Alaere Alaibe and the stream of sympathizers
By Abdallah Sha’aibu Mailafia
When beggars die, there are comets seen, but heaven themselves blaze forth the death of princes. This Shakespearean saying brings itself to bear at the death of Alaere, the amiable wife of Timi Alaibe. It is remarkable that the nation witnessed such a tremendous outpour of sympathy over the death of a young lady who devoted her life to the cause of humanity. Alaere came into this world and discovered that she was just a passerby. She strived in her own little way to contribute her quota to the liberation of women and children in her native home of Niger Delta region of the country. For a very long time, her contribution will remain cherished in the minds of the underprivileged who benefited form her philanthropic gestures.
Her death reminds me of Stella Obasanjo who equally received a grand exit from this sinful world some years ago. The media, electronic and print, stood still for Stella when she passed away. The same can be said of Alaere as her lovely pictures adored several pages of our dailies via paid advert commiserating with members of her family. She even made the editorial of a leading newspaper on the day she was committed to mother earth. Full page coloured advert flew everyday everywhere.
One question that readily comes to mind is when has Nigerians began to recognize virtue to the extent that hard earned resources are being dispensed to herald the death of a woman in this era of economic meltdown? Is this the first time a Nigerian that has done so much is quitting the stage? Certainly not! Why the special attention on this woman of great virtue? Lots of questions are eagerly yearning for answer.
It is high time we stopped pretending in this country. Alaere is not being celebrated because of her contribution while she sojourned on this earth. Most of her sympathizers were more of attention seekers than anything else. Put in a plainer language, they are attempts to curry favour from her bereaved husband, Timi Alaibe who sits on NDDC money. As the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Company, Timi can make one a millionaire overnight. Even State Governors become green with envy at the mention of Timi Alaibe. One can understand why millions of naira is being spent to identify with the family at this critical period in the life of the Alaibes. What an investment! Using what they have to get what they want.
I can almost predict with certainty that Alaere Alaibe’s future remembrances will attract the same attention as we have just witnessed, if not more. But this is a function of her husband remaining at the helm of affairs in NDDC or other equally lucrative position. Even friends of the family who have always been there comes rain or shine may not even remember this important day as soon as Timi is out of NDDC. I want critics to prove me wrong.
Back to Stella Obasanjo of blessed memory. The moment Obasanjo left office, her remembrance plummeted. Not even Obasanjo remembered to put up an advert in any national daily to commemorate her annual remembrance. At a time, the only paid ad in one newspaper was the one placed by her son. Sule Lamidos, Abdullahi Adamus, Andy Ubas, Bode Georges, Otedolas, Dangotes and other big contactors closed the last page on Stella on 29 May, 2007. If only Pa Obasanjo had succeeded in his quest for a third term. What benefit does anyone stand to gain for remembering Stella with Obj outside Aso Rock?
Wada Nas, one time Minister of Special Duties during the regime of the late General Sani Abacha, was the only one who followed the Abachas till he breathed his last breath. Even Abacha’s critics could not but give a thumb up for Wada’s earnest love for his benefactor. I prayed we have more Wada Nas in this country who are sincere and committed to those they refer to as friends.
Abdallah Sha’aibu Mailafia
( firstname.lastname@example.org )
No 8A, Tudun Wada Street