An infusion of comic relief would not be out of place. Since 1999 when Nigerians embarked on this journey in democratic governance, some names have appeared like permanent fixtures on the firmament.

In the build-up to May 29, 1999, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida played a key role in assisting Olusegun Obasanjo who was just recovering from a battered psyche as a result of his over three years’ imprisonment.

And, once Obasanjo was sworn in on May 29 that year, he stamped his imprimatur on the political landscape such that he became the issue. He got his second term – although an attempt at a third term failed. When he was handing over to the late Umaru YarÁdua in 2007, Obasanjo remained the issue even as a new president and commander-in-chief was being sworn in.

Today, as a result of the unwise mix of obdurate conduct and an overdose of egocentric behaviour, leading to the woeful loss of his Ogun State by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of which, might we add, he is the Board of Trustees’ Chairman, along with the massive loss of his entire South-West geo-political zone, Obasanjo may be in attendance at Eagle Square today for the inauguration, he would be there with clay feet – his zone created a fertile ground for the germination of national opposition via the sweeping of elective offices by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.  Even if he attends, his usual swagger of “NA ME PUT AM THERE” would be totally absent as President Goodluck Jonathan won on his own steam – even in the South-West where Obasanjo lost. This May 29 would not miss him but he would miss doing the swagger.

Then, there is Obasanjo’s arch-rival and erstwhile deputy, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.  In 1999, Abubakar’s choice as Obasanjo’s running-mate raised eyebrows because it was unexpected.

And, since then, every inauguration year has seen Atiku’s presence hover in political space – remember Atiku’s threat to contest against Obasanjo in 2003 at the PDP primaries; or the opposition role he played in the build- up to the 2007 elections.  Even as Yar’Ádua was being sworn in on May 29, 2007, some PDP politicians remembered with nostalgia how Atiku’s opposition role almost spoilt their party.  Making useful noises before the presidential primary of PDP in January this year, especially on the issue of zoning, Atiku has only kept up relevance by making statements now and then on national issues.

At the state level, there used to be some politicians who christened themselves as godfathers without whom nothing good could ever happen to other people.

Remember Lamidi Adedibu, the strongman of Oyo politics, the garrison commander, who used to boast of how he installed  state governors? He is no more.  Ibadan politics has missed and  is missing him for the wrong reasons.

Then, there is Oloye– Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki.  But his son, Dr. Bukola Saraki, using a protégé, defeated his father’s candidate for governorship, who happened to be of the same Saraki stock.  Senator Gbemi Saraki, sister of Bukola Saraki, was beggared out of PDP by the brother and the father simply pulled out a political party from his hat, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, as a platform for the voluptuous Gbemi.  Not only did Gbemi and Pa Saraki lost, they lost everything as Bukola’s ascendancy has now been stamped on the state.

In far-away Kano, where Ibrahim Shekarau was once reminded that his presidential quest might rob his All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, of the governorship, things went awry for him. He lost the presidential election woefully and also lost Kano State to PDP. Ironically, the man who handed over to him in 2003, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is the same person he would be handing over to. Shekarau would have preferred to hand over to a brother-politician in the same ANPP.

In the East, what has happened to Orji Uzor Kalu and Chimaroke Nnamani?  Even a return to the Senate for Nnamani  is now gone with the wind as he was defeated.

Then, there are state governors you either expected to have successfully installed a successor or return for second term.  Ogun State, where a combination of factors came to play, Ibikunle Amosun of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, defeated the PDP candidate, Adetunji Olurin, an Obasanjo appointee, and ex-Governor Daniel’s Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN.

In Imo State where everything went green under ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, candidate, Governor Rochas Okorocha, came to remind Ohakim that the Nigerian flag is Green/White/Green, and not all green. Some urgent intervention you would say.

Some politicians may be at the inauguration today but they would be there as MIAs.


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