- Category: Opinions/Interviews
- Published on Saturday, 28 August 2010 13:01
- Written by Vincent Akanmode/Punch
- Hits: 1984
At the reception, which took place at the Ehime township stadium, Iwu was anything but a humbled man. Indeed, he was at his boisterous best as he thumped his chest repeatedly in a gesture of self adulation, declaring that he had given Nigeria nothing but the best. Oblivious of the high dudgeon to which he had sent many Nigerians, he fantasised on the possibility of being called for another national assignment, saying that he would serve Nigeria better if he was given another opportunity.
As expected, his kinsmen urged him on and even conferred him with a chieftaincy title. The Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, described him as a true professional, patriot and a good representative of Imo State who served his country and returned home as a hero.
His apparent show of impenitence took place at a time that millions of concerned Nigerians were still lamenting that the professor of Pharmacology conducted the worst elections in the nation’s political history, and at a time his successor, Professor Attahiru Jega, was racking his brains on how to go about clearing the mess he (Iwu) left behind.
Not a few would be disappointed at Iwu’s own scorecard of excellence. Personally, I am not, knowing that those who expected Iwu to do better than he did as INEC chairman had only overrated his ability. It was not deliberate that he embarrassed the nation with elections that were flawed through and through. The truth, like he himself confessed in Ehime, is that the gentleman actually stretched his physical and mental abilities to the limits to achieve a feat that fell far below the expectations of well-meaning citizens.
Booed in Lagos and jeered at in Abuja, Iwu hit on the idea of seeking honour among his kinsmen. In this, he was guided by the Yoruba adage that says Koni buru titi koma ku eni kan moni (no matter how unpopular a man is, there would always be somebody he can count on as a friend). No one should have a problem with that, if it would make him forget the butt of public condemnation he had become after the elections. With the eulogies from his people, he can carry on with life, pretending that he is the hero his kinsmen say he is and not the villain the larger public perceive him to be.
His would be like the story of a cattle rearer who got tired of life in the wilderness and decided that he would sell his cattle and proceed to the city. No sooner than he sold his cattle, than he came across a woman hawking the local version of yoghurt called Nunu. He decided that with the big money in his pocket, he deserved nothing less than a large dose of Nunu. Lost on him was the sedative power of the beverage.
After an excessive dose, he slept off in the shade of a big tree with the bag containing his money beside him. He was fast asleep when two men arrived the scene. They shouted but the cattle rearer did not shake. They sat beside him, chatted loudly and even drank what was left of the Nunu, but he remained still in deep sleep. Now convinced that they could do anything they wanted with him, they fetched a razor and shaved his head. When he still did not wake up, they took his money and left.
The cattle rearer woke up much later and discovered that the money on which his life depended was gone. Shocked by the development, he shouted and held his head in his two hands only to realise that his hair too was gone. He reached for his pocket and brought out a mirror. As he looked into the mirror and saw a differenf face on account of his shaven head, he smiled and said ‘Thank God, all this is happening to another man!’
In the same vein, Iwu can pretend that the eulogies he got in Ehime came from Nigerians, but he has no right to insult our collective sensibility by claiming that the trash he gave us was the best we deserved as a people. And if his community can take the risk of making him one of their kingmakers in spite of his suspect records as INEC chairman, he should not delude himself with the thought that we would need him too soon to break our hearts again.