Encounter With A Failed Ex-Governor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Encounter With A Failed Ex-Governor

Posted: Sep 18, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

I was at one of the palatial homes of an ex-governor last week and was flummoxed by what I saw: a tumultuous crowd doubling the population of the whole local government area had gathered there. They were groups said to be representing different interests drawn from all over the state who had come to urge their former governor, a son of the soil, to have a go again at the Government House in 2019.

I told one of the leaders of the groups that I was a reporter, that I was there for a different mission: to observe what was going on and write to dissuade the old fox from attempting a bid for the governor’s office. This frontline man for the politician did not demur. He took me two kilometers or so away from the chaotic scene, to an amala joint, on the outskirts of the town, where he told me he was in possession of the diary of the former governor.

He told me he was a “failed journalist” who nevertheless knew the “incontrovertible importance” of mementos of highly-placed personalities. The man (name withheld) claimed he had dropped out of journalism the same way a student drops out of school midway in his studies. Now he was into full-time hagiography, where he was making some fortune unlike in forlorn journalism where he meets failure face to face.

By his account, he got the diary during one of his trips to the home of the former governor. His principal was not in town; he had traveled to India to consult a guru if he stood the chance of duplicating the good luck of another former governor who had crawled back to life from the graveyard. My contact would not disclose what the guru told his oga.

It was while he wandered in the sprawling complex and took count of the rooms (he got lost at 78) that he stepped on a book that turned out to be the diary of the ex-governor. As he told me more about the booklet a phone call came to announce that the politician had sent for him. In his haste to meet the man he did not remember to take the diary with him. It fell into my possession…

It is a strange gubernatorial document. It dates from the first day of the ex-governor to his last day in office. He makes this entry quite early after his departure from office:”I’m no longer in power. But I must prepare to go back, not through the law court as some around me did….I’ll bide my time and return in four years … There’s a lot of unfinished business… Once in power again I’ll find the means to deal with those rejoicing over my fall particularly politicians CY, DF, FA, OG, WO etc etc and journalists OA, KF, FA, JB, OD, DO, SO, KO etc etc”

Why the resort to the initials of these fellows?

Let me quickly note this: the diary does not indicate the name of its owner. The page where the name of the diarist should be reads simply: His Excellency, the Governor. His writing is hesitant, replete with grammatical errors and suggestive of one who disavows scholarship and abhors those who cherish learning. The diary reveals the writer as a vain and vindictive fellow: he would bring a house down to service his ego.

An entry says:”These lecturers and students in the university describing me and my government as philistines and barbarians will realize that education is a luxury during my second term… I’m going to hike tuition fees in the state university and other tertiary schools beyond their reach. This will spark disruptive protests and give me a good reason to shut down the schools and send them all-students, teachers and non-teaching staff-home… Let them stay with their wives and husbands all my tenure. My successor will take over to clear the mess. In the meantime, I’ll invoke the policy of no work no pay to allow me save a lot of money to enable me award multi billion naira contracts for projects like modern roads, hospitals, markets, low-cost houses etc etc. Is this not better than educating children who would end up insulting their governor? Is this not better than educating children who would end up not getting employment after their education?”

On another day, the ex-governor says: “I expected the president to include me among his list of ministers. He didn’t. Could he be scheming to make me Nigeria’s ambassador to one of those superpower nations so that I’ll continue to be addressed as His Excellency?”

When that did not happen and a gamble for the Senate also collapsed following his party’s objections which he attributed to the Presidency, the furious man wrote:”This president is an ingrate! I’ll desert the party and join the opposition!”

He never did. But he cooked up something as sinister as shown by a later reading:” I’ve broken the party into two. I’m leading one faction. I’ve created a pond from the river. I’m the big whale in that pond. Now I am going to use my faction to insist I must be the party’s candidate in 2019.”

Days later he writes:” I am taking my case to Abuja. I’ll warn the president he has to push the party to pick me for the governorship slot in 2019. Or the party will lose the state in the presidential ballot. And that is when I will threaten to leave the party along with my ten million supporters. The president will tremble and give in. We’re kindred spirits. We don’t brook failure.”

But another entry insinuates otherwise:” This president does not know what he is doing… He invited party chiefs from my state to his office and ignored me. What is he saying?” Then in one of the subsequent pages the failed ex-governor writes:” A dead ex-governor has risen from the dead! He is back in power! Hurray! I will also be back in power!”

Postscript: I’ve had to clothe the submissions in the diary in civilized English and language. For, as with the vandals who destroyed all that was good in the ancient Roman Empire, this man who also desecrated scholarship and good governance, would not be expected to speak the grammar and language of civilized scholarship and good governance.