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PDP’s Kiss-And-Tell Politicians


I am truly getting sick and tired of Nigerian politicians and their presumption that they can always manipulate Nigerians at will. I am more sick and tired of those who speak from both sides of their foul mouths. And the scum of them all are the ones that decide to criticize a system that they once supported, only because they are no longer favored by that system.

It is a disgusting, shameless show of lack of integrity, and Americans have an ugly name for it. They call it Kiss-And-Tell! Professor Jerry Gana has recently entered his name in Nigeria’s book of kiss- and-tell politicians. Just a few short years back, Jerry Gana, as Nigeria’s Information Minister, was singing the praises of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

He spent so much energy and blew a huge sum of our money traveling around Nigeria and around the world campaigning for the PDP. He tried to convince everybody that cared to listen that PDP’s programs and policies were great for Nigeria. He was later promoted, or was it a demotion, from the position of Minister to the position of Special Assistant to President Obasanjo. And like a loyal ‘good-boy,’ he continued to defend everything PDP. He maintained that the party was the best in the world. And he told us that Obasanjo was the best thing that God ever gave to the world since Jesus Christ and Mohammed.

He was willing to fight every Nigerian who disagreed with the dummy that he was selling to the world. Now, Professor Jerry Gana is suddenly developing a change of mind about PDP. He is swallowing his own words. He now believes, all of a sudden, that the PDP is not such a great party after all. Please don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with a man who changes his view on an issue. I have done that quite a few times myself. My problem with Gana is his reason for the sudden switch of views. Every Tom, Dick and Harry (including this Harry) knows that Gana’s presidential ambition was dashed at PDP’s so-called primaries in January, when baba denied him the ticket to fly the party’s flag. Everybody knows that he is highly disgruntled about it, and everybody knows this to be the reason for his sudden realization that PDP is no good. My grouse with the man, in other words, is that he is a hypocrite who takes Nigerians for fools. I don’t know about you, but I really do get pissed off when someone tries to take me for a fool, because my mama didn’t have one.

If you are yet to figure it out, then let me give you a short tour of the minds of Gana’s type, to see what stuff they are made of. It is good to mention that I am writing this hoping that it will make it to the press before the commencement of the 2007 elections. Gana is aware that Nigerians are seriously complaining about the PDP government. He is apprehensive that the party may lose out if the people’s votes happen to count in the coming elections.

Hence, the manipulator figures that it is time to join one party that can assure that he will come out on top no matter what. Here is how the strategy works—First, he joins the AGIP party. In case you did not know, AGIP is acronym for Any Government In Power. Gana was telling against the PDP, which he had kissed for eight years for one reason. He is positioning himself to be accepted by any government that comes into power if PDP should lose out in the elections. He has to be seen to denounce PDP policies in other to achieve this. And, if PDP should remain in power after the elections, then no problem for the smart Alec, because he has not really done enough damage to be rejected by the PDP. At least nothing that a little ass-kissing cannot fix. So, which of Gana’s pronouncements does he want Nigerians and the rest of the world to believe today, I ask? Does he still want us to believe all the jazz that he tried to feed us when he was Minister, and Special Assistant, respectively? Or do we believe what he is telling us now as a very selfish, disgruntled looser? One fact is very clear; whichever we choose to be Gana’s truth, then the other, invariably, has got to be a big, fat lie. Speaking from both sides of one’s mouth ultimately amounts to lying. The fancy parlance does not change that fact.

I would have loved Gana and his co-traveling disgruntled kiss-and-tell PDP stalwarts, if only they showed that they have some balls. They would have done this by constructively and effectively challenging Obasanjo’s excesses in running both the PDP and the nation. They could have shown some integrity by expressing their own views on issues during their meetings. Instead, they played the dummies and perpetually endorsed the views of one man. Orji Uzor Kalu made his opposing views known to Obasanjo for a long time before he finally quit PDP. No wonder so many Nigerians love him, in spite of his obvious flaws. Nigerians love Kalu because he had the balls to condemn Obasanjo from within as a member of the party. He told Obasanjo that some of his policies, and some of his methods of doing things are wrong. Kalu tried to give some meaning to the popular parlance that one can only slap a cheek when one is close to it. Kalu slapped Obasanjo’s cheek with bold constructive criticism when he was close. Many Nigerians perceive that he eventually left the party because Obasanjo refused to listen. They perceive that he did not leave as a selfish, disgruntled looser. By the way, I am not really an Orji Uzo Kalu fan. I am just an objective observer.

Now, if Gana and his likes are too yellow to speak out during PDP meetings, then they should forever hold their peace. If they would rather ‘kiss’ the cheek than slap it when they were close, then they should not ‘tell’ against it when they get alienated. In other words, they should not kiss-and-tell! They would probably tell us that Obasanjo is a highly opinionated one-man-army who does not take kindly to advice and criticism. They would probably claim that they tried to contribute their own opinions and ideas during the PDP meetings, but baba would not listen. If it were so, then they would have done well to learn a lesson or two on principles and integrity from Orji Kalu. If they do not like Kalu’s style, then they should have tried the style of the erstwhile Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala. They should learn that there is something called honorable resignation, if the job is unfulfilling. If Obasanjo renders anybody virtually irrelevant and redundant in the party or in the government, they should quit honorably, like Mrs. Okonjo-Iwuala.

They should realize that it is better to quit while their dignity is still intact, than to remain in the party or government as voiceless dummies that go about defending one man’s ideology, which they do not really believe in. They should note that the people of this country shall, one day soon, begin to hold politicians accountable for their behaviors and actions, or inaction.

They must realize that they can only fool some of the people with their hypocrisy some of the time; but can never fool all the people all the time. They must realize that their kiss-and-tell character will eventually haunt them. Mrs. Okonjo-Iwuala’s name is now stamped on record as integrity personified. She quit her appointment as soon as she had a major disagreement with Obasanjo, which bordered on principles and integrity.

She has proved that what a man cannot do, a woman can. She has proved that the ‘balls’ that are lacking in Nigerian men can actually be found abundantly in our women. Mrs. Okonjo-Iwuala has shown that women would much better run this country if integrity has anything to do with it.

Harry Agina writes from USA

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