LAST week, three surprising climb-downs took place. Firstly, Adamawa-North lawmaker, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator, Elisha Abbo – a Christian – was filmed viciously assaulting a sales lady in a sex toy shop that he happened to be visiting and instructing his police orderly to aggressively yank the sales lady out of her place of work.
Her “crime”? She had allegedly described him as drunk – a not unreasonable observation given his erratic behaviour. The CCTV video of him losing control and descending on her went viral and widespread outrage ensued.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his party’s presidential candidate, expressed disgust and urged the PDP to discipline him. The Inspector-General of Police and Senate president made suitably disapproving noises. Women and civil rights groups were up in arms. Petitions circulated calling for Abbo’s prosecution and removal from the National Assembly.
Victim of malicious calumnies
I signed the petition but suspected that nothing would come of it in a country in which anything goes, particularly when male VIPs are involved. My guess was that despite all of the sound and fury, a big man like Abbo would get away with inflicting injuries on a female “nobody” and feel no need to say sorry.
Abbo initially came down to my lowest expectations, describing himself as a victim of malicious calumnies, accusing the shop owner of doctoring the video and just generally talking rubbish. He even dragged his poor humiliated young wife, Emily, into the sordid drama; and she dutifully defended her husband’s actions.
But much to my amazement, Abbo was forced by the sheer weight of public opinion to climb down; and, within 48 hours of the scandal breaking, was humbling himself by apologising profusely and claiming a strong devotion to Jesus Christ.
It would appear that flying off the handle like an unhinged banshee and inflicting violence as well as misusing his ability to influence police officers is not a new modus operandi for Abbo. A photojournalist, Olumuyiwa Owolabi, says that he was also attacked and arrested, in 2014, for daring to request money that he was owed by Abbo and trying to leave Yola shortly after Boko Haram terrorists invaded the hotel he was staying in.
Since Owolabi quoted details such as the name of the police station in which he was detained, I believe his story and hope that he eventually receives an apology and compensation.
Meanwhile, the founder of a Pentecostal church, the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, has been accused of rape by various congregants and an employee. Fatoyinbo’s nightmare began when Busola Dakolo, wife of popular musician Timi Dakolo, threw a serious allegation at him. And the mud stuck.
Again, widespread outrage and a social media frenzy ensued. I daresay the pastor enjoyed some support within COZA from the type of person who thinks that a preacher can do no wrong.
But many Nigerians, including COZA members, weren’t having any of it and demanded that Fatoyinbo distance himself from the pulpit pending investigations into his alleged misconduct.
He has now complied with the enraged protestors’ wishes, becoming the second big man last week to be pushed into an embarrassing climbdown by public opinion.
Meanwhile, Mr President Buhari has just cancelled his controversial cattle colony plans – number three big man climbdown last week!
I personally feel that ranching is not a bad idea if handled well. And I will write at greater length about this issue soon when I’ve spoken to a few fans and opponents of ranching and am in a better position to deliver a balanced article about the herdsmen crisis.
For now, I’m simply proudly focussing on the power of the media to achieve positive outcomes and democratic objectives.
Traditional media outlets like this newspaper – and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp – are doing a lot of good on behalf of the general public and vulnerable groups such as women who have been subjected to physical savagery, psychologically traumatised and stripped of their dignity.
And I hope that media professionals will do much more in future to disseminate information positively, protect the downtrodden, promote the righteous and compel our leaders to stop messing up. Congratulations to no-nonsense Nigerians who had conclusively proved that Anything Does Not Always Go in this country!
I was shocked to discover that there are sex toy shops in Nigeria. I thought that the authorities and most Nigerian citizens were too prudishly hypocritical to allow such an overtly libertine and louche establishment to exist in a public space!
One lives as one learns!!!
Words of wisdom
BOLA Ahmed Tinubu, otherwise known as “Jagaban”. He is famed for his political hold on his Yoruba home turf, for being the “national leader” of the ruling All Progressives Congress…and for choosing quality people to do serious jobs. It is said that he made the impressive Professor Yemi Osinbajo Vice-President and that every Lagos State governor in recent years has been his nominee.
The following comments were ascribed to him in an online post I’ve just read: “I look for talents that are better than me. I’m not afraid to bring onboard people with higher wisdom because the most important thing to me is to get the job done for the betterment of all.
“I don’t wait till zero hours to discover the next person to do the job or the next job to be done, from the first hour, I find them. The second, third and fourth are as important as the first…Time waits for nobody… Even the obstacles on my way, I predict them before those that will bring them will start to think about them, I plan for betrayal, I plan for backstabbing, I also plan for reunion and forgiveness long before they happen. In life, I expect nothing, I expect anything, I expect everything… “.
If Tinubu really uttered these words, he is a very wise visionary (despite shortcomings his enemies never tire of highlighting!).