By Uwa Eghomeka
During the days of the Occupy Nigeria protests against the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012, many social media critics and activists were born. While that in itself is laudable, because Nigerians are learning to speak out using every means available to them, what I find disturbing is that ex-government officials did not merely join the bandwagon, they virtually began to ‘own’ it.
I am reminded of how Mallam Nasir El Rufai, with his eloquent and often poignant messages on twitter and facebook, posed as a man of the people and the face of opposition throughout the Occupy Nigeria protest in 2012. This, of course, was before the release of his controversial book. One would safely assume that the mallam bargained on riding on his new found fame at the time to lend some measure of authenticity and honesty to his printed pack of unsubstantiated claims. But he would not have his way. El Rufai has been exposed for the man he is; he can no longer beguile people with his penchant for peddling lies as the truth.
In the wake of Nasir El Rufai’s crash landing and subsequent transition from Occupy Nigeria hero to power-starved narcissist, like a phoenix rising from Nasir’s inglorious ashes, another ex-government official, social media critic cum activist has emerged. Fondly referred to by El Rufai as his friend and sister, Oby Ezekwesili has taken to using social media to advance her agenda, gaining popularity especially after her popular keynote address delivered at the APC conventionheld in Abuja.
Oby Ezekwesili has clearly decided that using El Rufai’s modus operandi; posting as many tweets as possible, using every medium available to make Nigerians believe you actually care; that you are one of them, while making derisive defamatory remarks about government administrations you were not a part of, would earn her the popularity she so desperately seeks.
Mrs Ezekwesili would do well to remember the saying, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. This is not attempt at digging up dirt on her, though there is dirt enough. But let’s leave things as they are, after all why should we show more than a passing interest in her connection with a certain ‘wonder bank’, or how and why “dear Nasir” lavished her with loads of money and choice property in Abuja when he was the FCT Minister;the same man who rendered many Nigerians homeless, might I add.
It would have been so much easier to believe that Oby is who she claims to be, but some of her associations, actions and even statements have rendered her claims null and void. At this point one even wonders, with all her claims to goodness and public displays of passion for the people, why World Bank did not leave her in their employ rather than terminate her contract. Could it possibly be an indication of a less than stellar performance? And if it is, then it would justify her desperation to gain the recognition that eluded her while at World Bank by attempting to portray herself as a ‘man of the people’.
Oby has claimed so many times that she is nonpartisan, but we will not be carried away by people’s claims any longer. After all, her bosom buddy and long standing friend, Nasir El Rufai, the accidental public servant, also claimed piety while in government, yet we all know that his claims were baseless lies and his term as minister was an accident indeed. Then again, she’s not some innocent wading in the murky waters of politics for the first time; and as she uses the unfortunate incident of the Chibok kidnappings to gain traction, it becomes clear that Oby is ready to play in the big leagues. With her non-partisan claims making waves, we may very well soon find ourselves burdened with an ‘accidental politician’ as well.