Our politicians are incurable. The Obudu ranch is rotting away. They have made it look like a white elephant with their prodigal foreign appetites. The naira is perishing. They seem unperturbed, flocking to London like geese to hold routine political meetings. If they did these things in secret, we would have believed they haven’t lost all sense of shame. But they hold these vain meetings and assault us with pictures of their sybaritism.
The poverty in Nigeria is horrendous. But it doesn’t scare politicians. They have successfully chained the people with primitive emotional chords of ethnicity and religion. Were the average poor man free, these governors wasting scarce foreign exchange in London, practising advanced political harlotry, would worry about the airport reception back home. But they know their dispossessed supporters would still welcome them with drums and dances because, in being hopelessly unprincipled, they have shown that they are no political pushovers. Infamy is outdated. Without food and jobs, the famished masses revel in bragging rights fed them by the manipulativeness of their feudal lords.
Before London, there was the other secret meeting in France. The nominee of the ruling party is casually flirting with the arch opponent of his party and humiliating a major stakeholder in the party. They say it’s political sagacity. It must be. In a banana republic, petty savagery is courage. In Nigeria, Agberoism now rules.
No sense of history, no sense of loyalty, no desire to build principled systems and institutions. Everything is makeshift, and everyone is dispensable. Short-term gains trump all bonds. When Gov Wike stops being governor and in control of the Rivers treasury, he will be discarded for his puppet. Fortunately, the French meeting was held in secret. Somebody had the sense to keep the pictures away from a languishing public.
Holding it in secret doesn’t relieve it of promiscuity, but it’s far more decent than sending three Yoruba governors to Portharcourt to lionize the opponent and humiliate a major stakeholder. Yet it could have been held somewhere behind Ikogosi warm springs or Olumo rock since French politicians will never gather in a Molete hotel for domestic party meetings.
The irony of the London prodigality is that Donald duke featured prominently in it. Duke should know. If Ikpeazu and Ortom have no clues about the promotion of domestic tourism, a Donald Duke should teach them. Donald Duke, who had the vision to modernize the Obudu ranch, should be mourning its decay. And that should have made going to London with the politically unmoored Wike difficult.
It’s easy to decipher what Wike thinks of his political situation. Political promiscuity has become a virtue. It’s easy to see that when he takes along four other governors to raucous meetings in Europe, he feels like a champion. He is fortunate. He runs a state where partisanship means nobody bothers about what is done with state resources. Everybody belongs to a camp. And nobody wonders why all the flies are gathering on the froth of the Rivers gourd.
Nigeria needs urgent help. Those who trumpet diversification of the economy are now exporting political meetings to Europe, indirectly importing European hotels, venues and waitresses into Nigeria for political meetings.