Echoes From Kaduna – El-Rufai’s Inauguration – Part 1, By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

imageI learnt four great lessons in kaduna:
1. Humility
2. The wickedness of failure
3. The value of power over influence
4. The exacting value of ignorance
I got to Kaduna late because my 11:05 flight to Abuja became 4:05, 5:45 and eventually, we were aboard at 7pm and left lagos at 7:20pm. I got to Kaduna quite late. To my dismay, the Governor-elect was at the lobby to receive me in his campaign T-shirt and sneakers. He kept saying, “I can’t believe you did all this for me Bamidele despite the fuel scacity and all. I am so touched…” I did not mind my greasy face and tired body and mind, we took the pictures you have all seen. Was I humbled? Thoroughly. Who am I? I am just a headstrong rural girl with a caustic mouth and pen when it comes to Nigerian issues. Each time I meet highly placed Nigerians who jump out of their seats in admiration at the mention of my name, I am moved to tears. Each time, I remember you, I remember all voiceless and invisible Nigerians and my self appointed job at being their voice. It makes me want to do more. I did not sleep until 3:00am on May 28th. I woke up to the alarm at 6:30am and the day began.
Our security was guaranteed! We were ferried around in a bullet proof Mercedes G-Wagon. I have never been in one, each time, I need help to open the door lest I break my arm. It later occurred to me I could tone my flabby biceps and triceps by opening the door just four times a day. Damn Germans! I know why Angela Merkel wears trousers everyday. It is easier getting into a Molue than that truck. I pull up all my bonafides as if spoiling for a street fight to gain entrance into the truck.
Echoes From The Inauguration Lecture
We got in via the VIP route following Prof. Pius Adesanmi closely behind. I shook the hand of anyone in Kaftan or Agbada and bowed or kneeled halfway for the district heads and anyone in turban. No one refused shaking my hands. I saw “Senator-elect” Shehu Sani from afar in his suit. I beg, that man get Kaftan and hula at all?
General Agwai, former Chief of Defense Staff who headed Sure-P and was fired for mentioning change at the Obasanjo book launch was the Chairman. He made a short impassioned speech, Pius’s citation was read and the lecture began. The crowd was an eclectic mix. It was a political crowd and the lecture’s theme was purely intellectual. It was: “Building Rome In a Day With One Kobo: El-Rufai and the Challenge of 21st Century Kaduna”. Mallam Nasir was determined to steer robust policies under intellectual cover. Was this necessary in a country famous for anti-intellectualism and a dead reading culture? I sat in trepidation. I looked around and questioned how the invite was distributed in my brain. I did not see the facebook/Twitter crowd with whom he engaged long before he announced his ambition and after. I could not get invite for those who asked me, after all I was an invitee. As the speech wore on, I did not get a feel that there is any hunger in the audience for such speech. As the lecture zeroed in on the “brokest” nature of the treasury to be inherited, and the need to harness human capital based on the integrity of the leader gets emphasized, the applause rolled in. The hall was oven hot! Water was served at room temperature inside used paint buckets! I was scandalized! I could not internalize it. “Is this what El-Rufai can offer given his world class education and exposure? Why are we like this? Why can’t we be organized and benchmark good practices for once?” These were my thoughts as the lecture wore on. I had no idea I hadn’t seen anything yet. It was the wickedness of failure at display. El-Rufai kept his cool…details in another update in the afternoon. This is getting too long!

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