Most Insightful Public Commentator, Louis Odion FNGE Writes For You : Porn Lawmakers?
By Louis Odion, FNGE
So, a decade after bequeathing Sharia to Yobe and a quarter century political career during which he served thrice as Governor, Bukar Abba Ibrahim would end up the new face of pornography in Nigeria.
What makes this feat quite extra-ordinary is not just that it was performed by a presumably vigorous sexagenarian in a threesome; more startling, if not ominous, is its timing.
One, at a time when the nation is convulsing under a separatist storm, when his native Yobe State remains prostrate under the Boko Haram yoke, it is something of a grave concern that all the senator seemed to care about was arranging downtown motel for his ménage a trois.
Two, with the sex tape leaked by SaharaReporters barely a week after Sallah, there is bound to be a potentially explosive debate in the times ahead as to whether the senator succumbed to the temptation during the holy fasting month when the highest form of piety and chastity is expected of the faithful. Well, we refuse to be drawn into the other side talk as to whether buratashi (aphrodisiac) was involved.
While proclaiming Sharia in August 2000 in Yobe as governor amid solemn songs and dance after collaring the state assembly to pass the executive bill, Ibrahim rhapsodized that his vision was to evolve a new society with zero tolerance for vices like production/consumption of alcohol, gambling and prostitution.
Before he bowed out of office in 2007, not a few men and women had been mercilessly dealt with for living short of the new high ethical standards so prescribed under Ibrahim's watch. It was the season when the contagion of Sharia was spreading in the north. Jangebe, for instance, famously got his right arm chopped off for petty stealing in Zamfara State.
The puzzle then is where adultery - the sin under which Ibrahim's could be classified - is exempted under Sharia. In the case of either adultery or fornication, framers of that religious code of conduct obviously envisaged the iniquity between a sample of male and female.
To imagine that Ibrahim this time went extra mile to procure two ladies! Worse still, it remains for Ibrahim to deny whether the two ladies recruited for his threesome were not prostitutes.
Before the great expose of last weekend, nothing in Ibrahim's customarily dour countenance, absolutely nothing in his medium frame, would have suggested someone that adventurous or prolific.
Truly, as Shakespeare tells us, there is no art to read a mind's construct on the face. Even footages of the 2-minute video now in the public domain are certainly far less mosaic of physical attributes expected of a stud. Other than the detumescent look on his face after the act, we only saw Bukka's saggy belly - instead of the archetypal six-packs - as he fumbles with his pants.
Interestingly, no sooner had the 2-minute video gone viral online last weekend than one Ifeanyi Emeka, purporting to be writing from Lokoja, mounted a spirited rejoinder attacking the publisher, dismissing it as as "a compendium of lies, hatred, character assassination and fraudulent news reportage whose collaborators are sons and daughters of Satan".
He came close to narrowing it down to the handiwork of political adversaries envious of Ibrahim's "rising profile" ahead of the 2019 polls.
But Emeka's sophistry was soon shredded and exposed as weeping louder than the bereaved following Ibrahim's reported chat with Premium Times. True, caught in similar circumstance, the average Nigerian adulterer or fornicator would have simply lied with a straight face. But not a candid Ibrahim. In a rare show of candour, he chose not deny herding two ladies to the tryst.
The senator representing Yobe East defended his action as something done within his right to privacy: “If they say I raped, that’s a different matter altogether. Is it because I am a public official then I am not supposed to be entitled to private life? This is a personal, private matter."
He continued: “What does my having been with a girl have to do with the public? You know the normal thing. People ask for unreasonable things, and if you deny them, they try to blackmail you if they have a way."
All said, what seems to make Ibrahim's misadventure all the more abominable is his poor sense of judgement. For a man once entrusted with people's fate as governor for a cumulative ten years and would therefore be expected to take definitive decision in a moment of peril, it is quite troubling that Ibrahim only looked on sheepishly while one of the two ladies filmed him naked with a cell phone.
Hear his kindergarten rationale: "They just mentioned it to me as a joke and I took it as nothing really serious... This is something that happened between two adults.”
Or, maybe this should merely be seen as symptomatic of the virus of impunity now commonly believed to be ravaging our political class. For, only that could embolden a cheat to be that nonchalant while being video-taped in a most compromising position.A sensible man should be able to tell when the proverbial handshake begins to transcend the elbow.
Added to Ibrahim's folly is the lack of shame or contrition after being exposed. Making a bold face when his head ought to be bowed in remorse, he even had the temerity to add: "I have commenced investigations to find out why it is circulating... But from all indications, it is a blackmail.”
Pray, assuming the senator is able to establish a case of blackmail, what does he intend to do next? Raise it as "a matter of urgent national importance" on the senate floor? Or enjoin the police to press charges?
Perhaps because he inhabits a dark space devoid ethical scruples, Ibrahim could not be bothered about how others feel. With a good number of his colleagues in the Red Chamber already neck-deep with their own dingy canoes in the cesspit of murk, we can understand if he does not show concern how this might further impact the dignity and integrity of the very institution whose insignia he currently flaunts.
From his haughty tone in the interview with Premium Times, he seemed to have foreclosed any possibility of apology of any kind to the Senate Ethics and Privilege Committee.
But he should know that the scandalous story will add to the untold trauma of members of his constituency savaged beyond words by Boko Haram, tens of thousands of whom are presently marooned in IDP camps across the North-East.
Even if he does not appear to care how the video of shame would affect the self-esteem of his wives, one of whom is no other than the foreign minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The memory is certainly not the kind a diplomat would proudly associate with abroad.
When next he finds himself in the company of his daughters, will Ibrahim still have the moral courage to demand of them purity or seek to hold them by the high standards he himself fails to keep? Will he smile or frown if his sons report being mocked in school as offspring of a super stud?
When a governor in India found himself in similar moral puddle in January this year, he did not wait to be told before tendering his resignation, prefacing it with a public apology.
Incidentally, Shanmuganathan is 67-year-old like Ibrahim and was the chief executive of India’s north-eastern state of Meghalaya. He threw in the towel following allegation of sexual misconduct, of turning his high office into a "young ladies club".
Estimated 100 members of his staff wrote in the petition that he had "compromised the dignity" of the governor's office by making it a place where “young ladies come and go at will with direct orders from the Governor’’.
Note, Shanmuganathan was swept out of office by the wave of mere allegation/perception. No one caught him red-handed in the act or had a sex video of him.
But this is almighty Senator Ibrahim, the prince of impunity.