Ego it is said to be a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It is also said to be a part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious, and is responsible for testing and a sense of personal identity. Others say that it is the idea or opinion that you have of yourself, especially the level of your intelligence, and your importance. It is the ego that gives people the desire not to give up easily in a competition. When students do best on a test, ego helps them want to stay on top just as it drives their peers to strive to beat them next time. Although the ego is a human attribute, it seems that men, as a gender, have it in unequal proportions, so theirs manifests itself at every step. In political circles, it becomes even more obvious.
In the days of the military, the ego was said to have been exhausted in 1986 when military president Ibrahim Babangida signed off on the execution of his childhood friend, Mamman Jiya Vasta, after a military court convicted the latter of treason associated with with a missed hit. Vatsa was a man of the muse, a poet and writer whose ego supposedly led him to plot a coup against his friend and brother, IBB. When the executioner’s bullet sent him to the afterlife on March 5 of that year, he was 45 years old. An accomplished poet and writer, he was a patron of the arts, having begun construction of a writers’ village in Abuja when he was a minister. of the Federal Capital Territory under the regime he wanted to overthrow. The place was renamed Vatsa when it was completed in 2013. Three great Nigerian literary writers Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clarke and Wole Soyinka pleaded with Babangida to spare his colleague, but he fell on deaf ears, for obvious reasons. . Babangida would have set a bad precedent since Vasta was not alone in the act. IBB, as he was known, confessed in more than one interview that executing Vatsa was one of the hardest and saddest decisions he has ever made. I dare say that the ego was present in both men at that moment. IBB had barely been in office for a year when his friend wanted to fire him. He perhaps felt better qualified for that job.
In the current state of Osun, Governor Jackson Ademola Adeleke benefited from the ego politics between Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola and Isiaka Oyetola, both former state governors. The ego battle was such that it divided the ruling party in the state into camps. Aregbesola’s loyalists were said to lean towards the opposition, thus fighting his party from within. The fact was that both men were driven by their own importance to hold on to their own until the party collapsed at the ballot box. I hear they’ve reconciled at the altar of their loss. Both men should have come to terms with the disastrous consequence of their ego fight long before. They have left the halls of power and may have had a sober reflection on their needless fight. Aregbesola is said to have helped Oyetola take office in 2018. He was Aregbesola’s chief of staff. Shortly after Oyetola took office, the two men appeared to have parted ways. The charge was that Aregbesola was looking over the shoulders of his successor, but the new governor wanted to be an independent man. The conflict was carefully hidden until it grew like a pregnancy. Aregbesola was said to have asked Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene, as he was their collective political godfather. But it is alleged that BAT, as Tinubu is known, leaned towards Oyetola, who was in the saddle. Aregbesola may have felt bad that Tinubu could take such a stance, having laid the groundwork as the godfather of Lagos politics, but he won’t hold the ladder for another to ascend to that position elsewhere. It became a three-way ego fight, which now threatens to erase the political relevance of those who have their dogs in the fight.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is said to have a mountain of ego. But he seems to know when stoop to conquer. Recent revelations by Governor Nyesom Wike show that the former president has favored his vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for a second term. Obasanjo had been cornered by the vice president and some governors. The president, a cunning man, lowered his ego for the moment and got away with it. That he brought back his ego on top of the mountain and obtained his pound of meat from the conspirators is public knowledge. His feud with Atiku dragged on until they both left office, and he may have continued. However, politicians should borrow a leaf from the former president. He knew when he duck and when to get up It is said that the ego is natural with people, especially with men. Actually, it is said that the ego is an ingredient for success. People with the right measure of ego would always like to excel at their tasks. They don’t want anyone to hold them in low esteem.
It would seem that ego has become the central issue of the political skirmish in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, as the presidential elections are weeks away. The presidential candidate and the governors, justly aggrieved, are now face to face. The ego now stands between them.