Thursday, January 14, 2010


This is the stuff of Hollywood. Or Nollywood. Wonder what title would best suit the political drama over President Umaru Musa Yar Adua’s absence with or without leave (depends on how you see it) saga?

Okay, let’s do some searching. Sex, Lies and Videotapes. True Lies. Inglorious Bastards. Dirty Dozen. Rotten Scoundrels. The Spin Doctors. All the President’s Men. I Know what You Did Last Summer. Total Recall. Phantom President… Next.

That’s for Hollywood.

For Nollywood, it might be something like: Umaru, Are you still alive? Umaru, Are you dead? Umaru: Dead or Alive? Constitutional Madness. Fifty Days in a Saudi Hospital (hmmn, that title would really sell ‘market’, don’t you think?) Fifty Days in Mecca. The BaBalawo, C and the Witchdoctor. The Witchdoctor of the Living Dead. Battle of Musanga. Paulinus and Polycarp. Fuji House of Commotion. Super Story. Jenifa part 1 & 2.

A recent cartoon strip in one of the national dailies showed Nigeria’s Attorney General, Michael Aondaaka holding and reading the 1999 Constitution upside down. With horn-rimmed glasses down his nose, Aondaaka goes intelligent by saying that he does not understand why Nigerians don’t understand the constitution!

Investigations and matters arising.

For two scores and six days, Nigeria’ president was nowhere to be found, until the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) found him somewhere. I remember the AG saying that Yar Adua could rule from ‘anywhere’.

And while others were still searching for clues and missing links, the highly respected Next newspapers broke an exclusive scoop with the cover headline, “Yar Adua brain damaged.” Two days later, the BBC broadcast Yar Adua’s telephone interview with them. “At the moment, I am undergoing treatment. And I’m getting better from the treatment that I’m getting…very soon, there will be tremendous progress which will allow me to get back home… I thank all Nigerians for their prayers, for my good health…as soon as my doctors discharge me, I will return to Nigeria to resume my duties. I will also like to use this opportunity to wish our team, the Super Eagles, success in the Nations Cup … in Angola,” said Yar Adua to BBC.

Imagine Gordon Brown giving an exclusive interview to Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) or Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) before speaking to the British media.

Maybe Next Newspapers should ask the BBC for two things in trying to settle the matter of whether it was truly Yar Adua that spoke to them via telephone or it was actually the voice of another ‘phantom president’ (or maybe one other Katsina man).

One is to ask the BBC to hire proven sound technicians and voice experts to analyze the Yar Adua’s voice to authenticate whether it was really Yar Adua they interviewed. Two is to investigate if Yar Adua’s voice was a live one or pre-recorded. Nowadays, with technology, anything is possible with human voices. But, you don’t believe Yar Adua’s spin doctors would callously go that far, do you?

And then, how come in his first exclusive interview after fifty days of coma/absentia/incommunicado, Yar Adua suddenly wakes up and the first major issue he remembers is to wish the Super Eagles success at the ongoing African Cup of Nations, when failed Nigerian bomb plotter, Abdulmutallab, and Nigeria’s unfair classification among terrorist countries by the US is the biggest issue yet?

“…as soon as my doctors discharge me, I will return to Nigeria to resume my duties...” Yar Adua had said in that ‘miraculous’ interview.

Prayers, anyone? Maybe, Nigerians should heed the advice of Dimeji Bankole, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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