Echoes From Kaduna – El-Rufai’s Inauguration – Part 2, By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

image… I fanned myself with the hard, glossy pamphlet. It developed dog ears at first and later it turned crumbled like a disused aluminum foil. Pius was soaked in sweat as he pranced around in a semicircle doing his thing. The lecture ended and it was question time. A young man asked the most brilliant question and a lady whose name was Charity asked the most thoughtful question. In all 6 questions were taken and one stood out. The man was well spoken, self assured, good syntax but he was illogical. He came charging! I will paraphrase him…we must encourage our incoming governor? How can you say Kaduna state have one kobo? We have money! We have ten billion! He will govern Kaduna and do well… He went on and on. As educated as he seemed, he missed the logic in the theme. He had no idea of metaphors. The logic of building human capital from human resources, the way Lee Kwan Yew did in Singapore despite their lean natural resources did not resonate with this man. He was a spectacle in ignorance. He presented an archetype of those Mallam Nasir will have to educate before he can move Kaduna State forward. In the words of Mallam Hassan DM, he managed to summarize himself as an idiot.” In this man I found the exacting nature and the insipid value of ignorance. Mallam Nasir rose to speak after. He apologized for the hall we sat in. He said it was the best Kaduna can offer and buy, I was not only aghast, I was scandalized! I began to psyche myself for worse things and if course, worse things came.
Kaduna has been the seat of Northern Nigeria government since the 60’s. That Kaduna is what it is, is shameful. It is a slap on the face of Northerners and on the face of Nigerians. I was unimpressed. By the time I got to Kaduna, my inbox was full. People wanted to see me flesh and blood. Our Kaduna and Abuja crew zoomed into our Hotel – Damola Ilori came and confessed he was too afraid of my koboko, he only follows me, he did not ask for my friendship. What does that make him? An “enimi”? Ken Ken Eneduwa-George chartered a cab from Abuja to be with us. Pius’s refrigerator had only Amstel Malta and some juice. We got an opaque plastic bag and Damola went in search of Heineken and anything to charge us. Anyhow, he came back without Orijin sha! I knew my enemies caused that to happen. At that point I was beginning to question if I’m not experiencing some withdrawal symptoms from lack of caffeine. I drank Amstel Malta in resignation and by the time the fest was midway, we had missed the General Manager of Liberty TV who was outside the hotel for long waiting for me to answer my phone! I called him frantically and we got into the studios at 3:20pm for a 3:00pm program! We were introduced to Alhaji Ramalan who with the help of his employees have created a veritable competition to state owned television in just 3years. At the inauguration lecture, NTA was barely there. Liberty TV had a huge presence with their crew. The interview was an hour long. We (Pius and I) had difficult questions fired at us. We answered without fear. I no send person! I’m not looking for votes. No need to lie. An hour flew by quickly, I was surprised! They were very professional and nice. We left the studio happy and satisfied we have lent our intellectual support to the people of Kaduna. We went straight to our hotel. Life was good! Our facebook friends kept coming in. Mallam Hassan and his lovely wife brought us loads of Kilishi and shredded meat. Don’t ask for your share please, he did not include you. I can give you referrals to the seller. Three of our visiting friends spoke to us at length about Kaduna politics. We got to know of how Yero became accidental governor, the Sambo connection, Emir of Zauzzau unfortunate gamble and many more. In fact, one of them predicted the chaos of the swearing-in ceremony. We were thoroughly educated. When Pius left my hotel, I stayed back in the lobby and chatted up many guests and visitors. I was astounded about their political sagacity given their suggestions, insight and analysis. I knew we have to send a memo to Mallam Nasir someday soon on the words on Kaduna streets.
It was morning – May 29. I woke up refreshed but not in the mood for an outing. I fetched our invite and it read 8:00am for the Swearing-in. Ha! Kilode? I can’t make that! I put a call to Pius, whom I woke up. We decided we should both keep quiet and stay in our rooms unless we are called or sent for. We agreed, if by 7:30 no one calls us, we should just relax until the inauguration dinner.
By 12noon, my phones went bat shit crazy with calls. My inbox swamped! People wanted to know if we were safe. They heard the governor was stoned and pelted with sachet water at the parade ground and had to run away. My husband called straight away from the United States. Quickly, I put a call to my parents and sister to assure them of my safety. The story and many more, revealed the ugly underbelly of Nigerian journalists. Most reporters are patently lazy, inordinately biased and most often inattentive. I am a writer, I am ashamed of those who reported false information just to tarnish Governor El-Rufai. I suggest they wait. Yes, they should wait. He will make his own mistakes, and he can be pummeled and brutalized by whoever wants their pound of flesh. But to report fake news is totally irresponsible! The Emir openly supported former Governor Yero and there is no love lost between him and Mallam Nasir. The youths pelted him with anything they could find. They argued, since he never wanted El-Rufai, he shouldn’t be attending the inauguration. Unfortunately, they had no idea, their actions reflected badly on their Governor more than the Emir. The youths in Nigeria have been bred and raised in a violent culture. It is unfortunate they resorted to violence. No one in this atmosphere of change should be pelted with objects or subject to inhuman treatment for their political beliefs or choices. We must look at ways to engage our youths positively and eschew violence. If we were violent when the elections was postponed we wouldn’t be here with President Buhari or Governor Rufai. We were happy we weren’t at the venue. As usual the organization was a study in disappointment. My only hope was the dinner. I was prepared for a cocktail. They could not even manage a mocktail! Was I disappointed? Next part to be posted in the evening, will summarize my crises of expectations and the wickedness of failure!…

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