Edo 2024: Oshiomhole, After The Insults

By Kassim Afegbua

Politicians are a funny lot in Nigeria. They possess several skills that are simply acquired but never learned. They acquire the skill of lies telling, combined with corruption, bribes taking, betrayal, illicit acquisition of wealth and back-stabbing. They wear the cloak of pretentiousness and robe themselves in sanctimoniousness. It is similar in other climes albeit, but in Nigeria, there is a silver lining to it.

Those people who try to live straight are branded with borrowed robes, “ he’s very controversial, quarrelsome, and he talks too much;” and at best, they say he is too independent-minded. For anyone to “succeed” in politics in Nigeria, someone else must possess his heart. They must be blind to all the seen and unseen imperfections in the electoral process. Politics is not a game of emotions.

To the game, you must place your heart at your back, and see no evil, hear no evil. In the game, all manipulations are right, all rigging apposite; and all outcomes, no matter how dubiously superfluous, are right too. If you are someone with emotions, you may find it very difficult to fit into Nigeria’s murky waters of politics. In the oven of politics, lies, deceit and subterfuge are baked, embellished with the cream of dubiety, dressed with betrayal, and packaged with duplicity. In Nigeria’s politics, politicians are the direct opposite of honesty. When they make promises, they almost always break them.

Campaign promises are meant to be broken, except in rare occasions when they become unavoidable. Our politicians operate in reverse gear. Rather than advance, politicians work backward. When they have finished executing a dubious task, they are seen smiling as though they’ve just been granted a visa to heaven. It is a game where justice is slaughtered with a blunt scalpel, and injustice is awarded a chieftaincy title. When anyone embarks on the voyage to seek justice, politicians would say they should let injustice prevail as it is a “family affair.” Political parties are the conduit for transporting lies, corruption, injustice and subterfuge to their predetermined destination. A game of sinuous fawns, politics and politicians are siamese twins that are inseparably woven with all the negative strands of nature. If one speaks truth in politics, they see one as a novice; ‘Johny Just Come’. Need I say more? Bribes taking is a special trait that is engrained in our politics; but nobody knows who takes it.

Most politicians are duplicitous; one person in the day, and another at night. This is how come electoral coups survive. The average politician tells you one lie in the daytime, on a subject matter, and that same person tells you the direct opposite at night on the same subject matter. They tell aspirants different category of lies, endorse all aspirants with the same gusto, but the real person they intend to support is kept in the inner locker. Seeing the insults that were hurled at Senator Adams Oshiomhole as a result of the dubious outcome of the Edo Primary Election nudges me on the wrong plane.

The same characters that insulted him yesterday, are the same people now reaching out to him, asking him to bury the hatchet of their duplicitous conduct. They shouted “crucify him” yesterday, called him names, rained invectives on him, smoked him with the sinews of back-stabbing and betrayal, but today, they massage his ego with effortless pretentiousness. When he turns his attention away, they poke their noses at him an indication that it is all pretense and no sincerity. Yesterday, some called him godfather in public, trying to ridicule his grip on the politics in Edo State. Those who claim to abhor godfatherism, celebrate with patented verbiage each time they are hailed as the new godfathers; such is the hypocritical realness that defines the orgy of politics in this clime.

They hate to hear the word godfather, but they are cloaked in it, and celebrate with pomp and ceremony. Hypocrisy flourishes in politics; in fact, it is the critical condiment to marinate political barbecues. Those people who thought yesterday in their infantile reasoning that Senator Oshiomhole’s political relevance had quivered, were shocked to see the man’s rise to the podium of senatorial representation. His political stature is once again on the rise, to the consternation of political adversaries. After they rained insults on Oshiomhole, today, they seek his support for their aspiration; pouring out so many ego-massaging salutary greetings on him, including calling him “the only oasis in the desert.” Only politicians possess this skill. This is the same man who during the primary elections, was condemned.

His inalienable right to have an opinion, took him to the political slaughter slab where they tried to gullotine him. They announced a dubious result, scored their electoral students with infamous marks, and named a loser the winner. They rejoiced with the shout of halleluyah, but soon discovered that the chorus by the choir wasn’t loud enough; not even when the pastor reechoed their rhymes, to herald the dawn of a new era.

They suddenly realised that the same Senator Oshiomhole they had poured invectives on, would be needed as a salesman. They now send merchants of deceit to rub minds with him; praise him in his cocoon with sweet-talk; but in their heart of hearts, they hold bile of hatred and contempt for his political expository. Diminutive as the man may appear, his political farmland is spreading out like the ocean of thoughts that irrigate the dryness of political deserts, keeping his political relevance in constant flourish. Let that sink!! Each time they try to quench his political fire, he bounces back with a combustion crack and a blinding glow. He is inimitable and indomitable. Whether he goes North or South, Oshiomhole is always fondly admired by my inner recesses. Unfortunately someone declared that “something must be wrong with his brain.” He has heard, but decided to display the hallmark of maturity. It is well known that politics and politicians have a penchant for the unusual, in trying to navigate the waters.

Those who dipped their hands into same dishes yesterday to dine with you, are the very characters who are ready to be used to execute dubious political plots. Don’t refer me to Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar, where it all ends as “family affair.” Here, politics is a game where the dubious, duplicitous, depraved, and deceitful come together to prepare the poisoned meal to be fed to the faithful; in this game, loyalty is conditional, and character is gaunt. Behavioural tendencies are often dictated by bribes and gratification handed down by the protagonists. The more available a person is to be used with greased palm, the more alluring their music sounds in the ears of the antagonist. He supplies your meals, since you are fascinated by its aroma. If you love drinks, they supply you to whet your appetite for culinary delight.

If you love women, they supply them in number, offering you to a selection in a point-and-kill excercise. If you love money, they ram it down your throat to salivate your appetite, promising you more on the way. Temporary relish in a world of ephemerality. By their conduct, we know them. Politicians are always anxious about tomorrow. They are always fixated on next election, and the next and so on. Indeed already, they are plotting the graph for 2027. They play God in an ungodly way. Death doesn’t occur to them. Politicians don’t die, they just transit to the next world, to continue their article of trade.

Their histories speak for them. Their trajectories accordingly, place them “suitably” in the hearts of the people whom they have deceived for long. Edo elections are now by the corner. They now realise that they will be needing Senator Oshiomhole’s support. After the insults and abuses, they now shamelessly ask for his support. After all, it is all a “family affair”. Family affair of insults. Pretenders are coming around. The heart of man is deep and steep.

They smile at you but their hearts are full of poison. They chuckle and giggle at political discourse, but what they will do, resides in their hearts. A lot of politicians were raised in the kingdom of the chichidodos. They love maggots, but hate faeces. They taste the meals of hatred with their twisted mouths, and then boast to be clean and unstained. Those who shouted ‘let’s crucify the godfather’ are suddenly looking for the godfather. They say the war is over, but the battles continue.

Where are those party chieftains, party executives and executors of invidious plots, who boasted yesterday that they can deliver Edo without the godfather? Where are they? The coming months will be interesting, with several episodic plots that would be unraveled with the passage of time. Edo is a theatre of the absurd; with each actor playing out his own script. In all of this, our human oscillation resides in the hands of God; the seer and finisher of all creation. Edo is pregnant, just like tomorrow; her would be newborn yet unknown, must be birthed. Politics and our policiticians must name the child, September 21st.

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