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[OPINION]: “Overheard phone conversation” between IBB and OBJ -Mayor Ikoroha

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“Did you watch the awards ceremony?”

“I didn’t. Why should I? I was too busy with more important things.”

“What could be more important than watching a programme where all the participants were virtually spitting on you? Unless you are writing another letter.”

“Is that supposed to be mockery or what?”

“No insults intended, please. Your letters are usually discussed extensively in the Nigerian political arena. Maybe you would have written a letter to take some shine off this Abiola and June 12 tsunami.”

“What tsunami? It was just a desperate act of a sinking man. Buhari is only desperate for Yoruba support and votes. He won’t succeed. It is just a storm in a tea cup.”

“Are you sure? Something that made you lose your head and you had to come up with the laughable allegation that Buhari wants to frame you up?”

“Why are you calling the allegation laughable? I was delighted when Governor Wike alleged his own frame up too. God bless Wike. His claim will make many Nigerians take my own serious.”

“With all due respect, no reasonable person will take your allegation serious. And Nyesom Wike is a perennial attention seeker. He is always alleging plans to kill him or frame him up. I watched the news on his latest allegation on Channels TV. Just in between the news came a programme promo that contained a clip where he also alleged a threat to his life. No reasonable person takes such individuals serious.”

“I don’t agree with you. Even Atiku has made a statement in support of my allegation.”

“Atiku Abubakar makes a statement in support of Olusegun Obasanjo. And Obasanjo takes the statement to heart. Are you listening to yourself?”

“What is wrong with Atiku’s statement? A broken clock is correct twice in a day. I don’t like him and I don’t support his presidential ambition but I must state that his statement was very much welcome when it came.”

“Do you think that Atiku would have made such statement if he had no presidential ambitions?”

“I know that Atiku is very desperate. He supports the so-called restructuring and would support any populist idea these days to make him look electable. He will join Afenifere and renounce his Fulani lineage if that would advance his presidential ambition. I know all these but that’s besides the point. His statement of support over my allegation of a potential frame up was most welcome. Period.”

“So what do you do next? I advise you write another open letter. Or publish another book. You need to do something to take away the political capital this June 12 and Abiola thing is giving to Buhari.”

“Why are you talking like it is me alone that this issue is affecting? What of you? Are you not the one that annulled June 12 elections? Are you not the evil genius? Look at you. Why would I be the one worried about June 12? Did I annul the so-called freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria? Why am I even supposed to be worried about Abiola and June 12?”

“My place in Nigeria’s history is rested. Those who love me, love me. Those who hate me, hate me. There’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t write letters. I don’t write books. The statement I made in relation to Buhari’s second term ambition is to prove to Nigerians that I am still alive. Sometimes Nigerians go on with their political affairs as if IBB is late.”

“And your statement was denied and approved and denied and approved. You have a negative image amongst most Nigerians and you make it worse by issuing prevaricating statements.”

“It is your own personal opinion that I have negative image amongst most Nigerians. I beg to differ. I may have made some mistakes, we all do, but my Justice Minister was not murdered during my administration. I didn’t declare state of emergency or sponsor impeachments at states where the governors did not agree with me. I didn’t use an anti-graft body to witch-hunt my political opponents.”

“You ran a military regime, please. The governors were your appointees. It seems this your nauseating military president appellation makes the butterfly think himself a bird. Only one Nigerian leader is known for conducting endless transition programmes. Only one Nigerian leader is known for institutionalizing corruption.”

“Says a man who spent billions on a third term agenda. A man who spent sixteen billion dollars on electricity with nothing to show for it. Says a man who came out from prison penniless and left the office of the president as an overnight billionaire, with University, farms, Library and the rest.”

“Well, Nigerians have nothing on me. No one has been able to prove that I embezzled any money. I am not facing any investigation or court trial on corruption or fraud.”

“And I am the one under investigation or court trial for fraud, right?”

“Nigerians all know what happened during your regime. The Okigbo report on the missing twelve billion dollars Gulf War windfall is still fresh in the memories of most discerning Nigerians. Everyone knows most of your wealth are hidden in the names of your children.”

“Insha Allah, I can hide my wealth in the name of my children. There is only one former Nigerian leader with a dysfunctional family, accused by his own son of incest, accused by his own daughter of abandonment and all known evil imaginable. I re-read your daughter’s letter last week. I think writing letters runs in the blood in your family.”

“Enough of the insults. You are the one that originated this call. What exactly did you call me for?”

“I called you over this posthumous award on Abiola and marking June 12 as Democracy Day. The reaction of your brothers in the South West has been mostly positive. This may help in getting Buhari reelected. And for both of us who are opposed to his reelection, it would make us look stupid.”

“It is your problem. Not mine. Every June 12, Nigerians will remember the man who annulled a historic election. You and your descendants will have to live with that.”

“Let’s not go through these again. I know that you were astounded by this development as much as I was, even more than me. You are the one most active in making sure that Buhari is not reelected next year. You seem to be succeeding but the recent pronouncement by Buhari seems to have changed the equation. His reelection prospects have become brighter.”

“By the way, what gives you the impression that the announcement was well received by the Yorubas? Why do you think Buhari’s prospects for reelection is brighter?”

“We are both concerned. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves. I glance through the dailies. Hardly a mention of the herdsmen and farmers clashes. It is June 12, June 12 everywhere, almost all of them positive on Buhari. I read Ayo Adebanjo’s statement but beyond that, most of your people are in support. I watched the investiture. Soyinka was there. Femi Falana was there. And the children of Abiola and Gani. All of them were praising Buhari effusively. You must be concerned,”

“But Soyinka told him that he can’t be honouring Abiola while eulogizing Abacha that imprisoned and tormented Abiola.

“I thought you said you didn’t watch the programme. How did you know about this?”

“So people who watched it can’t narrate what happened to me? Wherever they are, Abiola and Gani would be ashamed of their children. How can Abiola and Gani’s family accept an award from someone like Buhari?”

“So what do we do now? Buhari’s reelection in spite of our opposition would be most unfortunate. I suggest once again that you should write another open letter. Or release another book. Do you have any other book to publish?”

“I can’t cheapen the impact of my open letters by writing them too frequently. And why not write a book yourself? Are you incapable of writing?”

“We have different talents. I don’t have a Ph.D.”

“Ghost writers are readily available.”

“Did you use them for your letters and books?”

“Me? Do I look like Buhari? I have a Ph.D. Not an honourary doctorate degree. Not a contentious school certificate.”

“The man with the so-called contentious school certificate just played a fast one on us. That is the issue on the ground. How do we resolve this?”

“Since you claimed that my allegation of an impending frame up did not resonate with Nigerians, maybe it’s time you try your own. You can claim that assassins suspected to be agents of the government were sent to kill you but you miraculously escaped.”

“Escaped on my wheelchair? Don’t be ridiculous. No one will believe that. I must give it to Buhari. His administration is not synonymous with political assassinations. Nigerians will not buy into such allegation.”

“Well, I know Nigerians. After some weeks, the Abiola and June 12 issue will die down. The herdsmen killings will continue. Most Nigerians will continue to go to sleep hungry. And opposition to Buhari’s regime will continue to rise.”

“Maybe you are correct. Maybe we are getting ourselves worked up for nothing. There is still time for the Buhari administration to be vulnerable to political opposition.”

“Yeah. And when that time comes, I will surely write another open letter.”


Ikoroha is an author and public affairs analyst. He is on twitter as @tellthemayor




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