Posted by By Banji Adisa on
A NEW dance step is in town and it is called provocative solo dancing, credited to Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello by my friend and colleague, Wale Adedayo, the chief media aide to Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel.
A NEW dance step is in town and it is called provocative solo dancing, credited to Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello by my friend and colleague, Wale Adedayo, the chief media aide to Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel. At least we now know that musicians also have a lesson or two to learn from non-professionals when it comes to originality of ideas, like the chief press secretary's. Any one of them is even free to borrow the idea and transform it to an acceptable dance style. Remember Daddy Showkey and how he took this country by storm with his galagala steps; the 'syncro system' of Sunny Ade in his hey days and lately Yinka Ayefele with his gospel alujo(danceable) steps. The list is not exhaustive.
The new style is a by-product of political intolerance, and it is less than a week old in town. It originated in the church auditorium (of all places) of First Baptist Church, Okelerin,Ogbomoso in Osun State during the wedding ceremony of the daughter of Adebayo Alao-Akala, governor of Oyo State who was himself embarrassed at the development.
The battleground had last weekend shifted from Ogun to Oyo State where things got messier between Governor Daniel and Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello. There has been no love lost between the two for a while which indirectly led to the cancellation by Obasanjo-Bello herself of the proposed chieftaincy title of Iyaniwura of Egbaland, barely days to the event. One thing had led to the other last Saturday and the Senator found herself right behind the governor at the Ogbomoso wedding, having been invited over to that seat in the church by another invited guest, Senator Teslim Folarin. That was the account of Obasanjo-Bello. The simple invitation was the beginning of politics in the house of God and the unintended provocative dancing which was a smear on the wedding progrmme.
It was bad enough that by the time the senator who arrived late took her seat, she did not extend any pleasantries with her governor, even in his official capacity as the chief executive of the state. And to think that is Obasanjo-Bello who once served as Commissioner for Health, appointed by Daniel during his first term in office, before she became a senator of the Federal Republic. Nobody in the church needed the service of any star-gazer to realize that something was amiss between the two senior citizens of Ogun State.
Every minute of the reaction of the senator to the Daniel's chief security detail's admonition to her following her alleged non-verbal assault on the governor was captured on video tape,we were told by Adedayo - a claim that was corroborated by Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) chairman, Mr Joju Fadairo who hinted that the party's disciplinary committee was looking into the matter.
From all indications, the party hierarchy in the state is piqued by the public display of ill-will and disrespect by Obasanjo-Bello towards the governor and is ready to punish the senator if found guilty. It seems as if the senator's cup is full already going by the disposition of the Ogun Central Senatorial District which Obasanjo-Bello is representing. A full page advert yesterday in the Nigerian Tribune, signed by 30 party chieftains condemned the senator's 'despicable act' and threatened her with recall from the upper Federal legislative chamber unless she apologized to the governor and party elders. Detailing the other embarrassing occasions which informed their action,the senatorial district chiefs subtly passed a message: 'Egbas are known to be distinguished and well cultured'.
Obasanjo-Bello had reportedly defended herself in an interview with a Lagos-based evening newspaper: "During the service as I stood up to dance,one of his (Daniel's) aides,an SSS officer pushed me and started twisting my hand,saying I wanted to touch the governor,when I had no business with him...I had to push him".
But Ogun PDP Director of Organisation Deji Kalejaiye said: "What we saw in the video clip was apparent that it was a deliberate act to hit the governor,to belittle the governor and to show the height of rudeness to the office of the governor...She stood up dancing when others were seated and rather than being cautious,she was dancing with her right hand touching the governor's head."
Adedayo, the CPS captured it better: "She performed acts of provocative solo dancing with her hands and clothes hitting his excellency on the head." If it were true, that is an affront on the governor.
Some facts need to be established. One, the senator was seized by the spiritual, soul-lifting rendition of the choir and she got up to dance even when others were seated. It is not abnormal to get inspired by choruses in the church and repay God's faithfulness by dancing. But not out of malice. Two, the dancing took on more than spiritual undertones and the dancer had to inconvenience the other person in front of her, not even the person next to her on the same seat. A caution from the governor's security aide was met with a push with both hands on the chest -in the church for goodness sake! The shove was enough to destabilize and send the man crashing on the floor. A deliberate act of provocative solo dancing or not, there was no attempt to apologize to even the church for the disruption of service. Three, Obasanjo-Bello admitted pushing the security man. Four,Governor Daniel did not say a word as there was no report of his reaction. That was commendable because it could have been worse if he had chosen to react on the spot.
I wonder if the senator realized that the security aide has a duty to protect his governor in all circumstances, otherwise he faces serious sanctions if anything goes wrong. He could have employed force to handle the situation too as Obasanjo-Bello reportedly did. By the way, what does it profit a man or woman to transfer an animosity to another man's state? What was that supposed to promote,please? It is needless to even raise the point that this is a disservice to God in His house, during a holy matrimony. Oh, I pity the General at Otta. How does he feel watching his name being associated with one disturbance or misdemeanor, for no fault of his?
It's a pity that Obasanjo Bello is playing her politics the way she chooses to do it, which is not pleasant enough. Pity too that the governor himself has been fighting so many survival battles in the state, which is not to his credit. I just hope Senator Obasanjo-Bello is not trying to forcefully make herself a force to reckon in the race for the Valley View mansion (Government House) sooner or later. Advisedly, this power displays don't add up to give a man or woman who is seeking to lead his or her people from that exalted place any credit. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that seeking the Iyaniwura title is one of the steps of an ambitious politician who wants to be governor some day. Well, the people of Ogun State know what is better for them.
Today, I recall the camaraderie Daniel and Obasanjo-Bello, as governor and commissioner, exhibited in my presence about two years ago. I was privileged to ride in the same official bus carrying the governor and some of his commissioners, in fact sharing a seat with the governor, on a trip to Imeko-Afon area. The facility tour was to update media executives about activities of the government. Daniel used to call his aides by their first names, including Iyabo (Obasanjo-Bello). I noticed they approached the government work as a team, in animated but serious manner. Everything worked well for them because they were in accord to move Ogun State forward. So where did it all go wrong?
Senator Obasanjo Bello is getting embroiled in too many unsavory things and she would do well to watch her step. She doesn't need a 'provocative solo dance' like a masquerade in the market square to make any statement. If, and it's a possibility, the opportunity for reconciliation presented itself, Governor Daniel should show maturity. She must also apologize for the affront as the elders demanded. I am sure she knows the implication of a recall as representative of the people. The political career may be over before she realises it. It would be nice to see the two of them prove that in politics, there are no permanent enemies.