The picture of Governor Mohammed Umar Bago of Niger State kneeling before President Bola Tinubu in the presidential office was on Friday eliciting strong reactions in social media.

Ordinarily, there should be nothing to it for the 50-year-old governor kneeling to greet the president who will be 71 later this month.

The picture was brought to social media by one of the most trenchant activists in the opposition who is generally assumed as the First Lady of the Obidient Movement and identifies herself with the royal title, Nefertiti, after the ancient Egyptian Queen.

In the picture posted on her X handle late on Thursday night she captioned it, “He praised Peter Obi on Tuesday. By Wednesday, he was summoned to Abuja”

The drama followed the echo by Governor Bago of Obi’s claim that it was a national disgrace for Nigeria to import food from war-torn Ukraine.

Governor Bago made the assertion at the Leadership Newspaper Award where the seeming faux pas occurred.

Peter Obi, and other governors including some from the All Progressives Congress, APC were among those present at the ceremony.

Speaking at the occasion, Governor Bago had said: “My boss, (Obi) you are very right on what you’ve said. We have no reason to be poor. People may not like you, but they must hear you. What you say is the gospel truth.

“It is time we tell ourselves the basic truth. We need to feed ourselves. It is a shame for people like Ukraine in war to be giving us food.”

Not only did Bago come out to back Obi, but he also called the leader of the opposition in the country, his boss.

For the political enforcers in the Presidential Villa, the assertion by the Niger governor was enough to summon him for re-examination.

The picture that was presented speaks much of power play. In the picture perhaps taken after some serious reprimand, Tinubu could be seen looking at the camera and not at the man greeting him.

The message was very clear. In an apparent message to other governors and potential rebels, the president could be perceived as smacking, ‘I have subdued the rebel.’

Niger State is known for producing some of the country’s most politically wonky governors.

The first governor of the Fourth Republic of Niger State, Abdulkadir Kure had his loyalties more to President Ibrahim Babangida than to anyone else. It was no surprise that President Obasanjo denied him the opportunity to produce a successor. Dr Aliyu Babangida who did not do much of a campaign and emerged as his successor was known by some as garrulous and for his political infidelity.

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His name in the PDP continues to be a sore among some, especially in the South after he unrepentantly came out to say that he worked against the PDP in the 2015 presidential election.

Aliyu’s successor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello was perhaps the exception. Bago, however, appears to have been on the trajectory of exceeding the tantrums of all his predecessors.

In less than one year of being in office, he has cultivated many controversial policies including the order on civil servants not to wear kaftans to office except on Fridays and the order restricting food movement out of the state.

His assertions at last Tuesday’s Leadership Newspaper Awards, however, perch as about the most controversial.

If folks thought that they were comments that the Presidential Villa would ignore, we now know that the most political president of the Fourth Republic was not one to ignore such act of disloyalty.

However, the development is again bound to resurrect the question of the subservience of governors to the president.

Indeed, Bago is not the first to be publicly pictured kneeling before a president.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai did even more during some meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari, kneeling sometimes as if he wanted to go into the ground in the presence of the former president.

However, the obsequiousness in the El-Rufai-Buhari affair disappeared towards the end of the administration when the then Kaduna governor led other rebels to challenge some of the most valued policies of the Buhari government, and most notably, the naira redesign policy.

So, it is as such assumed that the subservience of governors to presidents are essentially baked by political considerations whether they are of the same party or not.

But there was one famous governor who could barely stand a president during his time.

From after the time they settled in at the inception of the Fourth Republic, the Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu rarely showed recognition to President Olusegun Obasanjo. Not only did he instigate court processes against him, he delegated his deputies to most of the meetings involving governors and the president.

So while we scrutinise the picture of Governor Bago kneeling before President Tinubu, the question as to whether Tinubu as a Yoruba man in that position would have done same to President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It is an issue that is bound to exercise the judgment of political commentators given the fact that the incumbent president was noticeably quiet as President Obasanjo celebrated his 87th birthday earlier this week.

Your correspondent has searched vainly for any public expression of greeting from the incumbent to his predecessor on his 87th. None!