The Uber driver who picked me up from the airport the last time I was in Enugu introduced himself as the former personal driver to the detained Ike Ekweremmadu.
He left the employment of the former deputy Senate President last year to start his own Uber business with his car.
The man shared so many stories with me on the way to drop me off at my hotel room, but the one that stood out was how the people his former boss helped them when he was in power have all abandoned him at his lowest moment.
According to the former driver of Ekweremmadu’s
At the height of his power and fame, Ike Ekweremmadu’s house in Apo, Abuja, used to be a beehive of activity, a Mecca for so many people.
A lot of people from different countries in the world come around for different reasons, ranging from those seeking financial assistance to those looking for employment in federal agencies to politicians who, always leave with Ghana must go bags stuffed with money.
But today, none of those individuals that Oga helped have publicly identified with him or even visited him in prison in London.
They have all stayed away by distancing themselves from his travails and predicament.
As the former driver of the Enugu state legislator was lamenting what had become of his boss,
I was trying to process what I just heard while reminding myself in my heart that human beings are who they are.
Wicked, selfish, and self-centered.
Reuben Abati shared the same story of how the beneficiaries of his boss and former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s largess, all abandoned him a week after Buhari was declared president in 2015
Let’s hear Reuben as he explains better:
The presidential election went as it did, and everything changed. Days later, State House became Ghost House. The residence, which used to receive visitors as early as 6 a.m. (regular early morning devotion attendees), became quiet. The throng of visitors stopped.
The number of phone calls began to drop. By May 29, my phones had stopped ringing as they used to. They more or less became museum pieces; their silence reminded me of the four years of my life that proved so momentous.
On one occasion, after a whole day of silence, I had to check if the phones were damaged! As it were, a cynical public relates to you not as a person but as the office you occupy; the moment you leave office, the people move on, erasing every memory before throwing you into yesterday’s dustbin. Opportunism is the driver of the public’s relationship with public officials.
Today, the phones remain loudly silent, with the exception of calls from those friends who are not gloating and who have been offering words of commendation and support.
They include childhood friends, former colleagues, elderly associates, fans, and family members.
The first thing I noticed after that phone call, in which the president conceded, was that people stopped coming to the villa to see the former president. The villa became a ghost town. “The traffic to that villa just disappeared,” he said.
“We were seeing pictures of people already going to the other side, to the president-elect, including members of the Jonathan government.
“They had changed camps, and the speed with which it was done was amazing.”
Around the villa, some of the people started using the excuse that they wanted to go to their village or London for a checkup.
“These were people who would ordinarily not move an inch and who wanted to be in the presence of the president all the time.” “That taught me a lesson: You’re only as relevant as the position you occupy,” Reuben Abati concluded.
A lot of people in your circle are not actually your friends.
They don’t like you like that.
They are only around you because of what they get from you.
Once the bakery stops baking bread, they leave and move on to the next mugu, the next market.
This is why I belong to this school of thought that believes that if you have not cried with me, stayed with me in my vulnerable moment, seen my worst but still stayed, you are not good enough to be called my friend.
In the eternal words of Apostle Joshua Salman
“We live in a wicked world.” So if you find people who love you for who you are and not because of what they benefit from you, “pay the price and keep them.”
And I could not agree more.