The African proverbial world has taught us so many wise sayings to guide us in our daily ventures. If an African man tells you, “you do not bite the fingers that fed you”, another one would tell you, “do not break the calabash that you once fetched water with because next time that same calabash may be of same importance or assistance to you as before”. There is so much wisdom to pick from in everyone’s adventure in life. The two singled out here pertain to the show of appreciation and continuous show of references to one’s background, and according recognition to the machinery that was instrumental to one’s growth. It attracts further affections and blessings for you when you exhibit these virtues of appreciation, gratefulness, etc., mostly when it is not in demand.
The right words might have been forgotten here but there is a popular saying that your boss who introduced or employed you to your first job remains your boss forever as you soar in related events of that same job. It is still related to the saying that you do not bite the hands that fed you. But one evil that does not care about the virtues in question is the evil called betrayal.
Betrayal has made a ground-breaking record in the history of mankind. It is the precipice of a cordial relationship, capable of destroying bonds. The death of the famous Julius Caesar of the old Roman Republic was borne out of betrayal by the person he least expected to partake in such a move. Brutus, Caesar’s friend, has seen that Antony had offered Caesar the crown, indicating that Antony desired and the rest people of the republic had desired to see him as king. Even though Caesar refused it, Brutus began sensing that Caesar was entertaining the idea. If he had not, he would not have allowed Antony to offer him the crown three times. At the point where he was stabbed to death he used the word, “Et tu Brute?” meaning, “and you, Brutus?” signifying the utmost unexpected betrayal from a friend.
Religious books like the Bible also have records of betrayal: Peter and Judas committed the same sin of betrayal of Jesus, but one of them, Peter repented and the other did not. The one that repented his sins was forgiven, he reconciled and made heaven. The other refused to repent and you can always guess the end of an unrepentant sinner, suicide is just one of the many options.
One of the foremost pan-Africanists, Patrice Lumumba, was betrayed by politicians he made, people he least expected to offer themselves to plot his fall. Need we mention Thomas Sankara? History has it that the worst sin in politics is the sin of betrayal and it is mostly masterminded by greedy friends.
Sometime in November 1999 during the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar and some of his peers picked Nasir El-Rufai, a new kid on the block in the Piccadilly circus of Nigeria politics, to come manage the affairs of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. He had since become the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and now the governor of Kaduna State. Besides, he has grown to be using self-authorising terms, raising irrelevant objections without substantiating them.
In his so-called reply to Atiku’s interview one would curiously look for a paragraph or sentence where El- Rufai denied Atiku’s instrumentality to his political career, but it is a lost bet if you tried it. Instead, Governor El- Rufai took his time to christen the former vice-president as a corrupt personality that needs to clean his records. It is amazing how El-Rufai is running his self-styled inquisitorial system when the country’s adversarial system has not found the former vice-president guilty of any of the allegations orchestrated by the machinations of El-Rufai and his ilk. It is rather funny how El-Rufai is already jittery of 2019 when, whether expressly or impliedly, Atiku has not made any intention. Obviously, El-Rufai has taken it upon himself to personally nail the former vice-president by all means even though no court of law or agency – domestic or international – has found him dirty. The governor is invariably asking the United States to step aside since they have not been able to detonate their legal arsenal on Atiku since then. No prudent thinker would take El-Rufai serious for this desultory feat of his, crying more than the bereaved.
Truth is, without even announcing, El-Rufai’s circle is already suffering indescribable mastitis at the fear that an overwhelming force is rolling out a campaign come 2019.
Obviously, rather than being a concerned patriot, El-Rufai is running a sugarcoated blackmail, singing praises of President Muhammadu Buhari, and pitting Atiku against the president. That style of politics is desperate and really low. If El-Rufai is sincerely wishing the president well in 2019 and he is not scheming right under the nose of the president, he should have responded to questions of whether he would contest in 2019 should PMB decide not to run. But he has decided to use Atiku as a smokescreen as he evaded the question.
El-Rufai reminds one of a young boy who closes from school, and in the desperate quest to get home quickly under the heavy rains, runs and hides under any available tent. And after a while he runs to another tent with his body still drenched and soiled with mud, but what matters to the young boy is that he desperately gets there whether clean or not.
As illustrated earlier, El-Rufai has decided not to repent and has continued to bite the hands that fed him. Nuhu Ribadu in his wisdom has long repented. Even Obasanjo has long been forgiven and the former vice-president still maintains cordial relationship with them and still accord Obasanjo the maximum respect befitting a boss despite the untold torture he underwent under the latter.
Since the Cassiuses and the Brutuses are hell bent to use their machinations to paint Atiku evil, it is worthy of note that he has never lost the affection of the people. But unlike the Caesar’s case, Atiku should not ignore the warning signals from El- Rufai.
Hon. Omekwe is a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly