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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Sunday, November 12, 2006


I don’t know Donald Duke from Adam and l have never interviewed him but barring the declaration of any clearly outstanding Nigerian, he has my vote as the next president of Nigeria. I don’t think he will win, sadly. First as to why he should win. Going by his record in cross rivers state in the past eight years, one can see that he is creative, courageous and inspired. Nigeria needs that. Also he seems to have the will and the organizational ability to carry through his projects and to persuade people to see the merit in them. No one can dispute that he has turned that little non-performing state into a functional, liveable tourist attraction. The fruits of which will not be completely manifest until later. Importantly, he is husband to one woman, who does not look like a dormant or an under qualified but over ambitious paranoid shrew. I am in the media and have witnessed or been regaled with stories and first hand encounters of the sexual exploits, bestial tendencies and complete degradation of often silly, poor or clueless young women by governors and other elected or appointed government personnel. Question, how many men in government today have not taken a second, third or more wives and had children by mistresses during their tenure? I don’t expect that Duke is a saint but l, ve never heard any such stories about him. If he strays, he is discreet about it and that is all we ask for. That he clearly wears and displays his wedding band is an asset, which would resonate with female voters. He also looks the part; he is young, vibrant, fun, good-looking and not fat. We are sick and tired of the pot-bellied men with their ugly mugs. Yes ugly people need love too, go to Dr Phil. Jokes apart good looks are not about having Donald’s pleasing features but taking care of yourself in terms of lifestyle. Those who live healthy fit active lives give off an attractive, alive aura that is charismatic and good-looking even if their face was arranged by a pmsing angel.
People argue that running a little Cross Rivers state is not the same as running Nigeria, l agree but he that is faithful in little can be trusted with more besides all the bandits that have ruined our lives before now did not have any track record of success at anything including their families and we not only allowed them, we were hopeful for some magic. Why not someone who has actually done something other than feral politicking.

Now having said all that, l don’t think he will win because we have not reached that stage where people will vote on merit only and we do not have a system yet that will elect a candidate mostly on merit. That the 2007 election will be completely free and fair is a pipe dream but that’s ok. The challenge is to engage the system and begin to change it before even perfecting it, which will take years, that is natural. So the practical (often ignored) part of my brain says Duke should run as vice president to whom l don’t know for now. The reason is that if he looses the presidency now, it will be hard to contest for anything else in future but as vice president, even a lame duck one he will be gathering invaluable experience and clout that will serve him in future bid for the presidency. That’s my rational mind but my adventurous, creative spirit says run man and keep running until you get it.


Anonymous said...

Hey Funmi,
Nice posts. Just a short correction though, Duke is Governor of Cross Rivers and not Akwa Ibom.

If you have not been yet, go to Calabar - Obudu and Tinapa are impressive.

Interestingly, Donald Duke is also a fellow blogger like you - you can check his blog www.donaldduke.blogspot.com

Anuoluwapo said...

Hmmm.... Donald Duke :-) First and foremost, will somebody please tell Silverbird Television to stop running those (in my opinion) silly ads, asking who Nigerians want to be the next president. We honestly arent mature enough to determine the sway of policies or otherwise, by public opinion. We presently have what my mom always refers to as a "selection" as opposed to an "election".
Okay, one teeny weeny question.... "You don register to vote"? :-) The Iwu legacy is such that at least 85% of the Nigerian populace above 18 should be disenfranchised. So even if we really want Mr. Duke in the villa, well, we need to prostrate at least six times for the likes of Arisekola et al, to ensure Mr.Dee becomes even a special adviser to a minister.(Let us hope god Arisekola does not empty his bowl of amala on us while we "fingerlings" look upon his imperial majesty and hope he has mercy on us.

Omigosh, I am starting to make no sense to even myself :-(!

Anyway, after all said and done, in my humble opinion, I have always thought that Gbenga Daniels should run for presidency, while Donald should be his vice (viva Tinapa!)

All I wanted to say.

Anonymous said...

Funmi,point of correction.Donald Duke is Governor of Cross River State.At least,the last time I checked,he was still the governor.No pun intended.
Now,what makes you think Duke can't win? God works in mysterious ways,my dear girl. Besides,God gives a people the kind of Leader they deserve.My humble opinion is that we deserve a good Leader ,who is imbued with great vision. One who has an idea on how to lift us out of the mess we currently find ourselves.We need a leader who will command the respect of the international community.One who will exhibit the fear of God,as well as apply wisdom in his dealings with us Nigerians.
Like you,i have never met Donald Duke before in my life. Nor he,me. But in our present dispensation,he represents an embodiment of the kind of leadership we yearn for.
However,being a realist that I am,I always try to think with my head,and not my heart.It's better to look at things as they could be,and not as they are.The only snag is that he belongs to the wrong party.Don't ask me why. Everbody knows that PDP na "wayo" party.That not withstanding,I will certainly vote for Duke if and when he wins his party's nomination.
On a lighter mood,someone else whom i feel may have some answers to our problems,is Rev Chris Okotie.the Man na wah sha! He has a passion that is uncommon in these climes.Given the fact that he belongs to the clergy. Unfortunately,no be grammer we go chop! ( apologies to Sola Salako ).
I know she has great passion for him,and the job she is doing on his behalf.
Someone else who has a fighting chance in the arena is Prof Pat Utomi. Here is a young man,who has certain core competencies in the field of financial management.I am quite sure that if he gets a chance to lead us,we'll all be smiling to the banks in no time.
These really are interesting times.

Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

hello fummi nice post but pls Donald is the Governor in Cross -Rivers not Akwa -Ibom

Anonymous said...

Hi Funmi, i used to watch your shows religiously while i was at home nursing my 1st son but i must say gone are those good days. i cant remember the last time i saw New Dawn.(i now work)but i try and keep up on the net and thanks for the blog too. i agree that Donald Duke will be a refreshing change for the old school. he not only has the looks(yes the looks count too) but he represents a generational change a pyradim shift(apologises to Pastor Chris). Donald Duke has my vote and i also dont think he will win sadly so.
PS: Donald Duke is the Gov of Cross Rivers not Akwa Ibom like u said in the blog.

In my head and around me said...

Hello Funmi, Donald Duke is governor for Cross river, not Akwa Ibom.

Like I said before on someone else's blog, Donald Duke is a breath of fresh air. In the past eight years that he has been in government, the area under his jurisdiction has actually CHANGED, which is not something that his mates can claim in their own home states. He evens looks like and has the carriage of a president - he will surely be able to bend down to plant his own tree...not need an ADC to carry out even that function for him.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you about how unlikely it is that he will be able to win this race. However, even to become the governor of Cross River was an uphill task for him...one that he managed. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle.

As always, when I am dealing with a politician, I have a little disclaimer: If he messes up, I take back every good thing I have said about him.

Anonymous said...

yeah Donal duke is my man,he has my vote but yup i also think e wont win...yeah and enuff of telling funmi that Donald Duke is Cross river governor..

Anonymous said...

hey do u want him cos his handsome or cute. any way fugot de stateor u just admire him wel his good but doesnt look toughnb enough fo our craze county or de dirt or prove me other wise

Anonymous said...

just the other day i was lecturing my uncle on all the achievements of Donald Duke and why he is the best choice as nigeria's president compared to all the other aspirants running(by the way my uncle thinks IBB-the-jester is the best thing to happen to nigerian politics only cos he seems to have a stake in his campaign team)i only pray for a miracle.....

Anonymous said...

This Funmi, please be trying to get your facts right! First it was Baby David that you called Matt. Now you've decided to dash Donald Duke Akwa Ibom. Come on! Such ignorance is acceptable from the non-media types, but not youuu.

OK, OK, not really being as serious as I sound. The slip-ups are actually quite amusing.

Anonymous said...

@ Anuoluwapo

What makes you think Donald Duke should be the Vice President? As much as I like OGD, Donald's performance far outweighs OGD's

Some leaders in the last 8 years have tried but none has come better than Donald Duke has. He has my Vote.

Also, let every one spare Funmi, Cross Rivers/ Akwa Ibom, whats the big difference? Ok, maybe there is one big difference - Cross Rivers State has a Leader.

I also feel he cant win too but hey! let's all vote first. There shouldn;t be complaints of votes not been counted when we dont even turn out enmass in the first place.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ all, Must be that senility is settling in early. l do know that donald is the duke of cross rivers but l,m thinking one thing and typing another. As you diligent folks may have noticed l have made the corrections and l swear l do not drink and write (-:

@ Anuoluwapo, let Silverbird and Vanguard go on soun now, at least they are generation interest and discourse especially amongst a younger generation. l dont know how they arrived at the top selection but hey they do not claim to be INEC. Besides getting a virile voting, vote defending population is going to be a long arduos task, every little step counts. No l have not registered to vote and l say it on air everytime. l cannot find a registration point near me but be sure that l will register, l will vote and l will wait for them to count the vote.
please check out www.projectvote.org to support what my brilliant mentee Tayo and other young people are doing.

@Anonymous, wayo party ke, you no know the koko PDP is not just a political party, they are als a PTO. Did you see that advert about PDP make it possible for 9js to have 25 million phone lines? Laughable.
Ummh pastor Chris heh? he dey try, make we all they try, God bless us.

@ Anonymous, always glad to hear when people say l dont have time to watch you anymore, l now work. That one more person off the job market. well done. Big sloopy kiss to you baby! lay off me l love kids ok.
in any case technology is on our side, one day soon you will watch my show in whatever evolution on handheld devises and Nigerians will one day chooses to watch Nigerian TV, teresstial or satellite in offices and public places.

Anonymous said...

The problem with nigerians is that we're so damn pessimistic and it kills me. What makes you think he cant win?! Why are we always so ready to throw up our hands and let demons like IBB, kalu, odili et al ruin our beloved country. Instead of you to be mobilising people, getting them to register, and spreading the good word about Donald Duke, Pat utomi and Chris Okotie, you're talking about "he can't win".

For everything you need to know about the "league of distinguished gentlemen"
visit these sites:

Donald Duke http://dukepac.biz/8464/index.html

Chris Okotie

Pat Utomi http://www.patutomi2007.com/

BabaAlaye said...

Funmi Have you registered?

Anonymous said...

WATZ wit duke he luks cul and don tink he can stand de heat coz he de cute nd luks soft bfo nde dirt nd a crazy,nice county lik ours.
any other reason apart frm dat na u sabi nd his party sucks hey greet ur cutie for me and tak care

Gbemi's Piece said...

How I wish people who truly want Duke to win wouldn't say that they don't think he'll win. If you think he's qualified to do the job and others you know feel the same way, why not? Isn't it time for us to rally against the old guard aka old farts? I am tired of people giving up. Is change not possible? I am hoping to vote in the next election (abeg, Naija embassy/consulate should make it possible for those of us that are far away to vote remotely so that we don't have to buy a ticket specifically to vote). He's got my vote and I think he can do it!

Toni Payne said...

I think Duke could win if there are no election rigging and an awareness is created. Helpthe people understand why he should be president. I personaly plan on voting for him even if it means flying my behind out there. I think we need some sort of Vote or Die campaign encouraging people to vote. Give me a Donald Duke shirt and Ill rock it anytime any day.. Give me a Babaginda shirt and I will use it to wipe my kitchen floor.

Funmi Iyanda said...

l know that anyone who accuses me of sitting on my behind knows nothing about my antecedents which in itself is not a crime. l seek not to prove myself to anyone but to speak from a mind conditioned by deep universal values (not pretencious morality). A mind which is a product of adversity and a deep conciousness of my environment and reality.

My life could be a lot easier (nothing you read about my flashy celebrity life is true) but l have choosen whom l want to be and the rewards and consequences of that decision l take on full throttle.

l want the likes of Donald Duke to win (of all the new breed of change agents, he is the only one l have not interviewded or have a relationship of mutual respect with), l am preparing a whole new generation to ensure that, some of the how cannot be shared publicly for now because creative, informed and effective change is not about verbal posturing or just sophisticated virtual mobilization but about being out there in its physicality, engaging the system, understanding it and buildng resourses, systems and processes to change it.

l lost a tooth last weekend to a verbal war with a Babangida apologist, a loss infinitestimal in comparision to what l have lost in the past and what l am prepared to lose achieving my purpose here.

Anonymous said...

well! well! well!!! so finally someone isbeggining to think like me, from the vey first time i saw Donald Duke, i wished i could call him my president, well it actually had nothing to do with his governing abilities at that time , but his charisma was enough to get me going ( i guess 8 years later i have more reasons to want him as mr president at least we will have a president who can be at par with world leraders , who knows the etiquettes of the social standings and further who is actually from a different generation all together, It dosent hurt that he plays the saxsophone like a dream, at least that shows that he must a craetive person that has intrest in other stuffs and can move our country on other spheres too

bibi said...

miracles can happen..i lost hope in nigeria until i heard Duke was running for president.Maybe its time for God to answer our prayers...We've been praying and believing for divine intervention..i'm rooting for DD...given his track record..he's definitely wat nigeria needs now

bibi said...

i also think you should invite Donald Duke on ur show...to also create some kind of awareness...I'll def keep him in my prayers..i want him to win badly...

Anonymous said...

hello fummi , i hope donald duke gets to read this but he just commited a serious blunder by saying PDP must capture Lagos by all means . and that lagos has been underdeveloped because her govt has not aligned with Abuja . we really need to be vigilant ! is this not another OBJ in the making who would want crack and eliminate opposition by all means , i mean the fear i had for donald was that he is in the wrong party yes PDP is a wrong party but God will move in this country like He did some years ago ! pls lets be vigilant note words used by this so called politicans.Lets also be prayerful , we must not rest until there is peace in our Jerusalem !
NB: i was glad when i heard mimiko resigned from as a minsister in PDP to join Labour Party to contest gubernitorial elections in Ondo .
2007 promises to be interesting !!!

Anonymous said...

I dont think Donald committed any blunder by saying that PDP must take over Lagos. I see it more as a political statement, don't forget he was talking to PDP delegates and as a party member, what else do you expect to hear from him. But to his performance as a president? I have absolutely no doubt that he will do excellently well. HE IS MY MAN ANY TIME