Posted by News Express | 12 August 2021 | 760 times
By SIMON IMOBO-TSWAM
She is Chief (Mrs) Mimi Adzape-Orubibi. She is an Economist, public servant, tax administrator, businesswoman and politician. And she is the lady of the moment.
Mimi is the titled daughter of HRH, James Ityówua Adzape Igino, a man who distinguished himself in many respects before crossing over to the Land of the Silent. His last tour of duty was as the 6th Ter Kwande, which is a 2nd Class stool.
So, his daughter, Mimi, becoming a chief, the “Iwanger-i-Kwande”, a honorific chieftaincy title, is not surprising. We may simply say: “Like father like daughter”.
If my Tiv is right, Adzape means: “We are going somewhere”. (I stand to be corrected, though).
I don’t know what Orubibi means, so let me not venture into creative writing.
I know what Mimi means, though. Mimi means Truth. But before dwelling further on this, let me share with you my pleasant discoveries.
A UNIVERSAL NAME
Mimi is a universal name, with meanings across continents, countries and cultures. Let's take a walk.
A derivative of Mary, Marilyn and Miriam, Mimi means “Sheep” in Spanish; the “Wished for child” in Hebrew; the “Beloved” in English; “I love you” in Nepali; and Mimi stands for: “I love you” and “Light or Beam” in Korean.
However, the most interesting meanings of Mimi are in Swahili and Urdu: I am i.e. the most excellent Name of Jesus! And in Japanese, wait for this: Mimi means Truth i.e. the same meaning as in Tiv language! But we return to our thread.
MIMI IN THE DAYS BEFORE YESTERDAY
Yes: Mimi means Truth. And, as we know, Truth is supreme or highly valued in every culture.
In the traditional Tiv society, Truth was valued over and above everything. It was what primarily defined the Tiv man. This is why the Tiv man gave expression to this by giving names like Mimi, Mimidoo (Truth is good), Mimi-Hemba-Inyaregh (Truth is superior to money) and Mimi-hemba (Truth is supreme) to his daughters and Perapera to his sons.
But that was in the days before yesterday when Truth was Truth i.e. long before the advent of party-politics when Truth had not yet travelled from Tivland or taken its modern-day elasticity.
For people like James Adzape, who were witnesses as Tivland transitioned from a traditional society to a modern one, naming his daughter Mimi in 1975 was, presumably, an attempt to longingly look back at the passing order, and possibly perpetuate the memory. This way, he could continue to bask in its idyllic warmth throughout his earthly tether.
Today, in the 2020s, names like Mimi are going out of fashion, and even parents who so name their daughters do so, perhaps, majorly out of a romanticism with a bygone era. In other words, when you see any Mimi who is a teenager or thereabouts today, she is most likely a relic, a sentimental attachment, a human heirloom and a grasp at nostalgia!
I have supposed that Adzape might have named his daughter, Mimi, as a historical beacon. And if that were the case, then this Mimi stands at the junction of our history: a bridge between our halcyon past and our evolving history, with all its unpredictabilities.
AN EPIPHANY, A DAMASCENE CONVERSION:
On 3rd August, 2021, this worthy daughter of Kwande defected from the APC to the PDP. That was her epiphanic moment, her Pauline experience or conversion.
Before now, she had taken Benue by storm when she beat political veterans to emerge as the APC Senatorial candidate for Benue North-East otherwise known as Zone A in the 2018 primaries. Although she fought hard in the 2019 general election, she lost to former Gov. Gabriel Suswam, who flew the PDP flag.
Her defection at this material time is, at once, both symbolic and significant. It is symbolic because as the APC leader in Kwande since 2018, her defection to the PDP, with its ripple effects, means the Kwande APC has been mortally wounded!
Her defection is also significant because it leaves the Benue APC with a huge vacuum that may be difficult to fill, especially now that it has entered another of its many, self-inflicted phases of fractiousness.
A SEISMIC SHIFT, WITH SEISMIC CONSEQUENCES
And as a darling of the APC leader in the state, her exit is a personal fatal blow to APC's biggest stakeholder in the state. It is the foregoing that makes her defection a seismic shift with guarantees of seismic tremors and aftershocks.
First, as APC's leading light in the Kwande Axis, her defection has greatly dimmed that light. And if the APC is not strategic, those dimmed lights may become harbingers of a sure sunset. Both the optics and the dynamics are bad.
Already, she has opened the floodgates in Kwande. The APC Chairman in Kwande, Hon. Iorfa Dzoho, led other erstwhile party officials and members into the PDP on August 3rd! The celebration came up on the 7th. This is, again, a bad omen.
Second, if one knows the APC well, when it recovers from this seismic shock, it might resort to its habituated braggadacio and consolidated impunity by dismissing Mimi’s exit as “inconsequential.” If it does that, the APC would effectively seal its fate in Kwande, and, thus, enter 2023 with a limp!
Third, it means an APC juggernaut has summoned enough will-power to, not only break away from the charmed orbit of “the Leader”, but has also delivered herself from the seeming hypnotic effect of APC’s magic wand – a magic wand that appears to conjure powerful spells of silence upon both its juggernauts and faithful!
And fourth, this Kwande princess, with a historical name, speaks to Kwande, in particular, and Benue people, in general. She says, via her defection: “It’s time to pause and ponder before taking the next step. It’s strategic.”
Benue will do well to listen to this “Iwanger-i-Kwande” (the Light of Kwande) who has seen The Light, and is spreading it.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
But beyond the 2023 permutations, seismic shifts and putative spells, Mimi’s defection tells us something profound: for all of us, sooner or later, there comes a moment of truth; our epiphany; a powerful jolt on the Damascene Road. And it is that moment that defines us. For Chief (Mrs.) Mimi Adzape-Orubibi – that moment of truth came on August 3, 2021. August 7, 2021, was just a public display.
Although ordinarily her epiphany shouldn’t be the business of this writer, her reasons excite him, having travelled on this road a little bit earlier.
The APC, in the main, has, wittingly or unwittingly, cast itself in the mould of an insensitive party that is wedded to morbid politics, and, hence, at home with the daily butchery of Nigerians. They seem as though they are all secretly sworn to the vows of silence. They may be vocal on everything else, but when it comes to the issue of insecurity and killer-herdsmen, they become laconic, tongue-tied, stammerers or evasive. And when forced to talk, what they mouth is incredible.
Roll call: The APC National Leader, Sen. Bola Tinubu, in defending the killer-herdsmen who allegedly murdered the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Mrs. Funke Olakurin, asked: “Where are the cows?” Even Miyetti Allah doesn’t ask such funny questions!
In Ebonyi state, when the Governor, Dave Umahi, dared to accuse herdsmen of the massacres in Umuogodo Akpu and Ngbo, in Ohaukwu local government area of the state, he blamed the thoroughly terrorised people of Benue State for engaging the herdsmen as mercenaries! What inverted logic!
And, wait for this: the APC Leader in Benue State – even when the killer-herdsmen repeatedly claim responsibility for the massacres, with reasons and further threats – he keeps exonerating them with his hackneyed line: “Benue people are killing themselves!” And most bizarrely, Benue APC has faithfully maintained this poisoned stand, parroting the same lines, even with the dire political outcomes!
SEN. OLUREMI TINUBU'S CONFESSION
Whatever little doubts Nigerians had about APC’s position on the killer-herdsmen massacres were dispelled when Sen. Oluremi Tinubu gave Sen. Smart Adeyemi a stinging rebuke for daring to mention herdsmen killings on the Senate floor!
Her telling words: “Are you in PDP? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing?” still gives the shivers! Interpretatively, it means APC is okay with the insecurity in the country! And till date, no APC chapter or stakeholder has either disowned Tinubu or distanced itself/himself from that most revealing statement!
It is in this context that this column situates Chief Mimi Adzape-Orubibi high up there on the moral compass.
In her parting letter to the APC, she was full of gratitude. Although she took the time to mention names and express her hearty gratitude to deserving stakeholders, Mimi didn't let sentiments obscure her candour:
Hear her verbatim: “I am leaving the APC because it no longer offers me the inherent opportunity to continue to advance my objective for political participation.”
She went on: “The deplorable security and economic situations across the country, and, more recent developments within the state, more than eloquently, attest to this fact.”
And then, Mimi hit the nail on the head: “The local context in Benue is even made worse by the continuing attacks on farming communities by herdsmen, and displacement of huge population that are now permanent in internally displaced people”s camps littered across the state.”
For good measure, she added: “I will rather opt for a platform that has demonstrated commitment to the overall interest of the local context.”
Although she restated the maxim: “All politics is local,” she left unsaid another maxim: “All pain is local.” Even if there is no Guma or Agatu or Logo or Naka, the tragedy of Moon is enough to wake up any sleeping Kwande man or woman.
Only a sadist or someone who has sold his/her soul to the quest for power will keep burying his/her kinsfolk, rehabilitating widows/widowers as well as catering for orphans . . . only such a person will keep playing the ostrich or living in denial in the service of foreign constituents and constituencies.
Clearly, Mimi has proven that she is neither a sadist nor a slave to her ambitions; to her, humanity trumps politics! But then, as someone with Iwanger, should anyone be really surprised?
To paraphrase a great uncle, I say to you: “Mimi, you are a young woman with a great future. It is God Himself who has delivered you on your way to your Damascus. Do not look back!”
Your constituents are happy with you. And from the silent climes, Daddy (HRH James Adzape) nods and beams with pride. And, by the way, I am proud of you too.
I have no doubt that if Kwande and Benue listen to you, Mimi Adzape, both you and Benue will Dza-ape shon. Mimi, je. And OR asoo U BUnden ya, nan dzua BI.
•Imobo-Tswam, a public space commentator, writes in from Abuja.
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