A MAD PROFESSOR, A DICTATOR’S DAUGHTER AND A HIPPOPOTAMUS.
Politics is like a sewer, there’s no way one will enter a suck away and not come out smelling like 'faeces’, even though your mission was to clean it up.
Professor Wole Soyinka for many years has always been a rebel ‘with or without’ a cause. In his younger days he sided with the separatist Biafra government; and ever since became a renowned federal government critic, but was briefly tamed by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida.
At the ripe old age of 79, the professor is still ‘vocally’ active in Nigerian politics with the same routine of siding with the opposition and condemning the ruling party. Many times, social critics like Professor Soyinka ‘subconsciously’ ignore the fact that even within Nigeria's opposition ruling class, there exists a very dangerous kleptomaniac elitist leadership that have successfully hoodwinked their followers using intense ethnic solidarity, media prowness,a pinch of religion and a very convincing vilifying machinery against the ruling party. But this is POLITICS, it’s allowed.
Nigeria’s River State has now become a boiling polarized society which cumulated into a show of shame by elected representatives in the state house of assembly. Apparently, many have traced the origin of Rivers state crisis to a yet to be declared vice-presidential ambition of its governor Honourable Rotimi Amaechi. Obviously, the president of the country Dr.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife Dame Patience Jonathan are being blamed by the opposition for fermenting the crises in Rivers state. Surprisingly, many opposition characters have pitched their tent on the side of Governor Amaechi jettisoning the fact that he and his state belongs to the ruling People’s Democratic party. Suddenly, Amaechi’s camp of the PDP has now evolved into sainthood while the rest of PDP remains evil...according to the opposition.
At 79, again making reference to his age, the respected Wole Soyinka should (some of us believe) have naturally assumed the role of a statesman, but unfortunately, especially as it concerns Rivers state, he decided to take sides joining the opposition in laying blames on the first family.
According to news reports, the professor was particularly hard on the first lady suggesting that she was (plus or minus) a ‘bush woman’ that would at best have remained an ordinary house-wife but for her husband's good fortune of becoming president of the federal republic of Nigeria. Well, unconfirmed reports also said that the professor likened the Nigerian first lady to a Hippopotamus.
Perhaps, the professor's ‘un-gentlemanly’ verbal attack on Dame Patience Jonathan was what jolted a relatively unpopular and largely ignored daughter of the late General Sani Abacha to sort of speak out. Gumsu Abacha (or somebody using her twitter handle) out of the blues, took to the social media network where she tweeted and described Professor Wole Soyinka as a "Mad Empty Professor that lives on bad mouthing his Motherland and continent for Dollar and euro!"
You know, some of us can neither agree nor disagree with Gumsu's opinion of the literary giant. However, we can’t but suggest that the professor perhaps brought this upon himself and if he as much as replies her then she'd be justified. Gumsu Abacha's mother Mariam Abacha used to be first lady too, is it possible that Gumsu recalls all the glamour and near worship the first lady's seat once commanded in Nigeria and is appalled by its current disregard? How come most 'opposition' figures did not dish out these types of insults on Turai Yaradua who it was alleged, practically took over the reins of power when her husband the President became clinically indisposed?
It is also possible that Gumsu Abacha’s rant against Professor Soyinka is totally unconnected with the first lady’s issue.
Another ‘crazy’ conspiracy theory from my part would be, how come a relatively silent Gumsu Abacha suddenly finds her voice barely a week after her father's former chief security officer was released from prison? Is this a pointer to the direction Major Al-Mustapha will be going? Politics, oh politics!
There's a saying that, “When an Eagle constantly mingles with chickens, it will eventually forget how to fly.” Professor Wole Soyinka is an icon and one of Nigeria's greatest personalities; he must truly elevate himself to 'statesmanship mode' and not get involved in political pillow fights with minors.
As for Dame Patience Jonathan, for now I see no fault in her-Nigeria has never really been blessed with eloquent, polished, articulate and inspirational first ladies, what we see is always what we get. Though, the late Maryam Babangida eventually gave a fairly good account of herself while Justice Fati Abubakar’s stay was too short to be analyzed.
However, if the saying that ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ is anything to go by then you can’t help but admire Dame Patience Jonathan. A woman that stood by her husband all the way from oblivion to the highest and most covetous position in the land, is worthy of praise. Many of the first lady's harshest critics that are by themselves or have spouses that are classy, polished, refined and articulated will never lay hands on even the accumulated dust inside the presidential villa.