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The weeping politicians



The weeping politicians

The art of political weeping is becoming a routine among politicians in Nigeria. The recurring question, however, is whether those public displays of emotions are sincere expressions or means to curry political sympathy. WALE ELEGBEDE reports


It’s less than five months to the general elections and the political landscape is expectedly experiencing all forms of theatrics. For politicians, the need to court the electorate and sway them to their sides for elections is a big task that they take seriously. In fact, any means of having more people on their sides especially during elections is fair. Perhaps, the latest means devised by politicians to attract sympathy from electorates especially before any major election is shedding tears in the public. While moments of emotion are part of the make-up of all humans, the public mood on the display of emotions by politicians is however with caution and pinch of salt.

Atiku Abubakar

The trend resuscitated last week Friday in Abuja where former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and a presidential aspirant in 2019, openly wept for the country wept while speaking to some of his supporters who had purchased a Peoples Democratic Party presidential nomination form for him. The Adekemi-Adesanya Eboda-led global coordinator for Women and Youth Support for Atiku (WAYS) and some other support groups of the former vice president purchased and presented the nomination and expression of interest forms to Abubakar, urging him to contest for the ticket of the PDP in the 2019 election. The groups, who stormed the headquarters of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation in Wuse 2 area of Abuja with the forms they had earlier picked at the PDP national secretariat, said that they resolved to tax themselves to raise the funds for the PDP forms as expression of their commitment to support Atiku in his 2019 presidential bid. Atiku, whose emotion took a better of him, busted into tears and wiped his face with a white handkerchief, urged his teeming supporters to go the extra mile and mobilise support for him to ensure he secures PDP’s ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election. Accompanied by scores of his supporters, Atiku, who repeatedly wiped his tears with a white handkerchief, called on his teeming supporters to go the extra mile and mobilise support for him to en-sure he secures the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election. The expression of interest and nomination forms were handed to the former vice president by the Atiku Support Group, a movement galvanising support for his presidential ambition. The group said it taxed its members to raise N40 million for the forms as an expression of their love for the Turaki Adamawa. Explaining why he became so emotional, Atiku said: “It is almost three decades of my political career this year. But today has also turned out to be one of the most emotional days in those three decades of my political career. I have tried to present myself as a candidate for the office of the president in a number of elections. The only time I succeeded of being on the ballot was in 2007. “In 2007, I was on the ballot not because I believe I was going to win but because I wanted to prove a constitutional issue so that all Nigerians can avail themselves with the constitutional protection, and I succeeded at the Supreme Court. And that is why today, no Nigerian can be stopped from contesting an election unless he has been convicted by a court of law.”

Muhammadu Buhari

As the then presidential candidate of the now defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, now president, wept in the full glare of the public at an event in Abuja. This art made most Nigerians then to wonder what could make a retired army general cry a few days before the nation’s presidential elections. But for the supporters of the former head of state, the answers are not far-fetched; he was broken by the dismal leadership records in the country. Buhari broke down in tears at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, at the event organised by his party, CPC, to mark the end of its 2011 presidential campaign. Buhari wept intermittently as he managed to conclude his 12 page address at the occasion. The then Vice presidential candidate of CPC, Pastor Tunde Bakare, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, ex- Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), were all on the high table as Buhari sobbed in between words. They were also moved to tears as they used their handkerchiefs to control sipping tears. The emotions created by Buhari’s sobs inevitably led to the abrupt disruption of the question and answer session with newsmen that were scheduled to follow. He said: “After being head of state, I am sure I could easily have retired into a life of comfort and ease as an elder statesman, as a contractor or as a beneficiary of any one of the nation’s many generous prebendal offerings. But that is not what I wish to do with my life. “And so, if I don’t take any of these alternative courses of action, it should be clear that I am not in this for the love of office or for pursuit after personal glory or in order to achieve some personal goal. Far be it from me that this should be. I need nothing and I have nothing more to prove. “I am in this solely for the love of my country and concern for its destiny and the fate of its people. And that is why, despite the many disappointments along the way, I am still in the struggle and will remain in it to the end. I have decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to fighting for the people of this countryuntil their right is restored to them.”

Samuel Ortom

The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, wept uncontrollably in public at the news of the massacre of his people by Fulani herdsmen. The bloodletting occurred in January 2018, and scores of people including children were victims of the attacks by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. The governor lamented the unwarranted wanton destruction of lives and property. “What I have seen here is far beyond the report we received. Several innocent people have been killed. Women and children murdered with their throats slit open. “Many people are still missing while several houses have been destroyed. The whole of Guma and Logo have been turned into desolate lands. This is unfortunate; we are living in a country that is presumed to be our own. Security agencies in this country had been aware of the impending attacks and what you are seeing here is just a tip of the iceberg,” he said. Ortom urged the Federal Government to step into the matter so as to avert further destruction of lives and property. He expressed regret that the state government informed the Federal Government of the impending attack but it still took place.

Ayodele Fayose

The outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, broke down in tears on a national Television just a few days to the July 14 governorship election in the state. Fayose cried when speaking with Channels Television, saying he was in pains after he was “shot at” and manhandled by security agents, lamenting that, “I cannot take this anymore” before crawling away from the camera. The governor’s tears came minutes after he addressed a crowd of PDP supporters, and he later appeared in bandages on his right arm and a neck brace. He lamented, “I call on the international; community; Ekiti is under siege. How can I be Governor of Ekiti State and be treated like this in my own country? My people, I call on all of you: stand and remain standing. I will go back to the hospital for a while to rest… I am having a lot of pains, but I prefer to bear these pains because of you. I prefer to bear these pains because of you…”

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