Omodele Adigun As the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) prepares to wind down its tax amnesty programme, the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), its data mining component, has been considered the most effective tool to whip tax dodgers into line. Just five months into the nine-month schedule, the scheme was said to have…
First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is definitely working for the PDP.
And we can now officially enthrone her as the matriarch of the Wailers.
Now, don’t ask me if she has ‘officially’ joined the PDP yet. But to underscore the fact that Hajia Aisha is currently being tempted to publicly tear her APC membership card (OBJ on my mind), President Muhammadu Buhari told a press conference in Germany last week that “I don’t know the party my wife belongs to”. So, officially, husband and wife are no longer in the same political party.
My only problem for now is that I don’t know whether she belongs to the Makarfi/Wike faction or the Modu Sherrif faction. I also don’t know how much the umbrella people paid her to do what she’s doing.
Yes, if I or any other journalist or political commentator had said what Mrs. Buhari told BBC Hausa Service about Buhari and his government, I suspect the DSS, Police or EFCC would since have come calling. Yes, they might not resort to pulling down our doors or sneaking up on us like any gang of armed robbers and kidnappers would but bank accounts might have been frozen by now. And Lai Mohammed would be on air, talking about how we had been contracted and generously paid, by the PDP, to discredit Buhari’s government.
I think Aisha is coming from our rich and long production line of strong women in the corridors of power and leadership. Soft exterior, steely interior!
In Nigeria, we are not new to presidencies where the women wear the trousers and have the balls (if you’ll indulge me that expression).
Those who were close to the Goodluck Jonathan’s would swear that it was Mama Peace that had the balls. I was not close to the Umaru Yar’Aduas, but I’ve heard stories about Hajia Turai. President Olusegun Obasanjo may have been as stubborn as a he-goat, but people close to the then first family attest that his beautiful wife, Stella, was one woman OBJ could not put down.
I don’t know how the military leaders coped with their own wives, but legend has it that IBB stood no chance of ever making it to Maryam’s bedroom again if he had insisted, with the then Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), that Asaba should not be the capital of the then about-to-be-created Delta State.
As tough as the goggled Sani Abacha appeared to the rest of us in public, a very beautiful and seemingly harmless Mariam allegedly had him on a short leash. But all these are hearsay. Even in far away US, a quiet and beautiful Hilary was said to have sentenced her all-powerful American President husband, Bill Clinton, to sleeping on the couch when he strayed into browsing Monica Lewinsky’s website. Please, don’t believe anything I’ve just said.
If you know the power of women, you’d agree with me that it is not impossible that even the little PMB said about his wife belonging to the kitchen, his living room and ‘the other room’, may have been cleared by Aisha before PMB dared to say it.
The only tragedy, however, was that PMB said it while standing next to a certain Angela Merkel, Chancellor of his much revered ‘Western Germany’.
Yes, in an era where Theresa May recently emerged UK Prime Minister, and Hilary Clinton is clear favourite to succeed Barack Obama as President of the United States (meaning that three of the five most powerful nations in the world would be ruled by women simaultaneously), a Nigerian president, whose brain was not frozen in the stone age (a president who, by the way, shares no blood ties with Donald Trump) tells the world that his wife belongs in the kitchen and “the other room’. Hmm.
Incidentally, I agree with the senator who said the president’s comments were supposed to be a joke. Abeg, Madam Aisha, na joke Oga dey joke o!
But, I’m not calling for the president’s jugular. Let’s not stoke fresh fire for the president on the home front, because he already has enough problems, with the recession, the judiciary, Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers, the APC crisis and, of course, The Villa, which we now know, is under a spell, as the Satan’s own liaison office on Earth.
Chudi Offodile and the politics of Biafra
I have read quite a few books on the Nigerian civil war, but I must confess that, apart from Chimamanda’s Half of A Yellow Sun, Hon. Chudi Offodile’s The Politics of Biafra… And the Future of Nigeria (presented to the public penultimate week) has resonated the most with me.
Maybe, it has to do with the fact that, like the Chimamanda and Offodile, I did not also ‘see’ the war – or, at best, saw it from the jealously protective safety of my mother’s bosom. Maybe, because of our not having seen the war, many in my generation have had to rely on the often-one-sided accounts of others to piece our understanding of the Biafran war narrative together.
But, painfully, we live in a country where, rather than say the whole truth of what happened, every participant in those events writes his own memoirs to make himself look good, either by overlooking some not-too-favourable key details or outrightly lying about them.
Consequently, our bookshelves are filled with unverifiable accounts of self-heroics, rendered by soldiers and fringe participants, many of whom only saw the war from the one front they operated from. So, history becomes what these self-aggrandising participants and observers tell us it is. Lies, truths and half-truths. But, as the singer, Omawunmi, would say: If you ask me, na who I go ask?
To make matters worse, we live in an age where they no longer teach Nigerian History in our schools. Meanwhile, our kids, whom we pay an arm and a leg to send to all manner of Montessori schools, are taught about less historical events that took place in old England and America. Of course, this explains why my undergraduate cousin cannot understand why the coronation of a new Oba of Benin is far more important than electing a new governor of Edo State, let alone, some ‘stupid’ Whiteman exam called WAEC. We seem to have so miseducated ourselves that we now have our values upside-down. So much that we have forgotten that the Oba of Benin is actually a fearsome deity. But that’s story for another day.
For now, many of the existing books on the Civil War only serve to add insult to the injury of treacherous irresponsibility in high places – on both the Biafran and the Nigerian sides of the divide.
That is why I’m particularly impressed by Chudi Offodile’s outing. For rather than pouring out bile and apportioning blame, he tries to tell the story of the Civil War from the perspective of a dispassionate nation builder. He also pricks the conscience of those who have hitherto lied about their roles in the war and the events that led up to it. He questions the credentials of many ‘civil war heroes’. He calls the bluff of the neo-Biafra agitators, many of whom do not even know what they’re agitating for.
But what nicks it for me in Chudi Offodile’s summation is that for as long as Nigeria remains the one united country we all want it to be, for so long would it be haunted by the ghost of Biafra – until we honestly and dispassionately address those inequities that gave rise to it. Until then, neither North, West, East nor South would sleep easy.
He wrote: “Igbo people have suffered persecution, pogrom, starvation and genocide and, I believe, are best suited to champion the cause of freedom for oppressed peoples in Nigeria and Africa. Biafra should not be situated in the context of self-determination or separatism, but as an ideology of freedom and emancipation of oppressed people anywhere in the world”.
I guess, this was also what the late Dim Odimegwu-Ojukwu meant when he alluded to the fact that the prospect of a geographical Biafra is bleak, but that the idea of Biafra would never die. Now, the onus is on we the elite to bury our selfish motives and breakdown this sophisticated grammatical construct in the language that our less-educated people (both North, South East and West) would understand. Chudi Offodile has made that effort.