Fresh from his electoral victory and political reincarnation, the first time Muhammadu Buhari would meet former British Prime Minister David Cameron, he was introduced as the old new leader of a fantastically corrupt nation. As far as diplomatic backbiting goes, that was a kick in the guts. Cameron was a 17-year-old kid when Buhari first shot his way into Government House in 1983. For his comments; in Naija, he would have been called a badly raised kid, but Sai Baba swallowed his pride with a retort that he wished Naija’s stolen wealth in British vaults could be returned (perhaps with interest) to rebuild a new Nigeria.
Thank heavens Cameron did not heed that plea. It is a well-known fact that when it comes to returned loot, Nigeria operates the Okafor theory even under the guidance of mai Gaskiya or the Trusted One. The theory says that, returned loot could always be re-looted. Those in doubt should wait to encounter Sani Abacha whose repatriated rainy day ‘savings’ have never been properly accounted for or judiciously utilised. You hear that an Abacha loot has been returned and it simply vamooses without tangible trace or capital footprint.
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It would not be the last time that the ruler of a sanctimoniously developed nation would insult Africa’s most trusted statesman or Africa’s most populous nation. While history recorded that America has had to return from some of its military adventures often with the tail of its taunted military might shamefully tucked under its legs, American trained military strategists like sai Baba believes in the touted magic of Tucano aircraft in ending insurgencies and insecurity.
America had refused to sell these expensive war toys even to its Christian protégé President Goodluck Jonathan. However, Sai Baba had a better chance perhaps tapping into the influence of his military alumni. After Donald Trump had made Sai Baba sign off a handsome amount of its defence budget on Tucano planes, Trump observed that Sai Baba was the most lifeless leader of any of the ‘shithole’ nations he would ever meet. That was in 2018.
Both Cameron and Trump have served their terms and retired into political irrelevance – or have they? In the case of Trump he has rolled into a messy political sandstorm. On his luck Sai Baba, the lucky one is still in charge – scandal and all. And from all gleanings, he is likely going to have the last laugh not likely on Cameron but on one of his successors.
Apparently for all its history, Britain’s political dynasty is as messy as any in the developed world. It breeds morally decrepit prime ministers at a pace fastest only to Italy in the European hemisphere, and not often as a result of death but as a result of unconscionable moral scandals.
Boris Johnson the last one has just bitten the dust. Of recent UK Prime Ministers, Johnson is the worst mercurial demonstration that even the developed world is not qualified to judge Africa’s dinosaur kleptocrats and sit-tight nincompoops.
Johnson might go down in history as the most scandalous prime minister of contemporary British history. The Guardian of London recorded 16 Boris Johnson scandals before it lost count in July this year. So bad was Johnson’s litany of scandals that some have blamed him for the Queen’s sudden death. There is only so much a monarch could take when it comes to the shameful conduct of its political protégé. Good luck to King Charles III and whatever lies ahead.
The truth is, even in Nigeria, a man like Johnson would not have made it as a national leader. Every strand of that chap’s hair seems to grow something scandalous, yet Tories believed he would suddenly transform into a born again leader as soon as he stepped into. Johnson scandalised his way through school, work and life. But he always seems to get away with it.
Hopefully Sai Baba’s minders would send a dossier of Boris scandals to Cameron as an October birthday present. Walking through the moral indiscretion of some British politicians; they have no moral right to judge Nigeria or any of its leaders. That is confirmation that Britain taught Nigeria all it practices leading to the current state of instability and anomie.
Talking about dossiers, global leaders are often provided the most comprehensive on their counterparts. It is supposed to guide them in taking decisions and determining the level of trust in taking decisions. If that was the model, Trump failed the litmus test. He was no better than Johnson, his English counterpart. Curiously, both of them were born in the chaotic city of New York!
Trump remains one of the most scurrilous presidents modern America has elected. Like lightning gathering momentum, he might strike the American leadership seat again. In an article in Politico Magazine of July 2017, Sarah Holder chronicled a litany of 13 scandals that ought to have brought Trump down. He shook them all off like water behind a duck’s back to rise into political stardom.
For a nation that sent Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby to jail for assaulting women as celebrities, it did not pull the rugs under Trump’s ambition with 15 women alleging to have been sexually assaulted by him. In one audio, Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing women, forcefully kissing and fondling them. Moral America shushed it up and elected him president in a move some have described as the zenith of white privilege.
It is not the scandals that dogged Trump before and in office that should make Sai Baba feel like a gladiator, it is recent revelations. An FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort revealed that the former American president stole over 10,000 classified files from the White House before departing in 2021. Eighteen of the documents were marked Top Secret, 54 secret while 31 had confidential marks on them. Classified documents were stowed in 15 boxes that Trump stole from American archives. One was a dossier on French president, Emmanuel Macron, one of Europe’s rulers known to be condescending towards Africa and its leaders.
Just as Sai Baba’s fans have often defended his waves of scandals, his unparalleled nepotism and other shortcomings, Trump’s scandals only puff up his political innings among his supporters. Buhari got a second term in spite of performing well below expectations for a former military leader and serial presidential candidate before making it to Aso Rock.
Political Nostradamuses are projecting that Britain might not have heard the last of Johnson nor America of Trump. It must be a source of consolation for Muhammadu Buhari whose second term has surpassed expectation on political scandals even as he contemplates retirement and picking successor that could give him a post-Aso-Rock soft landing.
The demise of Queen Elizabeth II tends to have obfuscated the level of the scandals of these two former leaders of developed nations. We should leave a footnote for history that when it comes to scandals, even the mighty and powerful nations could slip into the hands of the basest of its citizens as leaders. In the end, politicians might have emanated from a different planet than the people they lead.