By Osmund Agbo
In America’s pop culture, there is such a phrase as “fly like a G6.” It is a thing among the Millennials and Gen-Z. G6, short for Gulfstream G650, is a private jet brand made by the luxury plane maker, Gulfstream Aerospace. But the phrase actually originated from the lyrics of the hit song, “Rocketeer” that took the world by storm upon release in 2010, by the Asian-American hip-hop group, Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder of One Republic. Like most songs I like, my wife sometimes reminds me of how I used to play Rocketeer on the repeat, to the anger and frustration of all. But that’s a topic for another day. In any case, when someone flies like a G6, such a person is considered cool, confident and as one could imagine, super rich.
In an articles written by yours truly and published in Sahara reporters of May 16, 2020 titled, “Governor Wike and Nigeria’s culture of waste,” I wrote: “As a PDP Governor in Rotimi Amechi’s River state, I had since concluded that Nyesom Wike’s heart was carved out of raw steel. When he squared off with the no-holds-barred APC thugs during his 2018 re-election campaign, many predicted a fate not different from that of former Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State. In the end, he proved himself to be the biblical David whose one sling-shot was all it took to demolish the mighty Goliath. He came out a battle-hardened and typhoon-blasted warrior. Since then, this Rumuepirikom born lawyer has fought more battles than the most decorated general in the Nigeria Army.” Today, Wike is still fighting his many wars. The only difference is that this time, his war chest is now heavier and so he is flying like a G6 and loving it. The Governor is enviously positioned as that very beautiful bride courted by a coterie of the rich and famous.
Just to be clear, I am not a big fan of Nyesom Wike. Not even a chance. In fact, I find him loud, brash, dictatorial and with an attitude that is extremely distasteful. The man who in Achebe’s world, had his palm kernel broken for him by the benevolent spirit has no interest in being humble. He brooks no opposition and takes his fights to the gutters. He treats River State as he would his personal estate. Not too long ago, he stood in front of a National TV and denied his Igboness. The man was very much convinced that such an association would dim his prospects in the Nigerian political space. But in this fight with Atiku and the new PDP, many in southern Nigeria are one hundred percent on board with him this time and cheering for his G5 group’s position.
Before now, many have pointed to the PDP’s Constitution of 2009, Article 7(2c) which states that: “In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices, and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels.” Yet, Atiku and the people who championed his emergence argued that PDP should jettison zoning to allow for the best candidate to emerge. That best candidate it turns out, is a serial loser who in the last election could not even defeat a man with an ugly record as the worst President in Nigeria’s post independence history. But here’s the kicker, even after clinching the party’s presidential ticket, the North still gets to keep the national chairmanship slot. That means that the only position left for their southern brothers in this new PDP is to stay on the sideline and cheer till the cows walk home. Haba!
Besides the fact that the people of the South-South and South-East have been the most faithful to PDP, it makes logical sense that after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner of Fulani extraction, the next President of Nigeria should come from the South, especially the South-East. Granted that zoning, just like affirmative actions implemented in the United States is far from perfect, justice still demands inclusiveness and equitable representation. Recall that in 2015, when President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan was being hounded out of power, notable Northerners considered zoning reasonable for equity and argued that to keep Nigeria as one, zoning and rotational presidency should be the order of the day. Today, Wike and members of his G5 are insisting that such a gentleman agreement needs to be respected. But we are being asked to disregard Wike because he is just a “bad guy” and nothing good could come from him.
Prior to his spending eight years in Alcatraz federal penitentiary and subsequent death on January 25, 1947, Alphonse Gabriel Capone, the man simply referred to as Al Capone and also went by the nickname, Scarface was one of the most notorious American gangsters of the Prohibition era. At 33, he already carved out a niche for himself as a professional bootlegger who made a fortune distributing illegal alcohol during the period in the USA from 1920-1933 when alcohol was illegal (the Prohibition era). He was brutal, murdering enemies, extorting local businesses, bribing public officials and in many cases intimidating witnesses called to testify against him in court. He took no prisoners.
As the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit as his organized crime family was then called, one of his most notable acts happened on the morning of February 14, 1929. In this hit called the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, seven members of Chicago’s North Side Gang, a rival gang, who were gathered at the city’s Lincoln Park were lined up against a wall and shot by four unidentified gunmen, two dressed as police officers. Al Capone was a dare-devil criminal and a terrible human being by every criterion. But there is another side of him not known to so many.
In 1931, the Mafia boss opened one of the world’s first soup kitchens to help the Windy City’s poor and homeless according to the Chicago Tribune. Prior to the passage of the Social Security Act and subsequent development of social welfare programmes in the United States, soup kitchens, the type that Al Capone founded, was one of the few means that some poor and unemployed Americans had their daily meal. As reported by Chicago Tribune, an army of ragged and starving men would assemble three times a day beside a storefront at 935 South State Street, “feasting on the largesse of Al Capone.” He also made donations to various charities. And so Al Capone may have been the gangster scourge of Chicago in his days but he was also regarded as the Robin Hood of his time.
Throughout history there have been some truly awful people – Adolfo Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Sani Abacha, but that doesn’t mean that those terrible humans never did anything good. They are human beings after all and when you are human, it is very difficult to be bad throughout your life.
Saddam Hussein committed genocide on a grand scale by killing thousands of innocents in the Kurdish province but he was a very big champion of education. Primary school enrollment was 100% in Iraq during his reign.
Hitler may have had it with the Jews and Holocaust but he was also silently fighting another war to abolish smoking. His ideology reportedly was centered on the belief that smoking could corrupt the Aryan race. Regardless of what his intention was at the time, however, the campaign he mounted is an inspiration to most of the public anti-smoking campaigns of recent times.
A person cannot drown in darkness and that is why even the malicious people in the world need some good to live. And so for a governor who has been known to act sometimes in the most atrocious and obnoxious of ways, the question becomes, what good could come out of him? Well, Wike has got ninety-nine other problems but PDP for sure, is not one of them. The man is flying like a G6.
Osmund Agbo writes from Houston, Texas. Email: Eagleosmund@yahoo.com