It's a good material for the yellow press and a perfect headline for the grapevine column: Politicians in sex scandal. When the politician is a serving or former head of state of a powerful nation of sort, the headline news is more sensational. It is so in Nigeria and is so all over the world. America had its Lewinsky scandal. Sakorzy romance is rocking the Elys├ęe. Its now Nigeria's turn to join the orgasmic chorus of passionate infantilism.
Like everything else though, whatever goes the Nigerian way is characteristically fraught and coated with some ornamental sour taste of lasting impact. Come to think of it, in no single Nigerian news media would Monika Lewinsky have made headline news. She would simply have been added to the President's official concubine if the news of secret love affairs with the President threatened to trickle in the open. Divorce ├í la Sakorzy would have hit the headlines in Nigeria as well. But eventual replacement or replacements of an estranged spouse would have gone through behind the back of public view.
If sexual escapades had the quality of easily making headline news in Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo would have had enough materials to feed the grapevine column of any newspaper with serious intentions of selling for real. Numerous are sideline remarks in articles and commentaries in which swipes are taken at the ex-President insinuating insatiability in his god-given proof of non-homosexual septuagenarian libido. This has never made any headline news.
What more can make headline news the Nigerian way than an absolute shocker? A startling revelation of ultimate filth beyond the realms of apocalypses! The unbelievable disgrace of a human trash mistaken for an insurmountable statesman! That is headline news. An eye-catcher that would throw any reader aback! Leave him stunned in awe and disbelief shaking his head in astonishment and often wondering what has become of the world we are living in!
It is on this note and against this background that the current headline news of semi-incestuous conduct on the part of President Olusegun Obasanjo should be digested with caution and absolute discretion. If anything, this issue has successfully relegated the headline news of Nuhu Ribadu and the unholy transfer to the fairy tale institute of hero-builders in NIPSS to the ultimate background of all well-meaning news items and commentaries.
None but the eldest son of the immediate past President of Nigeria has deposed to an affidavit in a court of law accusing his father of having had sexual relationship with his own wife. Under normal human circumstances and in a community of human sanity, Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo would have been viewed with scorn and disbelief. Isolated voices would even have called for intense scrutiny and scrupulous examination by experts in the science of nervous medicine. For one, the motive of Obasanjo jnr. would have been questioned.
Family feud is no doubt commonplace in every society. The simple battle over inheritance when parents die, is one human element that is common to every society of our present world. In Nigeria, bloodshed over inheritance is the rule and not the exception. Members of one family suddenly become archenemies like Satan and the angels. This is often compounded by polygamy as a substitute factor in the exacerbation of mutual family antagonism. Nigerians will kill to inherit plots. Nigerians will kill their brothers to inherit a single room in a thatch-roofed, muddy-walled hut. Everything goes in displacing family opponents and the fight is sometimes, nastier than against a sworn extraneous enemy.
Under normal human circumstances and in a community of human sanity, Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo would have been asked what he sought to achieve with his affidavit. No doubt, there is a family feud boiling behind the scene. If Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo had loved his father only to subsequently find out the developments that took place behind his back, his love for his dad would no doubt, have pushed him on to get to the root of the evil act and help his father out of an impending disaster perpetrated by a woman who will always come and go. Perhaps his father would, on his own, have sought to pacify issues with one repentance or the other. All based on the premise that the charges are true.
That Obasanjo jnr. has been having some serious problems with his own father is a long known open secret. Even though he did not parent his dad, he was confident enough to refute the age that was publicly declared by his father. In a country, in which even mothers have difficulties being certain, how old their children are, given the long unknown issuance of birth certificates, it is indeed a comical show for the theater stage how a son could confidently come up to tell the true age of his own dad. This was simply family feud. It is also no secret that present-day Nigeria is such in which the most dangerous and deadliest enemies often come from within own families.
If anything, Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo is definitely aware that an issue like this exposed in public domain would be throwing his father to the wolves to dissect in the unrestricted square of global disgrace. Indeed, many apostles of ethics and family morals have long taken this unsolicited gift in the public square with much pleasure and happiness. Obasanjo has now been awarded one more title of the "Rod-controlled human Nintendo" and pronounced guilty a thousand times in the court of public opinion. Is Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo not aware how many people are waiting out there to devour his father? Would this be in his own interest? If not, in whose interest is it? This precisely, is where the fear of dirty politics comes into play. The choice of Orji Uzor Kalu's newspaper for the maiden publication of a messy news item of this sort is an inadvertent error that can hardly be taken in good faith. If this is politics at its ugliest, then I pray the military steps in fast to help us out of this entanglement in the pit of Absurd'istan.
No doubt, that junior Obasanjo's own side of the story should not be dismounted. No human in his right senses, would not condemn President Obasanjo and even recommend medieval banishment in the rural pit for outcasts (or Ogbanje as the Ibos may say), if this story is proven to be true.
Unfortunately however, Nigeria will never get to the bottom of this story. Indeed, it should not have been a national affair in the first place. As can be expected, the lady at the center of the scandal has denied the accusation in strong terms. President Obasanjo has accused Orji Uzor Kalu of masterminding this very ugly trading and bathing in a pool of stinking moor. Many bitter and sworn Obasanjo enemies have now arisen to sound: "I told you!" Was there no way of handling this dispute on intra-family basis if there was some truth to it? How far can we afford to continue desecrating the Presidency of Nigeria at this most despicable level? No doubt, some may enjoy it and some may find it even funny. But the moral damage is enormous. "Ex" or not, a President remains a symbol.
In her own affidavit to the court, the lady at the center of the ugly dispute is contending that her husband is indeed a rich young man owing his wealth to his blood relationship with the Ex-President. She contends that contracts were awarded to her husband from parastatals by virtue of this relationship. Even though denied by one of the parastatals in question, the real surprise would indeed have been the opposite. It would have been a surprise if junior Obasanjo's present economic status were anything other than robust. It would have been a surprise if the ex-President's status has never in any way aided a higher standard of living for his eldest son.
If the young man has always profited from his father's political stature, where did it all start turning sour? Was Iyabo probably advanced at the expense of Gbenga? If things did turn sour, how far must we go in washing our dirty linen in the public and advancing the payback time? Aren't there times bitterness (no matter how justified) is eschewed for the sake of protecting one's own untarnished image? Will Gbenga come out of this cleaner than Iyabo in her corruption case? Does Gbenga not stand the risk of being cast out of his own family with the label of an ingrate? If indeed instigated by political forces, will any political camp lift Gbenga up high in today's Nigeria as a reward for his cooperation in bringing down his father? Just what has Gbenga brought upon himself with such a public charge?
With anything more than the brain of a sparrow, would any intelligent Nigerian not weigh the pros and cons exhaustively before going public with a messy news of this sort? If Gbenga Obasanjo was in psychological and emotional distress, is the benefit of the temporary venting of such frustration in an outing of this sort not quickly overshadowed by the liability he is bringing upon himself through this badly smeared public image?
Even if the gods are not to blame and Olusegun Obasanjo is reaping what he has sown in politics and moral decadence, one fact is certain. The spotlight has been successfully shifted from Orji Uzor Kalu. It has been shifted from Governor Ibori as well as from other more important issues of political relevance. As usual in the bubbles of such mischief though, they never last the test of time and are burst soon after superficial inflation. Let no Kalu or Ibori rejoice too early. The spotlight will be back pretty soon and faster than they expect.