Will Bishop Oyedepo Shave Tinubu’s Head For Lying? By Tunde Odesola

(Publisher in The Punch of Monday, April 9, 2018)

The thrifty history behind his mane notwithstanding, as one of his acolytes, I should warn Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, not to visit some Nigerian university for now, otherwise, a pair of covenant shears would scissors his crown-like shock of wispy hair – sssha! sshaa! ssshaa!, and the spongy white strands of knowledge would cascade to the floor of ignorance. I would’ve offered the same advice to the greatest reggae musician of all time, the late Bob Marley, if he was planning to visit Nigeria this perilous period.

Latin language is dead. It died thousands of years ago when it ceased to be the native language of Latium, a central-western region of Italy, where it was spoken with flourish during the gleam of the Roman Empire reign. Today, Latin emits the embers of an unenviable afterlife. Latin wasn’t completely buried with the emergence of Italy as a modern nation state. Rather, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Provencal and Romansh languages evolved from it. Latin gave the world the word ‘emeritus’. Growing up as a starry-eyed teenager with a curiosity for highfaluting English words, the title, Emeritus Professor, struck me with fascination back in the day when Professors Ayodele Awojobi, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Claude Ake, Soyinka and co were the guiding lights to a nation groping in the vortex of self-discovery. Then, I had thought ‘emeritus professor’ was superior to a ‘mere’ professor. I never knew emeritus is another word for retired. I never knew emeritus is a Latin word for ‘veteran soldier’.

I know universities confer emeritus statuses on distinguished retiring or retired professors. But I don’t know who conferred the title ‘Emeritus Governor’ on a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. For the fact that no Nigerian politician has been as influential, all-permeating, robust and dominant as the Lion of Bourdillon since 1999, I won’t contest the title. I think it’s richly deserved.

Another Nigerian, though not a politician, but who’s also making waves in his calling, is Bishop David Oyedepo, the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide. Both Tinubu and Oyedepo have quite a number of things in common. They’re both from Muslim backgrounds as Oyedepo’s dad was a Muslim from Omu-Aran in Kwara State. Both married Christian spouses. While Tinubu clocked 66 last week, Oyedepo will clock 64 on September 27, this year. Whereas the net worth of Tinubu’s stupendous wealth isn’t in the public domain, Oyedepo is reputed to be one of the richest clerics in the world. I’m sure the net worth of Tinubu’s wealth, if made public, would draw more daggers from enemies than praise from supporters. Both are Yoruba leaders who leave no hair on their pates. Both studied in the US. Today, they’re orphans, who actualized their dreams in Lagos State. And both aren’t strangers to controversy.

Oyedepo’s Covenant University, Ota, was in the eye of the storm again, last week, when a cross-section of Nigerians condemned the cutting of the hair of some students of the university by authorities who deemed their hair bushy. Arguments have oscillated between the university being a citadel for the cross-fertilization of divergent academic ideas, and the university being a place where man-imposed ethics must shave off individual freedom, wearing the cassock of utter obedience.

To buttress what they deemed as hypocrisy, online commentators uploaded the picture of Oyedepo sporting a bushy hair in his younger days. They also uploaded a six-member family picture of the Oyedepos, where one of the two young men standing behind the bishop and his wife, Faith, wore a trendy crew cut hairstyle. Not done, some commentators condemned Covenant authorities for using the same hair clipper on the erring male students in succession – without sterilization, raising health concerns over the risk of disease transmission. While some commentators were of the opinion that the university’s laws must be absolutely obeyed by students, who, upon admission, pledged allegiance to Covenant’s rules, some said Covenant’s regulations mustn’t supersede the Nigerian Constitution, which provides for self expression, freedom and human dignity.

In all of these, I stand by the words of a two-term British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, a Jew, who said, “A university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.” I think it is high time Nigeria began to raise a new breed of future leaders that wouldn’t be cowed into blinded religiosity against demanding a better deal from the wasted generation currently leading the country. I reckon that except Prophet Elisha who was bald, all the great Jewish leaders in the bible wore long hairs – Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Abraham, Samuel, Samson, David, Solomon, the Messiah, Jesus Christ; etc. Pictures don’t lie.

But the Jagaban Borgu told a black lie last week. I won’t dwell on the impropriety behind the categorization of a type of lie as white and another type as black. Basically, a white lie is described as a harmless or trivial lie while a black lie is described as harmful, evil. With President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance, Tinubu, delivering a colloquium speech to commemorate his 66th birthday in Lagos, told his audience that the All Progressives Congress never promised Nigerians “honey and sugar”. Haba! Ogini kwa? What then did your party promise Nigerians? Serpents and stones? If not in deference to old age and respect for the beautiful and ageless Oluremi, your wife, I would’ve called you a blinking liar because I was personally at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, where the APC presidential primary held in December 2014. If ‘change’ is not a promise of “honey and sugar”, is it a continuation of the Goodluck Jonathan ruinous years? When you led Buhari to campaign grounds nationwide, urging Nigerians to vote for him, did you promise them suffering?

Tinubu told his birthday audience, “Yes, when we came in, we came in with a whole lot of hope… thinking and believing in ourselves, that we can change Nigeria… Life is not interesting without challenges. We didn’t come with a political party showing our logo as honey and sugar, our logo is (a) broom bound together, (symbolizing) united Nigerians, focusing against terrorism, against corruption, and to promote the economic revival of the country.” Latin is not a language of betrayal, but like the betrayed Julius Caesar, I ask, “Et tu, Tinubu?”

Inadvertently confirming that he had been shut out of the Buhari Presidency in the last three years, Tinubu said, “We have a nation to rescue; we have a good leader to emulate and we have hope. We have reduced the propensity for corruption… I will submit a proposal on how we can stimulate the economy.” Sir, what’ve you been doing in the last three years? Watching the economy chained by inflation?

Tinubu mocked former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying, “My grandmother used to ask me to write letters to her. Somebody is writing letters now, letter of politics these days. As if they’ve not been there before. Bad belle letters!”

With barely a year left in Buhari’s tenure, Tinubu said, “I’m happy the President can change the course of the ship wreckage – the ship of this country that’s headed in the wrong direction. To steer the ship back or anchor before redirecting it, which, of course, is necessary.” Steering the ship for three years?

For the black lie told by Tinubu, I wonder what Oyedepo would have done to his hair if he was a student of Covenant. Need I speak Latin again? Ok, I’ll. I concur with the Latin phrase which says “acta non verba” – meaning “deeds, not words” – are needed for Nigeria’s development because “barba non facit philosophum” – “a beard doesn’t make one a philosopher.” And I’ll leave President Buhari with the words of a fellow Roman military commander, Hannibal Barca, who said in Latin, “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” – meaning: “I will either find a way or make one.”

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Is Boko Haram More Honourable Than Buhari? By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, March 26, 2018)

Understandably, the noun ‘change’ is the most controversial word in Nigeria today. You need to be careful about where and how you say change because the design of your face and the architecture of your mouth could be badly changed for mouthing change wrongfully. Here, change doesn’t mean the money you collect after making a purchase. Here, change was the powerful potion a nation in hebetude was eager to take to break free from crushing poverty and grinding backwardness of yesteryears.

Change was the flaming key with which the All Progressives Congress unlocked the hearts of Nigerians during the 2015 presidential election, splitting into two equal halves the door to the Aso Rock bedroom of the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, laying bare a cringing occupant.

Change became Nigeria’s most popular word in 2015 as thrice-unlucky-presidential-aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari, dazzled the electorate with a blazing manifesto whose glitter was blinding. Nigerians were drunk on the Buhari opium, swooning over the long list of his Eldorado promises. Like a messiah in a hurry, Buhari promised, among other things, to chase corruption into the Dead Sea and part River Niger with earth-shaking socio-political reforms. Armed with his sainthood and halo, Buhari vowed to publicly declare his assets, ensure constant electricity, create three million jobs per year; ban medical tourism by politicians from May 29, 2015, remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases, make the economy one of the fastest growing in the world with a GDP growth averaging 10-12% annually, and enshrine political reforms to check electoral malpractice. The savior has finally arrived!

Purportedly driven by the passion to see Nigeria emerge as a strong regional economy, Buhari also promised to make the naira to be at parity with the dollar through investment in agriculture, establish city and state policing system, build 6,800km of modern railway and 5,000km superhighway by 2019 just as he pledged to quash Boko Haram and vowed not to ‘leave the defence of the nation in the hands of hunters, children and Civilian JTF’. Nigeria’s time in the sun has come!

The husband of the uncommon and courageous woman, Aisha, also told Nigerians that he would, if elected president, establish a conflict resolution commission to prevent and resolve civil conflicts in the Niger Delta and states such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna etc; provide allowance to discharged but unemployed National Youth Service Corps members for 12 months, ‘revive our minimally performing refineries to optimum capacity’, and revive and restructure the Nigerian football league, among other lofty promises. Has the president delivered on his promises? Yes, Buhari and his supporters living in the Nigeria bordering between the USA and Canada believe the president has delivered on all electoral promises and more to boot!

Change has become a curious word in the present-day Nigeria amalgamated by the British Empire in 1914. Without a doubt, things were rosier for Nigerians under colonial rule than they are today and the only difference between the savagery of the slave trade era and the lives of Nigerians today is the change in the skin color of the slave masters!

Although a breakaway faction of Boko Haram headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi is suspected to have masterminded the Dapchi kidnap in order to have a piece of the national cake as the Abubakar Shekau faction had when negotiations on the release of some Chibok schoolgirls were reached, neither of the two factions have openly claimed responsibility for the Dapchi kidnap.

The ruthlessness of the Shekau faction, however, puts him on the same podium with the world’s vilest murderers. With a place assured in hell as Satan’s deputy, Shekau, a leader of the world’s deadliest terror gang, ostensibly fell under the spell of the magical swagger stick of President Buhari last Monday, in Dapchi. I remember seeing camouflage-wearing President Goodluck Jonathan playfully sitting on a swagger stick as a kid would mount his first potty – during his visit to Boko Haram-ravaged Baga in Borno State.

President Buhari says he hails from Katsina, despite planning to build a rail line into the neighboring Niger Republic. With my head on the chopping block, I can wager a bet that Baba Yusuf will contest the 2019 presidential election, but I can’t bet that kidnapping won’t mushroom in the coming months. Shekau, a Kanuri from Yobe State, stole the change, sorry, I mean the show, in Dapchi last Monday, symbolically marching through the scourged village to the shock of an alarmed nation when he returned 105 schoolgirls kidnapped on February 19, 2018. ‘Boko Haram returns Dapchi schoolgirls’ ran hasty headlines on social media.

It must be a joke, I thought. Return ko, reverse ni. Then the news gained momentum and soared on the pinions of reality. With the manner of the girls’ release, Boko Haram has brought a change to the young trade of kidnapping and negotiation in Nigeria. The girls’ release was made to look like an authorless fairytale book from a faraway land beyond seven rivers by the Minister of Information, Youth and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said Boko Haram released the girls without collecting a ransom. Haba, Alhaji! I didn’t know that ‘Bonanza’ was Boko Haram’s other name. If Mohammed had told Nigerians that Boko Haram released the girls because of the ‘APC’ in d-APC-hi, he would have told a better lie.

Also, the assertion by the minister that Boko Haram claimed to have returned the Dapchi girls because they’re Muslims makes one wonder whether the kidnapped Muslim Chibok schoolgirls are inferior to their Muslim colleagues in Dapchi. Globally, the terms of hostage negotiation are not fed to the public, but Mohammed could’ve said something like: “The girls’ release was negotiated by Nigerian and foreign experts who want the terms of the negotiation kept under wraps for security reasons.” As poor as a church rat that my family is, I had to negotiate and part with some money when my in-law was kidnapped in Rivers State in 2014. Kidnappers, unlike politicians, don’t have access to the treasury; ransom is their holy grail.

The Boko Haram change. Since he emerged in 2009 as the world’s primus inter pares in terrorism, Shekau promised Nigerians sorrow, tears and blood. Boko Haram, his mass murder machine, has sowed everlasting grief into families, whose thousands of dear ones it bombed into shallow graves. Last Monday, however, Boko Haram gave Nigerians what it never promised – joy, albeit momentary – while the change promised by the Buhari government remained a miserable hope.

Another agent of death who mouthed change a few days ago was Assassin-in-Chief and Tormentor Extraordinaire, Adeola Williams aka Ade Lawyer, who recently confessed to killing over a hundred persons. Begging for forgiveness, Ade Lawyer (39), whose last kill was Ganiyu Ayinla alias Pinero, the personal assistant to the NURTW chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal (aka Kunle Poly), said he has also embraced change.

The self-confessed serial killer said he had killed four people on the prompting of a former Chairman of the National Union Road of Transport Workers, Lagos State branch, Alhaji Akanni Olorunwa. He said he had aimed to kill Kunle Poly on Olorunwa’s request, but mistakenly shot Pinero who was with the former on the fateful day. He said he had killed several people on the request of prominent Nigerians including traditional rulers in more than a decade of his stellar career.

In a serious country, Ade Lawyer would’ve been long arrested and his arrest would’ve led to solving the jigsaw of several killings in the country.

A few days after his disturbing confession, change crept into Ade Lawyer’s statement, which wasn’t made under duress. Ade recanted. In this era of change, Olorunwa will be freed, the politicians and traditional rulers Ade killed for won’t be exposed, and life goes on.

If You’re Not A Senator, Leave Ambode’s Lagos Now!!!

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, March 19, 2018)

It is not the red piece of cloth waved by the matador in a bullfight that enrages the bull. Bulls are colorblind. The red piece of cloth is to mask the blood of the gored bull. Sheer animalistic instinct propels the bull to charge at one of the three matadors, who rides a horse, taunting the brawny beast. Bullfighting is common to Spain, Portugal, France and some Latin America countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru. Basically, bullfighting is in three parts: the entry, the planting of the banderillas, and the killing of the bull. The entry sees the bull being released into the bullring with one of the matadors approaching it. The planting of the banderillas is the thrusting of wooden spikes into the bull’s neck muscle to weaken it, and the third and final part is putting the bull to the sword. After the bull is felled, harnessed horses come in and pull out the unfortunate animal, which would be cut up and sold in the local market. The head of the matadors that kill all six bulls could be awarded one or the two ears of the bull. And if the spectators feel he did the job with panache, they would root for him to be given the tail of the bull. If the head matador is injured and leaves the bullring to receive treatment, the remaining two matadors must kill the bull. But if by fate and grit, the bull survives the fight, which is a very rare occurrence, it would be granted a pardon called ‘indulto’ in Spanish and returned to its home ranch to become a stud for the rest of its life.

A few days ago, the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Lagosians were locked in a bullfight over the state’s an-arm-and-a-leg Land Use Charge. The matador and the bull were in the bullring – sizing, guesstimating, eyeballing and assessing each other. Who will blink first? The matador did; he backtracked, dropped his sword headlong into the sandy arena. He also dropped the red cloth and sauntered out of the ring with a grim, sad frown etched on his brow. But the bull will not be fooled. It continues to watch intently, muscles taut, head lowered, body angled back like a catapult ready to fly. Lagos is on the cross.

The contempt unfolding in Lagos today couldn’t happen over 2,000 years ago in the whole of Rome and Judea when Jesus Christ was dragged before Pontius Pilate. The priests and the elders of the time couldn’t unilaterally pronounce Jesus guilty; they had to take him through the law of the land. And Pontius Pilate, who represented the law, openly asked the traducers who they would love to be released between Jesus, the Messiah and Barabbas, the notorious criminal. The people shouted, ‘Jesus!’ Pilate tried all he could to deliver Jesus Christ from the priests and the elders because he knew they wanted to kill him out of envy. Pilate stalled. The shouts of ‘Crucify him!’ became intense even as Pilate inquired what Jesus’ offence was. Absolving himself of Jesus’ impending crucifixion, Pilate washed his hands off the case and released Jesus to them. In a mutual respect move, one would have expected the Lagos State Government to make wide consultations with all the various segments of the Lagos economy before arriving at the controversial Land Use Charge which saw rates increase by 400%. Did the Lagos Sate House of Assembly meet with all segments of the economy? If it did, did the opinions of the segments reflect in the 400% increase? How Ambode, a chartered accountant, assented to the record-breaking increase in an economy that just moved from recession to depression was an ultimate betrayal of voters’ trust. Chinese philosopher, Confucius, never lived in Lagos but in an enduring epigram, he says: “To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.”

I had thought the governor was a different breed until this shocking action that revealed his underbelly and disrespect for Lagosians. To think that the state-in-council sat and approved the increase showed that the political hegemony bequeathed by Governor Emeritus, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos State, is low on benevolence and high on malevolence. To think that Ambode expects Lagosians to applaud the reduction of the rate shows the hypocrisy in the prebendal politics of ‘Baba so pe’ (Baba says), which is always quick to describe the opposition Peoples Democratic Party as wicked and greedy. Really, I don’t think there’s any difference between the nest-of-killers’ politics and the politics of a godhead, who determines who get into posts within vicious transport unions, local government councils, state executives and legislatures, federal parliaments, federal cabinet, churches, mosques, banks and palm wine drinkers’ club. Ambode and his cabinet must have thought that Lagosians remained the puppets which subsequent administrations controlled on the strings of deceit and coercion; bringing the word of promise to their ears and breaking it to their hope. Methinks announcing a price increase and reducing same to gain cheap political popularity had faded out of governmental fad. If any state was to return to that vomit, it shouldn’t be our Almighty Lagos.

Not a few Lagosians saw through the politics of the rate reduction. Many are still shocked as to why the government decided to trifle with its immense goodwill earned on the platter of non-lousy service delivery. They contend that if the governor wasn’t playing politics and taking the masses for granted, he shouldn’t have, in the first instance, assented to the unholy increment. They’re also quick to note that the governor shouldn’t have embarked on a superfluous reduction after all the hues and cries, but should have returned the law to the assembly for a proper amendment – when the spirit of the disturbing law still lives. Some of the questions on the lips of Lagosians are: How would the government check landlords who are sure to increase rents astronomically? Is the new law not unfair to property owners whose buildings or lands aren’t in use? Did the representatives of the masses in the Lagos State House of Assembly truly enact a law that stipulates 100% increase in charge if payment was not made between 75 and 105 days? Does the increase reflect the economic realities of the citizenry? Defending the law, Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade, said property of N10m and below constituted 75% of property owners in the state, who were expected to pay N5, 000 per annum as land use charge. But the commissioner failed to state how much the owners of property above N10m were expected to pay.

The caliber of people Ambode is building his new Lagos for is probably encrypted in the revelation by the senator representing Kaduna-Central senatorial district, Shehu Sani, that each of the nation’s 109 senators monthly receives a running cost of N13.1m and a consolidated salary of N750, 000, in addition to N200m for constituency projects. The labourer, teacher, civil servant, commercial motorcyclist, unemployed, petty trader, struggler appear to have no place in the future Lagos. Aside from senators and privileged members of the political class, other Nigerians whose citizenships are guaranteed in the new Lagos, on account of their earnings, include big-time kidnappers such as Evans, big-time assassins such as Ade Lawyer, transport union kingpins, herdsmen, sweepstake winners, armed robbers, ‘pen robbers’, security chiefs, corrupt judges, big-time prostitutes, rich clerics, successful sycophants, shylock businessmen, smart blackmailers, foreign-based footballers, expatriates, etc.

Anti-Buhari Comment: Pastor Bakare Is Becoming A Nuisance

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, Monday, March 12, 2018)

God loves constituted authority. Clearly, He said so in Romans 13, chapters: 1-2, “All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. So, whoever opposes the authorities, opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged.”

Does Pastor Tunde Bakare still read his bible? His ungodly attack over President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance of the talk-of-the-town wedding in Kano leaves so much in doubt about the sincerity of his criticism of the General of Daura. Has the lawyer-pastor, whom himself had a grand marriage for one of his children, forgotten the exhortation in Romans 12:15, saying, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn?” As a true Muslim, I’m sure President Buhari attended the watershed wedding in Kano bearing in mind the words of the great Prophet Muhammad (Salallahu Alaehi Wasala). In chapter 31:14 and chapter 47:16 of the Holy Quran, the prophet enjoined Muslims to rejoice with those rejoicing. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also said in the Hadith, “Eito alda’awata eza dueitom. Eza dueya ahadokom ela al-walimata falyateha.” So, what’s wrong in President Buhari leading a formidable brood of estranged bedfellows to Kano to strategize, backslap and unwind ahead of the battle in 2019? With his level of education, I expect Pastor Bakare to know that stress is a leading killer in any gerontocracy.

Even if the posh Kano marriage was a statement by the All Progressives Congress to show that Buhari has the North in his grip, what’s wrong with that? Are the lives of a mere 110 unknown girls worthier than the lives of 180m Nigerians which stand at grave risk should the rascal Peoples Democracy Party snatch power in 2019? Nigerians can see the lofty reasons for the political convention disguised as a marriage ceremony in Kano. If Pastor Bakare still has a bible, he should open it to Matthew 26:41; it says, “Watch and pray…” The Kano wedding was a good opportunity to watch and prey!

As a former running mate of Baba Yusuf with unhindered access to Ass-o-Rock, I wonder why the Ogun State-born cleric is crying more than the parents and guardians of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped about four weeks ago in Dapchi, Yobe State. Why Baba Bunmi decided to showboat on a serious national issue such as terrorism in front of the members of his church beats me hollow. Was that the first time Boko Haram terrorists would kidnap schoolchildren in Nigeria? Will that be the last? If my namesake thinks the weight of state duty is keeping President Buhari so busy that he couldn’t get his attention, why didn’t he seek audience with his fellow pastor and Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo? The more I think of Bakare’s heresy against Buhari, the more I think of the word ‘retroactive’, Decree 20 of 1984, Bartholomew Owoh (26), Lawal Ojuolape (30) and Bernard Ogedengbe (29). Please, tell me, with what can this Bakare hate speech be punished other than death? Pastor Bakare mistakenly craves excellence in man, forgetting that only God is excellent. I’ve heard him sing a number of times the melodious Christian song, “The Most Excellency is Jesus, Shout Haleluya, Amen.” Why was he then seeking excellence among leaders who turned the blind eye when herdsmen and terrorists sowed sorrow, tears and blood across the land?

Why should Bakare commit religious hara-kiri when there has been no outrage from Nigerians? He should grab his bible and read Matthew 11:12, which says ‘…the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and it is the violent that takes it by force’. Are Nigerians ready to fight for their rights? Pastor Lagbaja, has anything changed after your outburst?

Baba Segun, what’s wrong in President Buhari leading the Jagaban of Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu himself; Senate President and Medical Doctor Bukola Saraki; 22 All Progressives Congress governors; National Assembly members, ministers, state legislators, ambassadors, chief executives of government agencies, chairmen of councils, Army, Navy, Air Force, Police chiefs, contractors, concubines, marabouts, herdsmen, etc to the wedding between the daughter of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the son of Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, a few days after 110 schoolgirls were swept away into captivity? Pastor Know-all, doesn’t your bible say, ‘let the dead bury the dead’? I certainly don’t have an answer to why you and other eminent people from Ogun State are the problems of this country. Fela would abuse everybody. Awo would be propounding political theories. MKO won’t relinquish a common mandate. Tai Solarin would be wearing khaki like Castro. Soyinka would be blowing big, big grammar while Obasanjo would be doing as if he owns Nigeria. Haba! Kilode? And you would be jumping up and down the pulpit, preaching about justice. If you know that you want to fight for justice, why did you abandon law? I’m not sure you won’t join the PDP before 2019, but I bet you; the rain that is coming would be too strong for a perforated umbrella.

Let me tell you something, Mr pastor. God is never ambiguous. He made an unmistakable point about the centrality of marriage to the existence and sustenance of the society by directing his son, Jesus Christ, to perform his very first miracle at a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Why then do you begrudge our president for attending the Kano of Galilee wedding? Like Cana, like Kano? In Cana, Jesus rose to the occasion of wine scarcity, providing the masses with finest wine. Unheeding the unending national outcry of fuel scarcity, President Buhari, in Kano, rose to the call of the elite Pharisees and Sadducees, who shouted ‘Rankadede! Hosanna! Sai Baba!’, despite the killing of innocent citizens in Benue, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba, etc. The miracle at the Cana wedding was to call man to redemption. The Kano of Galilee wedding was a roll call of powers and principalities seeking to protect their fiefdoms. The Cana wedding was a demonstration of sacrifice. The Kano of Galilee wedding was a glorification of insensitivity.

By the way, your name, Bakare, suggests you converted to Christianity from Islam, the religion of your forebears. I’ve seen enough to know that religious converts are as dangerous as Boko Haram and herdsmen. Nigerians are funny people; they’re telling the president to go and visit Dapchi, of all places. Don’t they know that the president last wore the Army uniform on August 27, 1985? Frail, fatigued, fragile, faulty and failure are a strong alliteration.

Your attitude made me remember the biblical Apostle Paul when he stood trial before Roman Emperor Festus, who thundered in Act 26:24, “Paul, you’re insane. Too much study has made you crazy.” Pastor Babatunde Gbolahan Bakare, too much turenchi is disturbing you! Instead of teaching your flock about salvation, you seek approval from man by playing to the gallery. Do you still have any fire in you?

Talking about fire; well, man has learnt to deal with fire from time immemorial. From the earliest archeological accounts, the discovery and control of fire by man laid the foundation of an enduring cultural perspective in human evolution as fire provided warmth, protection and improved hunting. Remarkably, the ability to control fire provided man with the opportunity to eat cooked food as opposed to the consumption of fruits, which was his lot millions of years before. With the consumption of cooked food, especially meat, primatologists believe that man began to develop larger and more convoluted brains, and with that came the ability to master the environment and engender discoveries.

Like the Early Man, many of those that thronged the Kano of Galilee wedding went in search of meat to further develop their brains towards finding lasting solutions to Boko Haram, herdsmen’s ascendency, fuel scarcity, insecurity, rising inflation and hopelessness, I believe.

Did Patience Jonathan Do Money Ritual? By Tunde Odesola

 

Is Nigeria accursed? I can’t say no. But I’m sure Nigeria is sick. Nigeria is empty like a vase without flowers. Some retrogressive forces won’t just stop doing a number on her. She is not Midas. Midas was a man. Everything Nigeria touches rusts. When life-changing ideologies, products, concepts arrive in Nigeria, they die. It is curious, but this is the way we crookedly are. The interiors of our airplanes are like the sties of drunken pigs. Our highways are pathways to the grave. Our vehicles are coffins. Our telephony is bedlam. Our medicines kill. Our fuel fuels chaos. Our schools devalue. The few concepts and products that remain true to form include arms, ammunition, hard drugs, prostitution and ‘yahoo-yahoo’.

 

What’s yahoo? Long before it became popular in the US in 1994 when Jerry Yang and David Filo coined Yahoo from the phrase, “Yet Another Hierarchically Organised Oracle,” the word ‘yahoo’ had an etymological meaning traceable to the 18th Century when Jonathan Swift made it popular in his work, Gulliver’s Travels. In the novel, Swift refers to a yahoo as a brute in a human form. Aside from the backronym, “Yahoo,” which is the language of the internet, and yahoo’s etymological connotation of brutishness, the word has been bastardised in Nigeria. Yahoo, in the street parlance of the young, urbane Nigerian youths, has nothing to do with the limitless benefits and possibilities of the Internet. Like our Midas-to-rust penchant, the word, “yahoo”, has assumed the toga of an internet horror in Nigeria. Someone said ex-Nigerian footballer, Jay Jay Okocha, was so good that his parents named him twice. Could it thus be said that the sorrows inflicted on victims by young Nigerians who engage in internet fraud called ‘yahoo-yahoo’ are so grievous that the cyberfraud was named twice?

I became sick the other day I listened to an online audio war between some ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys and their female sidekicks popularly referred to as Olosho! This recent coinage, olosho, has no root in pristine Yoruba language and culture. Olosho is another name for a young, aggressive, urbane prostitute. In the online exchange that is now viral, the voice of a young lady comes up, lamenting the rate at which ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys were killing oloshos for money-making rituals. The lady advised fellow oloshos to ‘wise up’ and be ready to ensnarl, fleece and kill ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys, too. Later, the voices of some ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys came up, cursing and lambasting oloshos, in general. The ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys vehemently reaffirmed their vow to kill more oloshos for money rituals, stressing that oloshos ‘come for the money o’ and would do anything to sleep with as many as possible ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys. Without a speck of compunction, the boys wantonly bragged about killing people and using their heads for money rituals, relishing the prospects of getting more heads to use for money rituals. This is the bread of sorrow being eaten by our youths today.

But, is money ritualism real? I don’t think so. I’m not saying that African juju is not efficacious. I’m only saying that it has its limitations, and its limitation includes money ritualism. The noise about the efficacy of money ritualism is balderdash. Our forefathers once claimed that the gods told them to kill newborn twins and albinos. While this inhuman act persisted, sacrifices were made to the gods, and people rejoiced after each sacrifice was ‘accepted’ by the gods. But when the gods saw the firepower from the arsenal (not Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal o) of the White man, they repented and became born again. If an aborigine had told the elders of the time that it was inhuman to kill twins and albinos, his head would have been severed in Imogun, the Yoruba’s Place of Skulls. People’s beliefs aren’t always in tandem with the will of God. Most often when people commit sin, they do so with style and zeal. If African juju doesn’t have its limitations, why did all African gods fail when the White man came enslaving? Or, didn’t the people call to the gods?

I have no respect for Nigerians politicians. I take their words with a pinch of salt. But I agree with the position of the representative, Osun-Central senatorial district in the Senate, Prof Olusola Adeyeye, who, taunting money ritualism, volunteered to put his neck on the chopping block for money ritual – with the proviso that the money his chopped head produces should be given to the Osun State Government. I make bold to say that ‘Yahoo-yahoo’ boys are just chopping off victims’ heads in vain, there’s nothing like money ritual, but they won’t know until the heads are off. With the rate heads are being severed across the country, there should’ve been a new set of nouveau riche. Generally, all we have among ‘yahoo-yahoo’ boys are ‘two-million-naira-rich’ rogues, who exploited the gullibility of victims on the Internet.

What’s the value of labour in Nigeria? How much does the most powerful man in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, earn? Deriving its powers from Section 32(d), Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission fixed the basic monthly salary of the Nigerian president at N292,892.08 while that of the vice-president is N252,063.04. In all, the President’s basic salary and allowances is N1,171,568.33 per month and that of the vice-president is N1,010,524.17 per month. Annually, the total take home of the President is N14,058,820.00 and the vice-president’s is N12,126,290.00.

Then, how come the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan possesses funds that surpass the salaries of all Nigerian heads of state since independence? A few days ago, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, who had huffed all these years about the innocence of her wealth, offered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission an out-of-court “amicable resolution of all cases” the agency has against her. According to the EFCC investigation, Mama Peace, as she’s fondly called, spent in a day shopping spree in China, $36,458.40. Probably, Jonathan could have an idea of the financial worth of Patience, but the EFCC insists the wealth of the University of Port Harcourt graduate is fraudulent. The EFCC has traced the sums of $11.8m, $6.7m and $31.5m to the former Bayelsa civil servant. These monies exclude her enormous real estate interests. In faraway Honduras, Rosa Bonilla, wife of ex-President Porfirio Lobo was not as lucky; she was detained on charges of embezzling merely $500,000 in government funds.

Interestingly, Mrs. Jonathan had explained that the monies were got from gifts donated by friends and well-wishers in 15 years, adding that she couldn’t even remember a number of the generous donors, some of whom gave gifts as small as N250,000. The EFCC has linked some accounts to Mama Peace through a former presidential aide, Dudafa Owei.

Could the contents of these bank accounts be the reason why Patience wailed at the 2015 Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally in Lagos, “Lagosians, they send you to jail, they send your fathers to jail, they’ve come back again; they’ll send you back to jail. Me, as a woman, I reject to carry food to my husband in jail, I reject it! Lagos women, are you ready to carry food to jail? Will they change? Why are they looking for your votes today?…(Singing) If you vote APC, na your prison, if you vote Buhari, na your prison. If you vote PDP, e go better!?” Having vehemently pleaded innocent to the EFCC’s corruption charges, where could Patience’s wealth have come from? Yahoo-yahoo ritual? State treasury? Well, I believe her story; I believe that some whimpering donors donated the monies in appreciation of the lullabies her velvety voice sang to them. She should be left to enjoy her gifts; Buhari has lost the prison keys to snakes.

 

Chai, diaris God o!

When Obasanjo And Jonathan Farted In Otuoke Church By Tunde Odesola

Written in 1953, “The things men do” is the title of one of the 90 thrillers by English novelist, James Hadley Chase. His novels were very popular in European markets with France leading the pack just as far-flung Russia was not left out. Chase was a renowned name in Africa and Asia, too. Curiously, however, his works failed to make an impact in the US as his descriptive knack seemed unconvincing to American readers. To think that Americans, on whose soil, Chase situated most of his novels, would reject him, highlights the title of another work of his, “The way the cookie crumbles,” and emphasises the helplessness of man against life’s vagaries.

It’s unlikely you’ve caught people having sex in a church. Or have you? I haven’t either. But I broke the story of a soldier who raped a young girl in a church at the Capital area of Osogbo in 2007. This was during the killings and arson that rocked the announcement of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the re-elected Governor of Osun State. The soldier was a member of the battalions deployed to restore peace in Osun. However, his idea of peace was to use his piss organ insanely by yanking a young girl off a commercial motorcycle at a roadblock, dragging her to a church nearby and raping her. The stories and a feature I did on the ignobility earned the testosterone-soggy soldier a sacking. But as terrible as sex in a church is, I’ve never experienced farting in a church before until last week.

 From ages past, the church has been under intense attack from the enemy. A 15th Century German preacher, Martin Luther, captures the blitzkrieg in these words, “For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.” As “The things men do” makes “The way the cookie crumbles” inevitable, the need for the inviolability of the church, according to Luther, remains a task to be pursued always by men of good conscience. But will man allow the church to remain the house of God, and not the house of politics? What transpired in Otuoke between the all-knowing farmer of Ota and the fisherman from Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa, last Sunday, shows that man won’t stop to trade and fart in the house of God soon.

In December 2013, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a vicious 18-page letter titled, ‘Before it is too late,’ to Jonathan, accusing him of heavy-duty corruption, shielding an alleged drug baron in the Senate, ethnicity, clamping down on the opposition, training snipers, shielding murderers, driving away foreign investors, among others. Baba Iyabo roared in the letter, “Nigeria is bleeding and the haemorrhage must be stopped… Corruption has reached the level of impunity…The serious and strong allegation of non-remitting of about $7bn from the NNPC to the Central Bank occurring from export of some 300,000 barrels per day, amounting to $900m a month, to be refined and with refined products of only $400m returned and Atlantic Oil loading about 130,000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into NPDC account is incredible. The allegation was buttressed by the letter of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to you…This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators…”

Obasanjo thundered, “Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally but particularly to the family of the victims. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he did for Abacha in the past?…Allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, cannot augur well for the nation…”

Last week, newspapers were awash with the stories of Obasanjo in Otuoke, where he paid a two-day visit to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his family, and also inaugurated some projects established by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led state government. Addressing the vicar of the church, Rt. Rev. James Oruwari, Obasanjo said, “What touched me most in this short gathering are the children coming forward and singing the welcome song and dressed in the attire of different cultures, different tribes and different linguistic groups in Nigeria.” He said the cultural display by the children underpins the reconciliation homily given by Oruwari. The Balogun Owu then delivered a punchline, “Unless we preach peace, we teach and practise reconciliation, we will have no peace. And unless we have peace, we will not have development; and unless we have development, we will not have growth and if we do not have growth, we will not come out of poverty… whatever we are, wherever God has brought us to be in this country, what is important is the oneness of Nigeria…”

This political gospel according to Saint Matthew Aremu Okikiola Olusegun Obasanjo is nonsense. What an uninventive way to lap up one’s vomit! What an impudent god – to hang a pulpy Jonathan on the cross in 2013, put a crown of thorns on his head, spear him and strip him naked, only for this same tin god to crawl back to the cross with gold, frankincense, myrrh and halo, announcing the resurrection of his devil on the cross.” Reconciliation is now more important than recovering the questionable wealth allegedly traced to the Jonathan family and making them answerable? Where did Obasanjo bury peace and oneness in 2015? Sophistry: reconciliation, peace, oneness, development, growth. Where’s justice, Baba Iyabo? What’s the basic condition of democracy if not justice? Why is Nigeria a hell if not because our laws don’t work? You formed a movement to get ‘justice’ for Nigerians against the misrule of the directionless Muhammadu Buhari administration, but embraced the Jonathan you described as the lord of corruption? Has Jonathan been absolved of the allegations Obasanjo accused him of?

Jonathan also preached unity after Obasanjo finished his address. He called on Nigerians to embrace oneness and unity. Expressing delight over the visit, Jonathan said, “It is a unique opportunity. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo promised that he was going to visit my village when I visited his hometown after leaving office. But I didn’t know it was going to come at this time…

“I pray that as we progress in this country, ONE DAY, ALL CHURCHES AND MOSQUES SHOULD BRING CHILDREN AND DO THIS KIND OF DANCE SO THAT WE ALL KNOW THAT THE MESSAGE OF UNITY SHOULD BE CARRIED ON.” Haba! Uncle Jona! All my life, I’ve never heard a more unconvincing statement than this – all churches and mosques bringing children to dance…! What dance? PalongoPalongo for national unity!?

A former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council, Ayoade Adedayo, once told the tale of drunk in his Ora-Igbomina hometown. At Easter, it was customary for Christians to announce the symbolic resurrection of Jesus Christ by shouting at 12am, “Jesus has risen!” This could be done by anyone as soon as it was 12am. On a particular Easter Monday, the man, who had been drinking all morning, slept but jerked awake up around 7pm. He staggered to the window, cleared his throat and shouted, “Jesu jinde o! (Jesus has risen!)”  A woman next door retorted, “Kei jinde o, lo re sun pada! (He has not resurrected, go back to sleep!). I love Oyinlola and Donald Duke’s wish to have Nigeria reordered but having Obasanjo as the harbinger of the wish is like building an architectural masterpiece with snowflakes; it will soon melt away.

I Prefer A Sex Doll, Please By Tunde Odesola

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH of Monday, February 12, 2018)

Back at Chelsea FC, eccentric football coach and loudmouth, Jose Mourhino, was a reputable advocate of ‘Park the bus’ football philosophy. But advocates of the free-flowing, tiki-taka brand of soccer flaunted by Barcelona FC are wont to describe Mourhino’s defence-minded philosophy as ‘ugly football’. Call the two styles a duel between opposites; positive and negative – one thing is sure – the end justifies the means. But I love tiki-taka.

The phrase ‘park the bus’ wasn’t coined by football aficionados. It was coined in far away Sweden and its translation is ‘parkera bussen’. Wait! ‘Parkera bussen’ is a Swedish idiom for sex! This idiom derives from the belief that parking a long bus into a parking spot without hitting anything could be an arduous challenge demanding concentration – which sex also requires.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. Sex dolls did not fall from heaven. The first sex dolls were invented by Dutch sailors in the 17th Century to curb sexual loneliness at sea. Sex dolls in those days were masturbatory dolls made of sewn clothes. In the introduction to his book, “The Sex Doll: A History,” Anthony Ferguson says advances in cybernetics and global communications technology brought the modern day sex doll out of the closet en route to the threshold of the boundary between pleasure and science.

Some men would boastfully say, “It’s a man’s world.” Well, it could be a man’s world, but women subtly control it, ruthlessly. Or what can say of the following scenario? To ensure ever-ready, sexual bliss, women go for sinewy sex toys (dildos) of various colors, girths and lengths. Some carry their toys with them everywhere they go. Many women claim they use sex toys to avoid sleeping around, saying, ‘once I use it, I’m ok, I don’t need any man’. They buy clothes, jewelry, shoes, bags, creams and use sex toys. Men didn’t complain. But men won’t drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes for too long. Soon, they too woke up to the need to satisfy a bizarre sexual desire by inventing sex dolls, and all hell broke loose afterwards! “Sex dolls can’t replace us, it’s not like the real thing, impossible!” women chorus. Do you still say it’s a man’s world?

Like the sex doll, the social media is an artificial creation which simulates interpersonal communication reality. Watching a video clip on social media a few days ago dumped me in a barrel of laughs. You know the kind of laugh that brings tears to your eyes and leaves your ribs aching? This is the story: A young black American brought his new chick home. As they were dancing erotically in preparation to eat the forbidden fruit, the young man’s female lover bursts in on them. Guess what ‘Mr Adam’ did. Instantly, he began to talk to, and treat the new chick like a sex doll. Taking the cue, the new chick froze like a doll, talking in a metallic voice and blinking. Hell, William Shakespeare says, hath no fury like a woman scorned. The ‘regular’ babe saw through the trick, and won’t have none of it. What really had me in stitches was that while the ‘regular’ babe was howling and cursing the ‘sex doll’, the lover boy produced a receipt with which he ‘bought’ the ‘sex doll’, and was showing it to the implacable lover. I laughed and laughed and laughed, and I remembered Nigerian political leaders. What can’t they do? Who can’t they deceive?

Coincidentally, watching another online video clip some hours after watching the video of the lover boy drives home the point that Nigeria’s political elite have no idea of their responsibilities to the citizenry and the country.

Enter, Senator Dino Melaye.

The first and only time I came across Dino was at the All Progressives Congress presidential primary held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, ahead of the 2015 presidential election. From where I sat on the bleacher, I could see Dino, enthusiastically moving up and down the rostrum, making some announcements. When the former House of Representatives member from Kogi spoke, he won my heart with his elocution, passion and youth. That was in December 2014.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge. Dino had gone ahead to contest the Kogi-West senatorial district election and won. In the senate, he’s now in his element having discovered an inherent singing talent and a certain voice; a swag and braggadocio which Nigerians never knew existed. He released the ‘Ajekun iya’ musical video hit, which he followed up with ‘Kilo tun ku ti o se?’ and a cameo with rapper, Kach, depicting a peacocky lifestyle in the song titled ‘Dino’. The song ‘Dino’ features a vainglorious lyric like ‘100 cars in the parking lot like I’m Dino’. Kach, by the way, is the son of Nigeria’s oil minister, Ibe Kachikwu. There was another blockbuster video of Dino, themed, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, to mark his 44th birthday in January, 2018. In the video of the party reportedly held in his palatial Kogi country house, the lawmaker projects the culture of faceless Caribbean pirates, as he wears long dreadlocks, cowboy hat, white long-sleeved shirt, black baggy pants, boots, etc. But every known dictionary says a pirate is a thief.

Dino had appeared in two other videos. In one, he is seen with a tray of groundnuts on his head, selling the commodity. In the other video, he leads a senate committee to the office of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim (retd.), on oversight functions. In the video, Dino is heard chastising the customs boss for not ‘coming downstairs’ to welcome the senate committee. Ibrahim’s response made me remember the treatment a former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, gave Godsday Orubebe, a former Minister of the Niger Delta, at the 2015 presidential election results collation centre in Abuja. After so much hollering and threatening to stop the announcement of the presidential election results, Jega only looked at Orubebe as a benign elephant would look at an ant on a sycophantic display of combative arrogance, and moved on.

Cockily, Dino told Ibrahim, “I also want to register my displeasure that the comptroller-general of customs was not downstairs to receive the senate. This is the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have the seal and the authority of the Nigerian senate to be here. The senate president, as I speak, is here. We’ve visited other paramilitary service…For me, I feel disrespected that the CG is within the complex and was in his office; (but) he wasn’t downstairs to receive Nigerian senators. We register our displeasure about this. If this should repeat itself next time, we will take a walk.”

Ibrahim listened to Dino’s ranting. Coolly, he said, “With regard to protocol, customs has its protocol, immigration has its (sic) protocol. When we adopt our own protocols in our own premises, I think we should be given that liberty. When we do visit the senate as chief executives, nobody ever lined up to receive us. Therefore, I don’t see any reason why we should not be allowed to practice our own protocols. Our protocol is our protocol…”

Dino is a metaphor of the leadership calamity plaguing the country. In a country of more than 170m people, it is depressing that many who get into positions of power are birdbrains.

When Sikiru Ayinde Barrister sang ‘Oke Agba’ in 1980 to extol the preeminence of destiny, he also had in mind jesters who should be apprentices in Nollywood but who found themselves in leadership positions. Where do we have a Bashorun Gaa, before whom everybody kneels – to speak; an ever excited dancer, and a heartless woman, who rated cow life over human life? The National Assembly, of course!

See why I prefer a sex doll to this gang? It can’t be worse.

How Juju Arrested PHCN Officials In Osogbo

By Tunde Odesola

Published In THE PUNCH Of Monday, 5th February, 2018.

I don’t know how to translate this into English, but “ohun t’aba wi f’ogbo, logbo ngbo…” is the most popular Yoruba incantation used by Ifa believers to spellbind an individual; hypnotise the enemy or arrest an awkward situation. But some Ifa adherents don’t have to chant incantations. They are incantations themselves! The Araba of Osogbo, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, belongs to this class of esoteric clan of Ifa votaries.

It was about midday in the heart of Osogbo. Some officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria were on a mass disconnection at the Ayetoro area of the city capital. Snaillike, their vehicle inched towards Ifayemi Elebuibon Street, stopping at the very pole in front of the expansive residence of the Ifa priest. Four PHCN officials alighted from the vehicle. A group of residents, whose electricity cables had been disconnected some distance up the street, had followed the vehicle on foot. The leader of the team, a dark-skinned middle-aged man, opened a conversation with the restless residents.

Two men, who appeared to be the youngest in the PHCN team, brought down a brown, long wooden ladder hinged to the top of the pickup. As they were mounting the ladder against the pole, Elebuibon came out of his compound. He greeted them and asked what their mission was. The team leader told him that they were going to disconnect the cable supplying his house with electricity unless he produced a bill showing that he was not owing the PHCN. The babalawo told them that he was not owing the PHCN and added that it was not his place to produce any bill. He said the PHCN should have a record of those who had paid up their bills just as he stressed that he had never owed electricity tariff all his life. Some residents intervened and told the officials that the Araba never owed electricity bills.

Shunning all entreaties, one of the PHCN officials rebuffed the pleas and started to climb the long ladder. Residents yelled and told him not to climb the ladder, but he refused, climbing and grumbling. Elebuibon raised his hand, saying ‘e je o gun, to bati le bo’le’; meaning: let him climb the ladder if he would be able to climb down from it. One! Two! Three! Four!…the brave official climbed the ladder to the top. Suddenly, he stopped grumbling, became utterly silent, distant and hazy.

He couldn’t disconnect the cable, neither could he come down. Looking as cool as cucumber, he chewed a gum slowly, absent-mindedly and remained at the top of the ladder, blinking and oblivious of the flood of pleas gushing on his behalf down below.

The other three PHCN officials at the foot of the ladder sweated and begged. Together with residents, they pleaded with Baba Elebuibon to set the young man free. Elebuibon yielded. ‘Arakunrin, ma bo nle (young man, come down),’ he simply said, snapping the detainee out of his forced reverie. The Ifa priest later told one of his children to go inside his house and bring the bill showing he had paid his electricity tariff. Elebuibon was able to resist the highhandedness earmarked for him by the PHCN, but do millions of Nigerians, whose businesses and well-being are tied to electricity supply, have the arcane power to such do?

The commonest testimony that governmental injustice and corruption freely and daily stalk our land unchallenged is the PHCN. Injustice and corruption aided, abetted and perpetrated by the government against the people. Or what better adjectives are there to qualify a government parastatal that collects citizens’ hard-earned money and yet refuses to provide the commodity for which they paid? Worse still, those that pay brazenly have their power supply cut if they were not around to show the almighty PHCN officials their bills.

The inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to bring just one ‘oga’ to book despite the trillions of naira that have gone down the PHCN drain since 1999 shows the corrupt nature of the country’s anti-corruption fight. Nigerians watch hopelessly as yesterday’s corrupt politicians have had their iniquities washed with hyssop and a detergent called defection while the EFCC bays at the midnight moon. The crazy bill phenomenon by the PHCN is the crowning of the nation’s abhorrent corruption behemoth. How a government could watch and support the fleecing of her citizens year in and year out without a twinge of compunction beats the imagination. And all the agencies, state and national parliaments statutorily constituted to check underhand practices in the various segments of the economy look the other way as the python of corruption and insensitivity encircles the citizenry. A Nigerian-American living in Huntsville, Alabama, Olusegun-Richard Adeyina, said he has witnessed uninterrupted power supply since relocating to the US 16 years ago.

A report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project said at least N11tn meant for the provision of adequate electricity for Nigerians was squandered under ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. The report also warned that the ‘financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector’ may reach N20tn in the next 10 years.

The report, which was presented to the media by an Associate Professor of Energy and Electricity Law, University of Lagos, Yemi Oke, some months ago, said, “The much publicised power sector reforms in Nigeria under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 is yet to yield desired and/or anticipated fruits largely due to corruption and impunity of perpetrators, regulatory lapses and policy inconsistencies. Ordinary Nigerians continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector – staying in the dark, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills. The Obasanjo administration spent $10bn on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended in eight years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12bn. The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping N16bn for the various reforms between 2003 and 2007, which went down the drain.”

Oke said that the country had lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption and impunity, among other social challenges reflected in the report.

Largely owing to insatiable greed and cronyism, the privatisation of the power sector carried out in November 2013 has worsened the electricity misery of Nigerians, instead of alleviating it. The excuse of liquidity challenge and damage to gas pipelines by the distribution and generation companies are a reflection of corruption and operational inefficiency. It is only in Nigeria that power firms could ask for the fulfilment of N100bn subsidy fund after the National Electricity Power Authority assets were sold off ten a penny. Despite collecting monthly tariffs from Nigerians for electricity they never supplied, it is insensitive that these firms are yet clamouring for consumers to pay cost-reflective tariffs – to reflect the devaluation of the naira and rise in inflation. My take; if due process was followed to the letter during the privatisation exercise, the country won’t arrive at this rack and ruin.

I don’t give a hoot about the good-for-nothing improved-power statistics being bandied about the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola. But I give a fig about the huge number of Nigerians whose lives have been snuffed out by generator fumes, despite paying through their noses crazy electricity tariffs by the most inefficient power company on the planet. I worry stiff about the millions of Nigerians – long dead and buried – on whom mosquitoes sneaked in when they opened their windows and doors to keep alive from PHCN-induced suffocating heat.

Does the way Nigeria treats adequate power supply, which remains the greatest change factor in this industrialised century, not suggest that we are truly a “wasted generation”?

Letter: Why Fayose Can Never Forgive Obasanjo

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH of Monday, January 29, 2018)

Have you ever seen a governor jump on a table, roar and spit fire? I saw Governor Ayodele Fayose do these during the public hearing on constitution review in February 2006. The venue was the Osun State House of Assembly, Osogbo, where delegates from South-West states converged to discuss the modalities for a review of the country’s constitution.

Before the hearing chaired by the then Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, took place, an ominous cloud of suspicion hung over the country. The cloud was thick and sinister. Members of the Mantu-led senate committee on the proposed review had been accused of receiving N50m each from the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led executive. Clairvoyants who saw beyond the evil cloud disclosed that they saw an old; black, wily hand writing on a wall. What did the hand write? ‘Third term’, they said. The cacophony generated by the invisible handwriting greeted the government’s decision to hold the public hearing nationwide, thereby, setting the Osogbo venue for a war between pro and anti-third term interests.

Expectedly, Fayose led the Ekiti State delegation to the venue just as the host governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and all other South-West governors, except Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, were present at the event. Delegate after delegate spoke. Some submitted memoranda. Everything was going as scheduled until the late Bamidele Aturu turned up.

Flashback: Aturu came to national limelight in 1988 when he, as a National Youth Service Corps member, refused to shake hands with the then Military Governor of Niger State, Col. Lawan Gwadabe, during a ceremony in which he was honoured as one of the best-serving corps member in the state. The young law graduate cited human right abuses by the military as the reason behind his action.

Back to Osogbo: There was a grand design to bar anti-third term activists who had travelled from far and near from gaining access into the hallowed chamber. Aturu fooled the sentries at the gate and door with his dove-like mien as he produced for scrutiny his lawyer ID card and memoranda for the hearing.

The parliamentary chamber was filled beyond capacity. Many of those who stood in the gallery and hallways were, literally speaking, in straitjackets; they couldn’t see their feet if they decided to look down. Those who thought the anti-third term forces in the chamber had brought a knife to a gunfight soon discovered they were wrong. They brought plenty AK-47. Aturu gave it raw to the Mantu-led committee, which had the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije, among other eminent senators, in attendance. In unmistakable terms, Aturu described the hearing as a kangaroo contraption designed to fetch Obasanjo a third term, warning that Nigerians would resist the plan with their blood. The hall erupted. Some people tried to shout Aturu down, but no, he wouldn’t budge. Other activists rose in support of Aturu. Bedlam overtook reason; confusion break bone: uproar, chaos, madhouse!

To Fayose, loyalty is 100%, not 99.9%. Legend has it that Fayose’s word is his bond. Was it his promise to support the constitutional review hearing that he remembered? Or was it a realization and fear that the third term agenda was under threat? Something in Fayose snapped! He must take a decision in the ultimate protection of an unseen political interest? Like an angry tiger, the Oshokomale, in the majesty of his height, agilely climbed a table and lambasted Aturu and his cohorts, ordering the Ogbagi-Akoko-born lawyer to be thrown out. Who is this irritant? What nonsense! Enemies of progress! Mmttcheeeew!

Call it comeuppance or ingratitude, Fayose was impeached eight months later over allegations of corruption and a state of emergency was declared in Ekiti. Obasanjo appointed his kinsman, a one-star army general, Olutunji Olurin, to take over as the sole administrator of the state. However, the Supreme Court, in April 2015, eventually set aside Fayose’s impeachment, saying it lacked due process. Since Obasanjo left power in 2007, Fayose has told the world that the Owu farmer truly schemed to get a third term in office. The governor had never missed an opportunity to attack Obasanjo just as he had asked for a refund of the N10m he donated to the presidential library built by Obasanjo in Abeokuta – with interest. In December 2010, Fayose, publicly and physically, insulted Obasanjo in Okuku, Osun State, when both of them were guests to Oyinlola during a thanksgiving service, calling Baba Iyabo the father of bastards. But not a few see Fayose in the same mold with Obasanjo; like father, like son, they say.

When the news of Obasanjo’s letter got out earlier in the week, I looked forward to Fayose’s reaction and, was I disappointed in the response from the Ifaki-Ekiti-born governor? Characteristically, Fayose attacked Obasanjo over the admonition letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it was belated and self-serving. Fayose said that Nigerians were already poised to boot Buhari out of office, maintaining that Obasanjo’s letter amounted to playing to the gallery after ‘deceiving’ Nigerians to vote for Buhari in 2015.

A careful look at a recent video clip of Obasanjo dancing with his wife seems to buttress a general belief and Fayose’s description of Obasanjo as perpetually labouring to attract attention to himself at all times. In the video, Obasanjo, in blue ‘buba’ and ‘soro’, is seen dancing with his wife while some acquaintances – in tow – watched in expected admiration. Visibly in a good mood, Obasanjo, holding in his left hand something that looks like a bean cake (akara), digs into the food with his right hand and eats while he gyrates to the instrumental music. Enjoying every bit of the moment, Obasanjo enthusiastically moves about, boogieing and leaving his wife behind to do some catch up. She eventually catches up with Baba Gbenga, only for him to shuffle away towards the buffet while the beautiful wife trails in the distance. Obasanjo ate all through one minute, thirty-eight second video.

In contrast, a video clip of a former US President, Barack Obama, in his very inaugural dance with his wife, Michelle, shows a man who doesn’t want his better half to live in his shadow. The video shows a couple in love and apparently happy in the presence of each other. As the couple swayed in warm embrace to the song by Beyonce, they both enjoyed and savoured the great occasion together. In another video showing Barack and Michelle dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the former president did not attempt to ‘outdance’ his wife or draw attention to himself. At every opportunity when both appeared in public, Barack treated Michelle with utmost respect and affection.

Despite being controversial, incumbent US President, Donald Trump, in his inaugural dance, described his wife, Melanie, as his number one supporter, adding that it was ‘a wonderful honour to have the dance with Melanie’. All through the dance, Donald did not abandon Melanie to engage in any other thing.

The timing of Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari and the previous ones he had written to other Nigerians depicts a man who knows when to strike. His timeliness brings to mind the tale of Okolo in the Old Oyo Kingdom. Okolo was a slave, who was derided and overlaboured with work. His entreaties to be treated fairly fell on deaf ears and he vowed to strike at the appropriate time. “Talo mo Okolo e l’Oyo? (Who knows you, Okolo, in Oyo?),” the young and old taunted him. He complained no further but bid his time. One night, Okolo torched all the houses and farms belonging to his master, and fled into the darkness. “Eeehh! Calamity! Who torched the houses and farms?” “It is Okolo o!” Thus Okolo became known throughout the old Oyo Kingdom and beyond.

The Balogun of Owu is no slave; he won’t flee from battles. And may he write more letters in good health. While I pray for more ink to the quill of the Ekerin Balogun of Egba, I wish the Humpty-Dumpty Buhari administration would see the sense in the weighty letter and wake up to truly serve Nigerians for the remainder of the tenure.

Fayose and his colleague from Rivers, Nyesom Wike, are not the biggest challenges militating against Buhari’s second term bid, kinsman Atiku Abubakar and a formidable number of northern elements would hold the Sword of Damocles on the threshold of 2019. Sai Baba, remember also that the South-West are going to vote their minds. Nigerians won’t forget the naked corruption within your government, your clannish appointments and the enthronement of herdsmen.

• Odesola wrote in from the U.S. via [email protected]

Stop Demonizing Fulani Herdsmen In Shitholes

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, Friday, January 19, 2018)

“This is Reality Radio Corporation, 66.6FM, Abuja. My name is Moore Paine. Here are the news highlights: Herdsmen killed 756 in two years under Jonathan – Presidency; Taraba death toll rises to 60; FG has not done enough for herdsmen – Audu Ogbe; Soyinka blasts Buhari over Benue killings; I’ll protect Ekiti from herdsmen – Fayose; Prevail on Buhari to stop herdsmen attacks, Benue women tell Aisha; Council of States meets today in Abuja; Buhari replaces sacked NIA DG with northerner. Now, the news in full…”

“Switch off that stupid news, hadjia, I want to concentrate.”

“Why, Your Excellency? You need to listen to news. By so doing, you would know the yearnings of the people and the mind of the opposition.”

“Menini! What do I need to know the mind of the opposition for, hadjia? Was the opposition not there when I convincingly won the general election? Will people ever stop yearning? Let me tell you what you don’t know, the more you keep out of politics and concentrate on taking care of me and running the affairs of the other room, the better for you. You know I’m yet to forgive you for the interview you granted on the state of the villa’s hospital and the one in which you said I have been hijacked by some party people. If you were not dabbling into politics, you would have discovered the buying and riding of motorbikes under your nose. Eh, don’t tempt me to marry another wife, kajiko; I’m may be an old general, but I’m still strong, you know.”

“I don’t mean to disobey your Excellency. It is just that I hear a lot of disturbing news daily.”

“You hear disturbing news daily, kwo? And you go hysterical, ba? I have been hearing disturbing news in this country since 1960. Hadjia, please, I don’t want to hear any disturbing news this morning. I want to read some documents ahead of the Council of State meeting coming up today. I learnt the Ekiti roughneck and the Rivers ruffian will lead their fellow troublemakers to the meeting; I don’t want to be caught unawares on any issue, please. Professor has broken down all the issues in this document I’m reading – foreign reserve, anti-corruption war, fuel scarcity, and the two-fighting in Benue. I’m just lucky to have the Prof, you know. I think he is a real gentleman; no political ambition, only boko and turenchi.

“I think he’s a godly man, too. Your Excellency, check your time, it’s time for the meeting. I learnt the man from Ekiti has arrived and that he’s dressed in full hunter’s regalia replete with charms, cowries and horns.”

“That boy must be on drugs. I’ve prepared a place for him in Gashua, where he will go and continue his hooliganism, after his tenure. Let me go and attend the meeting.”

(National anthem and pledge rendition)

“So help us God, says the last line of our national pledge. I pray that the Lord will help our great country, Nigeria. Your Excellency and the Commander-in-Chief, fellow labourers in the vineyard called Nigeria, permit me, in my capacity as the deputy to the C-i-C, to declare this meeting open while the secretary to the government gives us what is on the agenda.”

“No, no, no, no! With due respect to you Prof, sir, there shouldn’t be any other thing on the agenda than the Benue pogrom. We shouldn’t sit down here as if all is well with this country, the nation is on fire and we are here seated in opulence, speaking grammar. The blood of the people killed in Benue and in other states is on our hands. Nitemi o, I want to make heaven when I die, because all of us will eventually die and go and meet our creator. I am from Ekiti, where we don’t fear to say our mind. Herdsmen have taken over the country, and there’s a deafening silence from the Ass-o-Rock because Fulani are involved, abi? Did IPOB kill anybody before it was declared a terrorist organization? The government must declare herdsmen terrorists, shikena.”

“Uhm, uhmm! Let me address the issues raised by the young man from Ekiti. I can see that you’ve turned criticizing my administration into a pastime. Well, that’s your own cup of tea. You said I should declare herdsmen terrorists, ba? May I ask you, what for?

“For turning Nigeria into suya fields, sir.”

(Interruption) “Eh! Look here, Mr Ekiti or what do they call you; you can’t be talking to His Excellency like that! Where do you think you are? Ado garage? Where were you when His Excellency was a military Head of State? Can you say this before His Excellency in 1983? Nna, I am from the state where we honor people with statues. Please, respect yourself o…”

(Cuts in) “So, thou shall not make for yourself a graven image is not in your bible, Governor Aaron? Where’re you when I was in power between 2003 and 2006?

“Rivers want to talk o; I’ve been pressing the buzzer and raising my hand since, nobody called me o. I want to talk o. Don’t wicked me o.”

“I was still talking, Mr Rivers, before the rude interruption from Ekiti. I may not know my age, but I know I’m old enough to be his father. Ekiti said I should declare herdsmen terrorists, ba? Me, who is not even a Christian, know what Jesus Christ said about the lost sheep. He said you should leave your 99 sheep and go in search of the one that is missing. Isn’t that so? If people steal herdsmen’s cows and herdsmen are looking for them, what’s terrorism in that? I think you should go back and take more bible lessons from your wife. Mr Rivers, you can now talk.”

“Your Excellency, I only wish to know why you sent soldiers on python dance in the South-East where nobody was killed, and you sent police to Benue despite the killings. Two, why haven’t you visited Benue? And what’s the response of Nigeria to the shithole labeling by President Trump?

“Thank you, the man from Rivers. You’re unusually calm today; it appears it is the Transporter that you hate, not me. I shall kill a whole cow and celebrate when the two of you decide to bury the hatchet, otherwise, I will label the two of you terrorists (laughs). Ehm, I cannot allow an inch of the territory the British bequeathed to us to secede. The General from the rocky community was wrong to allow Bakassi to go. If any part of the country talks about secession, herdsmen will go there or the military will go and dance disco there. You know disco? That dance that you will be whistling and shaking you head and jumping up and down like you’re dancing to Dan Maraya Jos. Don’t you know secession is a criminal offence? When people die, more people can be born. But when a territory is taken, it cannot be retrieved. Calabar people know better. Your second question; are you not an African? Does African tradition permit parents to see the corpses of their children? I’m the father of the nation. You want me to go and see the corpses of my children? I wish Bourdillon was at this meeting. He would have told you that South-West traditional rulers don’t see corpses.

“About President Trump describing African countries as shitholes; that means that President Trump has a plan for African shit. Maybe America wants to manufacture something with our shit ni. You see, this is one of the democratic dividends of our government. Did any American president talk about Nigerian shit before? I shall direct the Ministry of Information to tell Nigerians to increase their shitting because it will soon turn our economy around. You’re raising your hand, the man from the Confluence State, what do you have to say?”

“Your Excellency, I crave your indulgence to know when you’re graciously going to release the next bailout, sir.”

“Immediately after this meeting.”

“Ah!! After this very meeting!? Your Excellency, let’s declare this meeting closed with immediate effect, sir!

Chorus: Yeeeessssooooo!!!

“Everybody is laughing now o. Even our man from Ekiti is laughing, too. He’ll say in the papers tomorrow, ‘Bailout is my right’. Thank your star this is not a military regime.”

“God bless Nigeria.”

“Sai da safe.”

•Odesola wrote in from the US via [email protected]

Okada Accidents And A Wailing President, By Tunde Odesola

Lightning shone into the black night, forewarning about the fast-approaching downpour. Then thunder bellowed from behind the ominous clouds, forearming mortals to scamper to safety for the gods of the sky were about to embrace their earthly counterparts in a seasonal relationship that multiplies the toil of the farmer.

To be caught outside your home in this type of an unkind weather is ‘baba nla’ bad luck. Atmospheric commotion; dust replaced air, swishing and filling all mortal crevices; eyes, ears, noses, mouths, all. With my index finger, I rubbed dust out of my eyes and also blew my nose. Ah! Thank God, I didn’t have my laptop with me. Oh, wait! I have my phone! My phone of inestimable contacts! I grabbed a piece of black cellophane the angry wind blew my way. What kind of ‘lylon’ is this, I muttered. It was even wet. Could the wetness be urine? I was past caring. I switched off my phone and wrapped it with the ‘lylon’, tucked it into my black suit.

‘Agbotikuyo!’ ‘Agbotikuyo!’ I shouted to the oncoming rickety, noisy and dangerous looking okada, which braked temporarily to hear the destination I was calling out. ‘Agbotikuyo!’ I raced up to the commercial motorcyclist, who had sped a few meters past me. The lanky rider, who did not cut the engine, winced on hearing my destination, engaged the gear, and revved off, saying ‘Agbotikuyo ko, mortuary ni’.

Luckily, another rickety okada soon pulled up, bearing a passenger. ‘Agbotikuyo!’ I shouted. “Na N200 o, I no get change o,” the okada rider said. “I have change,” I said, struggling to sit in the little space left by the passenger on the okada, who cared less if I sat on needles. The passenger, on whose T-shirt, ‘Call me Emeka’, was boldly written, just wouldn’t budge despite entreaties for him to ‘shift’ for me. I clambered up the iron rack adjoining the seat, and off we zoomed. The okada tore into the night like an accursed arrow shot from hell. Despite the dust and dirt, I opened my eyes to the squinting wind while the teary journey lasted. To take your eyes off the road is to walk into your grave. The wind got colder, bearing with it a drizzle. The okada man asked if he could park somewhere while we wait for the gentle shower to subside. As we all were discussing this, a lightless tricycle, as if being pursued by the anti-Christ, whizzed through the dark and came headlong at us from the opposite direction. There are times when fate cages freewill; this was one of such times. There was nothing I could do; I only braced myself up, opened my eyes in horror and was waiting to hear gbooaaa!!! I didn’t hear gbooaa!!! I heard tyres screeching. I heard curses. I saw the marwa tricycle suddenly switch on its light, giving our okada rider a nail-biting nanosecond to swerve. Vrooooooowwmmm gbaaa!!!! We, the two passengers and the rider, all ended in a gutter – with the okada. Luckily, none of us sustained any life-threatening injury except the other passenger who had some bruises on his legs.

“Sorry o, sorry o, shey una no injure o,” sympathizers rushed to the scene, cursing the marwa and offering thanks to God for our miraculous escape.

“Make una wait make rain stop before una go continue una journey nah, no be house una dey go?” a sympathizer said. Our okada man, referred to as Adamu by his fellow okada riders, who came to our rescue, advised we go to an aboki’s ‘mai tea’ shop by the side of the road – to wait for the rain to subside.

“Person wey dey smoke among una should just buy cigarette smoke o, maybe una for don dey knock for heaven gate by now. Person wey sabi shack ‘mai tea’, make e drink o,’ another customer of the aboki said. “The way wey okada accidents dey happen nowadays sef, e be like say God dey vex for Nigeria. You no hear say Buhari son too get okada accident?”

“Why you dey call a motorbike an okada, idiot? The cost of that Buhari son motorbike fit buy five Tokunbo o,” one of the aboki’s customers remarked.

Emeka, who had been listening to the conversation, quipped, “Buhari dey blame im pikin for riding motorbike, abi; where the boy get money to buy the costly okada? If you buy toy for your pikin, no be for him to ride am?”

I expressed concern over Yusuf Buhari’s friend, who was also involved in the accident. Adamu said, “Oga, nobody mind if anything happen to that one o. You see any of our big men wey dey greet Buhari since this accident happen, greet the family of the other boy? Dis country na Eye Service PLC o. Half of those greeting Buhari go dey talk for back say na God catch am. You think say dem like am? Sai Baba too stubborn.”

A bald man sipping hot tea from a big jug cleared his throat and blamed Buhari for openly condemning the Aso Rock security operatives for letting Yusuf out by that time of the night, saying as President, Buhari cannot claim not to know that his son owns ‘several motorbikes’. “The President should have just kept quiet. What if Yusuf locked his bike in a vehicle and drove the vehicle to his friend’s place? Buhari should just accept that children can beat any form of scrutiny. He shouldn’t try to shift the blame. If the kidnapped Boko Haram girls got a fraction of attention this accident is getting, the girls would have been rescued by now. When the whole country didn’t have fuel, your son filled up a motorbike with fuel and went racing.”

“The lesson wey me I see for this whole matter be say the rich also cry. As we lay our bed, na so we go sleep on top of am. If to say we develop our country well, if we get accident emergency units for our expressways, dem for rush to the scene of the accident and give Yusuf and im friend first aid treatment. Na God save the boy nah, if to say e lose too much blood, na another thing we for dey talk now o, God forbid. Can you count how many of our big men and their families die for abroad this year alone? Why dem no build good hospitals here, shebi we get good doctors?” Wale, a customer who wore an Arsenal team jersey, said.

“Nigeria no go ever get better if our leaders no dey feel wetin we poor people dey feel. Make dem make law banning our leaders from travelling abroad for treatment, make dem ban dem from sending their children to school abroad; ban dem from spending holiday abroad, buying houses abroad or going abroad to born. Make dem ban dem from having more than two cars, and building more than one house. If dem do so, Nigeria go better,” another customer said amid a mouthful of bread, egg and tea.

The song of Fela Anikulapo Kuti – ‘Shuffering and Shmiling’ – blared from the transistor radio of Adamu, further fueling the conversation on Nigeria.

“Wetin Fela no sing? He sing ITT, Zombie, Original Sufferhead, Teacher, Sorrow, Tears and Blood, Mr Follow Follow, Palaver, Coffin for Head of State, dem listen? Gani Fawehinmi no talk? Ken Saro-Wiwa no talk? Tai Solarin no talk? Awolowo no talk? Ojukwu no talk? Bamidele Aturu nko? Una listen to Aminu Kano? No be kill una dey kill people wey dey talk true? God never vex for us o, God still dey sandpaper the cane wey he go take wipe our yansh,” Wale said.

The man with the big jug said he did not understand why ‘bad things’ were happening around the Presidency, recalling the President throwing a blanket of doubt over his age, fuel scarcity, the ill-timed presidential human side PR and the resurrection of the dead in federal board appointments – all in one month!

“When I tell una say Buhari too stubborn, una listen? Why you go draw up list of federal board members since 2015 and you no announce am? Why we come vote for you nah? To dey do smeh, smeh? Adamu hissed.

As the rain stopped, we left the mai tea’s shop for our okada, bending our heads against the moist wind. I have had enough for the night. All I need now is a bottle of beer, a prayer and sleep.

Agbotikuyo dey o!

Odesola was a former editor, politics, Punch Newspaper