- Post 06 January 2013
- Last Updated on 22 January 2013
- By Owi Ochoche
Power politics and death provides an intriguing perspective on the Yaradua presidency from the view of his (Yaradua’s) spokes person, Olusegun Adeniyi. Firstly, I think it is important to salute Mr Adeniyi simply for telling the Yaradua story as he understood it. Prior to reading power politics and death, I read Chinua Achebe’s “There was a country” and something that stood out to me was Achebe’s regret for having not published “The Ifeajuna Manuscript”. Although Achebe states that there were glaring inconsistencies in Major Ifeajuna’s account of the first military coup, he regrets that fact that today we have no firsthand account of the coup from any of its leaders and he wishes he had not passed on the opportunity to publish Major Ifeajuna’s story despite its apparent flaws. I find Achebe’s regret very instructive and reflective of the need for key players within Nigeria to always tell their stories no matter how flawed or subjective it might be. For this reason I salute Mr Adeniyi once again for understanding the importance of enshrining his experiences in government.
I was in university outside Nigeria throughout the Yaradua presidency and I frankly didn’t think much of Yaradua or his cabinet. Solely informed by friends in Nigeria and the news, I was convinced that Yradua was the worst thing to happen to Nigeria since SAP. Not much has changed in my feelings about Yaradua’s regime as I still view it as a colossal failure and an unfocussed experiment. However, a lot has changed in the assessment of the man Yaradua himself, and my understanding of the events that led to the end of his presidency.
Mr Adeniyi dances on the line between “the story from his perspective” and “sentimental subjectivity” of which I feel he manages to remain in the former for the most part of the narrative. He comes across as quite balanced and objective and one cannot help but genuinely sympathize with him and his principal at some point.
Many issues are raised in this book and a lot of information is divulged. Chances are the reader will end up having more questions than answers after reading. But I think the objective of these kinds of books should be to raise questions and get people talking about the issues and our recent past.
I find it interesting the assertion by Mr Adeniyi that the entire notion of a clandestine kitchen cabinet running the country was an absolute myth and the creation of Mallam Nasir El Rufai. He states also that El Rufai boasted and claimed responsibility for the creation of the cabal myth in front of him (Mr Adeniyi) and a few politicians.
The book also attempts to significantly diminish the influence of the first lady on the government and paints the picture of an overprotective and somewhat paranoid wife attempting to act in what she perceived to be the best interest of her sick husband.
Whether Olusegun Adeniyi was generous or conservative with the facts will probably be the subject to many debates to come, but the truth remains that a story has been told from an especially privileged source about a very significant event in our history. It is my honest prayer that as many people as possible read Mr. Adeniyi’s account of events so the general debate can be broadened and the facts better exposed.