Un­der­stand­ing Mama Taraba’s po­lit­i­cal storm

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT | COMMENT & DEBATE - Tun­deasaju@ya­hoo.co.uk with Tunde Asaju

Idon’t know what some peo­ple smoke, but the de­mand in some quar­ters that Mama Taraba, a.k.a. Ju­mai Al­has­san, should re­sign is not only un­called for, but also wicked. Re­sign for what? Hav­ing a heart for Atiku while work­ing for Buhari? Where in the an­nals of Naija con­scious­ness is such a prece­dent set? Please peo­ple, stop watch­ing, read­ing or lis­ten­ing to for­eign news. I warn that for­eign per­cep­tions cor­rupt nat­u­ral ideas. It is not in our char­ac­ter, nor in our blood for peo­ple to re­sign.

A lot of things are hinged on gov­ern­ment ap­point­ments. From per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, you may have ap­plied based on your qual­i­fi­ca­tions or your con­nec­tions, but once you are hired, se­lected or For now, all we can say is that the race for 2019 has started in earnest. Those who wit­nessed the horse-trad­ing that threw up Sai Baba at the last con­ven­tion of the ru­in­ing party and Tu­raki’s ex­pe­ri­ences in politrics are promised a tur­bu­lent ride elected, the po­si­tion you oc­cupy is no longer ex­clu­sively yours. Rather, it be­comes pub­lic po­si­tion where mem­bers of your fam­ily be­lieve that the divine gy­ro­com­pass have fi­nally found the fam­ily co­or­di­nates in you. The clan claps its hands and rushes to the fam­ily shrine to pour li­ba­tion to the an­ces­tors for fi­nally ma­nip­u­lat­ing the com­pass of for­tune to their side. The vil­lage or com­mu­nity be­gins to look for­ward to the for­tu­nate as the divine lad­der needed to uplift ev­ery­body to the pin­na­cle of suc­cess.

Of course, the hireling’s re­li­gious group need no ver­bal queue to kick-start the process of thanks­giv­ing. Re­li­gious lead­ers take the cue and or­gan­ise spe­cial pro­grams such as spe­cial har­vests or launch­ing in which the elect is the chair­per­son or spe­cial guest of hon­our. Of course, ev­ery po­ten­tial bene­fac­tor in these groups are armed to the teeth in the de­fence of the for­tu­nate and would usu­ally not take kindly to any crit­i­cism or at­tempted de­nun­ci­a­tion of the favoured by any mem­ber of a ri­val fam­ily, kin, vil­lage or re­li­gion whose days of glory are mark­ing time on the divine voice mail data­base.

Dis­ap­point­ment usu­ally comes when the favoured one be­gins to de­mol­ish the foun­da­tions of the old fam­ily mud house be­cause Julius Berger is on standby with its pre­fab­ri­cated blocks in­stead of open­ing the way for the ce­ment, sand and chip­pings seller from the vil­lagers.

What I am try­ing to re­mind us is that an ap­point­ment re­quires per­sonal at­tributes to get but its pres­tige is com­monly shared. No­body who is ap­pointed is al­lowed to re­sign un­til they have held court with all those whose brag­ging rights are likely to be af­fected by that res­ig­na­tion. For those call­ing on Mama Taraba to re­sign be­fore pub­licly an­nounc­ing her switch of loy­alty from Buhari to Atiku, be in­formed that it won’t hap­pen. Those moot­ing this idea are wicked peo­ple hop­ing to put a wedge of en­mity be­tween two broth­ers from two geo-po­lit­i­cal zones, the Sai Baba dy­nasty of Daura and the Tu­raki em­pire of Adamawa. As we say in Naija, God pass una!

We have no way of know­ing how the con­tro­versy started in the first place. Was Mama Taraba, an un­apolo­getic Tu­rak­ist fly­ing a kite for her men­tor? Or did a wicked per­son de­lib­er­ately leak the video to put her in trou­ble? The head­lines re­flect what Trump would have dis­missed as fake news. One records her say­ing she would rather lose her job than deny her men­tor and her com­mit­ment to his known pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion. An­other quotes her as say­ing that nei­ther Buhari nor Atiku have dis­cussed their pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion with her; yet an­other says that Buhari had in­ti­mated her that he would not be pur­su­ing a sec­ond term. But as I write, an­other head­line is say­ing that she is so loyal to Atiku she was will­ing to risk po­lit­i­cal Siberia than re­tract her state­ments.

For the mis­for­tune that Naija has had of be­ing led by re­tired sol­diers, loy­alty could be in the eye of the be­holder. The Wizard of Ota says he ex­pects 120% loy­alty. Sai Baba has yet to put a fig­ure to it but if the 120% pa­ram­e­ter is a statute of mil­i­tary in­ter­pre­ta­tion, then Mama Taraba may be in trou­ble. If she is cat­e­gorised ei­ther as a hyena or a jackal in the zoo headed by the Lion King, her po­lit­i­cal fu­ture is dicey.

While the whis­tle for the 2019 games is yet to be­gin, she has called her men­tor into the ring. In the days of the PDP, Tony Anenih would have re­minded her that there is no va­cancy in Camp Buhari. In Naija, be­ing sen­tenced to po­lit­i­cal Siberia is not good for any poli­tri­cian ex­cept those suck­ling the tits of the Tu­raki ud­der of gen­eros­ity. A mon­e­tar­ily fru­gal Sai Baba is not known to buy loy­alty with cash or even po­si­tion. So, con­ven­tional wis­dom is that those who choose to stay on do so at their own peril ex­cept they’re bit­ten ei­ther by the bug of loy­alty to state or they get a lit­tle help from the evil ser­vice.

For now, all we can say is that the race for 2019 has started in earnest. Those who wit­nessed the horse­trad­ing that threw up Sai Baba at the last con­ven­tion of the ru­in­ing party and Tu­raki’s ex­pe­ri­ences in politrics are promised a tur­bu­lent ride. There’s tur­bu­lence all over the world, and only the luck­i­est sur­vive. Tai So­larin was a man like us and his favourite prayer for this ride is - may our roads be rough.

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