By Uche Nnadozie
Like a frenzy we all got addicted to photos, I mean photo opportunities of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) with a handful of world leaders last week. It was at the Group of Seven meeting in France with another favorite of our people President Emmanuel Macron hosting. Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina was invited in his capacity as the president of the Pan African organisation he leads. The Group of Seven is not really anything formal. It’s better to call it a club. A club of big men! But China, Russia and India cannot be said not to be big men these days. The American president, Donald Trup even chastised his friends for not inviting Russia back to the fold. Also, China is the official number two big man in the world, yet is not part of G7. Some even argue that they may be number one but merely hiding in the shadows. You know, that’s what Portugal used to do centuries ago. They used to hide not to be noticed by their more flamboyant and noisy neighbours. That country was the one that “discovered” much of what today is credited to Spain, United Kingdom and so on.
So back to France! Our own Adesina was hanging out with Trump, Chancellor Merkel, Japanese Premier Abe and a host of other world leaders. In one photo, he had his hands on Trump’s shoulders, muttering into his ear. That was it folks. That picture handed the presidency of Nigeria to Adesina. In Nigeria’s cyberspace, tongues started wagging. People permutated, drew scenarios and began to salivate. They said the country has lacked such confidence in the international arena for sometime. They pointed us to the charm, awe and panache of President Adesina. Factually, the good man is a president already. Like President Obasanjo once asked, ‘how many presidents do you want to make of me?’ That was in 1998 when he just left jail. By 2006/7 he was jostling to go for a third term. The rest they say is history.
President of AfDB may be thinking, ‘how many presidents do they want to make of him!’ The stories did not stop there. They said he is handsome, speaks good English and highly educated. From there they threw some barbs to the current occupant of Nigeria’s presidency. They said he was no longer wanted in the international community that was why the richest countries of the world minus China failed to extend an invitation to President Buhari. Consequently, the invitation was extended to the “man wey sabi,” Adesina. So why not begin to make plans towards 2023 in 2019? That’s not really a bad suggestion. It is just that there is a little problem. The Atiku Abubakar factor! Was it not just yesterday that “Atiku is coming” rent the air?! The same people, who serenaded us over the Nigerian social media space, the same people who do not want to join any political party or attend any meeting at the ward or local government levels are the same people bandying the former Agriculture minister. The same Atiku who has not even heard from the Court of Appeal sitting as the Presidential Election Tribunal, not to talk of the Supreme Court has been abandoned.
They have seen another Atiku. This time, instead of a bulgy tommy what they get is a smooth, flat Adesina. Instead of a fat pocket Atiku, what they have in Adesina is a “connected” presidential “material.” This is how they misled Omoyele Sowore, Tope Fasua, Kingsley Moghalu, aunty Oby and a host of others into thinking that it is courage that makes one declare for president. Just mere declaration and printing of e-posters is enough for our social media political pundits. These pundits rankles me a great deal. You stay on social media (no offence I do too) and think up all manner of strange ideas about what is best for the country without even studying to understand the various dynamics that make up Nigeria. These same people are the ones that have all the solutions to our problems without testing these solutions anywhere. So long as someone else is the one doing something, then they feel they know better and have the antidote. They display this arrogance with determined ignorance. Please join a political party first to understand what it takes to win an election in Nigeria.
Parroting Adesina is not new. Atiku with the other candidates were similarly positioned. The same people pushing Adesina have also forgotten Peter Obi. They no longer need his China solutions and leaving the shop open while pursuing armed robbers. We just like flashes in the pan. We are not deep. We are therefore in trouble, when those who make the biggest claims to knowledge turn out this way. This is why politicians don’t take us serious. They know us like they know Femi Fani-Kayode. You know the thing about food and dance? We have also forgotten the debonair Bukola Saraki. We gathered on Facebook and Twitter to praise the living light out of him. Today he has been forgotten. Adesina is now our mantle.
Fortunately the man does not care. He has a job at AfDB. A job that Nigeria got him! Whatever he is doing wherever is to the glory of Nigeria. He is a fit and proper person to be a president, but the presidency is not awarded to people who put their hands on Trump’s shoulders. It has to do with another kind of work. Real work that gets you smeared. It is when you set out in either APC or PDP that we will know who your great grand father slept with to sire those who sired you. Till then, the photo opportunities can keep rolling.