Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York will resign the office in two weeks after accusations of sexual harassment was confirmed by an investigation he ordered.
Delve inside the head of a typical Nigerian politician trying to make sense of Cuomo’s situation and you will find a different pattern of reasoning.
First and foremost, what kind of a person orders an investigation into his own misdeeds?
I mean, really you let a whining public push you into allowing yourself to be investigated? The people, pu-lease… Who does that? We own the people!
You allowed a minion, an ordinary Attorney general, and a woman for that matter to investigate you?
The Nigerian politician is a different species, he is not encumbered by morality, ethics is treated as a suggestion and governance is the side hustle you attend to after your contracts.
He cannot fathom the fuss about groping a dozen women. That’s a typical Tuesday at the office. I mean she works for you – you the Lord of the Manor. You, that can sack 25 local government chairmen without recourse to the law, surely you can fire an underling who whines because you’re cupping a feel of her breasts. I mean it’s just a woman’s body he touched, since when do you need her consent?
Last year, Joy Nunieh, the former acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), claimed that she slapped Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, for sexually assaulting her.
“Why did he not tell Nigerians that I slapped him in his guest house at Apo? I am the only Ogoni woman, the only Nigerian woman that has slapped him. I slapped him because of his plan B. Since he couldn’t get me to take that money, he thought that he could come up on me,” she had said.
“He didn’t know that I’m a Port Harcourt girl. Port Harcourt girls are not moved by money…by somebody telling me that he will make me the substantive MD. Akpabio’s meetings with me were either at Apo or Meridian…Yes, I am accusing him of sexual harassment.”
In the televised interview, Nunieh said she was the only Nigerian woman who had slapped the minister, not necessarily the only woman he may have groped. This would have been weighty if it weren’t so common and so sad.
The Nigerian politician is a mutated breed of Cuomo. He keeps a harem while actively financing pimps who employ young female students. His wife knows he is a philanderer, she holds back her tongue because her status as a socialite is hinged on her complicity.
But its’ not just the Nigerian politician, it is the university lecturer bartering sex for grades, the management executive who conditions promotion and hiring on violating a woman’s body, the religious cleric abusing a child, and yes, you, selling curtains at Yaba and groping young woman passing by – all are formed from the same mould as Cuomo!
63 year-old Cuomo, as at last year was a star politician, hailed as a national hero for his steady leadership as the coronavirus pandemic took a toll.
The New York Times report that his tenure “was marked as much by a head-spinning scale of accomplishment — the passage of gay marriage, raising the minimum wage, the construction of bridges and train stations…” a very active governor like our own Fashola minus the fetters from Bourdillon.
Letisha James, New York’s Attorney General in her investigative report, found that the governor sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including current and former government workers, by engaging in unwanted touching and making inappropriate comments.
The 165-page report also found that Cuomo and his aides unlawfully retaliated against at least one of the women for making her complaints public and fostered a toxic work environment.
However egregious Cuomo’s misconduct may have been, in comparison to his peers in Africa’s biggest democracy, he is still a ‘learner’. His misdeeds lack the brazenness and unalloyed commitment our politicians devote to their vices.
In 2016, James Entwistle, then US Ambassador to Nigeria wrote to the national assembly accusing members of the House of Representatives of attempted rape and solicitation of prostitutes while on an official trip to the US.
The lawmakers accused include: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC – Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP – Akwa Ibom), and Mark Gbillah (APC – Benue). It was alleged that they attempted to rape a hotel housekeeper at the International Visitor Leadership Program held in Cleveland, Ohio.
“The US Department of State and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs received reports from employees of the Cleveland hotel where the representatives stayed, alleging the representatives engaged in the following behavior:
“Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex. While the housekeeper reported this to her management, this incident could have involved local law enforcement and resulted in legal consequences for Representative Gololo.
“Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes,” Entwistle wrote in his petition.
The ‘honourable’ members denied the allegations and the House of Representatives Ethics and Privileges Committee cleared them of wrongdoing. Many didn’t find this surprising, there is after all camaraderie even in villainy.
Some corrupt politicians in other climes dip their hands into the public purse, the Nigerian politician loots the treasury. And this is not figuratively, they literally clean out.
Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia state was accused of looting N7.1billion from one of the poorest states in Nigeria. Ibori’s loot was so much the recovered portion is funding billion -naira infrastructure projects in the country.
The effect of brazen corruption by Nigerian politicians is a loss of respect globally and the manhandling and arrest of a Nigerian diplomat in Jakarta.
In Hollywood movies, characters with Nigerian names are now the favourite cast in plots featuring depravity, terrorism, corruption and sundry evil since the science fiction flick, District 9. In the recent blockbuster series Blacklist, a Nigerian character got the same horrid makeover Arabs got as terrorists.
This has tapered down into mistreatment of the Nigerian by embassy officials and airport attendants in Dubai and other parts of Asia. Even in Africa, many Nigerians are treated with contempt.
The message is clear: if your politicians treat you like scum, why should we do any better?