Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The trial of Citizen Ojo Maduekwe of Nigeria! Written by Kayode Ogundamisi

The trial of Citizen Ojo Maduekwe of Nigeria! Written by Kayode Ogundamisi
First published on

Act one scene 1. (London the Fiction but real)
Nigerian High Commission 9 Northumberland Avenue, London. Time 7PM. 17th January 2010. (Nigerians had protested the absence of President Musa Yar’Adua on the 15th January 2010 and Ojo Maduekwe is on a Save the government mission to “appease” Nigerian groups.
A crowd of garishly dressed people are sitted, watching a live performance by an "awilo" singer they sway to the groove of the music and some of the dignitary’s sitted at the front rows look a little disappointed when the performance is interrupted
RaZakari. Grabs the microphone from the “awilo” singer
RaZakari: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Nigerian house our guest today is no other person than Ojo! (Applause) wait don’t clap not Ojo Lakunle of Oja Village headmaster o! But Ojo Maduekwe our honourable minister of Foreign Affairs. GCON. AGIP. MYOB BSC. MSC. MA. As I am the minister 1 in the ministry of the Nigerian high commission I am a man without bitterness. I know you all are witness to Nigerians that marched from Parliament Square on Friday and had the audacity to picket the high commission. Imagine one of them called me stupid but I took it to the chin. I am the father of you all and I am glad I have an apology from a repentant marcher! She is actually here, hey Madam Jola Mando rise up let everyone clap for you (young Nigerian lady stand in the 2nd row, Long applause and she waves frantically) Anyway enough about me our minister will take questions from you.

Gandozki Owolawawa: Hon minister sir! I am so happy to meet you in person, as a matter of fact I watch you on television especially on BEN TV. ( Cameraman from Ben TV claps forgetting he was holding a camera and camera drops, laughter and chuckle in the room) I am proud of you, the good job you are doing for our country, well my question is . How do you manage to do it?

Ojo. Thank you very much, it is people like you Nigeria needs, I must thank you. It is Gods doing. We try our best to show that Nigerians are lively sociable people who love life and live it to the fullest. Don’t mind those marching all over the place they are jobless, the presidents 7 point agenda is working. As a matter of fact we have solid relationship with Saudi Arabia that we don’t have to worry about a hospital for Mr President, anyway what is you question again?

Unachi Babbyala: Sir my own question is short. I did some printing job for the high commission last year and I have not been paid, what can you do to help.

Ojo. Take my card. I have signed it and it’s got a PDP to be paid mark. You must see, Lafida on Monday and your money will be paid pronto. (Connivingly in a loud whisper to Lafida Nigeria’s High commissioner top the United Kingdom) Just promise to see him and thank him immediately he delivers and he perform speedily

Act 2 Scene 1. United Nations Complex (A true Story)

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: I write for Sahara Reporters and my question is very direct, to you. You were on BBC yesterday and you said that you had not spoken to President Yar'Adua for the 60 days that he has been gone. And yet you are moving around the world claiming that you are representing the President and his own interest, whereas you haven't had any mandate from that President in [the] last 60 days. So how can we trust that you, being someone who has acted on behalf of every government, both legitimate and illegitimate -- I know that you supported Abacha, very strongly -- that you are not just going around doing your own wish, because Nigeria has no leadership at this point?

You know... And as you have done consistently, when you did, which you did under Abacha, that again you are doing this because this is what is convenient and the Nigerian people have been rendered powerless at this time, and you just have done what you wish to be done because again, Nigerian right now has no President that could have even given you the power that you claim you have been exercising.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: Well your question is so insulting, and so abusive, and so disgraceful, [it] does not even convey an educated man...

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: That's not the question I'm asking...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: ...that it does not deserve a response. [Smiles.] And I will not answer your question.

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: You still don't get the question I'm asking; I'm asking you a question that I expect you to answer, not to insult me back.

MINISTER OJO MADUEKWE: You don't deserve an... you don't deserve an answer. [Sits back, smiles and looks around.]

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: You, you have to answer me because you are the one who has called us here to come and insult us with this whole rigamarole about how the Nigerian...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: [Gestures.] Is anybody in charge of this place?

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: What do you mean, everybody [sic] is in charge of this place?

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: [Points around.] Is anybody in charge of this...?

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: What are you trying -- this is not Nigeria. You answer the question and forget about harassing me.

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: All right, I guess I will intervene. [Laughs.] Yeah, OK.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: [Smiles and nods, looking around the room with relief and satisfaction.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: I'll only intervene in this way. What I'll do is I'm gonna ask -- as I understand it -- ask you a question, you know?

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: Yes, yes, he should answer my question.

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: OK, all right, and then, then we'll move on from that. I guess the question, I guess, I'm just, it's not to rephrase it, and I understand, I understand that, that you were offended by how it was asked. And I guess, I mean, I asked at the stake-out how, when you had last spoken to the President...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: [Points finger.] I"ll answer your own question, don't ask his own. [Points at Sahara Reporters.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: No, you won't, you will not. I understand...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: Don't ask his own. [Points at Sahara Reporters.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: No, no, but I guess the, but I mean, to me there IS a question of...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: Is it your question?

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: It is my question.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: If it is your question, go ahead and ask it and I will answer it...

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: OK, right...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EK(W)E: ...but I will not answer his... [Points again at Sahara Reporters.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: My question, my question would be if -- and I heard the same interview on BBC -- if for these reasons you haven't spoken with the President...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: He is a very miserable fellow. [Points again at Sahara Reporters.]

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: Don't insult me, Minister. Why would you say I'm miserable? Because I'm exercising my right as a Nigerian to ask you a question.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: You are very miserable.

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: You have been doing this for too long. You can't be insulting me. What do you mean I'm miserable? I think it is you that is miserable.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EK(W)E: [Gestures to Sahara Reporters.] Come to Nigeria and help sort out the place. Why are you...?

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: Why what? Why what? And it is going to be a matter of time...

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: All right, I still, I'm gonna rephrase the question so he can answer it.

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: Thank you.

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: It may, sadly, I'm told by a colleague that it may be the last question because you have to go to the airport, but I will ask it, and hopefully we'll get an answer.

SAHARA REPORTERS [off camera]: Thank you.

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: I had some Darfur questions too, but we'll stick with this one. If, if both legally and just sort of in a common sense way, in the way that most ministers take their direction from, you know, from their president or prime minister, if you haven't spoken with the President since he's been in Saudi Arabia, do you -- what do you say to those that say that you're, that you don't have a mandate? You said that you're "on autopilot"...

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: [Minister looks at his handheld device.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: ...but you also say that you wish you'd received his guidance on some issues. There's been the issue of the, of the, you know, the single, the hijacker, and the U.S.'s response to it. Various things have come up.

MINISTER OJO MADU.EK(W)E: [Minister nods in acknowledgement.]

Matthew LEE (Sr. Reporter, Inner City Press) [off camera]: Do you feel that you have a mandate? Can you read the President's mind? Do acknowledge that there's some issues that, about whether, you know, whether you have the correct mandate at this time

MINISTER OJO MADU.EKWE: Well, let's put it this way. Under our constitution [PAUSE] ministers [PAUSE] do not sit in the National Assembly. So, even if you were sit[ting] in the National Assembly before, and you are made a minister, you resign. [PAUSE] We are appointed by the President, but we are described as, not "Ministers of the President", we are described as "Ministers of the Federal Republic" and "members of the Federal Executive Council". Now that appointment, again, is, the President has no choice, ah, on the issue of how many ministers he will appoint, because the constitution makes it mandatory that there must be at least one minister from a [sic] state. That the President may like you, and think you should be his foreign minister, but in appointing you he recognizes the fact that you are from a [particular] state. Like in my own case, I am from Abi.a State. So, I represent Abi.a State in the Federal Executive Council, I reflect the position of Abia State in the Federal Executive Council. So the mandate we have is provided for in the constitution because we are members of the Federal Executive Council from our various states. And, but it just happened that we are given portfolios... foreign affairs whether [mumbles] are different from other[s]. So, because our position is pro... prescribed for in the constitution, that defines our mandate, that we go there as the highest policy-making body representing the whole country to speak, this time not just for Abi.a, but to speak for the whole, whole country. That's why we are called "Ministers of the Federal Republic" and not "Ministers of the President".

Now, I have never, as I go round, suggested that, when I speak, I am speaking for President Yar'Adua. I am careful to say that I am speaking on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It doesn't mean that I'm not speaking for President Yar'Adua. But my emphases are been [sic] on the Federal Government of Nigeria EVEN WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS PHYSICALLY AROUND, and he's in Abu.ja, and he gives me directives, I still speak, as a matter of "style"[*FOOTNOTE], that I am speaking on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. So I am the foreign minister of Nigeria, I am not just the minister of the President, I am not the foreign minister FOR President Yar'Adua, I am the foreign minister of Nigeria.

And, em, like I said earlier on, but maybe that was not understood, aha, this President does not believe in micro-managing, eh, foreign policy. I also mentioned that the Party, the ruling Party of which I was National Secretary, has a position on foreign policy, and I was the National Secretary for two years. So I bring to this job a considerable amount of experience. [PAUSE] That does not make me a robot. That makes me also understand what is [sic] the foreign policy expectations of the Federal Government and of Nigerians.

There is no substitute for the President being there. I have made that point clear. We are not enjoying his absence. And I wish that should be dealt with with the sensitivity it requires. I have... I was candid enough to say that. So, I am not committing any illegality by representing the Federal Government of Nigeria, because I was appointed by the President, who has not removed me from the cabinet. No illegality is being committed. No lack of legitimacy is in place. The constitution is clear as to how we got appointed, and that constitution protects me. And I think that that point is very, that, I mean, very well made. [Minister nods affirmatively] And I am competent to do that, and I am pushing [?] the nationality of Nigeria, which is beyond President Yar'Adua, beyond any 'dividual.