Between Tom Ikimi and APC Chairmanship: The Cap does not Fit By Adekunle Omobaba
Since a politician never believes what he says, he is always astonished when others do.
-Charles de Gaulle
Considered from the moral, social and legal perspectives, politics-which provides the platform for the delivery of the greatest good to the good majority of the people-should be for only the best of hands. And brains too. It should be for those with the knowledge of the most pressing needs of the people, and who, given their wealth of experience are patriotic and selfless enough to fulfill their party’s manifesto and the mandate of the people. That is what obtains in saner political climes.
But in the murky waters that Nigeria’s political landscape provides there are fauna of every imaginable kind. From predatory crocodile and sharks to the harmless tilapias, the various species struggling for survival are there, jostling for political relevance. The terrestrial varieties are no less different. The ones that attract the most attention are sometimes not only the most vocal but the perfidious political chameleons that change colour as dictated by the ever changing tropical weather. Their driving passion is therefore, to reap where they never sowed.
Some call them ‘political harlots’. Others say they are ‘political turn coats’; who, without qualms swim with every tide so far the price is right. And of course, that tide swings in the direction of their overt greed, selfishness, avarice, ande gluttonous penchant for the acquisition of material gains. Bereft of any guiding political philosophy or ideology they would gladly kowtow to the powers that be at that material time, and even defend institutional anomalies without recourse to the common good. That explains why analysts tag them ‘Any Government In Power’, with the fitting acronym, AGIP.
Interestingly, one Nigerian politician who fits this obnoxious bill, like a square peg fixed in a square hole,is one Tom Ikimi. That name rings a bell, doesn’t it? From serving the military juntas to different political parties he has traversed Nigeria’s political terrain more like one of the lusty locusts ever ready to plunder and to pillage.
Chief Tom Ikimi B. Arch (Hons) FNIA KSG is an architect and politician.He has been the Principal Partner of Architectural Firm Tomikimi Design Company since 1977. His fory in Nigeria’s politics started while he was a Member, Constituent Assembly 1988/89. Since then. He has served as the National Chairman – National Republican Convention Party, NRC from 1990 to 1992.He was the Special Adviser to the much-despised dictator and Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, General Sani Abacha(now late ) in February 1994. Subsequently, he became the Foreign Affairs Minister from March 1995 – July 1998.
Back to politics he was a foundation member and Member of Board of Trustees of – All Peoples Party APP, from 1999 to 2001 and later Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. And headed the National Convention Presidential Election Panel in January 2003.
From his antecedent, you cannot but say this is one smart Alec, who always knows his way around the corridors of political power. But wait a minute, his journey in politics has not been to serve anyone but himself in an attempt to attempt to his insatiable lust for power.
Elsewhere, the citizens would have questioned what moral credentials or business a man who dined with the dictatorial devils and gladly and glibly justified the most brutal hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a world-acclaimed environmentalist has to do with the country’s politics. But that is Nigeria for you, where those without any form of allegiance to the nation- state would find their way into positions of authority just to lord it over the oppressed citizens.
It should be clear to discerning minds that the man who flirted with political parties of different ideologies such as the conservative NRC and PDP would get into a progressive party such as the All Progressives Congress, APC widely regarded as a credible opposition to the PDP behemoth. The irony of it all is that Ikimi is dreaming of clinching the presidential ticket of the APC.
‘Tofiakwa!’ a concerned Nigerian who got wind of his vaulting ambition yodeled as an instant reflex action. But you cannot blame him.
Let us periscope his ambition on the moral ground. Read this confessional statement from him. Prince Charles Dickson, writing via email@example.com from Jos,Plateau state with title “The Recent PDP Conventional Confusion: Our Politicians, They, Themselves
Stated that ‘Tom Ikimi had said at the MDD World Press Conference and off record too while joking with the pen boys seriously that,
“Ojo Madueke came to me in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and brought me articles he had written in praises of Abacha. I gave him cash tips for him leave my office in peace”
What manner of man who sees no wrong in inducing others with money would feel qualified to lead a country in great need of moral uprightness?
Of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Ikim had written this with the title: LEADERSHIP CRISIS – NIGERIA on Friday, February 26, 2010. “His quest for a third term as a stepping stone to Life Presidency was aborted by the efforts of a few courageous Nigerians. He had no time left to plot and execute any other evil plan that would guarantee him an elongation of his tenure, so he decided to muddy the waters.
“Being a man insatiable for power, he proceeded to create a structure for indirect rule for Nigeria with himself to preside over it. He unilaterally altered the Constitution of the PDP Party in a manner to ensure that only he would qualify for the post of Chairman Board of Trustees with powers to control the President. He then had to choose a candidate whom he thought would fit the plan.”
Ordinarily, one would take this as a comment from a concerned Nigerian. But a deep insight into the mindset of the man called Tom Ikimi would reveal that he was irked more by Obasanjo’s hold on power, than its impact on the livelihood of ordinary Nigerians.It is obvious that he too would have done as exhibited by his performance as the NRC Chairman than good governance for Nigeria.
When he spoke with Simon Ebegbulem, of Sunday Vanguard , Benin City,in 2012 he tried to be evasive on the contentious issue of the execution of Saro-Wiwa.
You’ve not answered the question of Saro Wiwa; but do you have any regrets as Minister during Abacha’s regime?
“No regrets at all. The situation determines the decision that you take. The situation Nigeria found itself at that time determined what we did. No one in Nigeria, in the time of the military, from Gowon to Abacha, will say that when they were there and they were able to influence the actions of the military.”
Yet,he claimed to have influenced the Petroleum Trust Fund,PTF under Abacaha.
Should such a person without any moral compunction for the senseless killing of a fellow citizen, and who says one thing only to do another be allowed to lead Nigeria?
At 68, he was a divorcee and he had this to say: “I don’t have a wife now and I am not in a hurry to find a wife. I am available in case anyone wants to marry me (laughter). But I am in politics and it is a full job.”
Certainly, Nigeria needs a highly responsible man with a stable family to lead her to the promised land.
In all this, if the APC wants to be taken seriously; as the opposition political party to wrest power from the PDP and re-write the history of the utter neglect of the citizenry, crass corruption in high places, inept and clueless leadership, people such as Tom Ikimi who is in politics all for self aggrandizement should not be allowed to add dirt to the sweeping broom that the APC needs to cleanse the Augean stable.