Wednesday, December 2, 2020 11:44 am
By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Let’s take a trip away from the many tragedies of Nigeria to the hypertension-curing subject of political comedy.
Political comedy is sweeter than Dangote sugar – from Nigeria to America, to all over the world,
Who could have believed that as President of the United States of America, alias POTUS, Donald J. Trump would lose more law suits of his own manufacture than all the charge-and-bail lawyers of Nigeria put together? Oh Jesu!
If you think that Donald Trump trumps all past American presidents in the comedy department, wait until you read about former American President Gerald Ford who had an entire book, The Gerry Ford Joke Book, written on his lunatic mishaps.
Gerry Ford was once quoted as saying: “If Abraham Lincoln were still to be alive today, he would turn in his grave!” Talk of a man being alive and yet turning in his grave.
There is the caper that Gerry Ford won an election in his constituency only because the people of his community were tired of seeing him around and therefore sent him off to Washington DC by massively voting for him to leave town and thus take his clowning to the capital city.
Ronald Reagan in his time had Sergeant Doe visiting from Liberia, and after being primed endlessly to remember Samuel Doe’s name, Reagan eventually said to the large audience: “Meet our friend from Africa, Ambassador Mo!”
Call it political comedy because politics is a game of funny characters. These characters make things happen like in absurd theatre of the farcical species.
Whether in their manner of speaking, or in carriage, the political comedians are in a special class of their own making.
During the time of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, his many followers would gladly tell you: “Zik is above human destruction!”
When you ask the followers what they exactly mean, they would reply you thusly: “Zikism is no jingoism!”
Even as you are left thoroughly confused, you may then run into Dr KO Mbadiwe who would tell you: “I am no longer of the timber and calibre class because I am now a political juggernaut!”
Whatever that means, you can shout all you like about the balloon-like grammar, but the politician’s voice must somewhat carry.
Nigeria’s Second Republic boasted of a very hilarious character in then Kano State Governor Barkin Zuwo.
When Barkin Zuwo was asked a question on the mineral resources to be found in his beloved Kano State, the man pointedly replied: “There are many mineral resources in Kano like Fanta, Coke, Sprite, Mirinda, Pepsi Cola, 7Up, Kunu, Fura di nunu, Tango, Danta Cola etc!”
A journalist once asked Barkin Zuwo about his running mate, and got this answer: “My running mate is Abubakar Rimi who keeps running after my life! That Dan Iska called Rimi is always my running mate, chasing after me everywhere in Kano, never allowing me to rest, wicked running mate!”
When arrested after the 1983 last day coup of General Muhammadu Buhari for having millions of Naira in the house, Barkin Zuwo coolly told his military arresters that he did not see anything wrong in having “Government money in government house!”
As Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
During President Goodluck Jonathan’s time, his wife Dame Patience Jonathan had many quotable quotes attributed to her in cyberspace such as: “Vote for umblerra! We should have love for our fellow Nigerians irrespective of their nationality! The bombers who born them? Wasn’t it not a woman? They were once a children, now a adult, now they are bombing women and children, making some children a widow. Na only you waka come? Diarris God o!”
Dame Patience even took her poetic licence to the combo of President Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo, reportedly saying: “My husband and Sambo is a good people.”
Dame Patience empathized with widows by addressing them thusly: “My fellow widows!”
There is this not-so-funny joke about a pastor who asked all the widows in the congregation to go to a side of the church only to see one woman abandoning her living husband to join the widows. When the husband protested, his wife replied him sharply: “Are you alive when you cannot buy me ordinary Nkwobi? Let me join my fellow widows to get their blessings, biko!”
One can therefore understand why Dame Patience allies with widows given how her husband never used his enormous powers as president to deal with then opposition APC politicians who kept insulting him and calling him “Clueless.”
The twist in the tale is that the selfsame APC stars of political comedy are trooping to former President Jonathan to get him back as president now that their “messiah” has proven to be “Clueless Quadrupled!”
What a pack of jokers!
-Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, poet and public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos