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December 23, 2023

Wike and Fubara: Tinubu’s Sham Agreement, By Ugoji Egbujo

Wike and Fubara: Tinubu’s Sham Agreement, By Ugoji Egbujo

The agreement between a pimp and a prostitute ought not to be written. Because if the pimp and prostitute still have any trace of honour left in them, they wouldn’t want the transaction made legible for their grandchildren to read. However, when shame has fled and taboos have become doormats, a pimp can demand a written document.

And when they have a contractual dispute, a bishop might step in to ask the prostitute to sleep with more clients to satisfy the covenant. If reminded of the sinfulness of fornication and trade in flesh, the bishop might say that he did it in the interest of peace and to safeguard trade customs. Peace and custom are laudable virtues but when shallow peace is purchased at the cost of normalization of evil, society is imperiled. 

In 2003, Obasanjo was president. In a feud between Gov Ngige and his godfather, Obasanjo quietly advised Ngige to honour a criminal pre-election bargain. Ngige refused. The political bandit got presidential backing to torment the governor. When the governor refused to sign away the state treasury to his gluttonous godfather, the presidency deemed it a breach of contract and gave state support to the man and the governor was kidnapped.

The governor survived because the vice president came to his rescue. But Awka still bears the scars. The hoodlums who came after the governor destroyed the city. With the benefit of hindsight, the governor survived because Obasanjo who had become a pastor couldn’t come into the open to restate and defend the abominable agreement. Perhaps, he wasn’t sufficiently feral.  

President Tinubu is supposed to be the democrat. A democrat ought to champion freedom. A president is supposed to uphold justice. Justice is not gang law. But Tinubu wants Sim Fubara who had broken off his chains to return to being Wike’s puppet. In Tinubu’s judgment, loyalty to a political godfather was more important than good governance and accountability. So Sim must keep the immoral bargain that brought him to office or resign. An eye witness said Tinubu treated Sim like a houseboy. The sardonic smiles of the president and repeated references to his position as lord of all, was a cold message to the governor who wasn’t given a speaking chance before swallowing the prewritten agreement.   

Adedibu might have been more subtle. A president should be more circumspect. Though Tinubu would have authored self-harm had he allowed Fubara to throw Wike under the bus, yet Mobutu at his peak as a ruthless Grandfather of his nation might have listened to the elders and nudged them to fashion a consensus. The sort of self-serving mafia structure Wike seeks to protect cannot be preserved with knuckles and greed. This brazen intimidation and subjugation of an elected governor makes a mockery of our democracy. People are not cattle.

There are ways to help a fellow godfather patch up his bruised ego. This barracks agreement that reeks of so much disdain for Fubara and public sentiments in Rivers state belongs to the mob. It’s not good to push the people to the wall. People are not cattle. The president would have been more polite if he had asked the governor to resign. Perhaps that would have been appropriate for the young ingrate who has forgotten how he came to power and appears to set out to instigate a rebellion against political godfatherism.

Perhaps the president saved him from an arranged guillotine in the Supreme Court. So having been let off the hook, the agreement was shoved down his naive throat for his own good. A spoilt child who still baths by washing only his tommy. That must explain why he was casually ordered to withdraw all court cases and speedily reabsorb the commissioners who had given him the middle finger.  

 Politics is not church and an incumbent president must have one eye on the next election, but true leadership must have an eye on history. If Wike and Fubara were fighting for the control of a mafia group, then Tinubu’s agreement might have fit the situation. But Tinubu must not be unmindful of his reputation. According to the EFCC Sim Fubara was the bagman of his boss. Before the agency was castrated by politicians, the EFCC had wanted Sim at all costs.

The capture of Sim would have been doom for his boss. So driven by self-preservation, the godfather clothed Sim with power and immunity. If Sim acquired immunity and power as his father descended from the throne, the family business and secrets might remain intact. But Sim has since suffered unbearable humiliation at the hands of his godfather. The transition from bagman to a decorated puppet has made Sim Fubara the butt of all jokes in the ECOWAS subregion. The most powerful puppet in the continent. This is the situation Tinubu wants to perpetuate 

Some agreements should be deemed too exploitative to be enforced. In Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice, Shylock gives a loan to Antonio. Desperate, Antonio accepts the draconian conditions. Shylock doesn’t want interest, he wants a pound of Antonio’s flesh if the loan isn’t repaid on time. Antonio defaults. Shylock moves in to enforce the contract. Though Shylock and Antonio’s relationship is complicated by religion, race, and trade rivalry, had President Tinubu a chance to settle the matter, he might have shoved an agreement down Antonio’s throat requesting him to allow Shylock slice off half of the agreed weight in flesh from his neck.   

Merry Christmas, everyone.