By: Deji Yesufu
During my days at Ahmadu Bello University, there was a lady who had come to my school for her undergraduate studies at about the same time. My family and hers remain family friends till this day. This young woman went to school at a Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC) Owerri and because of her exposure and travels, I was always intrigued by stories she told us. One of such stories was about how Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the late Biafran warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu, had visited her school and spent some time talking with her and her friends. Bianca had just won the beauty pageant that launched her into fame and I doubt she was even married to Ojukwu as of this time.
My friend told me that quite naturally all the girls in the school flocked out to see Bianca and the beauty queen took her time to interact with them. At some point she began to ask them what they wanted to become in life. Everyone had one thing or the other to say. One of the girls told Bianca that she wanted to become a beauty queen like herself. At that point all the girls let out shrills – of course doubting the young girl. Bianca quieted the girls and told them that this girl had potentials. As if to shut off their disbelief, Bianca pointed at the girl’s fair skin and her particularly slim and long legs as marks that could stand her out in a beauty contest.
Incidentally I knew this girl because she happened to have schooled in ABU too. Long story short, this girl, Nkem, soon bagged the nick-name: “Bianca Potential”. The story of Bianca Potential did not go on to become the fairy tale many of her mates had envisioned for her. Nkem married a wealthy Igbo man. Her husband restrained her from pursuing any other career and thus became a full time house wife. Nkem lost all her potentials to child bearing and overweight and soon died a little more than a decade after we all left school. She never fulfilled her potentials. When the story of the slap-fest between Bianca Ojukwu and Willie Obiano’s wife broke yesterday, I sent a text to my friend saying that I didn’t know that Bianca had potentials for slapping too. My friend replied that she was just learning the same.
This article is not meant to examine the propriety of the actions of the two high class ladies at the inaugural ceremony of Prof. Charles Soludo as Governor of Anambra State yesterday. It is impossible to do justice to the subject because whatever will make a human being resort to diatribes in the manner that Mrs. Obiano did yesterday and which also brought fort the violence in Mrs. Ojukwu – no one can say for certainty. Clearly the two ladies were once allies who have now become arc enemies.
It is however safe to state two things: first, like the story of Bianca which I just relayed, especially the Bianca before becoming Biafra’s matriarch, shows that Ojukwu’s wife can be humane. While others felt Nkem had no potential, Bianca could see one. She encouraged Nkem with her words such that by the time I will see her at ABU, she had clearly become a beauty to behold. And save for bad judgement from a husband and death, Nkem might indeed have gone on to become Ms. Nigeria – all thanks to Bianca. In other words, the ladies who turned to fist cuffs yesterday are normal human beings and yesterday may just have been a particularly low point for them. And thus they should not be defined by it.
Secondly, and more importantly, the story of the relationship between Nigerian politicians – including the relationship between their wives is a tragic one to behold. I understand that historically the Western Region that degenerated to violence in the early 1960s, was actually the outplay of a feudal war between Chief Awolowo wife and the wife of Chief Akintola who was the sitting Premier of that region at that time. Awolowo’s wife was the sole distributor of Coca-cola in Nigeria then. After her husband had left office, Akintola’s wife felt she should also have a slice in that pie too. Their disagreement led to the South West boiling and the sacking of the democratic government of that day by the military.
I am saying that if left unchecked, disagreement between two ladies could lead to a tragic end. It is not likely that Bianca’s feud with Mrs. Obiano will extend any further though because the former Governor has other fish to fry as he must now explain himself to the EFCC, who arrested him at MMA yesterday as he sought to leave the country for the USA, following the end of his tenure as Governor. Willie Obiano will very likely elude the Nigerian ant graft agency in another few years, after he would have settled himself out of court with some plea bargaining.
It is all a summary of the tragic situation we have found ourselves in as a people in Nigeria. Tragedy just as it happened in the life of a young woman I didn’t know too well but who was called “Bianca Potential” because she had potentials to be great but perished before her days even begun.
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“had potentials to be great but perished before her days even begun”
I have to pray that Nigeria’s case won’t be so even after over 60 years.
My point exactly