I was wrong in my poor assessment of the common Nigerian. The tons of emails and reactions in social media following my review of Nasir El-Rufai’s memoir, The Accidental Public Servant, convince me that Nigerians are vigilant enough to resist being pawns of any politicians’ holier-than-thou sub-versions. On Twitter, where El-Rufai is the virtual overlord of an amorphous clique the common decimal of which is an inferiority complex, the review went viral. Same with Facebook.
This week I serve you a few of those reactions, ranging from a pat by the renowned and fiery – and, yes, feared! – America-based Nigerian book reviewer, Ikhide R. Ikheloa, to a charge by a certain Bashir El-Rufai who, I gather, is the son of the accidental public servant himself. This sampler is necessary so we can assess the pulse of the country in terms of the prevalence of commonsense and in terms of what is yet to be done towards the enthronement of same. – Kakanda
Ikhide Ikheloa <www.xokigbo.wordpress.com
There is at least one sense in which Nasir el-Rufai’s awful memoir, The Accidental Public Servant is an incredibly important document. As Gimba Kakanda’s review shows brilliantly, beyond exposing el-Rufai’s narcissism, it indicts an entire generation (mine) of brilliant but selfish intellectuals and leaders. In Kakanda’s thoughts, one is taken by the utter contempt one generation has for this generation of leaders. And one is fascinated by just how clueless this generation of leaders is. The term that comes to mind is credibility, the lack of it, that is.
It is the ultimate tragedy of a nation that it is virtually impossible to find a leader of stature that has credibility. It is doubly tragic that our leaders are in denial about their past and on-going contributions to the destruction of a nation. Instead, we are made to endure ad nauseam self-serving lectures (and now silly memoirs!) by these same criminals on how good they were to us and how much better they will be when they return to power. As Nigerians, we cannot catch a break.
Ours is a young nation (she feels old, do you blame her?) and many of us always thought that we would need to rely on robust structures and processes, not individuals, to define our collective morality. Robust structures and processes do not build themselves, good men and women do. In Kakanda’s raging words, Professor Wole Soyinka’s lament through to the reader’s conscience: ” We were sent the wrong people. We asked for statesmen and we were sent executioners.” When the young start throwing rocks at elders, it is time to clear the playground for a different dance – by new dancers.
I hope that my generation of thinkers and rulers is listening closely to the wind-rush of rage, of a looming confrontation coming ever so close. This generation of Nigeria’s children deserves to be furious, because they have largely endured a precarious future without resources like a good public education, adequate health facilities and good jobs. The funds meant for the public good have been looted by these political scam artists now preaching good governance to us. Where is the outrage? I salute Gimba Kakanda for saving me and I hope others from writing a review of TAPS. Which is a good thing; about a week ago, I flung the book into one corner of my bedroom where wretched books go to die. I won’t be reading it again, ever. Life is too short for all that. Good night.
Bashir El-Rufai <firstname.lastname@example.org
Idiots lol. Gimba. Who are you? What are your credentials (sic). Find a job and feed your family and most importantly supply nutrients to your brain. Read the book if you can fathom it which I doubt you are capable (sic) and shut the hell up. Frustrated idiotic ignorant bigots. U and your cronies if you have the intelligence write your own book and put down your case not that any publishing house will even comprehend your perspective. Joblessness needs company. Gather your jobless companies of idiots and write a book if you can. Ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Why only include selective excerpts? Hypocrite. Doing this for a plate of rice and chicken stew from your sponsors. I don’t blame you. Ask God for guidance. Some are just not chosen.
Abdullahi Musa <email@example.com>
You had the guts to read it. I just saw headlines and comments about it. I don’t blame El Rufa’i though. Nigeria is made for his likes. I watched with disbelief when he was handed CPC to re-engineer. We lack the resoluteness to call off their bluff.
Hello sir, I just finished reading your above titled article! As a young man interested in politics and governance, I try as much to enrich myself with all necessary and likewise information. From my own perception, El-Rufai too is a not a political activist or a genuine voice for the poor and oppressed. In TAPS, El-Rufai showed the public that everyone is a villain and only him is a hero, Mr. Always Right. What I find troubling is how the youths on social networks are blindly buying all that he sell out to them hook, line and sinker without critically analysing such statements. Politicians, as Machiavelli posits, must be like fox and lion, as at now El-rufai is being a fox but will turn a lion when he gets his hard sought political power which he always pretend he is not interested in. Our people need to broaden their horizon and seek proper political knowledge in order to free themselves from modern day slavery! God save us from us! Have a nice day!
Great, Gimba. That was a nice piece. TAPS was a little let-down on the image I had of El-Rufai. But he has his own rights of expression to exercise! Surely, the opinion that you are the only intelligent and pious person in the world is weird. Our elders say that ‘the day you realize that you are the only sane person and everyone else is mad, then know that you have just gone mad!’ And, an excellent prayer you have for the rest of us: “May God save us from us!”
Kind regards. Inuwa.
PS: If you havent read Gimba’s review, read it here
By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda (on Twitter)