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(39): On Age, Maturity and Filthy Politics

Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim

I wrote an article about a year or so ago on the sweeping spate of dirty politics taking the centre stage of my state Kano, Nigeria. It solely focused on the two leading archrivals, the present governor of the state, Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his predecessor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Their politicking forays into the daily lives of Kano people. Often, loyalty or otherwise to one of them defines our identity. No matter how hard one tries to reconcile the two, he or she is bound to fail. They are practically seen as totally the opposite of the other like fire and water; loving both is believed to be incompatible. Whatever, I stand to defy this fallacy. It’s my humble belief that both did something for the state; both deserve some respect; both are humans, not demons; and neither performed to a T.

A few days ago, a very good, elder friend of mine awkwardly described my behaviour of what he calls ‘proving people wrong’ as childish. That was a bombshell to me, for, Allah knows, we have had terrific, memorable time together, though not for a long time but in a place far away from home. This blossoms the relationship and makes it very affable and thus, we start thinking and hoping for that to last forever. Apparently enough, now, however, all the thoughts and the hope are withering. No relationship can survive attack on personality. And all relationships require mutual respect.

It all started from a casual chit-chat on Kano politics. Three of us were talking about how incredibly daring was and is Kwankwaso’s political history and life in general. I brought to fore that Shekarau, too, has some indelible record in the history of the state’s politics for, if nothing else, breaking the so-called jinx of not winning governorship election twice. Allah knows: I was NOT in anyway glorifying him, for that wasn’t our topic. But this mention broke all hell loose. My elder interlocutor doggedly refused to accept this fact. I picked up my phone, searched Google and, as you could expect, there were several mentioning of the same. Yet, he maintained his words that there never was any jinx! It was only the late Abubakar Rimi who took it as such. Realizing he was derailing too much, I honourably gave up and concluded that we both were right. After all, meaning is relative. So is the meaning of the word: jinx.

A few days later, Gen. Muhammad Buhari visited Kano in his routine for presidential campaign. Many pictures from the rally scene emerged on the social media and soon became viral. I and the same friend were chatting, sharing news and pictures of the rally on WhatsApp. There then came a picture of a mammoth crowd, which I said it was not Kano. He said if it was [from Shekarau’s anointed, PDP governor candidate, Salihu Sagir] Takai’s rally I wouldn’t dispute its authenticity. I shrugged it, sent him an emoji of laughter and continued with the chat.

Surprisingly enough, I later saw the same fake picture being shared by more respected friends on Facebook, whom, I was cocksure, would not have shared it had they known it was bogus. I quickly ran a picture validation on Google image. It appeared that it was indeed not from Kano. It was taken from a Mass organized by one German Evangelist called Reinhardt Bonke somewhere in Africa. I notified them and they unhesitatingly retracted the posts, and thanked me. I hesitated alerting that ‘elder’ friend of mine, but I later went ahead. I swear with Allah that my intent was not to simply prove him wrong (i.e. qureshi), but just for the sake of clarification. I was misunderstood.  He called my effort childish!

Needless to say, his motive behind that was the suspicion that I was against Buhari, Kwankwaso’s choice for the president. I am NOT. I could be if I choose to, for I am an independent human being. I have every right to support or oppose any politician. None of them is saint, so none is a must-love! He too knows that I am somehow a known anti-Jonathan campaigner on social media. The President’s media aid, Dr. Abati couldn’t stand my criticism, thus he lately blocked me on Facebook.

That self-identified elder friend’s brutish, snobbish description has left me in a state of confusion and unpredictability or something else that I can’t describe, hence this piece. I know the content sounds somewhat personal, but I can’t help spilling the beans. I hope to get some candid opinions from some of my readers. Perhaps that might assist me to tread more maturely next time while dealing with ‘elders’. Or, better still, figure out or some of you have had a similar experience and how you handled it.

I am not saying I was downright wrong or right. That I sincerely speaking don’t know. However, I wholeheartedly believe that that person should be the last person to call me a child. He knows me when I am fully grown up—less than a couple of years ago. His wife and mine have been like sisters. His son has been like mine, for he used to daily spend hours in my house. In a nutshell, we live as relatives. Yet he went ahead and crossed all these boundaries of decorum and coarsely declared me a child. I think a better word, even an insulting one, perhaps like pedant, nitpicker, etc. might suit my behaviour, but not childishness.

Please feel free to share your opinion, and thanks for reading.

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