As a young school boy in Ughelli, I listened to the music of the Urhobo disco maestro Omokomoko. The single he released in the late 70’s titled No Basket for Rotin Maingo became one of my underlying principles in life – Store nothing that has expired – ideas, food, clothes and friends. In the course of the last 30 odd years, I have kept to this principle and it has enriched my life.
Today I and 150 million citizens of my beloved country are confronted with a dilemma. Rotin Leadership - as Omokomoko would call it. Since the day Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was selected as the Presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party and his subsequent (s)election as Nigeria’s president we have been subjected to providing basket for rotin maingo.
During the presidential know-the-annointed tour before the (s)election, the man was rushed to Germany for undisclosed illness later declared as exhaustion. In fact he was to berate all who questioned the status of his health by challenging them to a game of Squash! At the time I almost took up the challenge but for the fact that I once defeated a former military governor and ex-Works minister during a friendly squash tournament and almost paid with my life. Luckily his attempt to send me to my early retirement was prevented by the unseen hand of the man in heaven.
The latest trip to hone his squash skills has now created a vacuous space in the government of our country and none of the principal actors in government can confidently say to us what the real situation is. The National assembly has chosen this time to go on recess which implies that this is not of national importance. The Vice President does not seem to have the necessary powers to run the ship of state in the absence of Mr Yar’Adua. Nigerians are left with a compromised national press and now have to resort to online news media and listservs/bloggs to get any information. The attendant result is that rumours are flying around everywhere.
A group of Nigerians have now come out openly to request that the president resign. They have made a compelling argument in this regard but as is known all over Nigeria, we have a very big basket for rotin maingo. People have already questioned the integrity of those seeking the resignation of the President as if that invalidates the argument that has been put forward. I align myself to those asking the President to resign. This is not because I want to be in government or that those seeking his resignation are any better than him. I do not think anybody doubts that Yar’Adua is an honourable man. His pedigree suggests he ought to be a man of character and integrity. It is simply because his state of health in the last two odd years has made it impossible for him to impose his personality on governance. This has allowed felons, fugitives, thieves and fraudsters in his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, take advantage and we are left with an albatross of rotin maingo. As a man who loves Nigeria, he now needs to take the honourable path and resign according to the constitution. The only people urging him to stay on are those who know that the new Nigeria Yar’Adua’s resignation will usher in will reward them justly for their past deeds.
Those who have called on him to resign need to take this further. If the group of rotin maingo surrounding him continue to urge him to hang unto power, the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Civil Society Groups and all lovers of Nigeria should stand up to be counted. We did it to Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalam. This current gang of rotin maingo cannot continue to hold us hostage.
While we await the response from our squash-playing President we must resolve and declare that we have No Basket for Rotin Maingo