Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
I have just viewed a photograph of Obafemi Awolowo openly campaigning in Sokoto State in 1959 for his party the Action Group.
The Premier of the then Western Region addressed the crowd of 2,500 in English, supported by a Hausa translator.
Obafemi wore the typical attire of a Yoruba male.
That was a new one, or more accurately old school.
That was when politicians respected self and retained own identity while canvasing for votes.
It is much better to address a genuine and enthusiastic crowd of 2,500 than to pretend to be someone else to address a crowd of 10,000 or more.
Today’s crop of politicians are more into chameleon performances.
To a Northern audience, politicians vying for elective federal office adorn the Hausa-Fulani signature dressing.
The same is observed in non-indigene or non-Muslim candidates seeking support for posts ranging from student union leadership to state legislature.
Some go as far as to modify their name – Mary becomes Maryam, Richard Rashid, Sarah Zahrah, and so on.
In the South-East, the same politicians go by their English or Christian name and dress as an Igbo.
Further, in their efforts to identify as one with Ndi Igbo, these politicians remind the people of marriage or ancestral links to the region.
Failing that, politicians will claim to have dated fine Igbo women prior to marriage.
No one will admit to extramarital affairs with juicy Igbo women.
If a confession of an affinity to women will cause a storm at home, politicians present as amiable to Christians.
These changes of appearance follow that pattern in the South-South and South-West.
Today’s politician is truly a desperate chameleon.
Politicians who honestly wish to identify with other ethnicities can always include alternative dress codes in their regular wardrobe and need not wait for elections.