By Innocent Okon
Once upon a time , he was arguably a stormy petrel in the Nigerian polity! He was a gadfly that stung the high and mighty with venom. At a youthful age that many of his peers were yet to discover their direction in life, he was already a rallying point and toast of students and Civil Rights community in Nigeria. Many even saw him as a perfect successor to his formmer mentor and godfather, the irrepressible Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory.
When he was conferred with the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the highest laurel in his chosen profession, Law, many jumped for joy, believing that the voice of the voiceless has finally earned admission into the coven of voices that must not only be heard, but respected in the country!
Before my effort is dismissed as a gratuitous citation, am labouring to present a junior Minister in Buhari’s cabinet known, called and addressed as FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN. His last known duty post was/is(?) the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. That is one Ministry that is a sure killer haven for confirmed high blood pressure patients! The senior Minister in charge is one Chris Ngige, a medical doctor and a former state Governor and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is one in the motley crowd of the ruling All Progresives Congress (APC) jostling to take over the keys to Aso Rock Villa from the incumbent President Muhammasu Buhari, come May 29, 2023.
As at Press time, as itinerant reporters would say, there’s no role conflict between Ngige and keyamo, at least none in public domain. But how come Keyamo is missing out in all the ongoing negotiations?
Public university lecturers have been on strike for months now and Keyamo’s voice is on mute, and his body language is opaque! He once held himself out as an advocate of the masses, by doing probono (free) legal briefs for vulnerable groups, including the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and their members! Now students who are in public universities because their parents can’t afford the cut throat tuition fees in private universities are home wasting away their future instalmentally. And Keyamo’s voice, if heard at all, is definitely not loud enough, as it used to be before his Ministerial toga! It seems there’s modicum of truth in the aphorism that a friend in power is a friend lost! Or is Keyamo confirming what the former Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, once said that it was bad table manners for public officials to be talking while eating?
If any of the above opinions holds true, I regret to announce that Nigerian students, destitutes, the civil rights community and the masses have collectively lost Keyamo to the establishment. What a pity!
Okon, a legal practitioner, lives in Uyo
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