July. Sigh. ‘God dey’, like the common man says.
Apologies I digressed and back to the matter. So I woke up the morning after the fondling incident to the vivid imagination of the Aso Rock imbroglio. It goes thus: On the nightfall of June 26 2013, a stubborn governor in the person of Rivers helmsman, Rotimi Amaechi and his supporting colleagues attends a dinner called by our dear President Goodluck Jonathan. He takes his seat, subsequently arises, and makes his way to where the Oga at the Top is seated in company of Madam President of Malawi, Joyce Banda and as well as Liberian counterpart, Hellen Johnson Sirleaf.
As the People’s Democratic Party rebel, who is on suspension reached seconds away from Mr. Jonathan, a stern-looking Presidential Bodyguard blocks him with his huge chest. “I’m sorry sir, can’t let you pass” he said, a pronouncement that leads to a round of dilly-dally the BG eventually won.
However, I deduced a comic from that encounter; what if the President was scared that Amaechi might have some portion of Juju (Voodoo) with him? Probably rubbed on his palm, or swallowed or laced on his eye lashes, same way our women apply mascara. I may be wrong though but hey, we cannot rule out that possibility. As a Yoruba, a number of our people still believe in voodoo, including some of those that claim they no longer indulge in traditional things due to modern day religious beliefs.
The 2015 general election is less than two years and no one should blame Mr. Jonathan for being careful. According to his Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak, Ameachi was prevented from advancing further to forestall breach of security. “The President was already on his seat. It would have been a breach of protocol and security for any security person to allow the governor access to the President. Such a security person would have been sanctioned if he had done that.” Although I take his explanation with a pinch of salt knowing full well recent circumstances, his defense was the best available.
Well, protocol or coltopro, our leaders should for goodness’ sake bury the hatchet and work for the overall good of the country. Failure to do this will only worsen the present state of development which is still far from the promised “Promise Land”; still far from the “Breathe of Fresh Air” and certainly still far from the “Transformation” millions of the electorate desired.