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What We’re Going To Miss This Year By Azu Ishiekwene

January 7, 2016

I have a feeling that we might be so obsessed with predictions we could lose sight of what we are going to miss this new year. Why fuss over what will be in the New Year when you can cherish fond memories of years gone by?


Imagine the anxiety that Revd. Father Ejike Mbaka’s prediction of a likely attempt on President Mohammadu Buhari’s life is causing already. What’s the point? Even as Citizen Buhari, Boko Haram tried to kill him for speaking against them.

It shouldn’t take much effort to see that with his expanded war not only against Boko Haram but also against their white-collar cousins in the last administration, Buhari has made more enemies. They will not only be happy to kill him, they will be more than happy to kill him quickly, if they can.

Yet, to fret over such sinister plans, as some have done lately, is a waste of time. There is no use indulging a fantasy, that famous currency of beggars. Instead, we need to spare a moment for the things we took for granted in 2015, and be thankful for them. Such moments, like the Comet, only come our way once in a lifetime.

Think about the amazing moments with Dame Patience Jonathan, the fire that lit up the Presidential Villa for five years. A friend of mine identified the former First Lady’s gift for guilelessness early in the Jonathan administration. No, it wasn’t her wailing and the profuse tears shed at the home of the Yar’Aduas when she and her husband paid Turai a condolence visit. It was on another occasion.

My friend and his TV crew had gone to cover some event at Aso Rock and the former First Lady was quite surprised to see them because, at the time, there was no love lost between the proprietor of the station and the Jonathans. Overjoyed to see my friend and his crew, the former First Lady turned to him: “So you people are here, eh? Eh…eh, thank God oh! You came to cover usalive?”

Of course, that was only the beginning. By the time President Jonathan left office last year, there was already a repertoire of Dame Patience moments, which her successors can never dream of, much less even try to exceed. Amazing testimonies of how she was dead for seven days and rose again; her tears for widows and for the manhood left behind by their husbands; a glimpse of her purple heart in the Chai, Chai, Dia Ris God episode, are all gone, gone forever, never to replay in the New Year.

This brings me to the presidential quintet of which the Dame was also a prominent and influential member. It was, I think, former President Olusegun Obasanjo who said there were five persons in Jonathan’s presidency – four women and one man – and the least effective of them was the man.

Of course, there are a few high profile women in Buhari’s presidency, but seriously, which of them can compare with Diezani Allison-Madueke, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Stella Oduah, or Dame Patience Jonathan? These were women who not only knew their onions but also damn well knew how to peel it!

They were ministers who other ministers lobbied to get approval for funds to run their ministries and then for favour to get the funds released! These women of power paved the road to the heart of the Jonathan government and made the men who worked with them look like silly apprentices. That magic is now gone and no talisman can ever bring it back again.

Femi Fani-Kayode is still active, but he’s not and cannot be anything near his combination with Doyin Okupe. We’re going to miss Okupe’s talent for exaggeration and total absence of a sense of danger. He was so self-confident that he offered that he should be called a “bastard” if the All Progressives Congress survived beyond one year.

And who can forget the incredible selfie he took after he lost his job following the PDP’s defeat in March? As he floated in his swimming pool, he snapped himself promising that he’ll remain afloat, in spite of the defeat. He should, really, with enough exercise and creativity to fill his idle moments. In comparison with the Okupe years, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu will be a snooze.

We will be missing the letters as well. It doesn’t look 2016 will be the year of letters; except, of course, letters to the EFCC, a few of which are already embarrassingly being jointly written by some Papa & co. who raided the treasury.

But that’s not the type of letter I’m talking about. I’m talking about the famous letters between Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Jonathan over the missing $49.8billion? $20billion? Or $12billion? Remember also the even more famous one between Obasanjo and Jonathan over the former’s concern that the country was adrift; and of course, Jonathan’s response to “Baba.” Obasanjo will be on holiday this year, making only private visits to the Villa, and hopefully spending more time in his farm to keep the rodents out of mischief.

Social statisticians have also reliably informed me that activities in and around five-star hotels in Abuja may not be as vibrant as they were last year. No more will top level political appointees pop their heads around the premium floors of these big hotels in search of wafers and forbidden fruit unofficially provided as a part of their rite of initiation to public office. It’s everyman for himself.

Enjoy change!