Yesterday, a lot of us (myself inclusive) were in a hurry to crucify and bury Donald Duke after excerpts of Okonjo-Iweala’s new book ???? ‘indicting’ him made their way to the press. But after sitting down and reflecting on so many things and also seeing that some ethnic jingoistic have pounced on this (long awaited opportunity), I believe there’s a need to do a sober rejoinder. Okonjo-Iweala is a credible lady so it would be difficult to say she lied against Duke, the only thing we can categorically say is that what she said is being blown out of proportion. Firstly, in politics, interests are paramount. Secondly, the politics of undermining didn’t start today. Thirdly, NOI is no saint herself. Let me expatiate starting from the third point. A good friend of mine who is a nephew of NOI has severally told me of how NOI is loathed by a faction of the family due to her inability to bring the much needed development to her Ogwashiuku community even after serving government for close to eight years. He complained of how the roads in her community were in a deplorable state all through her stay in Abuja and how basic and how basic amenities are still out of their reach till date. According to my friend, it’s Buhari’s administration that saw to some of these amenities being but in place and this is the reason why he and some of the Okonjos supports Buhari.
Donald Duke saying what he said doesn’t in anyway reduce his capacity to lead or govern Nigeria if/when offered the chance. I reminded a good friend of mine of how his beloved former governor Ibori did worse to ensure Jonathan didn’t assume that seat. As was the rumor back then, Ibori pulled all the strings that he could to ensure Jonathan wasn’t made acting President(after Yaradua’s death) by the senate such that at some point, GEJ flew to Ibori’s Oghara country home to plead with him. Have we also forgotten how Awolowo fought tooth and nail to usurp his former protege, Akintola Williams who succeeded him as premier of the western region? In what led to the Ibadan riots and eventually precipitated the first military coup? Or more recently, how Tinubu who is still regarded as the Governor General is Yoruba politics, directed his ACN boys in the 7th National Assembly not to support the southwestern (Yoruba candidate) the PDP had nominated to be speaker and instead throw their weight behind a PDP northern so as to create an impression that Jonathan had marginalized the Yorubas and further undermine GEJ’s leadership? And going to the southeast, can we remember how Francis Arthur Nzeribe allegedly sold weapons to the Nigerian state to use to kill his Igbo kin during the Nigerian civil war? Arthur Nzeribe still came back to become a two term senator ‘over his people’ 30 years later.
Some minutes ago, I was going through feeds on twitter and saw a tweet where Trump was lamenting about incessant moves by the democrats to undermine his leadership. He exclaimed that the Dems in the house had perfected plans to frustrate his ally, Pompeo from being confirmed as the next Secretary of state and also revealed that a number of ambassadorial nominees had their confirmations pended no thanks to the veto power held by the democrats bloc in the house. This also reminded me of a sad story I read in the Washington post during the Obama era, of a black American lady who was an old flame ???? and rumored university lover of Obama. According to that article, Obama had sent her name to the US Congress for confirmation and it was pended by the republican controlled lower house for longer than possible in order to strain her emotionally and back at Obama. She eventually died of cancer whilst waiting for the confirmation. Even the same Trump who has been crying all day was guilty of near treason on a number of times during Obama’s administration as he made several extreme bids to undermine Obama- at a point, he went as far as instigating a racist secession bid. That didn’t stop Donald Trump from going on to be President and that also hasn’t prevented him from performing far above expectations since assuming office. In a nutshell, Duke is good to go as Nigerians have nothing on him!
PS: This article could have been longer but out of respect for Jonathan, I edited the part where I raised questions on what Cross River state and the south-south actually benefited from all the support they rallied for him.
Utsu is a trained engineer and a public analyst based in Lagos.
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