How low can the bar drop?

On the 16th of July 2022, Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, tweeted that the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, was in the hospital for a surgical procedure.

His tweet stated that the surgery was on account of a recurrent pain in the VP’s leg possibly sustained from an injury while playing squash. About 13 minutes after Akande’s tweet, the Vice President shared the same information via his official verified Twitter handle.

I didn’t bat an eye until the praises started pouring in. Soon there was confirmation his procedure, which was by Medics in Duchess International Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, was successful. This was when the praises became an outpouring. According to some Nigerians, the choice of a hospital in Nigeria for his surgery was exemplary, considering his status.

Soon, the Nigerian Medical Association, Kogi chapter, made a solo from all the praises. In their solo, the VP was the alpha and omega, with a crown on his head.

And by monday, the national level of the same association issued another statement in a ‘get well wish’, signed by its President, Dr. Uche Ojinmah, calling on other political office holders in the country to emulate Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. It was a feast of praises. The VP became the child that other parents wanted their children to emulate.

That same weekend, a Governorship election was held in Osun state and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke, defeated the incumbent and candidate of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, Governor Gboyega Oyetola.

Many have shared different theories regarding the factors responsible for the failure or success (as the case may be) of the election. Many attribute the success to the presence of one of Nigeria’s biggest entertainer and nephew to the PDP candidate (now Governor-elect), David Adeleke popularly known as DavidO, Ademola Adeleke being a people’s person, to the new clause in the electoral act signed by President Buhari which allows officials of the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) to electronically transmit results to the INEC servers in the presence of party agents.

With the new clause, corrupt politicians can no longer tamper with election results. There was, however, one other echoed reason; “Governor Oyetola is a failure”. This particular reason when presented to me by an older coursemate who is much closer to the governance and political terrain in Osun state took me aback.

To be called a failure in a country like Nigeria where the bar is low, and mediocrity is celebrated as leaders engage in flamboyant celebrations for doing jobs they were elected and being paid to do with taxpayers’ money.

A country where the Vice President has an album of praise in his name because he underwent surgical treatment in one of the top private hospitals in Nigeria — a man who is part of an administration that has been responsible for encouraging a max exodus of doctors away from the country.

A country where a Governor is praised for paying salaries, where the humility of Peter Obi and being responsible with public funds is mind-blowing, where donations are commended and appreciated without any known legal source of income, where construction of roads is the definition of leadership, where tears and sentiment whip up emotions and votes, where employers expect to be worshipped for paying their staff.

To be called a failure in such a country is to be a failure in every definition of the word. It is to embody failure, to be synonymous with it, to breathe it, and speak it.

The rot in Nigeria is so deep that it is difficult to point fingers at the top without starting from under one’s bed.

Corruption and disorderliness are the order of the day even in Federal and state civil service. Sanity and civility are far gone as selfishness and greed have long taken over. If we are to make Nigeria great again, beyond sentiment and religious/ethnic hypocrisy, we must act right and aim beyond mediocrity.

To be called a failure in Nigeria is to have dropped beyond where the bar can save.

The bar is way too low!

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  1. Well said, with a pinch of “vex”… Lol. I hope the dancing governor does better.

    Meanwhile if the they all get treatments when they are sick, I bet you they will pay salaries on time and that’s enough praise.

    Let me add, I’m Obi-dient.

  2. The issue is that Nigerian are forgetful… the pains we cry about today, we can forget at a snap. The political class knows these hence they can weaponize poverty and poor infrastructures against us for their own gains. God help us all

  3. Nice perspectives!

    There are a few comments i will like to add.

    Contrary to the view from people who are distant from the Osun politics, Oyetola is actually a performer who got punished for being Tinubu’s cousin. As a governor, he doubled the IGR of the state, and contrary to the second term of his predecessor, he paid salaries and pensions promptly. Paying salaries should be given but when you know the dependency structure of the state, you would understand why that is special. OSUN is a state with population less than 25% of Lagos but has a civil service that is about the same size as Lagos, so the salaries paid to civil servant is an important component of the dependency structure. Osun was heavily indebted and only God knows what wizardry Oyetola has employed to keep the state afloat without increasing the debt but rather paying down on the obligation while still managing to do capital projects.

    Osun voted with their hearts and not their heads and I hope the consequences won’t be too grave.

    Their hearts told them that because Oyetola is Tinubu’s cousin, he must have been passing their money to Lagos, their contracts are going to Lagos contractors etc. Even the inflation they are experiencing was because of Oyetola and APC. On the flip side, Ademola said he was bringing them money, and that his friends across the world are bringing money to invest in Osun. He said he would pay the 15months salary that Aregbesola owed and which Oyetola also did not pay. So they believe that removing the APC governor and voting Ademola will solve all these problems was why they voted the way they did. So it was a matter of the heart not of the head.

    I am an Osun indigene, and whatever we can do to support the governor elect we will do. We cannot afford for him to set the state back from the new foundation that Oyetola has started.

  4. In 2004 I lived in America and I remember President Bush going for a surgery. It was a media affair. The nature of the surgery was public information, the hospital, the date and time of surgery, the lead surgeon, the number of surgeons that would be involved, the duration of the surgery and other things were all prime-time tv coverage. It was in every media from the time the surgery date was announced till the surgery and post surgery recovery. Even when the surgery extended beyond the number of hours initially slated, every media was reporting it. I can imagine what it would be if social media was like this in 2003!

    Culturally and historically we dont even want our own extended famiky to know about our ailments for which we require surgery. It was therefore extremely strange when the VP’s surgery became public information. The witches for kee am o!

    However in the modern world, the health of leaders and when they go for procedures, are public information.

    1. VP Osunbanjo has always shown he is a patriotic leader. If I had my power,he would be the presidential candidate of APC instead of Tinubu. I am happy for the Adelekes. I hope he meet his promises. For Nigeria, the support Peter Obi is getting, shows the lot has had enough of the bars being down. I look forward to a greater Nigeria,come 2023, where we get leadership right. Where one thing alone counts,that’s being Nigerian. Regardless of one’s ethnic group or religion.

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