The orgiastic sex tape of former governor of Yobe State, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, now a senator representing Yobe East senatorial district is another proof that the eighth Senate is a confederacy of degenerates. The newsworthiness of his sex tape wouldn’t have been great were it not for his moral hypocrisy. Ordinarily, no one would have cared how Bukar manages his genitals. In his capacity as governor of Yobe State, he canvassed and helped push through Sharia law over the people. Sharia law criminalises the same consensual, private sex romp he had with two girls in that seedy motel, as shown in his sex tape. Should a man with such glaring moral hypocrisy be trusted? Should a man with a tenuous relationship with shame be allowed to hold a position of trust? Well, this is Nigeria; shame left the country long ago!
It is tempting to recoil from moralising about Bukar Abba Ibrahim. It is very Nigerian to extend mercy to him for acting out his brokenness. It is normal to question my own imperfect self but I am reminded each time that the person at issue here is a former governor who explicitly endorsed the Sharia moral code, and yet he has behaved in violation of it. Power and moral hypocrisy are connected due to the sense of entitlement that comes with positions of power. From what we know of the Nigerian elite and politicians, especially in the morality deprived eighth Senate; power aided by impunity undermines the sense of morality of those we elected to serve us, thus corrupting their thoughts and behaviour. They lament the breakdown of family values, yet they engage in ménage à trois. They complain about dwindling government revenue but they convert and use public funds for private benefits.
Time and again, the most vehement and sanctimonious moralists in Nigeria turn out to be total hypocrites. When I saw that video, the thought of Governor Abdulaziz Yari alias Yari Meningitis and his theory of Cardinal Sin and Disease came to mind. When a tough strain of meningitis hit his state, he urged his people to repent from their sinful ways, instead of giving them life-saving meningitis vaccine. Naturally, hundreds of hapless Zamfara State men, women and children died while Yari Meningitis siphoned money from the treasury to buy a million dollar home in Bowie, Maryland in the United States. I find schadenfreude irresistible when these moralistic blowhards are exposed for committing sins they castigate and denounce other people for.
A healthy dose of shame is required for people to understand how wrong they were, when caught in a web of wrongdoing. A lack of shame is why a man of Bukar Abba Ibrahim standing will boldly announce to us in an interview that he will investigate why his sex tape is circulating instead of apologising to his family and those who elected him.
In the case of Bukar Abba Ibrahim, he is not just a big man who did stupid sexual things. It is not just about how self-righteous moralists create noise to distract us from paying attention to their dark secrets, while telling us how sinful we have become. It is about a man without a sense of shame. Bukar Ibrahim admitted to being the man in the video to PREMIUM TIMES in his first interview since the scandal broke. He said he had not committed any official wrongdoing and the video was only made public after attempts to blackmail him failed. He said; “This is a personal, private matter. What does my having been with a girl have to do with the public? You know the normal thing: people ask for unreasonable things, and if you deny them, they try to blackmail you if they have a way. If they say I raped, that’s a different matter altogether. Is it because I am a public official then I am not supposed to be entitled to private life? I have commenced investigations to find out why it is circulating. But from all indications, it is a blackmail.” What insolence! This is not about private behaviour. It is about irresponsible behaviour that is unbecoming of a man elected to the highest law making body in the country! Sleeping with two girls simultaneously in a motel is errant and perverted behaviour. It is wrong! It is condemnable! It is not normal! It is doubly shameful that Mr. Ibrahim was not contrite, that he did not apologise to his wives, among whom is a serving minister in the present administration. It is reprehensible that he offered no explanation to his family to whom he has ridiculed and said nothing to his constituency.
Mr. Ibrahim is a fine example of a predatory antagonist, a chaotic, irrational enemy of order and disapprobation. His interview is worse than the lewd act he engaged in. He spoke with such insouciance and social construction of masculinity in a way that violates the essence of leadership and responsibility. It is hard to admit but it seems that Nigeria has the largest share of shameless men and women in the corridors of power. These days, the reality of how shamelessness has triumphed over decency comes through loud and clear, more than ever before. Nigeria cannot survive, if we, as a people have no sense of shame. A healthy dose of shame is required for people to understand how wrong they were, when caught in a web of wrongdoing. A lack of shame is why a man of Bukar Abba Ibrahim standing will boldly announce to us in an interview that he will investigate why his sex tape is circulating instead of apologising to his family and those who elected him. A lack of shame is behind the perennial theft of what belongs to all of us by those appointed or elected to positions of trust. Without a normal sense of shame to regulate behaviour, Nigeria will continue to decline and the safeguards for life and liberty will be eroded.