December 12, 2022

A Chatham House of horror

A Chatham House of horror

By Don Pedro Obaseki

CHATHAM House, while trying to repackage and market Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ended up de-marketing itself. While trying, albeit strenuously, to rebrand Tinubu, Chatham House ended up eroding its own brand persona. Its brand equity went bearish, like a bad stock cascading down the index on a bad day on the FTSE or the New York Stock Exchange.

Tinubu’s handlers not only trashed Chatham House, but also ridiculed the Nigerian nation and her people before the global community. At best, Tinubu’s Chatham House odyssey was a public relations  disaster!

His legendary gaffes got amplified before a global audience that either watched the horrid display on television or via live streaming on the internet. Tinubu’s infamous, yet half-expected comedy of errors turned an otherwise revered platform into a “Chatham House of Horror” or(to bring the adjective closer to home), the “Chatham House of Commotion”. 

One good thing though: while millions of Nigerians awaited another verbal misadventure, the APC’s flag bearer (who is now more like a “flag stainer”) added more “words”(if you can call his trademark ramblings “words”) to an already swelling lexicon. Tinubu on the Chatham House stage was like a caged pigeon that had been slammed by a pickaxe.   

At the Chatham House  show, a  few friends sat in my living room to watch yet another episode of Tinubu’s unedifying soap opera series. A handful of those who watched with me fell into fits of hard-to-control laughter each time Tinubu hit a new chord in his rhythm of mental and verbal misadventures.

It was like watching a badly scripted “B”-rated movie or a sad melodrama. From all indications, Tinubu will compete well for comic ratings with Mr. Bean! “Is that Tinubu?”Jesu! “Make them save this man from himself, na, I beg,” a friend quipped close by. As the audience jeered and laughed, I could not join in the laughter.

I could barely watch the sad, melancholy display of a man who, like ‘Elesin Oba’ in Wole Soyinka’s classic Death and the King’s Horseman, was too far gone in his hubristic decline. I watched a man who, in his self-effacing “emi lokan”, is now a husk. His weathered shell now serves as a sad reminder of a man who once rode princely on a king’s horse. Sadly, today, Tinubu now holds tenaciously to the horse’s tail, covered in the stench and smell of the horse’s faeces. 

At the Chatham House of Commotion, the APC candidate repeatedly punched himself. He was the butt of his own comic satire. The guest speaker morphed into the moderator, albeit to the embarrassing chagrin of a global audience. When Tinubu wasn’t parrying questions, he was delegating the task of answering them to subordinates and minions who are not on the presidential ballot!

Tinubu’s singular substitution transformed the Mephistophelean group of El-Rufai, Dele Alake, Kayode Fayemi and their co-journeymen into presidential candidates! And when he deferred to answering himself, he had to read his answers (including his date of birth) from hurriedly scribbled notes that were handed to him by another subordinate, all in the full glare of a global audience! What excuse does APC’s litany of propagandists and spinners have to explain away the actions of a man who had to read his own date of birth from a slip of paper handed to him? Such was Tinubu’s.

 Age is not a crime. To age and grow old is the last curve on life’s graph. We all, if God so grants, shall grow old. Unfortunately, leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are not a God-fearing bunch. With Tinubu at the helm, the APC mocks God on a daily basis on the campaign trail. Daily, and agonisingly, APC brandishes the limitations that age forces on us all.

They continue to “package” an octogenarian whose  physical well-being is in obvious decline; whose gaffes and vituperations have become comic relief in a nation many have declared a failed state. They window-dress and wall-paper his thwacks as the messianic vituperations of a saviour.

This is the worst disservice APC can do to a hapless, fragile old man. For how long shall the APC dwell in its throes of monumental deceit? For how long shall the men(and women) of the APC lie to Nigerians? As the Bible admonishes: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22). 

The Chatham House scam highlights in no small measure one incontrovertible fact: Tinubu is not fit to occupy the exalted office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As clearly stated in our Constitution, we cannot elect anyone adjudged… “or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind”.  Evidentially, Tinubu has consistently displayed this unfortunate condition.

If Buhari was bad, Tinubu is worse. To borrow the viral parlance on social media: “Tinubu is Buhari Pro Max!”!  The February 2023 presidential election will be a watershed moment for Nigeria and its people. For on that day, Nigerians shall, in a universal shout, confine the APC to the dung-heap of our collective yesterday. May God help Nigeria and its people.

* Obaseki, Director, Research, Strategy, and Documentation (PDP Presidential Campaign Council), wrote from Benin.