Alao Akala's Faux Pas


Governor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo state is one governor I have never come across anybody that has any good thing to say about. And I have had several

discussions that bordered on politics with many residents and indigenes of Oyo state. In a poll put up on the politics section of , Nigeria 's largest online discussion forum, the Ogbomosho-born governor carried the day as the most detestable chief executive of a state in Nigeria .

   I can sieve out the politically less relevant issue of his looks harped on by many of the contributors to that discussion.   This piece is also not on his poor performance cited by many contributors to the debate, given the fact that almost all the governors fail performance test, and singling him out, especially when one is not into political rivalry with him, may not be fair enough.   A very embarrassing statement he made at the Goodluck Jonathan presidential declaration is the crux of this article.

  Playing with words and abbreviations is an acceptable practice in politics the world over. Depending on the creativity of the originator, such beautifully crafted words, statements or acronyms can be used as an effective tool of propaganda by opposition. It may also be used by a political group to gain acceptance. Some leave you guessing, some are glaring, but you can't but acknowledge the ingenuity of the formulators of those words. Every political dispensation throws up many of such words, at every level.  

  In the current political situation, we have heard a statement like 'if you have patience, you have Goodluck', which doesn't put you in doubt about where the maker of the statement belongs and the message embedded therein.   In the build-up to his formal declaration, the Nuhu Ribadu campaign team, stylishly played with his NR initials to pass a message across, while keeping watchers guessing. No Rigging(NR) was among the words used.

The opposition too have gone to the word craft board, twisting words and acronyms to pass negative messages about their opponents. If you come across Ibrahim 'Badluck' Babangida as the full meaning of IBB in some online, informal media, you need not ask where the writer belongs.

  Perhaps, it was in an attempt to flaunt his 'creativity' too, that the former police officer governor of Oyo state committed a school boy blunder that made me almost switch off my TV set while watching the President Jonathan's declaration at Eagles Square in Abuja from my home.   Hear him: '……..Jonathan Ebele Goodluck Azikwe, JEGA. Jonathan is JEGA, JEGA is Jonathan. If you happy and you know, say JEGA! JEGA!'   What was Akala insinuating by this puerile composition? Does he know the message he was sending by that statement? As I listened to him thuggishly staggering on the podium, uttering the dumbest statement I have ever heard live from a state governor(I only read about Governor Barkin Zuwo of Kano state's famous 'Fanta and Coke as minerals' statement), I shook my head and pitied not only Oyo state, but Nigeria as a whole.

  For the records, that was not the first time I will hear President Jonathan's names shortened as JEGA. I have heard it from anti-Jonathan campaigners as a propaganda message, leaving us to guess the implication. But how will somebody claiming to drum support for Jonathan tell us that 'Jonathan is Jega and Jega is Jonathan'? Was he trying to tell us that Jonathan has INEC Chairman, Jega, in his pockets? I wonder what will be going on in the INEC Chairman's mind when watching that programme. I am sure even the sitting President Jonathan, who so far appears to be committed to an independent electoral commission, will not appreciate such a mis-campaign, or to use the words of online Nigerians, pouring sands in his(GEJ's) garri.

  The most disturbing part was that the governor, obviously sincerely rooting for Jonathan and not one of the tongue-in-the-cheek speakers, gleefully made the ranting, totally oblivious of the message he was passing across. What a shame! While disturbing my brain to imagine the reason for that unimaginable show of shame, only one thing came to my mind: other governors had exhausted the praise-songs before it got to his turn, and he had little time to think and compose a fresh one, hence the gaffe. But a simple 'Up Jonathan', or if he wants to be 'creatively' different, give audience the assignment of shouting '100 gbosa for Jonathan',   and leave the stage would have saved him this faux pas .

  Many people have advocated psychiatric test for people seeking political offices in Nigeria . I honestly think an IQ test is necessary at this time. In a state populated by highly educated and sophisticated men and women as Oyo, having such a man as governor is a disaster. But this is what we get where politics of roguery and hooliganism reign.   By Suraj Oyewale

  Dideolu Estate , Victoria Island , Lagos