Taraba: Making The ‘Corpse’ Walk,By Ali M Ali



Gov Suntai on arrival -Source The CanaryThis may seem extreme. Alluding that Governor Danbaba Dan Fulani Suntai of Taraba state is a ‘corpse’ is uncharitable. Before you crucify me, I know that it is abominable to ‘kill’ someone before his or her time. In Africa, legend has it that those who willfully and, for that matter, ‘gleefully’ announce the death of the living die first. I have no wish to die ‘young’. Going by the standard set by the very cohesive largest party in Africa, the PDP, 60 is the ripe age of youth. I am two decades away from being a ‘youth’. So it is cruel to insinuate, no matter how remotely, that Suntai is dead. He is alive. That bears repeating. Suntai is ALIVE. Halleluiah. He is also not brain dead.Shame to those who wish him so. He can’t therefore, be a corpse. But he is not kicking. Some are ‘kicking’ on his behalf.
The kicking started a day after his dramatic return penultimate Sunday on Monday. Consider, if you will, the stun pulled on that day the Taraba cabal ferry the clearly sickly governor back home. It is, roughly, the equivalent of ‘making the corpse walk’ Stated differently, it was a stun akin to making an elephant walk through the eye of the needle. Conventional wisdom calls it ‘a camel walking through the eye of a needle’ but the cabal, I must say, a disparate desperate group united in turf protection was more brazen and operated a notch higher than its predecessor, the ‘Yar’adua’ cabal.
At times like these, comparisons, can be, otiose. But Comparing the Jalingo cabal and the Abuja cabal in the precarious days of the late president is inevitable. Both were ‘cabals’. A dictionary definition of a cabal says it “a secret political clique or faction”. The operative word there is ‘secret’. I hasten to add that in our nation’s political lingo, a cabal is a group of self-seeking elements that usurp power from a sickly leader for personal profit. A cabal is ubiquitous. In boardrooms and ballrooms, is a cabal waiting to prey on a failing leader. For good measure, a cabal may exist even if the leader is healthy but habitually inebriated.
The Jalingo cabal is barefaced. The Abuja cabal was almost faceless. Its most visible face was Turai, the wife of the late leader. And understandably so. Like they say, the wife is the ‘better half’. A good wife is shadow to her husband. Ideally, she seeks, promotes and protects the best interests of the father of her children. Turai tried, despite cultural restraints, to check the Abuja cabal. The ‘toughie’ that she was, she couldn’t stop the ultimate call all mortals would have to answer someday. In the days of late Abacha, the dreaded Al-Mustapha was literally a one man ‘cabal’.
Not so the Jalingo cabal. For sure, the wife, Hauwa Suntai may be the figurehead. She, after all, was the ‘head’ of the ferrying team. In tow were several political ‘has been’ and expired wannabes weeping more than the bereaved. You only need to see the line up of those who gathered at the airport to welcome the visibly disoriented governor to know that the promoters were there for self. Busy bodies eking a living mouthing and flaunting the sentiments that have held us back all these years. With such characters visible in the reception party, you now know why we are where we are.
While the Abuja cabal was discreet and subtle, the Jalingo cabal was brazen and daring.
At the height of his ailment, Yar’adua was flown in the wee hours under cover of the dark. His cabal reasoned that it was safer not to accost traumatise citizens with probably the emaciated image of the President than to pull a James Bond stun. The Jalingo cabal thought that by propping Suntai in the full glare of public, it would score some public relations points and settle permanently who controls power in Taraba state.
Over time, men of power and their side kicks have routinely pulled the wool over the eyes of the masses mired into the ground by the iron heel of a consortium of self seekers masquerading as selfless. The Jalingo cabal didn’t reckon that their stun would backfire and become a major public relations disaster. From the moment the governor alighted from the aircraft, they lost the plot. First he looked visibly disoriented, a step lower from being frightened. He couldn’t even walk unaided. He was, mildly stated, like a puppet with those assisting him to walk as the master puppeteers. It occurred to me that the manner the governor was evacuated from the plane and loaded into the waiting SUV would be the manner the state would be run under his ‘siddon look’ stare. With a scenario like this looking ‘doable’ little wonder that ‘making the corpse walk’ is not a mission impossible.
But the cabal was undeterred. This is Nigeria after all. We are mindless of history. Anything goes so long someone somewhere is convinced that he is doing ‘good’ for God and country. By this, I mean a cabal intent on preserving a party of debauchery would repeatedly tell itself that it is doing so in the name of the lord and country. From Yardua to Chime to Suntai.
What is bewildering is the failure to learn from history. The Jalingo cabal was blinded by I-don’t-know-what that it left several planks open for attacks or counter attacks.
It went ahead on Monday, exactly a week ago today, to submit a letter to the state assembly that the governor was back and set for the rigorous task of running state affairs. The following day, Tuesday, it struck further.It pulled the string of a ‘robust’ governor asserting himself. He ‘dissolved’ the cabinet and appointed fresh aides among whom were a new chief of staff and secretary to the state government. But the state assembly countered the coup. It said nothing had changed. The rest is history. Still the Jalingo cabal is insisting that its Principal is hale and hearty. Just last Saturday, one of the governor’s personal aides told a disbelieving television station that he was ‘walking’ and possibly lifting weights in the government house gym!
Such spin is patently laughable. It was routinely spurned in the days of Yar’adua. His spin-doctors told us how he was playing ‘squash’ at a time nobody had access to him including his Vice, Goodluck Jonathan
One cynical counsel freely offered in the social media is that all those certifying that the governor is fit to govern should allow him pilot a plane in which some of his ardent lovers including Mrs. Suntai should be in the cockpit. I am waiting for them to pick up the gauntlet. Otherwise making this ‘corpse’ to walk is a voodoo that won’t work.I rest my case

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