A noted cynic and friend of mine provided the mnemonic for this piece. Unbidden, he had opened up on the aged tale of the world being filled by three human types. The first make things happen. The second watch them happen. The third? Well, they end up wondering what happened, long after it had come to pass.
To beat that classification, perhaps, it got me prophesying. I started off wondering the many talking points that’ll develop if – and when – the OBI-dient movement does achieve its salvific objectives next year. Most of these, unfailingly, will centre on the head of its lynchpin Mr Peter Obi. Believe me you, the former two-term governor of the Anambra State of Nigeria has lately come that big.
But not unlike in the case of all the other achieved and intended saviours in history, other matters are bound to arise too. In the end, some of these will inevitably concern some others. Like those, beside the saviours, who, advertently or otherwise, commission or omission, made the hitherto impossible mission a possibility.
For instance, Obi’s intention has one indubitable predecessor in Nelson Mandela of South Africa. For the latter’s activism in the African National Congress (ANC), he spent a total of twenty-seven years in prison. It got to a head when,upon his release, he guided his nation to independence. Today, even upon death, he remains a household name in the northern and southern hemispheres.
However, quite remarkably, he was to receive the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 with Frederick Willem de Klerk, his erstwhile jailer. Prompting many pundits to hold that, this came to pass because but for de Klerk, Mandela, may have rotted away in Robben Island. Leaving the beleaguered county waiting for another.
On a higher plane, the tale concerning Jesus of Nazareth is even more universal. But as much as He is beloved, none has been charitable enough to give due honour to the man who made His passion and relevance possible. Named Judas Iscariot, the arrest, trial, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection of Jesus would never have come to pass but for his kiss.
Regarding our current revolution-in-the-pipeline here, it’s time we remembered the dramatis personae that adumbrated the reality. These range from all that, in one way or the other, played obvious (and oblivious) parts in the ascension of Peter Obi to the Olympian height he has been catapulted by their Judasean kisses.
One of those topping the list currently – in public assessment, at least – is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. According to the netizens on this particular platform, Obi could never have become a national figure had the former vice-president not chosen him above all else to be his running mate in the 2019 presidential election. By this claque, afore then he had been nothing but the parochial leader of a lone-state party.
However, of the entirety of Obi’s enablers – inclusive of Atiku – none stands out like the non-Igbo, Ikwerre man, Nyesom Wike. Like it presently stands, not many will easily come to terms with this. Yet, it rings true that for his still-ensuing vicarious efforts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obi may have never have come this far so soon. Let alone achieving the hitherto off-limits diadem at his beck, if not call.
Yes, unlike Judas to Jesus, Wike may have never wished to blow, let alone plant, a kiss on Obi’s mouth or cheek. Yet, but for his dalliance with the wrong elements for which the PDP is known in Anambra State, Obi may never have attained the gravitas to go against the hand(s) that plucked his feathers off season. Talk of every cloud affording a silver lining. Not unlike disadvantages are strewn with advantages.
When Obi entered the contest for the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, he was apparently an outsider. The situation only became transparent when Governor Wike came to Awka to meet the stakeholders of the party in Anambra State. As one of the more formidable frontrunners, Wike’s interaction with them proved quite informative. There’s not much denying the fact that it was after that charade that Obi – perhaps an aspiring prophet too – made his move.
With the much publicised brigandage on display at the parley, he immediately saw that he didn’t stand any chance in the contest. What with those in charge of the PDP structure in the state being those that made the late Chinua Achebe refuse Obasanjo’s national honour. Among their many achievements being the burning down of the state’s government house to enforce a declaration of a state of emergency.
Indeed, but for being too lowly for the count, the character-in-chief in the malady would have numbered in the list of agents provocateur of Obi’s apotheosis when the time dawns. He was alleged to have boasted – and still does to date – that the PDP in the state is his private property. To the effect that only those he swears to oats at wooded shrines can ever become the party’s candidates.
Anyway, it’s much like lining up Wike in the same queue with de Klerk and Judas; Obi with Mandela, nay Jesus. But though the latter will appear somehow now, the relevance will surely manifest with time. Especially in its enduring capacity at ‘wounding heels and healing wounds’. After all, it’s for no other reason that the joint Nobel was awarded in unison to Mandela and de Klerk. Not unlike ebony and ivory side by side on the keyboard like Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney opined upon a collabo of theirs.
Thus, Nigerians should, this wise, never forget the goose that laid us the golden egg we are about to hatch. After all, if Wike and his cahoots in Anambra had not danced themselves lame before the main beat, Obi, today, would have been yet another former contender crying foul like you know who.
On a general level, it may be worth the while to point out the inanities that pass for party primaries in this country. Without excluding any party, what generally goes on in these ‘selections’ are often mere dress rehearsals for the general elections. And funny enough, these same traducers of intra-party elections end up complaining loudest when outmanoeuvred ultimately in the inter-party elections.
Any which way, sha, this tale of kisses cannot end without hinting how the kiss has evolved over the years. Dating farther back, indeed, than when Obi Okonkwo’s host in Achebe’s No Longer at Ease had ‘osculate’ embroidered on his pillow case. Well, that self-same prelude to why he sent Obi on an ‘involuntary’ stroll down good, old Moloney Avenue, Ikoyi before you-know-who ‘rebuilt’ it still counts.
O yes, the kiss is often a harbinger of greater harvests. All the same, the lessons to learn from them are constant. Yes, though they may be planted for vile reasons, they mostly end up achieving the reverse. In cases, transforming an infinitesimal speck of sand to the Kilimanjaro in the split twinkle of an eyelid.
Any wonder the unforgettable Louis Armstrong in one of his evergreen numbers wanted his paramour to give him one to build a dream on. Like the conclusive one given to Jesus of Nazareth by Judas Iscariot and this yet-evolving one planted on Peter Obi by Nyesom Wike.
–Uzoatu writes from Onitsha, Anambra State