2023: Political actors throw tackles ahead of polls. The times are becoming precarious, tempers are rising and the stakes are getting higher as political actors are consistently getting on the edge ahead of the 2023 general elections.
With still about 2 years to go, political actors, especially those with eyes on one office or the other, either directly or by proxy, have become very visible, especially in the media, acting and speaking out.
Press informant presents some of the latest outbursts of leading political leaders in the country.
Fani-Kayode’s ‘Stinking’ Letter to Tinubu
In a diatribe that many Nigerians found too assertive and utterly predictive, Fani-Kayode pointedly told the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, that he cannot be president, in apparent reference to the rumoured presidential ambition of the former Lagos State Governor.
In a lengthy open letter to Tinubu dated February 4, 2021, Fani-Kayode wrote: “Simply put you betrayed and sold EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in Nigeria just to feed and satisfy your psychotic obsession and compulsive ambition.
“Like Icarus the Greek, you flew too high and too close to the sun with your wax wings, puffed up and fuelled by your hubris and pride and now you shall meet your nemesis. The spiritual wound that has been inflicted on you is irreversible and terminal and there is no going back.
“The dark clouds that lie ahead of you are thick, ugly, frightful, violent and impassable: you cannot make it through them safely or survive them. Your enemies have dug a pit for you and you have already fallen into it.
“They have finally stripped you naked, grabbed you by your balls and taken everything from you.
“You have lost your mystique, honor, glory, self-respect, following, clout, pride, reputation and so much more. You have also lost control of the political party that you conceived, formed, nurtured and built. The APC was your baby and now they have taken it from you and are set to kill it.
“They fooled you, used you, dumped you and humiliated you and now they are going to expose you, rubbish you, malign you, break you, crucify you, investigate you and utterly crush you.
“You dreamed of being Vice President in 2015 and you failed. You are dreaming of being President in 2023 and you will fail.”
Though the letter from Fani-Kayode evoked reactions from supporters of Tinubu online, none of his close associates or Tinubu himself has deemed it fit to reply the former minister, who may have become a torn in the flesh of many.
Bala Mohammed, Ortom War of Words
In the ongoing political shading in the country, that of Governor Bala Mohammed and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom seems to have gotten the attention of most Nigerians. This is, however, understandable, as their feud and war of words is premised primarily on the spate of insecurity in the country, especially as it concerns Fulani herdsmen who have been accused of many of the atrocities in several parts of the country.
Firing the first shot, Mohammed in a viral comment that has been widely condemned for percievedly defending armed carrying herdsmen, called out Governor Ortom for his handling of the herdsmen/farmers crisis in his state, accusing him of criminalizing the entire Fulani race. He also accused him of pushing the crisis to the level it is.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents Chapel of the Bauchi State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mohammed said: “On the herders-farmers clashes, you have seen what our colleagues in the South West are doing and some of them in the South East.
“Some of us told them with all modesty and humility: you are wrong.
“But the person that is most wrong is the Governor of Benue State, my brother and my colleague, Governor (Samuel) Ortom. He started all these.”
Piqued by the way Mohammed called him out while seemingly justifying the actions of herdsmen, Ortom, also known to not hiding his feelings, called on Nigerians to hold the Bauchi State Governor responsible if anything happens to him or his family, while also labelling him a terrorist.
Ortom said: “I want to think that, with what he said and what those herdsmen wrote to me and said that they were going to assassinate me, Bala Mohammed is also part of it, with what he has said.
“And if anything happens to me, I don’t want anybody to be in doubt, Bala Mohammed should be held responsible, especially, his last week outing after the condemnable remarks he made about Fulani carrying AK-47 and living anywhere in Nigeria.”
Rotimi Akeredolu on Bala Mohammed
Still on Governor Bala Mohammed, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu did not miss the occasion to take his own pound of flesh after Mohammed had condemned his order that herdsmen occupying the state’s forest reserves should quit.
In a statement by one of his media aides, Olabode Olabode, said: “The position of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is not to engage or confront anyone who has the mindset of a crisis entrepreneur or warmonger. Very provoking and insensitive as the statement appears, we can only err on the side of caution by advising Governor Bala Mohammed not to set Nigeria on fire by his thoughts that are highly destructive and undermining national cohesion.
“Nigerians should ignore him and rather focus on those issues that can bring about peace and engender unity.”
Lai Mohammed vs Yekini Nabena
If there is any face-off, aside Fani-Kayode’s letter to Tinubu that directly speaks to the heart of the 2023 elections, it was that of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena.
DAILY POST reported that the minister had called for the cancellation of the APC membership revalidation exercise in his home state, Kwara on the grounds that the exercise did not follow laid down regulations. Nabena, replying to the demand by Mohammed, counselled him not to just submit himself to the exercise but to also subsume himself under the authority of the state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
Piqued by Nabena’s remarks, Mohammed described him as an impostor, alluding to the fact that he was falsely parading himself as the party’s spokesman.
Irked by Mohammed’s shading, Nabena latched at the minister, describing him and his supporters, including those bearing titles that are allien to the party as spent forces.
Accusing the minister as one of the greatest problems the Muhammadu Buhari administration has, Nabena said: “Time has left Lai Mohammed behind and he can’t catch up with time.
“Lai Mohammed and his fifth columnists are the biggest problems of this administration.
“Whatever he says is considered as a lie. If not, Lai should tell Nigerians what has been his contributions in the last five years.
“At the right time, Lai Mohammed and his gang will be exposed and Nigerians will then know the real impostor, that time is sooner.”
Aregbesola’s Veiled Assault on Omisore
One of the highlights of the APC membership revalidation exercise in Osun State was the defection of a former lawmaker and Deputy Governor of the state, Iyiola Omisore. This, however, might not have gone down well with the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who, while addressing his supporters after revalidating his membership, said killers and thieves have joined the party.
In a viral video, Aregbesola could be heard warning his supporters not to allow anyone to dance on the grave of late Attorney General of the Federation and Governor of old Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige.
It would be recalled that Omisore had been arrested and charged to court on the allegation that he had a hand in the death of the second republic governor.
Though the former lawmaker was eventually discharged of the charges, many Nigerians in the South-West keep referring to the death of the man popularly called the Cicero of Esa Oke and the alleged involvement of Omisore.
In a statement posted on his Twitter handle, the minister said: “Though the Constitution allows everyone to register as a member of any political party, even if they are suspects, murderers, character ‘assassinators’ etc, but those who constitute the majority of the party membership must represent the core values of the party.
“What distinguishes us in APC are the values we hold. We value social democracy, to a large extent liberal democracy and progressivism.
“There must be a clear distinction between jolly good fellows and fair-weather friends who will still leave our party when they sense a better opportunity elsewhere. In associating with individuals, who you are, your character and world view must come to play.
“More importantly, we must honour the memory of our father, Chief Bola Ige and what he stands for which includes, compassion, commitment to the good of the majority and ideas that will bring good life, happiness, progress and security for the people.”
Smart Adeyemi’s Outburst Against Okezie Ikpeazu
The hallowed chambers of the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday witnessed an unusual outburst by one of its ranking members, Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi West Senatorial District.
Adeyemi, who was supposedly reacting to a comment by Senator Abaribe Enyinnaya, who hails from Abia State, against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, threw cautions to the winds, when he referred to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State as a drunkard.
He said: “In some states where we have highly intelligent people, highly educated people, very enterprising people, like Abia, they are governed by drunkards. The governor of Abia is a champagne drinking man.
“Abia people are impoverished more than ever before. Abia people are unfortunate.”
This outburst, no doubt caught many of Adeyemi’s colleagues unawares, necessitating the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan to caution him, while Abaribe demanded for an apology.
And Abia Replied Smart Adeyemi
Obviously taken aback by Adeyemi’s below the belt shading, Governor Ikpeazu’s Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, wasted no time in serving the Senator a dose of what he served earlier in the day.
In a statement also on Tuesday, Ememanka described Adeyemi as someone suffering from “protracted case of mental illness”.
“Our view is that the Senator is either suffering from a protracted case of mental illness or is battling with occasional fits of schizophrenia which manifests in making careless, dishonourable, unrelated and incoherent statements.
“This conclusion becomes irresistible judging from the total disconnect between the matter being discussed by the Senate and the comments made by the Senator as they affect the Governor.
“If Senator Adeyemi was of sound mind, he should have known that when it comes to education, Abia is miles ahead of his home State of Kogi. Indeed, not just in education but in every single area of development.
“If Senator Adeyemi had his faculties intact, he should have known that under the watch of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State has maintained first position in WAEC Examinations in the entire country for five years now. Kogi has not come close to the first 20. Never!”
Similarly, the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, in his reaction calls Adeyemi a ”village idiot.”
The Commissioner said, “Sadly, it appears that the hallowed platform provided by the National Assembly is now a village square for confirmed village idiots to open their mouths, thereby doing great disservice to the great men and women, past and present, that have been elected to serve as Senators.”
Then Dino Malaye Added his Voice
Controversial former Senator, Dino Melaye did not waste in condemning him for his outburst. Melaye is from Adeyemi’s district.
In a tweet Melaye wrote: “It is shocking that a diabolical father of a known drug addict who even went to a rehabilitation centre will call the decent Governor of Abia State names. I apologise on behalf of this blood thirsty senator.”
With 2023 elections still about two years away, things will obviously become more interesting, petty and much more messy! But for the average Nigerian, it is time to sit back, grab a pot of popcorn and enjoy the show!!