© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigerian politicians and their signature caps
IN most parts of Nigeria, a man is not fully dressed without a matching covering over his head. In fact, in some traditions, it is a taboo for a man to be seen in public with his head uncovered.
Therefore it is no surprise that many Nigerian politicians have carved a niche for themselves with their signature caps such that one can easily identify them just by seeing their caps.
Whether it is the signature embroidery on Bola Tinubu’s traditional Yoruba caps, or the crescent moon and star that adorns Lai Mohammed’s cap, or Chris Ngige’s trademark papa’s cap, or the boys scout-like beret that Solomon Dalung cannot do without, Nigerian politicians make daily statements with their choice of head coverings.
For instance, Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo’s ‘Awolowo cap’ could be a testament to his admiration of the renowned nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement. Also, Sports Minister, Dalung had explained that his red beret is a tribute to Thomas Sankara, the Burkinabe revolution leader who was assassinated in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on October 15 1987.
The caps sometimes signify affinity with one’s culture and tradition, as is exemplified in the case of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State. His “cap of many colours” actually makes a kind of I-belong-to-everybody-and-I-belong-to-nobody statement. The Tiv, Idoma and Igede ethnic groups, all in Benue State, have their traditional colours as black and white, red and black, and blue and black respectively, and all the colours, including Nigeria’s green and white, are represented in the Governor’s cap.
Same can also be said of the big red chieftaincy cap always worn by Victor Umeh, the Senator representing Anambra Central in the National Assembly, who is a title holder in Abagana, his hometown.
However, there are also a few of the politicians who cannot be caught dead wearing a cap, irrespective of what the occasion may be. Former Governor of Anambra State, and now vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, fall within this category.