By Mohammed Adamu
WHEN his first daughter Aisha wedded several years ago, I was not officially invited. And why should I? Of Nigeria’s Journalism’s ‘who’s who?’ I probably would not even make the first hundred. But guess what, I attended all the same. Uninvited. But I was an attendee of necessity. Because two of my mentors, former Concord Editor’s Duro Onabule and the Paper’s erstwhile Head of Northern Operations, Olu Akerele, were in Minna for the wedding. And I had to be on hand in my little home-forte to play side-host to my professional seniors. They both dragged me to the grand reception which took place on the grounds of the now elite El-Amin International School -established by the matriarch of the immediate family herself, late Maryam of blessed memory. And you bet truly ‘grand’ was the ‘grand reception’! Everyone who should be there was there: the high and the mighty, the rich and the powerful. Men of ‘timber’ and ‘calibre’, ‘mahogany’ and ‘iroko’. And my presence, by the way, was proof also that many other ‘woods’ of baser quality that should not have been there, were also there. The hoi polloi. Us.
But when the last daughter, Halima was to wed recently, from out of the blues I was now officially invited. The IBBs ‘cordially’ requested the pleasure of my ‘low-ly’ presence to ‘grace’ the occasion. About a week to the wedding, Olu Akerele had phoned to say that my invitation card and his were ready ‘Up-Hill’ and that it was my lot –since I was already in Minna- to go ‘up’ there and pick them. I did. And there was my name, ‘Mohammed Adamu’, etched in excellent calligraphics.
It had taken over ten years, since Aisha’s wedding, for me to gravitate to the elite (though not monied) club of the IBB ‘inviteables’. Isn’t that wonderful? But guess what, now that I was invited, I did not attend. But don’t get me wrong, I was an absentee of necessity; like I was once an ‘attendee of necessity’.
Because this time, some other visiting mentors and friends of mine, who I should be attending in company of, had decided only to pop into Minna, move straight Up-Hill to ‘show face’ and then left. A few passed by my house to say hello. I know many, including some of the very ‘high and mighty’ who did not even wait for the essential event, namely the ‘Fatiha’, much less the ‘Reception’, before they left town. And you wondered what was it that had suddenly changed, from when Aisha wedded? Is it the times, or the people?
And sometimes that is just the problem with the weddings, especially of the ‘insanely rich’ and the ‘superbly powerful’. Like a gathering of giraffes, they tend always to attract too many tall egos, that end up neck-sizing as they compete for the skies. And no matter how long-necked or short-necked they come, in events like that, every giraffe is bound to meet its match, or even its better. And so, sometimes those who can’t humbly hang their low necks beneath the shadows of longer ones, simply come early, brandish their ‘impala necks’ to be sure they are not counted ‘absent’, and then run. Or as the Yorubas would say, tuule! You thought you were a ‘supper giraffe’, with a ‘long neck’; and you had put most of your ‘Security Vote’ to your long, enviable ‘convoy’. And in fact on the way to the event your ‘convoy’ may have out-convoyed, out-siren-ed and out-sped other convoys; yet on arrival you couldn’t make it to any of the first five seats on the right or left sides of IBB. Gosh, you were not even on the high table. That is if you were not battling for a foot-hold in the ‘crowd’. That is the way that kind of cookie crumbles!
Sometimes it is better you pop in, pay homage to the big man, tactfully drift away and leave, rather than melt into the pool of puny, little ‘irokos’ that cannot even secure a seat. I mean ‘any’ seat here! Some smart alecs would’ve dispatched their protocol two to three days in advance, to feel the texture of the impending line-up. And if possible to negotiate a dignified ‘placing’. Or else they would send a representative. Or they may gamble and come in the hope for example that the Senate President did not attend; or that the Speaker only sent in a representative; or that Tinubu was not in good enough terms with the IBBs to attend. The fewer the juggernauts in attendance, the more the chances that even ordinary ‘nuts’ will be elevated to ‘jugger’ status. Shining at such events is more a function of who and who has decided to come, or who has decided to send an RSVP than it is of who comes first. Your ‘eminent’ cooperation could be reverently sought to leave a particular seat because a taller giraffe has decided to make it after all. I looked at my neck recently in the mirror; and I was wondering what the IBBs saw, to send me an IV.
And to Halima
“Even as I wish you conjugal bliss, I should repeat this which I wrote in a tribute dedicated to your late mother; that “Life is not the ‘worldly Eden’ we think it is; it is Shakespeare’s “walking shadow”; that it is not as they say, a “sweet composition”, but rather Wilson Mizner’s “tough proposition”; it is not Elbert Hubbard’s “one damn thing after another”, but rather Edna Millay’s “one damn thing over and over.” Life is not our breakfast table of licks and ‘yums’, but William Gilbert’s “pudding full of plums”; it is not a “voyage to an unknown destination” but Herman Melvilles journey “that’s homeward bound”. Life is not measured “by the wine drunk” as Harriet King would say, “but by the wine poured forth”; it is not measured by how long we live, but how well; not by what we like to do, but by liking that which we have to do.”
Now you are married. Do your duty.
I THOUGHT that what is odd in the life of the ‘rich and powerful’ is NOT that they are engaged, almost always, in merry-making. Because that in effect is what the ‘rich and powerful’ always do. That cannot be odd! What is odd is the ‘rich and powerful’ not merry-making; or when -God forbid- mourn -those very rare moments when the ‘rich and powerful’ are tribulated, by one misfortune or another. That is what is odd. Because in relation to how regularly they make merry, such moments happen very seldomly. It must be the reason they coined the saying ‘The rich also cry’; to remind the ‘poor’ that the rich do not always ‘laugh’.
I thought that what happened in Minna was supposed to be the norm among the ‘rich and powerful’, and not the exception. It is foolish that the poor should grieve some more merely because the rich do what they always do, namely make merry. The rich also wed. Or don’t they? And why should they regulate the number, or the calibre of those they ask to and merry with them? Or why should those invited not go as they please: by road, sea or air? Besides, if they had gone by ‘foot’ would that have alleviated our situation? Or would that have belied the fact that they own jets?
We have issues with some ‘looters’ who bought jets with our patrimony. Let’s deal with that! But while we are at it, let them fly as they wish. If it hurts, let’s support EFCC to bring them to book! We cannot eat our cake and then have it!
Re: What does Sule Lamido want?
Online:– “@Mohammed Adamu. Well-done. Your friend, Lamido, lost every NEPU-PRP ideology long before now, due to greed and quest for power. For his person to make that dirty statement, simply because he never meant well for our country, goes to show that even at the beginning of it all, he was not a sincere person.” –Mohammed Babakatun
Online:– Sule Lamido disappoints some of us who see him as role model…. I remember how dear he was to me while I was in primary school and then he was a member of the first Republic House of Representatives….. We usually go to Tafawa Balewa hallowed Chamber of NASS then to listen to him…. I pray he retracts his steps and end well.” –Abdul Ganiyu Tairu
Online:- “Mohammed, feels good to see the lucid way you captured this piece on Lamido. I recall on several occasions that you extolled his virtues in the past on personal discussions. But even before now you noticed his momentary off-the-curve ‘Freudian slip’ in making promises he never kept. What is most galling, and that truly brings to fore the sincerity of his political ideology, is the complete u-turn from the puritanic stance of his benefactor to the insatiable quest for crass materialism. Though you didn’t delve into some of his personal cases of corruption, his romance with GEJ didn’t need a crystal ball gazer to see why the unholy allegiance.” –Thomas Brown Usman Wamba.
Re: The Jonathan we created
+2348032106973:- “Sometimes one wonders if people like you who claim to be intellectuals have lost your morality and decency to continue to write and focus on the former President’s low points, forgetting his numerous records of achievements and as if corruption in Nigeria started and ended with his administration. Be a detribalised writer Adamu.”
+2348171314331:– “Rasputin or not, Goodluck will remain the best among past Northern presidents. Can you compare Goodluck with IBB, PMB, Abacha, Gowon, Shagari, Abdusalami? Visionless presidents.”
+2348062887535:- “GEJ should just keep quiet and enjoy his wealth because he encouraged corruption in governance that put Nigeria into recession. It is very unfortunate when a leader will come up and say ‘stealing is not corruption’. That is what keeps Nigeria where we are now, not moving forward. Let GEJ know that Nigerians are not happy with him because he made corruption order of the day in his administration. EFCC should do their work to recover our money.” -Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia.
+2348035417190:– “Mohammed Adamu, your ilk will stop at nothing in ensuring that Jonathan’s name is tarnished. Buhari has been there for two years without a thing to show for it, aside from spending our collective wealth in paying medical treatment abroad. Buhari is both incompetent and unfit to be a councilor. Thanks.”
+2347062278746:– “Adamu, no matter what you write or say about Jonathan, you will never match his achievement.”
2347032487724:- “Mohammed Adamu, ‘The Jonathan we created’. But do a piece on ‘The Buhari we regret to create”
+2348127866158:- “The Jonathan we created’ was ideologically, philosophically and politically fantastic but grammatically and terminologically sophisticated (‘overdose’). Friends devastated my library leaving behind only ‘OXFORD’ Dictionary. God bless you in your profession”
+2348064266672:- “Adamu, or whatever you call yourself, won’t you leave Goodluck Jonathan alone? You don’t see anything good in GEJ. What is happening to this contraption called Nigeria since your bros took over?” –Ogbuefi Mike, Onitsha.
+2348054608548:- “With reference to your write up in Vanguard, May 11th ‘The Jonathan we created’, when will some Northern, Western Nigerians and APC government stop blaming GEJ for the abysmal failure of your so called ‘CHANGE MANTRA’?”
+2348131564149:- “Good morning sir. Thank you so much for that nice piece on Jonathan in the Vanguard publication of May 11,2017. Please find time to give us more interesting write ups on him –Jonathan soon. Warmest regards.” –Ndubisi Austine, Delta State.
Online:- “Took time to read through but it was worth it”. –Zibite Kurwizi Welye
Online:- “Beautiful piece. Incisive analysis. You just can’t fault the arguments except you are closeted in a cocoon of jaundiced world-view. Kudos to this resourceful writer.” –Abdulganiyu Aminu
Online:- “Our belief in ‘luck’ not ‘work’ was a sad miscalculation…. And we are paying the high price.” –Zakariyya Adadu
Online:- “Mohammed this is a masterpiece. Rasputin, semi illiterate from Russia, can also be equal to a PHD holder here. You need both paper qualification and streetwiseness, because I believe that is exactly what affected GEJ at the end of the day. The man became autocratic as if he wasn’t the chosen one. He needed some politicians to praise him and lay leaves (carpets) for him to ride on as if he was a Messiah that entered Jerusalem triumphantly. He didn’t need that because he was honestly divinely chosen as you spelt out. Then Mrs. Jonathan made him and brought him down by becoming the most powerful First Lady in Africa; served as Permanent Secretary without any paper qualification, and wasn’t even visibly in the office. The ‘Boney M’ Rasputin truly describes our GEJ with little or no difference.” –Victoria Tabak