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!