By Joseph Edgar… Obanikoro was the immediate past Minister of State for Defence during the last administration and he never let any of us forget that. He is my friend as I once met him at his campaign headquarters in the sleepy part of Ikeja where he held court. That day was a hot blistering day and I had gone to meet with his team. The place was filled to the brim as the party stalwarts waited for his arrival. The air was filled with expectation as the rumor going round was that the funds to prosecute the war or election was finally coming from the centre.
Apparently, despite the fact that they all belonged to the ruling party, they were still starved of funds and this led to their inability to prosecute the war. This was how pervasive corruption had seeped into the scheme of things, severally exposing their flanks. Even in that hot afternoon, I could still sense their frustrations and the lack of communications led to so many stories too many to be taken seriously.
Finally, ‘koro’ appeared in a black obviously bullet proofed Landcruiser Jeep. This was my first time of seeing him although I had had relations with his handsome Son, Jide who I met through Mudi the Fashion Designer. Koro was tall , really tall and this was surprising to me for his pictures never really portrayed him as a tall person. He was handsome in a Yoruba way. That is, you knew he was a Yoruba man straight from the moment you saw him and he wore a white well sewn brocade with a beautiful black leather patented slippers to match.
He was very charismatic as he responded to the shouts and praises that erupted from his followers. His ‘oriki’ rented the air and he lifted his arms in the air acknowledging cheers from the people but from his eyes you could see that he was not with them and neither was he interested in what they had to say nor cared. I saw the vacant look in those handsome eyes and I was shocked becuase one would have expected him to genuinely feel for the people especially these ones who had stayed both sun and rain to welcome him
We were ushered into his tiny office to wait for him and was introduced to someone who they said was the Director General of his campaign team. An old withered gentleman who claimed to be a professor of something. He listened intently to us and guided us on how much we would ask for and immediately gave us the sharing formula and made sure we understood very clearly before we where to be ushered into Koro’s presence.
I wondered how he came about the sharing formula and also if the sharing formula would take into consideration our cost of doing the project. I guess in his old corrupt filled brain that did not matter. Well luckily for him we were not ushered in till when Koro was about to leave. We were pushed directly to the front of his Jeep and then he came out to speak to us . We were introduced to him as young professionals who were part of the newly formed ‘young Professionals for Koro.’ I was the protem Chairman. I looked really amazed. I came for the meeting as a joseph Edgar and in a few minutes I had morphed into President of something and after the handshake I morphed back to just Edgar of Shomolu. Kai, only in PDP.
As I shook his hands, I saw the same vacant look in them. He did not care about this suit wearing imp that was thrown into his way. He was in a hurry to only God knows where and now he was being delayed by some ‘fool’ who should have been at his desk slaving away instead of coming here to join these bandwagon of thieves who had no other intention than to have their own share of the largesse that was not even coming from the ‘centre’.
As his jeep sped off that afternoon, the empty cold but good looking eyes failed to leave me and I shuddered for this country. What I just saw and experienced left me empty and forlorn. I looked at my partner and could see that he too was feeling the same way, the promise that made us risk our jobs to come to this vacuous campaign ground had suddenly evaporated like a bad case of fart after a heavy meal of beans and groundnut. In that five-minute conversation I had lost hope in the promise of the PDP and its promise of a better future for the country.
In those eyes I saw the void that we all lived in if this was the kind of leadership we were clamouring for. Today Koro has come back and submitted himself to the authorities. I do not know the circumstances of his return, if it was forced or voluntary but the most important thing is that he came back without any fuss and surrendered .
I want to believe that despite all we have been witnessing, that there is still justice in the land and due process will be taken in his case. That the baying mob calling for his head as the result of the video show, which we all watched, would not let us rail road ourselves to perfidious justice and that common sense will prevail and real and true justice is seen to be dispensed in this case of the man with the empty eyes.
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