Prof. Gambari Stucked in the Webs of History. By Seyi Oyetunbi
History they say, can never be re-written. You either reminisce with a bold smile or be reminded and shiver like a drenched stray hen. The reactions of notable Nigerians that trail the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, only shows that the international scholar is in a loggerhead with history. You can’t pitch your tenth with the wicked and feign innocence.
The voyage of Prof. Gambari through the corridor of power started in his early 20s after his exposure to the best of education as a Political Scientist in one of the ivy league Universities in the United Kingdom. To put the record straight, he is the youngest diplomat Nigeria ever had. With his brilliance, exposure, forte, charisma and sagacity, one would expect Nigerians to be filled with joy over his appointment, but the reverse became the case. His predecessor, whose death came in as a shock, had a similar intimidating curriculum vitae, yet not as humongous as that of this Ilorin Emirati. It is not hyperbolic to opine that Prof. Ibrahim Gambari is on top of academic.
Yet, with all of his feats, the 79 Don is in a tussle with History.
There is apparently no historical perspective to Nigeria without these two symbolic events: annulment of the June 12 1993 election, and the unjust and arbitrary condemnation of the renowned environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa. The June 12th election could best be described as a political hullabaloo, as the election that flawlessly favoured the then African richest man was erroneously annulled to elongate the dark days of military dictatorship, in the country. Ibrahim Babangida gave the order. But like you would expect, some sycophants played active role in the way a president-elect metamorphosed to be a prisoner. Injustice of such genre should be penned in capital, isn’t it! Our professor was part of those men of wonder.
The Ogonni born, Ken Saro Wiwa was sentenced to death for asking the government for the needful. Ogonni is a locale directly linked to the major source of revenue for Nigeria, it is oil rich. Government was milking the oil at the expense of the inhabitants of the community. The brave Revolutionist armed himself with his ideology and took it upon himself to call the government to order, he was no doubt a pain to the most corrupt and callous president, of course after Buhari, in the history of Nigeria. Abacha persecuted Saro Wiwa. He went away with it. Some powerful enjoyed that tragedy of governance. Our professor was part of those men of wonder.
Nigeria should indeed be called a wonder-land, where the unimaginable happens, repeatedly. Buhari, after the demise of the London trained legal pundit, Abba Kyari was quoted to have said “he is the best of them all.” I think baba knew what he meant. Abba Kyari was what he was, but Gambari is a nightmare to all patriotic citizens of this country who understand the danger of having the country in the hands of someone like Gambari. Those who are in a way or more familiar with history are all worried. I have come to agree with Buhari that Kyari was the best of them, as his successor can tutor the devil to be more devilish.
Ibrahim Gambari was the minister of foreign affairs to president Buhari, exactly 36years ago, when Nigeria population was just 81. 45million; he is today the Chief of State to the president when the population stands above 200million. You don’t need excess grammar to understand that Buhari’s administration places no relevance on the youth population. His gerontocratic frame of mind fused with gross nepotistic mental lens is “follow-come.” That man is too rigid for repentance.
Men like Ibrahim Gambari can only say “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,” when we think he has achieved so much, in reality he has not really lived for anything.
Nigerians can do better by sending these old wagons out of our political space, through any feasible pattern, but we care less about things that matter.
Let me borrow few words from Frantz Fanon from his major work, The Wretched of the Earth; “a government or a party gets the people it deserves and sooner or later a people gets the government it deserves.”