What is grace? This is a question that I have been battling with for a while. I have looked at some of the recent happenings in the country concerning some individuals, and one of them is the Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to the President.
Gbaja as he is fondly called could pass for a man with nine lives. He has been around for a while. He has had his share of good, bad, and ugly times. He has been accused, and he has been commended. Interestingly, he kept his cool in all these, and grace continued to work for him.
I recall that in the 8th Assembly, he aspired to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He worked hard but didn’t get it. He didn’t despair. He was loyal and waited for his turn. And guess what? Grace turned up for him. He was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly, and those who worked against him went on their knees seeking forgiveness and patronage.
He was calm as usual and did what he knew how to do best. He was on top of his game. I recall an incident in the twilight of his tenure as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Deputy Speaker challenged his grace, and the rest is history.
He served out his term successfully, and another assignment came calling. This time around, the opposition was fierce. Many thought his grace was over, and they rejoiced. They sang to the high heavens, dancing to the imminent fall from grace of Femi Gbajabiamila.
But grace turned up again. He smiled and moved on. He was appointed the Chief of Staff to the President. Those who felt he would be a hard nut to crack in their desire to call the shots within the presidency went to work. But they failed. And they didn’t stop.
It is an era of slander and blackmail. They churned out invective against him. He was to blame for everything that emanated from the presidency. They went as far as insinuating issues that only existed in their imaginations. All was geared towards making the President uncomfortable with him and ultimately showing him the way out.
But they forgot that when grace speaks, protocols are suspended. And indeed, the grace has been sufficient for Femi Gbajabiamila. I do not envy him, but I salute his mien and ability to stay calm. That is one of the qualities that endeared him to the President.
You can’t predict his next move. He keeps you guessing until you run out of steam. He allows you to exhaust your arsenal, no matter how dangerous. It is a very risky enterprise, but it has worked for him and is still working.
Femi Gbajabiamila reminds me of the phrase, “Touch not my anointed. Maybe he is the anointed one. Perhaps the chosen one or the special one. Whichever you choose, you are right. Love him or hate him; he stands tall at all times.
Very brilliant and analytical. He smiles at you even when he is supposed to wear a frown. He encourages you to do more. What a daring person. But he watches you closely with the eyes on the eagle. I wonder what runs through his mind when he comes under mindless attacks from some vested interest.
Does he blink in his closet? I doubt it because his composure does not give him away. Someone said Femi Gbajabiamila is an enigma that is worth studying. Someone also said he waits for you at the end of the road to welcome you from your vicious journey. If you are lucky, he will offer you a bottle of water. Would your conscience allow you to drink the water? Only those in that boat can answer the question.
What sort of grace does Femi Gbajabiamila exude? The grace that beats human understanding. The grace that runs faster than the speed of lightning. The grace that strikes like a thief in the night. The grace that is confusing to the human eyes, and the grace that warns you to retrace your steps in the slander and blackmail enterprise.
A word is enough for the wise. What is his offense that some want his head? For being a gentleman and a leadership guru or a political strategist? The former number four man in the leadership hierarchy of the country is not mediocre, and one that does not play to the gallery.
He has seen it all in leadership, and when some allegations are made against him, it only smacks of mockery of commonsense. Most times, these allegations need to be better thought out. The promoters are always in haste and, in the process, make a mess of themselves.
Before we crucify Femi Gbajabiamila, let us pause and think it through. He is a patriot who is devoted to his principal and the country. He has demonstrated capacity and love for the country. You don’t have to like him. But commonsense would suffice that the grace of God surrounds some individuals. Femi Gbajabiamila is one, and let those with ears hear this—my two cents.
By Philip Agbese
*Agbese MHR is the Deputy Spokesman, 10th House of Representatives, the member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.*