Once upon a time, a mysterious teenage boy named Kasper Hauser walked into a town. He was dirty and could barely speak. No one knew who he was or where he came from but it was revealed that Hauser had lived in a small cell since he was a baby. Hauser claimed that he slept on a straw bed and was only fed bread and water through a hole by an unknown man. Hauser’s story spread throughout the land, people took pity on him and came from far and wide to meet and support him. Rumours arose that he was of princely parentage, possibly even a duke, but there were also claims that he was an impostor. These claims increased when it became evident that the boy had a tendency to lie. He quickly became known as a chronic hypocrite and the attention and curiosity that was initially aroused by Hauser’s story faded with his bad conduct. By the time of his death, though the mystery of Kasper Hauser did not die, his legacy was tainted, not least because of his vanity, spite, lies and hypocrisy….The end!
This true story of a young, mysterious stranger who was rescued to have great opportunity in life, but lost it due to his mendacity, has always been one to capture the imagination of mystery lovers all over the world. Kasper Hauser was an enigma of sorts, a man whose one step forward was tantamount to 10 steps back. As one looks at the assortment of Kasper Hausers in the Nigerian polity, time has come for the congregation to have a word with one of them…!
If only Governor Isa Yuguda didn’t have a hissy fit and thrown his toys out of the pram over what he perceived as a betrayal of the northern governors to their ludicrous gentleman’s agreement that adopted Plateau State governor Jonah Jang as the consensus northern candidate for the chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, his sheer duplicity could have stayed under wraps for a tad bit longer. Although he’d, of recent, not been seen as a particularly upright and reliable politician, Governor Yuguda’s gung-ho outburst where “he didn’t see any reason why he should attend the Northern Governors’ Forum meeting for the next two years until one of the northern governors owned up to breaching their earlier agreement” moved him, whether he liked it or not, from the “Special School of Hypocrites Anonymous” into the realm of the “Kasper Hauser Institute for the Extremely Advanced Hypocrite”.
And it was a pretty reckless move because, unless one is mistaken, hasn’t the same Governor Yuguda, who is now crying bloody murder over the breach of a political gentleman’s agreement, been part and parcel to the breach of other more critical gentleman’s agreements?
When the PDP came up with their ineffectual, insulated agreement which demanded power to shift from north to south, Governor Yuguda was very much aware of that gentleman’s agreement. When fate crashed the PDP shindig to hoist President Jonathan on a presidency that the PDP had prepped for the north only two years after an eight-year stint by President Obasanjo, not a whimper came from Governor Yuguda’s mouth on that gentleman’s agreement. Not that anyone would blame him on that account since that was fate’s doing.
However, in the run-up to the 2011 race when President Jonathan denied being part of any gentleman’s agreement for power rotation between the north and south, despite the fact that he was the biggest beneficiary to the agreement, could it be that a big black cat got a hold of Governor Yuguda’s tongue since he didn’t murmur a peep about that agreement? But the real cracker comes when one considers the alleged gentleman’s agreement that northern governors, of which Governor Yuguda happens to be one, had with President Jonathan in 2011: they all agreed that the president would serve for one term and allow the presidency to be zoned back to the north in 2015, in line with the initial PDP arrangement. Now that it is quite abundantly clear that President Jonathan is gunning to run for the presidency uncontested, allegedly on the PDP ticket, many has begun to wonder whether Governor Yuguda’s larynx was not adjusting to his articulators in a manner able to filter the sound needed for him to belt out his swan song.
But alas, we can all rest easy; for Governor Yuguda did not lose his voice. He just lost the righteousness of knowing when to use it. When this self-described aficionado of honour used his own words to say, “By my own culture, background and religion, I strongly believe that whatever is agreed upon, we must stand by it unless it is illegal,” unless we are missing something, the star student of “The Kasper Hauser Institute for the Extremely Advanced Hypocrite” plunged a stake straight into the heart of what was left of his honour.
Governor Yuguda seems smart, and brilliantly quick. In the past, he often served as an interesting, opposing figure, especially in the lead to the 2007 elections when he was persecuted and unjustly denied the PDP ticket, prompting him to move to the ANPP. Back then, traces of the righteous politician he once was somehow still defined him, and his people fought tooth and nail to ensure that he reclaimed what was rightfully his. Back then, he was a people’s leader struggling for more accountability of government, against too much power held by the governor. He symbolised the downtrodden and became hope itself; he stood for transparency and the democratic tenant of ‘one man one vote”.
However, having barely warmed his governorship seat, he decided to show his supporters the finger by leapfrogging back to the PDP from the ANPP. But that wasn’t his real crime. The real crime came when he decided to do what was done unto him: bulldoze and persecute the ANPP faithful who refused to decamp to the PDP with him, including his deputy, Alhaji Mohammed Garba Gadi.
It seems that when it comes to hypocrisy, Governor Yuguda believes the old adage, “In for a penny, in for a pound!” And in his quest to overzealously prove loyalty to his faction of colleagues, his hypocrisy has been exposed at the greatest of price to him; for the incisiveness of his words and actions reveals all. His tenacious desires to save face for the blustering defeat his troupe suffered at the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and publicly retain faith in whatever sordid plan President Jonathan allegedly has up his sleeve makes him a poor reader of the daily satire being hurled at his very persona from every corner of the north. By the end of it all, this exposure will have cost Governor Yuguda his remaining straw of dignity in the eyes of his people.
But if only he hadn’t had that hissy fit, he might not have totally exposed his sheer hypocrisy. Or, to put it another way: If only he hadn’t overreacted and publicly tried to throw the other governors under the bus, he might not have shown himself as the proverbially despised tell-tale stoolpigeon. Because this is, of course, what he did by challenging the other governors to come out and confess as to why they reneged on supporting Governor Jang. Of course, Governor Yuguda had a right to be frustrated at his colleagues who had defaulted on their earlier agreement. And when it comes to the moral side of such things, promise is key of course.
But were the governors who refused to vote for Governor Jang behaving immorally because they refused to be used as pawns on the chess board of President Jonathan or simply being canny? Did the fact that some of the governors decided to change their minds, after the meeting and before the election, warrant for Governor Yuguda to imply that they had no common sense, rationality, fear of God or honour when he said, “I expected common sense, rationality and fear of God to prevail?” How about whether the accusation that the northern governors did the north a disservice because they refused to support a northerner and instead supported Governor Amaechi for the chairmanship seat which was slated for the north? “Really Governor Yuguda? Really…?”
These are legitimate questions that should be put to Governor Yuguda. And he could argue them till the cows come home, but if he really wants to see what immoral political behaviour looks like, if he wants to glare at lack of common sense, irrationality and dishonour in government, if he’s desperate to stare at the archetypal northern leader that continues to do the north a disservice, then, he should grab the nearest mirror and gaze squarely into it… Therein he will see the answer to his conundrum!
How does one remind politicians like Governor Yuguda of their own humanity -- that they once believed in something else, something important and valuable... something called honour and democracy? Like Kasper Hauser, Governor Yuguda was a man who had the world at his feet but, through his actions, his initial good relationship with his people seems to have soured amidst complaints about his exorbitant vanity and hypocrisy -- this one in particular.
Perhaps the sharpest judgement passed on Kasper Hauser was when he was described as a person with “horrendous mendacity” and “art of dissimulation”. Governor Yuguda still has a chance to redeem himself and one hopes that he re-evaluates his actions in office before he well and truly completely embodies that enigma of Kasper Hauser!