Saturday, November 16, 2019

Mamman Daura’s Shameful Birthday Bash in London

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Mamman Daura, the guileful, influence-peddling son of Buhari’s oldest half-brother who rules Nigeria from the background of the “Glass House” in the Presidential Villa, turned 80 on November 9. After sponsoring a cornucopia of hagiographic birthday tributes in newspapers, Daura jetted forth to London—along with more than 30 family members—to celebrate at a high-priced London hotel.

His children recorded the glitz, vanity, and epicurean indulgence of the London birthday celebration and shared it with their friends. Somehow, it seeped out to the public and became the trigger for the ventilation of pent-up angst over the Buhari regime’s enduring hypocrisy.

In the cloying tributes written about him on the occasion of his birthday, Mamman Daura was variously—and falsely— described as modest, patriotic, self-effacing, unassuming, and contemptuous of conspicuous consumption. Yet he chose to celebrate his birthday, along with scores of nuclear and extended family members—and government officials—in London. Would it diminish the significance of his milestone if he celebrated his birthday in Abuja—or, in fact, Daura, his place of birth?

Where is the patriotism in celebrating birthdays on foreign soil? Where is the modesty in putting more than 30 family members in first-class flights to London to celebrate a mere birthday while millions of Nigerians, particularly in his hometown of Daura, writhe in unutterable pauperism?

The London birthday bash, incidentally, is co-extensive with Muhammadu Buhari’s presence in London on a "private visit" with public funds. People were understandably crossed that Buhari and Mamman Daura, Buhari’s chief puppeteer, were luxuriating in sybaritic pleasures abroad at a time they selectively closed the borders at home, insisted poor people must eat only local rice, and deepened the misery of everyday Nigerians like never before.

 In the aftermath of the online backlash that the video of Mamman Daura’s London birthday touched off, family members of Daura attempted to withdraw the video from circulation. For instance, a Facebook friend of mine by the name of Dr. Bello Inua Anka, who is married to one of Mamman Daura’s daughters, said I should take down the video from my Facebook and Twitter timelines.

The pretext he used to justify his take-down request was that two of his children were in the video and were being exposed to “hatred.” He said there were “security issues involved” in sharing the video publicly.

I told him I didn’t see anyone say anything about any child in the video. Everyone's focus was on the hypocrisy of closing the borders at home, insisting that traumatized, poverty-stricken people live within their means, using security agencies to physically humiliate and harass poor people for eating foreign rice, etc. while Buhari's family members, and a few favored ones, live off the fat of the land at home and abroad, even going so far as to celebrate the birthday of Buhari’s nephew in London— with ministers and senators in tow. Not even Jonathan was this audaciously insensitive and duplicitous.

I didn’t shoot or edit the video, I reminded him. The video was shot, edited, and shared by his in-laws before it slipped away from their grip. Why should I edit or take it down? His response was baffling. “Your page has more exposure than most, there are security issues involved here. A lot of people with a grudge or another will always pay a visit to your page to feed off what you write,” he said.

How does the appearance of indulgent, well-clad, and well-fed children in a video pose “security issues” when they live privileged, sheltered lives, which ensures that they won’t be in harm’s way? In Bello Anka’s village in Zamfara State, hundreds of thousands of poor kids, through no fault of theirs, are in real danger because they can't feed, because bandits terrorize them and their parents, and because they can't go to school, ensuring that their unfortunate condition will be perpetuated inter-generationally. That’s where the real “security issues” are. But he doesn’t care. The poor don’t matter.

When he didn’t succeed in persuading me to take down the video, he started to threaten me. “By all means don't take it down please. I wasnt [sic] actually begging you just so we are clear. I was being civil by asking you privately. I also said edit if you can and continue with your lunacy. I am indifferent to your grievances against the Nigerian government...I promise you won't get away with this… as long as that video remains on your wall. You clearly have no idea what you are dealing with. You believe too much in your own hype,” he wrote.

Because I’ve received several anonymous  death threats from supporters of the Buhari regime, including a recent one where someone publicly called for my execution—alongwith Chidi Odinkalu and Ahmed Salkida— on Twitter, I decided to make the man’s threats public because he has a name, a face, and a place in the Buhari/Mamman Daura family that can be held accountable if anything happens to any member of my family in Nigeria because he knows he can’t do anything to me in the US.

 Interestingly, this same witless, power-intoxicated buffoon used to fawn over me when I held Goodluck Jonathan’s feet to the fire before 2015. Because he and his parasitic, no-good in-laws are now milking the national cow, he wants me to look the other way as they perpetrate their corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and impunity.

When threats did nothing to get me to take down the video, the Mamman Daura family persuaded Facebook and Twitter that the video I shared of the children, grandchildren, in-laws, and Nigerian government officials (including a senator and a minister) celebrating Mamman Daura's 80th birthday at a pricey London hotel was "private media."  So they both took it down on November 14.

Scores of people have also shared the video on Facebook and Twitter. Why am I the only one they're worried about? Bello Inua Anka said I believed “too much” in my own “hype.” But it’s actually the other way round: it is he and his corrupt, profligate in-laws who believe in their hype about me. There are thousands of Nigerians with way more social media following and influence than I, but it’s my social media commentaries they are disproportionately obsessed with.

Well, although the video no longer appears on my social media timelines, it has already gone viral and is, in fact, archived on this blog. It has also been shared on many other Internet platforms. Will the Mamman Daura family persuade, for example, YouTube and WhatsApp to take down the video? Will they ask Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, LG, etc. to take down the video from millions of computers and phones?

Why are they embarrassed by the video? Of course, it’s because it calls attention to their extortionate profligacy, to their hypocritical licentiousness, to their objectionable immorality, to their ice-cold disdain for the poor, and to their reprehensible double standard.

They haven't realized that by getting Twitter and Facebook to take down the video from my social media timelines, and the online buzz this has created, they've made the video even more popular than it deserves to be. Now if you type "Mamman Daura birth…" on Google, Google’s autocompletion automatically suggests “Mamman Daura birthday video.”

 That means a lot of people are searching for it. According to Google, “The search queries that you see as part of Autocomplete reflect what other people are searching for and the content of web pages.” The forbidden fruit, they say, tastes the sweetest.

These Buhari/Mamman Daura folks obviously have the IQ of their shoe sizes. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people have already seen, shared, and downloaded the video. Only imbeciles lock the barn door after the horse has bolted.

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