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Governor Sanwo-Olu and I

By Sam Umukoro
17 July 2021   |   3:55 am
I walked into the supermarket in Ikoyi with the spiralling costs of things on my mind. When I heard a loud voice bellow: “Your Excellency, you cannot be pushing a shopping trolley.’’

[FILES] Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu,. Photo: TWITTER/JIDESANWOOLU

I walked into the supermarket in Ikoyi with the spiralling costs of things on my mind. When I heard a loud voice bellow: “Your Excellency, you cannot be pushing a shopping trolley.’’

I wondered which Governor was around without a retinue of aides and security. I did not see any display of the appurtenance of power.

As I walked briskly to the aisle for bottled water, a man accosted me. He had a smile planted on his face; I wondered what he found amusing. He was neatly dressed in chinos khaki pants, a white tee shirt and tennis shoes. He didn’t look like one of the guys you find in car parks asking for alms. In the first place, you won’t find one in a place like this — shoppers are usually expats, middle class citizens and the nouveau riche.

“Your Excellency, please let me help you push the trolley, I will not allow my Governor to do this.”

As soon as he spoke, I recognised the voice and realisation of what was going on hit me. We both burst out laughing. Again, my close resemblance to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu brought to the fore.

Seriously I don’t see the resemblance, but I can’t count the number of times people have mistaken me for the Governor.

Two beautiful distinguished looking old ladies who sat in a corner of a popular cafe in Victoria Island kept stealing glances at me and whispering to each other. It was obvious they were talking about me. I ordered an Americano and watched them from the corner of my eyes too.

I have heard about the activities of some cougars in Lagos, but never been opportune to meet one. I don’t look like Denzel Washington or Richard Mofe-Damijo, but I have been told that I have features that women like – young or old.

I was jolted out of my reverie by a sonorous voice: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like the Lagos State Governor?’’ It was one of the ladies; they were done with breakfast and were on their way out of the cafe.

“I have heard that so many times and I still don’t see any resemblance.”

Not convinced by my response, she turned to her friend to get her opinion. Doesn’t he look like Sanwo-Olu?”

Her friend answered in the affirmative. I smiled politely, eager to end the conversation. My coffee was getting cold and I was disappointed that their look was not that of admiration.

A blogger also once mistook me for the Governor. I saw a caption of a picture of me chatting with my friend at a birthday party; it really made me laugh. We all know that some of these blogs are prone to clickbait and will do anything to get views and likes. But from the screenshot my friend sent to me, it was a case of mistaken identity.

At the club the other day, after my golf lessons, oh yes, I finally started learning how to play after many years of procrastination, an elderly member reminded me again of this striking resemblance.

In fact he volunteered to introduce me to the Governor: “You must meet Jide, you guys not only look alike, but have the same mannerism when you talk. Your gesticulation is similar.’’

I thanked him for his offer, but calling the Governor by his first name doesn’t convince me of unfettered access to the seat of power.

By the way, Governor Sanwo-Olu seems likeable; my friend Sam Adeoye says he is very authentic and relatable. According to him, Sanwo-Olu is like “a CEO who wants to serve his customers and lead his organisation to great growth.” I sincerely hope he is able to achieve his goals.

However, I hope my resemblance to the Governor would not get me into trouble someday. I walked into a party the other day and one mischievous fellow welcomed me into the gathering with a question full of mischief: “ Your Excellency, who gave the order ?’’

Everyone within earshot turned to me; all eyes on me to see how I will respond to the question. His question was completely out of order and one is tempted to advocate for stringent legislation to deal with mischiefs designed to spoil fun at a party.

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