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Political appointees and the paradox of power

Political appointees and the paradox of power

By Bala Ibrahim

I belong to a WhatsApp group that is very engaging, and almost always posts materials that are of interest and excitement to the curiosity of the willing to learn mind. Before I got added to the group, a friend, who thought belonging to the group would be of mutual interest, sought my permission by text, after I consented, he went ahead to add my name.

Since then, information from the group has been of immense importance to my consciousness, and collection of literary materials. The acronym of the group is NN. To the friend, I say thank you.

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Today, a member of the group forwarded an article with the caption, THE IRONY OF LIFE. I have seen it somewhere times, but today, pursuant to what happened yesterday, where PMB gave order that all political appointees with interest in elective offices must tender their resignations not later than Monday 16/05/22, with hindsight, I thought the time has arrived for me to look at the irony, of that irony of life.

The article runs thus:


I drove to Gudu cemetery yesterday, to offer a prayer beside his grave Mallam Abba Kyari. One thing that strike my mind was that there was no protocol, no security check, and no appointment to see him in his new home.

A few months ago, if you want to see Mallam Abba, Chief of Staff to PMB, the protocol and the security agents will not allow you. They will ask you if you booked an appointment, or if your name’s on the list. But yesterday, none were available. They have gone and left Abba to protect himself.

That’s a big lesson for all of us that one day we will be left alone to defend ourselves. The same people that we are running away from are the ones that will have unhindered access to our graves.

If Abba was told that the uneducated grave guards are the ones to look after his corpse in his permanent home, he would have sent them to Harvard and bought them a beautiful apartment in Maitama.

They are the only friends he has now. All the big men, the politicians, the boot lickers, the sycophants, the praise singers have deserted him. That’s the irony of life.

Brothers and sisters let’s be humble”.

Surely this is an irony, but even that irony has its own irony, which I call the Paradox of power.

Starting from secondary school, where I held positions of Prefect and later Deputy Head Student, I was compelled to understand the meaning of the privilege of power, and the pains of losing that privilege after leaving the power.

It was a sequel to my acquaintance with such privileges, that on getting to the University, I contested and won a political position, which also came with certain rights, advantages, or partial immunity granted to me only.

If I say I didn’t enjoy those privileges, a lie. Till today, the friend that added me to the NN Group addresses me as Mr PRESIDENT. But apart from in my house, where by virtue of my position as the head of the family, I don’t preside anywhere anymore. That’s the paradox of power.

Yes, the power that is vested in the leadership to take certain actions, comes with certain privileges that tend to spoil. The proverbial saying that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, is absolutely apt in the case of political appointees in Nigeria. And mostly, their moral senses only become awakened, after leaving the place. That is when the rays of the paradox of power begin to shine on their shoulders.

Life, especially the life of the man or woman in power in Nigeria, is always a counterfeit. Only a few, get a fraction of the reception they receive while in power, and after leaving power. Mostly, or almost always, the cheers and cheerios’ are not genuine. They are just an imitation of the real word or term uttered or acted to please the officer. The inner mind is thinking of something else, mostly the reverse.

To me, that’s the paradox of power, and those that are held captive by the belief in the paraphernalia of power, would on leaving the office be shocked by the irony of life. That irony also has its own irony.

In response to an article, I wrote about the retirement of a friend that was frustrated out of office, Chairman Yola, Alhaji Abba Yola, in boxed a message to remind me about the temporariness of positions, by quoting former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, thus,
“General Yakubu Gowon, Rtd has this to say when the announcement of a coup came to him at an African Union Meeting in Addis-The world is a stage where everyone has his entrance and exit’.

By implication, he was consoling me by way of assurance that, one day, the very person or persons that frustrated my friend out of service, would also come to that junction.

From the President’s pronouncement of yesterday, we have arrived at that junction. And effective any moment from now, they would begin to witness the paradox of power.

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