El-Rufai and the NBA saga

By Tunde Asaju

The NBA is a professional association. It is run by ‘learned’ people. The rest of us, are at best educated or urbane or both. So, I wonder the furore over the withdrawal of invitation to Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai to speak at a conference. El-Rufai is an adult, capable of managing his own tantrums. You people should stop making enemies for yourselves for nothing. E no koinsain una.

El-rufai has children doing a good job of ‘defending’ their father. Families have rules of engagement. My own children are taught to steer clear of pats between me and others as long as I’m not incarcerated. I brought my children up to think for themselves and never to acquire enemies based on my likes or dislikes. That’s btw.

NBA consists of lawyers from all walks of life and ethno-religious persuasion. Its Exco consists of lawyers from all sides. From what I hear, the association’s exco was responding to petition signed by a significant number of members – for those who do not know; that is democracy at work. In democracy (not the type practiced in Nigerian political circles) an Exco does what the overall members want done. They exist to do the bidding of their members, NOT to think for them and overrule them.

People used to getting things done on the prism of ethnocentric barometers are politicizing the withdrawal of an invitation to a governor who is at best ‘controversial’. El-Rufai is not a lawyer, even if he is, his colleagues have overruled his invite and that’s it. He can publish his address at his own expense at best and let it be in the public domain if that suits him. There’s no need to break bricks.

It is shameful that even otherwise erudite people don’t see it so. The idea of having presumed foot soldiers defending the indefensible is the reason Nigeria is where it is. You always take sides with your oppressors. Most of you have no money to hire even a charge and bail lawyer. Definitely most of you are unknown to Nasir. So, kini big deal?

We cannot be alright if we keep doing the same things and expecting change. The NBA has taken a decision. They do not represent those of us who are not lawyers. Their action has zero impact on governance or the individual or collective bottom line. Their action has zero effect on Nasir who is doing his job the best he knows how and obviously enjoying his life.

You guys should just take that little boy’s advice – calm down. All these clannish, ethnocentric brickbats won’t add or subtract from your capacity to survive. Your comment might even stop your helper if it reveals your insane ethnocentricism. Then you will go and be blaming the witch in your village.
Both the NBA and Nasir have foot soldiers if they need to fight a war, you should eat your corn and pear or guguru and gyeda and drink pure water. I can’t shout ojare, Yagba people would say – let us uproot yams and guinea corn and hoe towards what we would eat.

Next scandal please, it’s getting boring here!

*Asaju, veteran journalist, first published this piece on his Facebook wall

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