by Emeka Obasi
Power is sweet, political power is dangerous when used beyond acceptable limits. Some Nigerian governors are heading to a new lonely world which will welcome them on May 29. Your Excellency will be heard faintly, the appurtenances of office will be offloaded.
The Fourth Republic needs to be fumigated. We have had a band of governors who never believed they could get to such honourable height. Fate has been cruel to Nigerians. People who ordinarily should be confined to small corners in distant places grabbed pole positions by hook and crook.
Some governors became Emperors. You could neither see nor hear from them. They carried on like the people were nothing but footstools. The moment a leader is cut off from the people, he ceases to be one. What many of them fail to realise is that bootlickers only succeed in imprisoning their principals.
When you are a State governor and everyday, your commissioners and aides report to your house where you sit in court like a rabid maximum dictator, life after power will surely grind you. Those who reported daily to you will be the first to show you the door to loneliness.
Out of the mad crowd of governors, I still found some who tried to maintain links with people outside power. These one also have their shortcomings though but have been able to survive or will survive outside convoy and siren power without any weight loss.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, you cannot take it away from him. This former Lagos State governor has prepared himself for life anywhere. While others harassed citizens with long convoys and noisy sirens, this lawyer turned politician chose low key in his movements.
Some accounts say Fashola as governor could mount a powerbike and move around without drawing attention. He did not forget members of his larger family who lived outside the highbrow areas of Lagos. From Ikoyi the man found his way to Egan on private visit or Igbo Elerin to supervise road construction.
As governor, Fashola read and replied to messages sent to his phone. After a hard day’s job, the wee hours of the night saw him going through his handset. And from such interactions, decisions were made. Through this method the man in charge was ahead of some of his aides.
Now, it is little surprise that Fashola has survived outside power as governor. He has been a Jumbo Minister since leaving Alausa in 2015. Nothing has changed except his hairs. President Muhammadu Buhari singled out and made him the most powerful member of the Federal Executive Council combining the three portfolios of Power, Works and Housing.
When electricians tried to shock the minister, Buhari saved Fashola and took power off his troubles. Other governors after BRF beg to be returned to power in Lagos. Fashola did not go abegging. After Abuja, another appointment will be waiting.
Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State is another governor who makes out good time to go through his phone and respond to messages. He did not become governor as a pauper. As an Engineer, construction is his first love and he has been able to build roads and bridges. Umahi could have created political walls but he is well covered to bounce outside Government House in May.
AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State is likely going to continue as governor. At the end of his tenure, the man will have no inhibitions. A free man who drove around West Africa because of the Super Eagles, power has not changed him. He was into billions before politics and replies messages directly on his phone.
Orji Uzor Kalu did not allow power get into his head. You may have every other thing against him. As governor of Abia State, his convoy was moving to the Lagos Airport when he sighted an old friend waving from a ‘car wash’ on the way. The governor breached protocol, brought the convoy to a halt and got down to greet his pal. Kalu does not shy away from responding to messages on his phone.
Some outgoing governors ignore messages sent by people who mean well. They prefer to hear some of the lies fed by hangers on and favour seekers. By May 29, their phones will remain silent, like an eerie grave yard. Welcome loneliness, bye bye power.
Dee Sam Onunaka Mbakwe was Imo State governor for a little over four years. His good works were truncated by the Buhari coup of 1983. Forty years on, Mbakwe remains a name that opens doors. When the Federal Government tried to play pranks with an airport for Imo, he taxed the people and they responded.
The Owerri Airport is named after him. The people are still yearning for another Mbakwe. Some came claiming to be the new face of Mbakwe. They could neither weep nor work enough. Those folks only beat Imo to their treasury.
Ambrose Alli was dealing with dead bodies as a professor of Morbid Anatomy at the University of Benin. When he became of Bendel State in 1979, Alli gave life to the people by constructing roads and setting up higher institutions of learning.
When Alli lost his job in 1983, he simply drove back home in a modest Peugeot 504 saloon car. Today, many governors are using automobiles that are worth the salaries of their local government workers.
Some of our governors will go home on May 29 as outcasts. Those who barked like rabid dogs will find out that even the Alsatian in their heavily fortified homes bark less at human beings.
Those governors who turned their states to Golgotha must remain restless and sleepless. The ghosts of the innocent shall be singing dirges and keeping them company. The cries of widows and orphans will shake the ground. Hello, loneliness.