Presidential infirmity: The futility of cameo By Louis Odion, FNGE

PMB….The Game Master of Cameo Appearance?

In case they don’t yet know, budding
spin doctors who conspired behind Aso
high walls to package ailing President
to, against all wild expectations and cold permutations, make a
dramatic office appearance on Tuesday
should by now be patting themselves on the back for a distinction they, in all
probability, never anticipated: letting the world of political strategy into a
new tactic called “presidential
cameo appearance”.

The new phrase undoubtedly lengthens
the list of others elite words and terms that have cropped up lately as the
nation grapples with recession amid the unearthing of cash in unspeakable
quantity in the most unlikely locations.  
So, today, consistent with our
tradition on this space, we shall, in exercise of our poetic license, press the
still button on otherwise nagging matters and proceed to define and
contextualize the most notable of such emerging vocabularies, if only for the
sake of the uninitiated. 
Cameo appearance: In Nollywood, they call it “waka pass”. It refers to a brief role in a movie usually
reserved for a known thespian.

President Buhari oooo, Oya, stop the cameo, Nigeria needs you


Its political equivalent starring no
less a mega-star than PMB himself
would materialize in Abuja on Tuesday
in what is turning a riveting national circus. Just as the three fabled three
musketeers (OBJ, IBB and Abdulsalami) were regrouping in Minna with the conspiratorial stealth of old housewives to – what
else – ponder and possibly strategize in view of growing uncertainty over
Buhari’s health, the old wily infantry general from Daura opted to apply what,
in martial parlance, is termed “preemptory strike.”
Against doctor’s reported frantic
advice, he suddenly surfaced in the office. 
In case the usually blunt Ota chicken farmer had prepared a
communique to read to the swarm of pesky news-hounds waiting

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo….Couldn’t do this style in Minna as Buhari deflated his intention

outside the Minna Hilltop mansion and, typically,
voice what many would rather whisper furtively behind closed doors these days,
native discretion must have led him into quickly perishing the thought
following news that PMB was back in
the office and, in fact, absorbed in a flurry of meetings. 

Military generals are thought to be
experts in the arcane art and science of violence. But the wise one knows when
to halt the offensive and retreat. Lest he is misconstrued to be coveting
another man’s harem while the man is still alive and kicking. 
But how a glass-fragile fakir,
earlier wildly speculated by busybodies to be vegetating at the point of
incapacitation – if not death, suddenly summoned the extraordinary athleticism
to pull off such a feat in physiological vitality is still a mystery, even at
this writing. The stuff only expected in the realm of magic realism writing. 
Note, PMB was said to have just appeared in the office.

The Author, Louis Odion FNGE….Finds everything interesting

But none of the
ubiquitous State House reporters could say with clarity – much less confidence
– that they sighted him physically. Not even the omni-present NTA could boast textual or electronic
evidence of the said august appearance. Was he wearing his trademark
tight-fitting kaftan or austere Agbada
or the loose house-robe he donned in London
with Arabian skull cap to match?

Then, it became
the duty of the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice
Minister and the NNPC sheik to
announce to an unbelieving nation that, even while in obvious distress, Baba still had the diligence and
presence of mind to agonize whether NNPC was
meeting OPEC quota and shudder at the
continued insolence of the National Assembly in delaying the passage of the
tons of anti-graft bills trucked to their chamber in the last two years. 
Even, the First Lady also

Mrs. Aisha Buhari…Jumped out of Za Oza Room and shouted ‘My husband dey kampe o’

momentarily abandoned her assigned territory of
“kitchen, living room and the other room” to broadcast live via tweet as
her husband’s crucial meetings progressed. By the way, she added, tales being
peddled about her beloved husband’s ailment are grossly exaggerated. 

Curiously, PMB’s accredited spokesmen and super-efficient Info Minister were
suddenly missing in action. 
But hopes that the president was
finally approaching the last bend on the road to full recovery were again
dashed barely 24 hours later as he failed to turn up at the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting – the
fourth time in a roll.

Doubtless, the intention of the
Tuesday’s cameo appearance by PMB was
to reassure the nation. But shouldn’t the energy have been conserved for the
more crucial Wednesday FEC meeting to make a greater impression?
Pay slip: Doughty Mallam Nasir el-Rufai

Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (R) The Captain, ‘Show your slip class’

charted the new
waters. To leave no one in doubt when challenged pointedly by Speaker Dogara to come clean on the security
vote believed to be flowing into his office as Governor of Kaduna State, he could not think of a better testimonial than his
pay slip.

Until now, pay slip would ordinarily
be regarded strictly a man’s best kept secret. And for good reasons. Since pay
packet was thought a measure of the worth of the man’s labour, it was therefore
conceded that the details be concealed.
But after el-Rufai – a whole governor at that! – shared his publicly, the
fever seems to be spreading like bush fire during harmattan. In fact, given the
increasing erosion of public confidence in the efficacy of oath undertaken over
the regular holy books, this would, in a way, seem the new form of

Speaker Dogara & Operation Show your Pay Slip…

In response to el-Rufai’s counter charge that the budget of the House of Reps be made public if the
lawmakers don’t have anything to hide, Dogora
acted in kind by publicizing his own pay slip to show that he, the supposed No 4 citizen by order of precedence,
earns far less than a governor whose sphere of influence is perhaps only a
little more than provincial. 

Vocal emir of Kano just joined the trail. In what undoubtedly opens a new chapter
in royal submission to public scrutiny, His
Royal Majesty
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
few days ago tendered via the social media his pay slip indicating a monthly
take-home of N1m circa, contrary to the N4m claimed by traducers. 
Recall that the
banker-turned-royalty with a tongue unusually too sharp for traditional ruler
has come under heavy artillery fire lately, obviously orchestrated by the high
and mighty at the receiving end of his unsparing barbs; the most devastating
being the one that pooh-poohed the notion that divine wrath against fornicators
– and not official dereliction – triggered the recent outbreak of polio in
northern states, exacting colossal human toll.
Now, by alleging that HRM pockets a cool N4m, gallivanting about in eye-popping limos and splurging tens of millions of endless chatter on the
telephone at taxpayers’ expense, they want to portray Sanusi as a shameless hypocrite who never practices what he
preaches so venomously. 
Well, all said, pay slip remains a
pay slip. More like the proverbial bikini
– what it reveals pales into insignificance compared to what it hides. The pay
slips the likes of Dogaras and el-Rufai readily flaunt today are
conveniently silent on the “real meat” – the fantastic estacode and other
perks drawn indiscriminately. 
PINE (Apple):
Mention “pine…”

SGF Babachir Lawal, ran into stomach crisis after eating too much Pine-Apple

to a pupil of any kindergarten school, what you are
likely to hear next is the shout of “Apple” in excitement. The reason
is not far-fetched. A member of the citrus family, this fruit is a culinary
wonder and many a kid’s delight.

Sweet as it may taste, youngsters
are however always forewarned to eat pine-apple in moderation, less it runs
their tummies.
But among adults today, especially
those who have business near the National
in Abuja, the mention of
“PINE” surely evokes dark foreboding, if not outright nightmares.
Ordinarily, it is the abbreviation
for the Presidential Initiative on the
North East
(PINE). But what seems to make the matter even more sticky, if
not emotive, is that it was conceived to bring succor to hundreds of thousands
of poor folks displaced by Boko Haram
Instead, the Senate committee
reported that Babachir Lawal chose to
feast on the misery of his own people by abusing his office as the Secretary to the Federal Government to award grass-cutting
contract to a company where he had interest. The sum of N220m is alleged to have ended in his pocket as kickback. A charge
he stoutly denied.
Having been given an opportunity to
defend himself before a high-level administrative panel which sat in Aso Rock at Buhari’s behest in the past
two weeks, Lawal’s fate will be known
in the days ahead. 
But even before then, it is
pointless asking Babachir Lawal
whether there is any wisdom in the folksy admonition to the little ones that “too much pine-apple is not good”. Now suspended over weighty
allegations of gorging on PINE contracts,
no one is indeed better placed than him to confirm that when
over-indulged, the otherwise vitamins-packed fruit could result in fatal
Alhaji Lai Mohammed… Failed the Richard Quest text woefully
Jollof rice: It must be a wicked world indeed.
Assailed over the time by enemies of progress (who would corrupt even his name
“Lai” to mean “Lie”), the feisty Information minister must
have seen in the simple question by CNN’s Richard Quest as to who makes the
best jollof rice a once-a-life-time opportunity to show how brutally forthright
he could be. Without hesitation or batting an eyelid while fielding question on
the global channel last week, the like-able Lai
retorted that “They
make the best jollof rice in Senagal”.
Thinking it was a slip of tongue, Quest restated the question: “Who makes the best jollof rice in Africa?”
Mohammed, resplendent in flowing Agbada, repeated with the jerk of
head in confidence: “They make the
best jollof rice in Senegal that I know”.
Thereafter, all hell literally let
loose in the social media (the boundless hideout of those he laments have been
making his job difficult). As if to say, “Even
on the
origin of jollof rice, he
Lie(d) again”.
It took Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo….Has a good tastes for Nigerian Jollof Rice

counter affirmation at a
public event in Lagos, jovially
rendered with professorial flourish, to underline what seems the indiscretion
in Mohammed’s verbiage.

While engaging his audience (drawn
largely from the Christian community) in opening banters in a manner that would
make even the most accomplished stand-up comedian green with envy, the VP
declared that “Nigeria makes the
best jollof
By now, Mohammed should have realized how odd it sounded for a chief
spokesman who doubles as Culture Minister of the supposed “Giant of Africa” to willfully “donate” the glory of being the best jollof rice cook to
a much smaller country in the west coast. As they say, only a non-circumspect
mother skips her own girl and decorates the waist of another person’s
daughter with the prize beads.
So, jollof rice should no longer be viewed as an ordinary delicacy in
postcolonial Africa. It is now the
first test in patriotism. 
Safe house: 

Safe House Mater Ayo Oke….Saving our Dollars since 2015

Even by
the Geneva Convention, world’s best
known authority on the law of war, a safe house is designated either as free
zone or secured dwelling for humanity where combats are strictly forbidden. A
breach readily prequalifies you for the war crime tribunal. But thanks to Ayo Oke and his queer folks at the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), that
phrase is now a euphemism for a secret vault for dirty money. Or, maybe hot

According to the Buhari people, the corrupt have even
resorted to cemetery to hide their loot. With that, burial ground would also
now qualify to be called “safe house”. Come to think of
it, could any sentinel be more dreaded than a ghost to watch over a treasure?

Ex-Governor Adamu Muazu…Landlord, ‘Ikoyi Safe Flat’

Well, almost a month after $45m raw cash was uncovered in the
upscale neighbourhood of Ikoyi,
Lagos, deodorants are surely still needed today to overcome the stench left by
the mold at the unique “safe


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