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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, December 17, 2006

OUR HUSBANDS HAVE GONE MAD AGAIN (title is a stolen mandate, appropriately so, read on please)

Watching the tragedy that was the PDP presidential primaries on AIT yesterday, l felt a debilitating sense of despair that l haven’t completely recovered from. I am brimming with thoughts and feelings that are so powerful it is difficult to communicate them so pardon me if l am a bit incoherent. The very shabby and incompetent nature of the proceedings, what were those dingy ballot boxes on owambe party tables about? The power/floodlight failure (they were using car headlamps at a point) in a show put up by the “biggest party in Africa” most of whose chieftains wore Rolex watches and designer sunglasses even as the sun set? The incongruity of such shabby and meagre proceedings which may be pardonable in a poor struggling post war country, played out in a setting where the odious smell of non commerce driven wealth is tangible even through a TV screen is only one of the many paradoxes.

After the dust settled, Yardua had won leading his closest contender by over 3,000 votes. A classic case of you “kill me finish you still want to murder me”. I mean where did Yardua come from? Who is he other than a brother to the late general and scion of northern oligarchy? This of course were the reasons general babangida gave for stepping down pledging pious loyalty to his friend and brother general Yardua and the family. If l am fool enough to believe that I’ll believe Santa is bringing me a Pulitzer.. Was Abiola not his bosom buddy, did that stop him annulling the 1993 elections? Babangida’s resignation was of course a powerful early signal of where things were headed and lo and behold, there followed the mass withdrawal of other candidates and endorsement by the governors forum.

I do not care about all the others but et tu Donald Duke? I can understand those who will not blink at losing the fortunes they had been spending on their campaign after all l do not see the enterprise they run other than their states to get the money they had been spending. They have also not shown much inclination to a high moral position so we cannot ask them what happened to the power of their convictions but Haba! Donald Duke what happened really?

There are conspiracy theories all around from the plausible to the near deranged but if there is any truth to the rumour that Duke stepped down to be vice president, l can bet my last dime that it won’t happen, per chance that it does what is the guarantee that he wont be Atikud?

Now l have no personal issues with Yardua who looks suitably docile but with the obvious horse trading that has lead to his emergence. It all looks like an old formula, one that eventually led to the collapse of the second republic. What is it about yardua that reminds me so much of Mallam Shehu Shagari? Almost twenty years later Nigeria is being presented with another seemingly gentle unambitious unobtrusive teacher. With the emergence of Yardua; the powerful PDM faction of PDP is secured, the recent threats of disintegration is checkmated paving the way for a landslide (na only for here a candidate dey get 99% of votes cast) PDP victory at the polls. Meanwhile since Yardua is such an unknown entity, the nay Sayers would have nothing concrete to hold against him such that before we blink he’ll be president. There is talk of an Andy Uba vice presidency and a shiver runs down my spine. Where in all of these is talk of the sort of visionary and informed leadership required to move Nigeria to the next level?

What are Yardua’s ideals, proven abilities and program for Nigeria? They say Obasanjo anointed him because EFCC says gave him a clean bill, no record of corruption in office. I can be persuaded to buy that, applaud him and give him a plague to hang in his toilet but then I proceed to ask, so what exactly did he do for Katsina state? Since we like quoting copiously from the bible, did Jesus not berate the servant who unimaginatively buried his talent?

One of my friends argues that since the post has been zoned to the North, who else should have been chosen to which l answered that she missed the point. First, candidates should have gone forward in a transparent process to pick the best from the region, not stepping behind, down or aside. Secondly why did the South East and South South sell out so easily? Didn’t Duke at least realized that he carried the hopes of a whole new generation and for whatever it was worth he should have fought to the last or was he also afraid of EFCC? Thirdly when will the presidency be zoned to the competent and the efficient?

As l watched the dismal show by mostly tired and dissipated but constipated looking men, l saw Mr. Isaiah my fashion designer friend Remi’s head tailor walk in dejectedly, his police constable brother was one of the 23 people killed during the week in a one day bank robbery spree at Alaba international market and Ikorodu.

I reach out to him in helpless sympathy as l wonder how much longer we will continue to allow these robberies.


Anonymous said...

Waoh Funmi! If these Agbayas are your husband, i guess that makes them my in-laws. Mogbe mogbe mo daran. Duke, I am still shocked' dont know what to say yet. Ok. let me confess i shed a tear or more when he withdrew. About him being Atikud, why do I feel so too. I agree, Yar'adua is Shagari in another age? They said he didnt steal (did you?) and that he is young (millions more are). I thought after friday evening i didnt care about the outcome again, but i was wrong. i locked myself up in the room after finding out this evening that another 'can be easily tossed around' guy is the VP.

Ok. maybe when i wake up tommorrow and realise it was just a bad dream. I hope it is.

Moody Crab said...

I was discussing this issue with my dad and he said...'Nigerian democracy is about selection not election', and for once I totally agreed with him.
Am really appalled at the recent happenings; first it was Donald Duke's withdrawal, then Yar'adua for President, and as if that was not enough we have Goodluck for VP?!
This is exactly what I call 'Politics of the Big Boys' club' and Nigeria will never move forward if we don't move away from political cronyism!!

As for Donald Duke...I really don't know what to say. There is more to his withdrawal than meets the eye.

Toni Payne said...

This is like Howard Dean all over again for me. Oh well, I kinda saw it coming and I really liked Donald Duke. Sha, may the best man win and may God save Nigeria.

I hear good things about Yardua from a reliable source so lets see. You never know, maybe he will be good for Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

there has to be a God...or Nigeria is utterly hopeless and on the brink of despair.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame Funmi...a travesty that Nigeria has become a puppet playground for men who toy around with bloated egos and despicable characters. I must admit that I didn't see this coming. Reading and following after trends from the UK, I had hoped that all the news about Yar'adua were mere assumptions. And to think he's been paired with a certain Jonathan Goodluck????

Like a friend of mine said in his IM to me this morning; mumu + mum = Obj 3rd term. Something is wrong with our minds, nay our values and priorities. What is this love for Power, position and money? Even at almost 80, why is this old man still meddling around with 9ja like the nation is some sort of extended family of his, running as he dares fit.

To even zone the presidency to the North is the biggest of all shames. I mean, what the heck does zoning a leadership/office/government position to a particular geographic spectre mean? What happened to democratic processes of allowing the people to vote for the man they choose, rather than the next best idiot "zoned" to them? This in my opinion, is one of the tragedies that is called Nigeria. Until we stop paying undue attention to ethnic diversities and focus on values, ideals, integrity, competence etc, I wonder where we're headed next. So suppose we need a minister of education or a minsiter of energy and such office has been "zoned" to the south, do we then find the next best idiot among the lot of under-qualified men and women to fill these positions rather than consider the man who though is from the East, will adequately fill the role?

This is pathetic.

Adaure Achumba said...


Anonymous said...

I still haven't been able to overcome the despondency and despair I have felt since Thursday evening. On the brink of tears for my country that has seemingly lost a Joshua. I've prayed and cried and prayed and then cried some more.

Were it not for my faith in God, this would have been the time to turn away and try to forget the woes of my nation (except that, that'll probably never happen). Our fathers have failed us...again.

It's only God at this point now...

Toksboy said...

Any belief we had about dem all crazy has finally been proven. Politics is a dirty business as my father has always told me. Who knows what was dangled before Duke to make him capitulate? Was it a carrot or a stick?

I know not a lot about Yaradua but would not lose too much sleep if he ended up with Duke as a VP. The problem is that Duke would of course want to take the helms in 4 years and we all know what happens then.

All around there is a sense of resignation, loss of hope (like when Bush won a second term) and yet a sense of deja vu. Like yourself I find myself just rambling. Loss of thought control. How about the nonsense in Lagos? It seems to be wuru wuru all around.

Anonymous said...

Duke sold out-simple as that! He sold out on a good chance at leadership and he sold out on the chance to salvage our generation. I personally will never forgive him. Only divine intervention can save us now... Goodness Im so depressed...sigh...

Anonymous said...

hello all ,
not shocked at all , did you expect anything better from OBJ &PDP its simply called the politics of anointing and 'Baba so pe' accrd to Dr Reuben Abati
pls pls don’t be disappionted , how did all of the PDP govs get to their position is not the same means
was OBJ not forced on us too , what is happening in AC in Lagos ,Asiwaju anointed Fasola ! The same politics of anointing .
in fact what beats my mind is that after due consultations Goodluck Jonathan was picked imagine to lame people to answer to the life presidency of OBJ as head of PDP BOT .
The only way forward is ww.voteagainstpdp.org that is the only solution.

Anonymous said...

please we cant continue to sit down at home and think thinks will change No !
OBJ has always said the best candidate does not win true talk because even when he was selected trees and cows were counted in yobe , kano and minna as part of the electorates to rig him in .
a new move is about to start visit

Anonymous said...

awwww im upset, i really liked donald duke mehn

cleo.kelvin said...

iwill continue by saying wsat sort of magic it was dat even a princes kiss cant wake me up from u knoiw wat also marvels me is de way it was accepted and de withdrawal of his erand boy if he knbew non wud win why let dem campaign and waste de money de were able to embezzle and all dat for clean recvord tell me who said so if not ribadu u know am sory cos before i believed in hm till he started obeying baba so he is clean i believe with fear meaning next year baba wud be god father abi na ibb men i love dis conty.

Anonymous said...

Funmi, Would you want us to run your program on naija radio and television.. a web based station..
My name is Adesegun M. but i need to know what time, that program comes up in Nigeria.. I have lived abroad for so long.. I hear good thing about you.. I watch your program when i went to nigeria.. but I need to know what time you do your program in Nigeria,New york time.. so i could determine if I can run it LIVE via the internet..
Thank you God bless you..


my email is AdesegunM@nigeriaONE.com

Naijadude said...

In all honesty I dont even know who Jonathan is, except he ultimately became governeor after Alams and wife is being prosecuted by EFCC for stolen billions, so much for being a university teacher, civil servant!

Yar'Adua?? the ailing man as the "imminent" president? Couldnt have been any better for Nigeria.

Funmi Iyanda said...

Question? What is this generation going to do about the agbayas (old fools) and even the omo de ise (wtretched young)? How are we going to organize ourselves and get beyond bitching and frustrated rantings? Let us consider these very carefully understanding what it demands. Are we going to be the generation that makes that sacrifice?

cleo.kelvin said...

well wat wud we do first u ask ursel wat u are wiling to do den u try and do dat perfectly well cos if we dont do anything den we will pay for it now or in future.abiu dis year has ended lets see wat de fture has.