(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 21, 2021)
Chanting a million and one ‘gbosas’ to acknowledge the magic performed last week in Abuja by Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), would be an exercise in ingratitude.
For executing the 8th Wonder of the World, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo deserve to be worshipped by Nigerians forever.
Surely, it can only be magic, not a miracle; to strike the ground with a wand, ‘gbaa!’, and a car’s rooftop cracks open the earth, slowly erupting into full view, like a mild volcano, amid dust and thunderous chants of ‘CHANGE!’, birthing the first Made-in-Nigeria electric car, Kona.
It can only be Eh-Fi-Si abracadabra. You may call it ‘efisi’, if you like swagger.
Without a workforce, steel rolling mill, power supply, technological know-how, mechanical and electrical components, the Buhari-Osinbajo government must have secretly gathered invisible hands that worked round the clock to produce Nigeria’s first electric car. This government doesn’t lie, I swear.
Permit me to quickly buttress my deep conviction that the Buhari-Osinbajo rulership doesn’t lie.
Exasperated about being called a liar, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a viral video, said, “‘My seven-year-old grandson called me and said, ‘Grandpa, tell me the truth; why do they call you Liar Mohammed?’”
Alhaji Lai added, “I looked at him. What do you say to a seven-year-old (grand)son? How do you explain politics to him? So, I said, no; don’t mind them.”
The Buhari-Osinbajo government doesn’t lie, it only doesn’t fulfil promises. Soon, the FG will replace the gloom on Nigerian roads with the gleam of the green electric car. This may not be by 2023, however; remember, Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, prophesied the APC would rule for more than the next 32 years.
Fathered and christened by Hyundai, a South-Korean carmaker, Kona electric car isn’t an abiku that comes and goes in countless seasons. But, baby Kona had actually come in November 2020 when Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, publicly unveiled and presented it in Lagos, where the car was ostensibly manufactured.
Therefore, Osinbajo wasn’t the godfather of Kona, it was Sanwo-Olu, who presented the car at baptism. I repeat, this government doesn’t lie.
Don’t get me wrong, please. It’s not a crime to present and re-present the same car to the public 30 times, it only shows government’s seriousness and commitment to technology transfer.
But do you know the real reasons why the cerebral Osinbajo re-presented Kona to Nigerians seven long months after Sanwo-Olu had unveiled it? I know, and I’ll tell you.
After six months in power with neither direction nor a cabinet, signs that the aircraft of the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would need to be pushed and jump-started – like a ‘kabukabu’ – began to manifest.
The Buhari-Osinbajo regime badly needed the Kona PR because in the last six years, the Federal Government hasn’t fulfilled one-hundredth of its electoral promises.
But unpromised dividends of democracy such as killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, corruption, ethnic agitations, banditry, nepotism, despondency, fear and hopelessness have been delivered as sizzling hot takeaways to Nigerians benumbed by a tragic, fractured nation.
On their campaign trails in 2015 and 2019, Buhari-Osinbajo brandished hope to the electorate, churning out promises like the rapid-fire guns used by killer herdsmen.
As their ecstatic supporters roared during campaigns in 2015, Buhari and Osinbajo promised to crush Boko Haram within three months in power and lower the exchange rate of dollar to naira which then stood below N200.
The magical duo promised more, vowing to ban government officials from going abroad for medical treatment, dismantle the Office of the First Lady, publicly declare assets, distribute 20,000 megawatts of electricity within their first four years, revive Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, construct superhighways across the country, among others.
I can bet my neck that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of integrity will fulfil its electoral promises before the expiration of its two terms, although the blood of innocent southern and Middle Belt farmers have been used to irrigate the pasture fed to Fulani cattle.
Today, the naira has thankfully appreciated at almost N500 to a dollar while light doesn’t blink in my Iyana Ipaja-Agege neck of the woods just as intensive work is ongoing to complete the 100-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, six years after promising the construction of phantom 3,000-kilometre superhighways across the country.
Thank goodness the Buhari-Osinbajo government is winning the terror war though everyday negotiations and payments of ransoms on kidnapped citizens across Nigeria are rampant and reminiscent of the slave trade era when dog life was of higher value than human life.
It’s true that confessed Boko Haram terrorists are now regular guests at government houses where they are hosted to sumptuous negotiation dinners with their AK-47 strapped across their necks as they smile at the camera, while the President has commanded his troops not to ‘give breathing space to terrorists’.
For a government being bashed at home by its citizens for innumerable reasons, and buffeted abroad by world leaders over the ban on Twitter, a re-presentation of Made-in-Nigeria Kona by Osinbajo was highly needed.
Despite its rarity, however, I had the good fortune of seeing an electric car yesterday. My shylock landlord, after increasing rent on his houses and shops for the third year running, bought one and decided to unveil it on Father’s Day.
I didn’t go out to felicitate with my landlord. I remained in my one-room apartment and peeped through the window because I’ve yet to pay security levy. The bill is despite the fact that robbers have visited the house twice in the last one month.
I could see and hear everyone clearly because the car was parked near my window. This is what I heard:
Caretaker: Oga landlord, dis tear rubber na confam o!
Landlord: (Smiles) It’s the Lord’s doing, it’s beautiful in our sight.
Corper: (Snapping selfies with the car) This car is tush, sir. How much does it cost, sir?
Landlord: N24m only.
AbereIfa: Ha! Dis small car?
Caretaker: Don’t you know it doesn’t use fuel? It uses electricity.
AbereIfa: Electricity? How?
Landlord: The car runs on electricity. When fully charged for 9 hrs 35 mins, the vehicle can cover a distance of 482km which is equivalent to the distance between Lagos and Warri.
AbereIfa: If the electricity wey follow am come finish, where you go see light recharge am?
Caretaker: Oga Landlord will go Ghana or put 50 litre-gallon fuel for boot. If electricity finish, oga go pour fuel.
Landlord: No, it doesn’t use fuel. I’ll charge it here at home.
AbereIfa: With tenants’ prepaid credits? That one no go dey possible o, oga.
Caretaker: No be electric car you suppose buy, Landlord. See, armed robbers dey disturb us every night, the toilet is not good, there’s no water, tenants are unhappy.
Landlord: How does your welfare concern me? Are you members of my family or tribe?
Corper: Landlord, get into the car and drive it nah. I want to see you drive your electric car like the one I saw on TV yesterday.
Landlord: You saw one on the TV yesterday?
Corper: Yes, sir.
Landlord: How did the one you saw on TV look like?
Corper: It was green in colour.
Corper: Yes, green and gleamy. I saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo behind the wheel, in company with two big men. There were many security men around the car, putting their hands on the car as if preventing it from disappearing.
AbereIfa: Chai, dis girl.
Corper: Yes, nah. They didn’t allow the car to move freely, unlike President Joe Biden’s test-run of an electric Ford truck in the US. Biden fastened his seat belt. You can’t say that about every big man in the Nigerian electric car. And Vice President Osinbajo used one hand to drive, Biden used both hands.”
AbereIfa: VP used one hand? Chai, diarisgod o.
Facebook: @tunde odesola