Any fellow with even the minutest knowledge of boxing knows that when a boxer takes too much punishment in the ring his minders or managers or coaches would throw in the towel, signaling the surrender of the boxer from the contest. I think this boxing parlance has to be deployed in the larger interest of saving Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from taking further needless punishment. It is very obvious that the man from Katsina did not prepare for the fight such as the Nigerian presidency is, whence his fumbling and wobbling while being knocked from pillar to post. From Boko Haram in the north to the militants of the Niger Delta, it has been punches galore for our hapless Yar’Adua. The fixers and godfathers of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should fetch a towel and throw it instantly into the ring to save the husband of Turai from being knocked out cold.
This is not a laughing matter, and I am not laughing. I happen to be a boxing historian and I should know when a fighter is in serious trouble. Yar’Adua happens to be in the middle of one hell of a slugfest and he is not defending himself. He is unguarded, and the punches are coming relentlessly. Yar’Adua’s case reminds me of what I heard through radio without battery that happened to a certain boxer known as Abraham Tonica who decided to take on then World Middleweight boxing champion Dick Tiger. The fight was barely a couple of minutes old when Dick Tiger unleashed a series of wicked uppercuts and haymakers on the jaw and face of the bewildered Tonica. The boxer from Umuahia Ibeku known as Abraham Tonica begged his manager to throw in the towel by screaming: “Ala Ibeku-e, ihea obu aka ka obu igwe?” which means: “Land of Ibeku, is this man hitting me with human hands or with iron?” The towel was promptly thrown into the ring and Tonica thus survived until grand old age. Yar’Adua and his people can learn a thing or two from Tonica on the art of throwing in the towel in the nick of time to save a cornered man’s life.
There is not that too much money to be made ruling Nigeria in this bad time of the global meltdown. I don’t think it should be worth the pains for Alhaji Yar’Adua. He should quit like an American heavyweight boxer known as Max Baer who was accused of quitting too early while fighting the great Joe Louis. The clownish Max Baer replied his critics thus after hurriedly throwing in the towel: “If you wanted to actually watch the total annihilation of Max Baer you should have paid a lot more dollars!” Now Yar’Adua can follow this lead by telling Nigerians: “I am throwing in the towel because I can’t die for a country that is already broke!”
Tackling Nigerian problems has proved to be beyond the ken of Yar’Adua, just like the other American boxer later known as the Cinderella Man of boxing, Jimmy Braddock, who spent all of 15 rounds of boxing running after an elusive boxer known as Tommy Loughran. After losing the fight because he could not land any punch at all on the artful dodger known as Loughran, Braddock went all over the place asking anybody in sight: “Have you seen Loughran? I was supposed to fight the man this night.” Just like Braddock could not land any punch on Loughran, Yar’Adua cannot deal any blow at all on the many problems of Nigeria even if given a hundred terms or rounds or tenures or whatever. Why not throw in the towel now by telling Nigerians: “Because of NEPA blackout I cannot see your problems that I am supposed to be tackling!”
Coming nearer home, there used to be a boxer known as Hogan Jimoh, more popularly known as the Atomic Bomb of Kwara State. He used to win a lot of local fights just as Yar’Adua used to win in his native Katsina State. But once exposed to the national level, Hogan Jimoh had to fight the then Commonwealth Lightweight Champion Dele Jonathan. Not even his famed “Kwara Insurance” could save the Atomic Bomb of Kwara State from taking a comprehensive beating such that he breathed a heavy sigh of relief when his corner men mercifully threw in the towel. Just like the national level proved to be a journey too far for the Kwara man the Nigerian presidency is fast proving a cul-de-sac for the Katsina pretender. Please fetch the towel, Turai, and promptly throw it into the ring to save your man. A word is enough…