By Tunde Asaju
It is self-evident that Naija people did not invent technology. The Indians could beat their chests to that and by God, they should. As #theDonald has promised to decrease the number of temporary work visas for tech engineers, India is gloating. It believes that America’s loss could lead to its gain in its quest to become number one in IT infrastructure. It hopes to grow this sector by nine per cent according to monitored BBC reports.
In Naija, we are hurt that four passengers out of a fully loaded American bound plane were returned home with their valid visas. Most visas come with a caveat albeit in fine print declaring that its possession is not an ironclad guarantee of right of entry. We all see it, but our faith usually overrides our apprehension. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Sai Baba’s special adviser on foreign and diaspora affairs adviser issued a travel advisory. Days later, the foreign ministry countered it. America is not Azania, and we do not threaten them with advisories or lock up their embassies as the North Koreans are doing with their Malaysian counterparts. Every pretend giant knows that America is big league.
The loudmouths that we are, we quickly forget that while anyone could approach our gates, only the trusted are let in. When we let strangers in, we sometimes define the bounds of their movements. Most of us do not give liberty to visiting children to monkey-jump on our beds.
In the past few months, we have seen the capacity of technically minded people to turn truthful pictures into dangerous lies. In the early days of Sai Baba’s sojourn to London, pictures appeared on social media showing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande allegedly paying homage to the president. Wailers waded in describing the picture as fake and that at the time the picture was being circulated; Tinubu was actually in Ibadan and not Northumberland Avenue.
Knowing that in Naija politrics, mischief is the name of the game; hailers stuck to their guns as fence sitters wondered where the truth lies. If we had the power of #theDonald, we could have climbed the rostrum, flipped our fingers and retorted – lie, lie, it’s all lies, fake news! Thank God we all don’t have that clout; imagine what cloud of confusion we would have raised if we had that capacity. It indeed turned out that Tinubu was in London and that he indeed visited the president. But in Naija, where even the cabal could block a wife’s conjugal access to her husband until she is forced to shout out loud, anything is possible.
If we had been accountable people electing accountable government, the photographs from London would have carried an official seal. An official seal from an expert would have settled the matter although not the politics. But even in a free world, a government that treats the people it governs with contempt can decide to hide anything important without given a damn. Imagine the danger of a presidential photographer strolling in and out of Buhari’s London hideout, and being followed by clandestine reporters. In the ominous days of the News of the World, someone would have hacked into every Naija government official’s London phone line just to track down and expose the president’s hideout, thereby denying him his deserved rest. Thank you Rupert Murdoch for changing our world!
So, Sai Baba’s handlers invented another one –the presidential phone calls knowing that his voice is as distinct as that of MC Tagwaye. With utter contempt to those who voted him, the president and his handlers made him call the wrong people. Poor Femi Adesina, he was forced to go on air and blackmail his boss before earning the right to his phone-call. That’s how good it gets and once he got his phone call, it again made news.
Shortly after 2Face withdrew from his million-man march, pictures appeared again showing him sandwiched between Tinubu and Akande. Of course, it was almost a perfect imitation. While away, Sai Baba received a call from #theDonald and got one from his friend – the King of Morocco. Even as the apostle of absolute loyalty to the 90% who gave him their votes, Sai Baba did not deem it fit to use the powerful Hausa Service of any of the behemoths of broadcasting nor did he show his dexterity with the use of Skype. As for those who have only five percent of their votes; we have a saying here – go and collect your own from the defeated candidate. Let me add that the 90% did not complain, for them it’s Sai Baba come rain or shine, snow or sleet.
Shortly before returning home, a fresh picture was making the rounds – that of Sai Baba receiving his ‘long-time friend’ the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby. That picture had an uncanny sepia resemblance to the first one. In all pictures, Sai Baba wore the same dress showing a very weak and frail frame. As even Mrs. Johnson Suleiman knows very well, this too could have been photobombed. There was only one way to guarantee the authenticity of our beloved president’s hale and hearty state – next time Mr. President; speak to the nation – we voted, we matter!