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That Naija Bet odd on Buhari’s return


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari arrives to attend a working session with outreach guests at the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. PHOTO: Carl Court/Getty Images

Naija Bet is running a betting odd on when President Muhammadu Buhari would return to Nigeria. Odd?

Buhari has spent more time in the United Kingdom than he has done in Nigeria since the beginning of 2017. He was in London between January 19 and March 10. After a staying in Nigeria for less than two months, the president jetted out to the UK once again on May 7 and is yet to return.

His prolonged stay in the Queen’s country has generated a lot of controversies. But who foresaw that his imminent return to Nigeria will be the subject of a betting odd, especially in a country where respect system is viewed as sacrosanct irrespective of the context? Definitely not me. May be that’s because I don’t gamble.

In our climes, where respect is prioritised above appropriateness, correctness and decency, this business move may land Naija Bet, as an organisation, in trouble. While a lot of people might see placement of odds on Buhari as a smart business sense by the betting house since talks about the president’s health is the most prominent subject of national discourse, at least for now, till the English Premier League resumes on August 10, but I very much doubt this will go down well with staunch Buharists and members of the famed Buhari Media Centre.

And for people like a couple of my colleagues, there is a genuine fear that Naija Bet might have pulled off a stunt that could lead to its demise.

And the truth is that their fear is not unfounded.

Do you remember Joachim Iroko Chinakwe? He was the man who named his dog Buhari; an act that was considered sacrilegious by the powers that be.

Regardless of the fact that Chinakwe insisted that he named his dog after the president because of the “great love and admiration” he has for him, he was hauled before a judge by the Nigerian police who accused him of committing an act that could breach public peace. To prove his point, Chinakwe also claimed to have named his daughter Aisha after Buhari’s wife.

Though, he was let off the hook on July 26, according to his lawyer Ebun-Ola Adegboruwa, his ordeal since 2016 has been less than desirable.

Would Naija Bet be visited with a more dastardly consequence considering the fact that aides and foot soldiers to Nigerian leaders have a dark history of being overzealous when reacting to instances they deem unflattering to the image of the principals? Only time will tell.

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