Posted November 09th, 2006

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On the 28th of September, 2006 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s boss, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, paid an August visit to the Senate wherein he presented a report of the dealings of both incumbent and past Nigerian Governors. At the end and based on this report, of the 36 Governors, 32 were indicted as corrupt. The implication of the above is that in every 9 Nigerian Governor, 8 of them are corrupt. Lord have mercy! But that is not even the point I’m driving home here, I guess that discourse is for another day. What I find most amazing is the reaction of the concerned Governors to this report. In less than 24hours after the oral publication of this report by Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and the written widespread publication by the Newspapers, several affected Governors either personally or through their servants and or agents have made counter claims and defences to the EFCC generated report.

Of particular fancy to me is the spoken rejoinder of Governor Uzor Kalu of Abia State. The Governor who we understand has his eyes fixed on the presidential seat was evidently ruffled by this report. He accused the person of the president of corruption and christened the EFCC as a “catch am” agency. Amazing!

In another encounter with the “catch am” agency, (many thanks to Governor Orji Kalu for a sectional vocabulary) the Governor of Ekiti State, who had a week earlier referred to himself as the “Rock of Gibraltar of Ekiti State”, reacted to the arrest and detention of the Honourable members (are they really honourable?) of Ekiti State House of Assembly. These legislators we are told are being detained and interrogated by the EFCC in connection with their role in the impeachment of the 1st deputy Governor of Ekiti State under Governor Dr. Ayo Fayose, as the incumbent is the third under him, (may she be the last!). The Governor in a public statement while reacting to the arrest of the dishonourable members (printer’s error!) stated that “I am a man and I will handle anything that comes my way as a man”. What a statement of courage!

The above statement of Governor Fayose troubled me all night. I asked myself what the true measure of a man? Are they biceps, triceps, a masculine voice, a male reproductive organ or what? In my deepest thought, I concluded and for good reasons too that all these are and can never be the measure of a true man. The reason for that conclusion on my part is quite simple, a close consideration of some members of the animal kingdom would disclose that some of them have the same features. If indeed biceps, triceps et. al. are the measure of a man, shall we then confer on apes the esteemed honour of Manhood? If our answer is in the negative, which I think it is then, we need to ask who a man is. In deriving an answer for this question, I consulted with one of the best leaders that has ever been on this side of the divide. I announce the grand entrance of King David. The ancient King on his departure to the place of all the earth gathered his successor and son to him, his dying words to his favourite son and the heir apparent were quite simple but weighty. He simply said “Show thyself a man!”

I find that statement most amusing. Amusing because at the time this statement was made to Solomon, he was a full fledged grown adult male, about to be the 2nd coronated King of Israel. I suppose that what David was saying, and I dare re-echo his wisdom in this article is that, the measure of a man is more than a qualification on the basis of gender.

In Yoruba culture, the Nigerian stock to which I belong, people who have proved their worth and standard, their integrity and honesty, their capacity to defend the truth and that which has been committed to them even at the point of death are called “Okunrin Meta”, “Okunrin Ogun”, “Omo Akin”…which literarily means “Three men in one”, “Man of War”, “Son of a Warrior”!

I daresay that men are denoted men because of the consequences of their valiant actions. Infact, men never say they are men, their lives and actions pronounce them as such. Men take responsibility, men don’t succumb to pressure in the face of adversity, men can dare not to steal because they believe that is the right thing to do, men at all times in obedience to their conscience and moral values refuse to succumb to pressure. Dear readers, manhood is a mark of the brave, courageous, valiant and honest and it is irrespective of gender for in this nation we have seen people of the female gender who have qualified for the manhood honour based on their antecedents in public and private life. Please don’t be misinformed, men are not expected nor meant to be flawless, yet men take responsibility for their actions either positive or negative. When the odds are against them men fight hard and fight through for they almost always fight for a just and defendable cause. The above my dear readers are the symbol of manhood and anyone who exhibits such can be conferred with the honour of a man.

If indeed, I have been able to adequately represent to you the measure of a man, then consider these values side by side with our dear Governor Ayo Fayose and judge for yourself if he is a man as he claims or not. I bring him to the court of public opinion and in resting my case I simply say I have no arguments, for this case is “Res Ipsa Loquitor” the case speaks for itself.

Olubunmi Fesobi, a Legal practitioner wrote from Lagos.

10.00am (3/10/06)

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