Buhari Battles Saraki In Offa Pool Of Blood By Tunde Odesola

(Published In THE PUNCH Newspapers of Monday 25th June, 2018)

 

A thin white smoke swirled through the muzzle of the gun and the pregnant woman crashed face down, curling up like a beheaded giant millipede. One of the masked killers rushed into the banking hall and commotion preceded the ensuing graveyard silence as spines shivered, teeth gnashed, hearts skipped, sweat broke out on terrified faces tucked in trashcans and drawers…, the maniacal robber pulled the trigger and the automatic rifle began to sing another round of staccato dirge in Offa. Welcome to Kwara State, the land of blood.

 

Offa is an Ibolo-speaking Yoruba town of Kwara State steeped in the art of wrestling. If Ede had the great archer, Timi Agbale Olofa Ina, as its progenitor, Offa’s illustrious cognomen also affirms the proud archery exploits of its forefather, Olalomi Olofa gan-gan. It equally highlights the combative nature of its people in these words, ‘Ijakadi loro Offa,’ meaning – ‘wrestling is Offa’s tradition’. Were Olalomi a white man, his surname would have been Archer. Were Offa an English town, Arrow would’ve been its name. Offa is a Yoruba word for archery. That was the Ofa of 1000 AD.

Today’s Offa is an adulteration, its spelling, O-f-f-a, is corrupt and very wrong. Linguistically, the existence of two consonants in succession i.e ‘ff’ or ‘tt’ or ‘dd’ or ‘rr’ in some words is an aberration to Yoruba morphology. Thus, Offa, Ebute Metta, Iddo, garri, etc, are modern-day wrong influences in the Yoruba Language. The correct and orthographic spelling of the land of peacocks in Kwara State is ‘Ofa’ and not Offa.

Similarly, the railway terminus on sand-filled Lagos Island is at ‘Ido’ and not Iddo. Ebute Meta is the place of three shores linking mainland Lagos to the three main islands of Victoria, Ikoyi and Lagos – hence the name Ebute Meta, and not Ebute Metta. Yoruba’s staple food, gari, doesn’t need another letter ‘r’ on its journey to the stomach. Ewedu, gbegiri, eja, bokoto, ponmo, panla and saki would make good enough company. So, it’s not only rain and electricity that cannot exist simultaneously in Nigeria, double consonants such as ‘ff’, ‘tt’, ‘dd’ and ‘rr’ cannot exist simultaneously in the Yoruba Language, too.

Corruption, violence and impunity shouldn’t coexist in Nigerian politics. The unexampled Ofa bank robbery, which witnessed the killing of over 40 innocent Nigerians in broad daylight, was a spinoff of years of rudderless, corrupt and insensitive leadership in the country. I’ve read a thousand and one stories and reactions on the early morning madness in Ofa and grief enveloped my heart over the soullessness of our politics. In a country with a soul, a national mourning would have followed.

 

On October 1, last year, a 64-year-old American, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, killing 59 people in a crowd attending a country music festival. There was an instant national mourning and the attention of America shifted to the scene for several weeks to come. A blow-by-blow account of how Paddock hatched his killing was televised live daily. The police gave an accurate figure of the dead and the injured 515 persons in the most fatal mass killing in the history of the US. According to media reports, one of the Ofa suspects confessed that he killed over 20 victims. Another suspect said he killed nine, while a number of others confessed to killing over 15 people. How all these add up to 30 in the arithmetic of the police is inexplicable. While, the spurting blood of innocent lives meandered from Ofa to Abuja crying for justice, our leaders dip their paintbrushes in the blood, writing “Vote for me in 2019!”

Were Nigeria a sane country, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, wouldn’t have twice failed to parade Kayode, the arrested son of Chief Ayo Opadokun, an Afenifere chieftain, along with other suspects. Also, Idris wouldn’t have failed to parade the arrested armourer and gang leader, Michael Adikwu, a dismissed policeman, whose confessions had allegedly been embarrassing to the force.

It’s not enough for the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Aminu Saleh, to say that many people died in the robbery because of “intelligence breakdown”; Nigerians reserve the right to know the nature of the intelligence breakdown because effective policing in this age is neither achieved by alienating the public nor by churning out half-truths and falsehood. In a report published by The Punch on April 28, 2018, Saleh, who said the police had no foreknowledge of the attack, contradictorily added, “We had little information on the attack before it happened.” He woefully failed to disclose what the police did with the little information they got.

The shoddy police investigation into the robbery has left many questions unanswered. The questions include what the Ofa police did when it received ‘little’ information that some suspicious people were lodging at the Xontex Hotel along Igosun Road, Ofa, a night before the bloodletting. In a sane clime, police authorities would’ve made public the amount of money collected by the policemen, who stormed the hotel on investigation, the night before the genocide. As if those who died only went to the market and would return shortly, the police commissioner said, “What essentially went wrong is our response capacity. We’re going to correct all those anomalies and get our men to be more responsive.” In an ultimate verdict that exposes government’s utmost irresponsibility, Saleh said, “It’s true that we have a deficit of APCs in the state!”

But it’s by conducting a thorough investigation that the police will be seen as unbiased and not acting a nail-Saraki-at-all-cost plot. The trial shouldn’t be an extension of the power struggle between Buhari and Saraki for the Presidency in 2019.

In a sane country, Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Kwara State Governor, Ahmed Abdulfatah; his Chief of Staff, Abdulwahab Babatunde, would’ve resigned in ignominy for the fact that one of the leaders of the gang, Ayo Akinnibosun, openly established a connection between his group, Liberation Youths Movement in Kwara-South, and them. Akinnibosun, who stated that Saraki, Abdulfatah and Babatunde had no hand in the robbery, however, maintained that his group got two guns from Babatunde. He stressed that they got emboldened to participate in the robbery because some of them were political thugs to Saraki.

Akinnibosun said, “We’ve been working for him (since) when we were in the PDP, it has been long – when he was Governor of Kwara State. Where we can’t win, we scatter the election, the connection between me and the Senate President is that he’s the one that’s arranging everything for us. For example, this car was given to me by His Excellency (Abdulfatah) through the Chief of Staff as a gift from the leader, (Saraki).”

If a five-point resolution of the Saraki-led Senate could hold President Muhammadu Buhari accountable for the actions of his (Buhari’s) appointees, the Senate President, Abdulfatah and Babatunde, by the same token, should be held responsible for the killings of the Ofa robbery if it is proved that the arms or the ammunition they allegedly provided were used in the killing.

It is easy for some people to see the trial of Saraki as political victimisation because it wasn’t their relatives that were killed on Thursday, April 5, 2018. If it would take Saraki’s trial and imprisonment to stop this type of killings, so be it. With the recent jailing of two-term ex-governors and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Jolly Nyame (Taraba) and Joshua Dariye (Plateau), more members of the APC, including Abdulfatah and Babatunde, should be jailed appropriately if found guilty. Some argue that all notable politicians across the country maintain political thugs, and that Saraki and Abdulfatah shouldn’t be singled out. I ask, were Dariye and Nyame the only thieving ex-governors in Nigeria? Let’s begin from somewhere, please.

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It’s the duty of the living to do so for them,” says American speculative writer, Lois Bujold. I agree with her, absolutely.

Tunde Odesola is a former Journalist with the PUNCH and writes from the United States. He can be reached on [email protected]

Riding Unholy G-Wagon On Fayose’s Bridge By Tunde Odesola

 

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, June 4, 2018)

Today, the sun didn’t hide behind the cloud. In the fullness of its blinding brightness, the sun stepped boldly outside the firmament, and blazed down intensely on planet earth, without mercy. It was 2pm, tetchy Lagos slum, Oshodi, had turned into a melting pot of emotions – rage, agitation, passion, sweat and blood. A pickpocket, who stole N200 from a beggar, was placed on the cross of jungle justice by a frenzied crowd. A hefty, hemp-smoking ruffian among the crowd brought down a thick plank on the hairless head of the pickpocket, pow! The plank snapped into two, turning the head into a fountain of blood. “You lazy bedbug; you don’t steal from a beggar, go after politicians!” the ruffian counseled.

Rising above the bedlam of a multitude talking all at once amid the honking of countless vehicles, the guttural voice of a motor park tout bellowed nearby, “Ado! Ado! Ado Ekiti! Ado! Ado, one shans!!” Shortly, a female passenger arrived to complete the number of passengers for the Ado-bound bus. “Why are you carrying four passengers per seat?” the newly arrived female passenger asked the agbero, adding, “you pack 20 people like sardine in this pangolo that should take 11 passengers, charge exorbitant fare, and yet your yeye bus is as filthy as a latrine. Mtcheew!”

A breezy fella wearing a snow-white singlet atop a pair of jeans and white canvas shoes, hopped into the driver’s seat after the time-wasting rites that characterize takeoff at motor parks. He gunned the engine and revved up to high heaven while his colleagues and hangers-on shouted his nickname, “Professor!!” The bus croaked out of the park jerkily as the hemp-smoking ruffian, aka Codeine, continued to hold court over the almost lifeless pickpocket. And Eedris Abdulkareem’s song, “Nigeria jaga-jaga/everything scatter, scatter/poor man dey suffer, suffer/gbosa, gbosa, gunshot inna di air…” boomed from the dusty loudspeakers on a rickety, stationary car selling Ajase-Ipo aphrodisiac nearby.

“Someone should pray for us,” Prof, the driver, urged the passengers as he snaked the bus through a filthy road to link the Oshodi-Oworonshoki overhead bridge. A passenger with a huge cross drooping from a silver chain across his neck rose to the occasion. “Good morning, brethren; my name is Pastor Joshua. Let us pray. In Jesus name, in the Mighty name of Jesus…” After the pastor prayed, an Imam with one silver and two gold teeth enthused, “Soluu ala nabiyil Kareem…,” launching into an Islamic prayer.

As the vehicle eased out of the Oshodi gridlock, the female passenger recalled the plight of the pickpocket, saying, “Is that how they’re going to kill that young man? This our country has totally turned into something else. We can’t wallow in sin and ask for abundance of grace.”

Imam: “Are you saying that what the thief did was good?”

Female Passenger: “I didn’t say so. Somebody who steals N200 from a beggar is hungry and should be pitied. He shouldn’t be killed. Nigerians don’t go after those stealing the nation’s wealth; it is petty thieves they would be killing.”

Imam: “Abi the thief is your person ni? Why should anyone steal from a beggar if that person isn’t ungodly and callous?”

(Music) “If you be president, lead us well/If you be governor, governor us well/If you be senator, senate am well/If you be policeman/police well, well; no dey take bribe…” The song of African China breezed from the bus radio, and Prof sang along loudly, wiping sweat from his face with a big towel. Then he cleared his throat loudly, spitting out phlegm into a heap of refuse by the roadside. “See, I’m a 2/1 graduate of 15 years. When I nearly died pounding the streets for job, I had to settle for this driving job. I started out as a conductor, I thank God this is my own vehicle.”

Pastor Joshua: “You’re lucky. Millions have died because they lack money to treat common malaria. Millions don’t have roofs over their heads. Millions are hungry. You should thank your star.”

Prof: “Do you think Nigeria can ever be good with the way everyone is stealing? Won’t our oil finish the way they’re stealing it every day?”

Pastor: “Ha, don’t say that o. It can never finish because it hasn’t reached my turn o. Nigeria is inexhaustible. Just pray God to bless you, too – as He has blessed and chosen those leading us now. If you get the opportunity, you too go chop. Me, I go chop, everybody go chop. It’s our money. It’s God’s blessing.”

Imam: “No mind the driver. Na dis kain people dey chop pass when dem get power. Look, if I get the opportunity to rule this country for just one week, na for inside Central Bank I go live.”

Female Passenger: “Can you imagine what you guys are saying; you will ‘chop’ your country? Is this what your Bible and Quran teach? ”

Pastor: “What do you know, young lady, the earth is of the Lord, and the fullness thereof. Nothing happens without the approval of the lord. You better pray to God to find you a man that would buy a G-Wagon for you, too.”

Imam: “Let her be arguing there. Who told you I don’t want to buy Assurance for my eldest wife, Sikira? Is it haram if I wear N10m designer Saudi robe, turban, goggles, slippers, and use pure gold ‘tasbih’ to pray to Allah?”

“Aunty, are you saying a man cannot ‘assure’ his wife with a car?” a female teenager, who donned a T-shirt with the inscription, “$30bn Gang”, asked sarcastically from the seat at the back of the driver.

Female Passenger: “If your husband has a legitimate source of income, he can buy you a plane. But it’s wrong to live on the wealth of a hungry people and engage in ostentatious purchase for your wife. A servant shouldn’t live like a king while the owner of the house lives in penury. This isn’t how democracy is run. Democracy caters for the people.”

Prof: “God bless you, my sister. There’s no difference between our politicians. When they’re sharing monthly allocations, you won’t hear any noise. Have you seen any Nigerian politician who didn’t go back home richer after his tenure? Democracy ko, dem dey crazy ni! When kasala go burst for Nigeria, na all of us go hear am. Everybody sabi say the former party na confirmed armed robber, and the current one na ogbonge bandit. We, the masses, are also part of the problem. Do you know how many buses have left our garage for Ado today?”

Imam: “Buses leave for Ado to do what? What’s happening in Ado?”

Prof: “Ha! So, you don’t know Ekiti lawmakers are holding a parliamentary session under Fayose’s newly constructed Ado-Ekiti Bridge?”

Pastor: “Holding a parliamentary session under the bridge? Why? Under the bridge is where madmen and women sleep in Nigeria. Are Ekiti lawmakers sick?”

Prof: “They’re ok, they went to pledge allegiance to the governor under the bridge ni. It was the former President, who never had a shoe, that inaugurated the bridge, and he described it as the best in Nigeria.”

Female Passenger: “I’ve seen the Ado-Ekiti Bridge. How can the ex-president declare that gada as the best in Nigeria? What’s wrong with our leaders? Must everything be about deceit? So, the Ado Bridge is better than all those architectural wonders floating on water in Lagos? Haba! What stopped the ex-president from constructing this Ado type of bridge during his tenure? Doesn’t the ex-president know that the so-called best bridge is an indictment on his eventless and corrupt administration?”

Alhaji: “Women and bad mouth! Na you sabi the grammar you dey blow o. My Sikira must ride a G-Wagon on top of the best bridge in Nigeria soon, insha Allah.”

Pastor: “Amen, and my own Delilah, too.”

Ends/////////

APC’s Primary And Congress Of Armageddon By Tunde Odesola

Ekiti is a land of dubious contradictions. It is landlocked, yet one of its monikers is Fountain of Knowledge. Ekiti is the land of disturbing opposites; it’s the home of the beauty and the beast, the lamb and the tiger, black and white, violence and peace, arrogance and humility, absurdity swallowing reason, warm and cold spring, Fayose and Fayemi. Unlike the people of Badagry, Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt, the Ekiti weren’t among the first set of Nigerians to behold the white man.

But, on the cusp of present-day curious reality, Ekiti rose to become the most western-education enamoured state in the federation, minting the largest number of academics in the country. How did Ekiti arrive at the pinnacle of this phenomenal glory? Science has established a link between yam consumption and twin births. But science hasn’t established a nexus between yam consumption and proficiency in academics though pounded yam remains the staple food of Ekiti people.

Ekiti derived its name from its hilly topography, which yielded to the expedition led by Olofin, a prominent son of Oduduwa, the fabled progenitor of the Yoruba, during a peregrination to discover an abode away from Ile-Ife, the Source – which was becoming congested, according to the Yoruba creation story.

In awe of the immeasurable beauty of Ekiti’s innumerable hills, Olofin and his band of earliest settlers named the newfound land Ile Olokiti, meaning: Land of Hills. Ile Olokiti, according to legend, is today the metamorphosis of Ile Ekiti. In Yoruba, ‘okiti’ is another word for ‘tumble,’ hence the idea of height and descent still subsists in its meaning. Another nickname of Ekiti is “Land of Honour and Integrity”. However, recent political happenings in the state show that honour and integrity last week took flight through Ado, the state capital. Ekiti, no doubt, is a bitter metaphor of the Nigerian state.

Generally, Ekiti people are seen as headstrong, rugged, inflexible, iron-willed, accommodating, hardworking and perseverant. I need to be very careful with my choice of words here; my in-laws will read this article. The Ekiti, like their Ondo State neighbour, and partly, the Ijesa of Osun, are believed to be the most volatile people in Yoruba land. I’m Ijesa, so, no innuendo intended.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo threw statesmanship to the dogs in 2007 when he described the fast-approaching general election of the time a do-or-die affair. The 2007 election lived up to the billing of the President, who rather than protect the sanctity of democracy and the election, chose to expose the country to bloodletting by promoting violence. The 2007 general election turned out to be one of the bloodiest elections in the history of the country as no fewer than 50 persons were killed in the ensuing violence with casualties littering Osun, Rivers, Ondo, Lagos, Delta, Kogi, Kwara, Anambra and Edo states.

During the bloody election, the then Action Congress of Nigeria put up a strong challenge against the hegemony of Obasanjo’s Peoples Democratic Party at the state level, as states like Osun, Edo and Ondo were prised away from the vice-like claw of the PDP by the armada deployed by a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

In the 2011 governorship election, Oyo and Ekiti states also fell to the ACN as the influence of the PDP significantly waned against the well-run media machinery of the Lagos-gingered opposition party. Caught in the web of self-inflicted immolation begotten by avarice, insensitivity, vanity and arrogance, a drowning PDP flailed at straws as it was swept away by the currents of rivers Osun, Ogun, Owena and Ogunpa into the Lagos lagoon. Lagos thus lived up to its name which means a lake in Portuguese, serving as spring for motivation and action against the PDP. The achievements of the Babatunde Fashola-led APC administration in the state became a standard of measurement for all state administrations in the country and a poster for alternative governance.

So, tired of the corruption and cluelessness of the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration, Nigerians massively voted incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, and also obliterated the vestiges of the PDP in the South-West, Kwara, Kogi and 15 other states. Hope of a new dawn had come, Nigerians happily thought. Buhari will fight corruption and insecurity. He will make the lame walk and the blind see. But three years in the saddle, corruption is still hale and hearty, insecurity is as fit as a fiddle but change was dead on arrival. Despite all this, pro-Buhari supporters blindly want Nigerians to believe that corruption got a black eye from the President’s combination of jabs, hooks and uppercuts just as insecurity suffered a spinal-cord injury following his karate kicks.

But the Ekiti governorship primary and state congresses of the APC across the federation put the lie to any security claims by the Buhari government. In Rivers State, the APC youths chased out judges, workers and litigants from the state High Court, Port Harcourt, on Friday, when the supporters of the Senator representing River South-East district, Magnus Abe, clashed with the supporters of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. The supporters of Abe had stormed the court to seek an injunction restraining the Amaechi faction from holding local government congress of the party on Saturday.

Online video of the desecration of the court showed a party under the siege of political fiends. The sound of non-stop gunshots in the video was reminiscent of the last days of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai had to declare a curfew to curb violence likely to arise from the party’s congress. In Imo, suspected hoodlums set the APC secretariat in Owerri, the state capital, ablaze on Friday. The state’s party chairman, Hilary Eke, said the hoodlums attacked the secretariat “just to frustrate the LGA congress of the party on Saturday”. In Agege, a Lagos suburb, one person reportedly lost his life during the Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area congress of the ruining, sorry, ruling party, on Saturday, just as gunfight marred the two parallel congresses held in the Owan Local Government Area of Edo, on Saturday. Two parallel congresses were also held in Kwara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Kogi, Bayelsa and Adamawa states where factional political leaders affirmed their various congresses as the authentic. The APC’s story of woes continued in Oyo, where a teenage girl was killed on the heels of the state congress in the Ibadan-North Local Government Area on Saturday.

Stating the obvious, Tinubu, a national leader of the APC, said the crises that characterised the congresses were orchestrated by wayward party members seeking to impose their will on the majority. He said, “The problems came from those who sought to pollute the exercise by either strong or surreptitious imposition.” For me, the bloodletting and violence which greeted the APC congresses underscores the sad reality that the Nigerian politician seeks elective posts only for his personal benefits.

Unlike the peaceful Ekiti PDP governorship primary which produced Governor Ayodele Fayose’s protégé and Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, as candidate, the Ekiti APC governorship primary was a show of shame. The first governorship primary of the party held penultimate week ended in a fiasco as disgruntled party members openly smashed ballot boxes and trampled on ballot papers. If it was the PDP primary that went awry, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, might have threatened Fayose with arrest while the almighty media machinery of the APC would have snacked what remained of the PDP’s goodwill.

It is rather ironic that the APC, which calls itself a party of progressives, hasn’t come out to apologise to Nigerians for the insanity that attended its governorship primary in Ekiti and the congresses across the country. If bloodletting and violence are symptomatic of insecurity and insecurity was a cardinal point in the manifesto that shot President Buhari into power, then failure was the hallmark of the APC’s congressional attempt at enshrining internal democracy. The APC must find other words for corruption, change and contradiction.

President Buhari’s Empty Wailing In The US By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH of Monday, May 7, 2018)

The face of the one-year-old suddenly lit up when he saw his father step in through the door. Gingerly, he rose to his tottering feet, wild in excitement, he surged forward, balancing between walking and running, screaming and laughing, lunging, lightning steps as he darted and collapsed into the outstretched arms of a stooping, happy father. Giving him his special treat, father throws his overjoyed little tot high up in the air, one, two, three, four, and gave him a loving cuddle on the fifth count. The toddler’s energetic screams mixed with the father’s teasing and laughter, electrifying the air. Then an awful smell crushed the excitement. It was a smell no ovation can quell. It was the smell of shit. Grimacing, father looks closer; his suit, shirt and tie were bespattered with shit, so was his belt. Junior has done it again.

This was the scenario that played out when President Muhammadu Buhari was guest to President Donald Trump in Washington last week. Although no gift of clairvoyance is needed to unriddle who the child or father in the scenario is, the interview granted by President Buhari in the world’s most powerful nation was an antithesis to an otherwise rousing visit. In the interview with the Voice of America, Hausa Service, during the three-day visit to Washington, President Buhari said, “Recently, I had to come out and state that from 1999 to 2014, anyone who carries out a study here in America or Europe or India will know that we were producing 2.2m barrels of crude oil daily at a price of at least $100 per barrel. In those 16 years of the PDP rule, Nigeria was getting 2.1m x $100 every day, every week, but when we came on board; the price fell to between $37 and $38 and hung around $40 and $50.

“I went to the CBN – the governor of CBN is here, and asked him how far, and he said nothing was left apart from debts. I said ‘but this is what the country made?’ And he said yes, he knew, and I asked him, ‘where is the money?’ All is gone. Nigerians know that there were no roads or rail lines, there was no power, despite the billions of dollars spent. Only God will judge this thing,” the President declared.

ONLY God will judge. Only God! Only a thoroughly overwhelmed Commander-in-Chief and executive President who has reached his tether’s end could come to this grim and absurd conclusion. If we are to leave only God to judge the criminals among us, we might as well sack our judges and security organizations, and trample upon the admonition of Aristotle, who warned thousands of years ago, saying, “At best, man is the noblest of animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.”

Not anymore do I care a hang about the unmistakable and irritating trademark lamentation of PDP-this, PDP-that by the President, whose deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, is stridently turning into a lamenter-in-chief. For the one-millionth time, both Buhari and Osinbajo sang anti-Peoples Democratic Party excuses thrice in two days, last week. My grouse this time round is with the “Only-God-will-judge” new line President Buhari added to his broken Song of Excuse. The “Only-God-will-judge” new line in the remix of the Song of Excuse is the shit in Buhari’s visit to the US. It is the pinhole pricked in the bubble of the US visit, exposing the President’s shocking ill-comprehension of his duties and functions of government.

During the visit, President Buhari also had harsh words for the media, which he described as not projecting his government in good light. President Buhari must still be cocooned in the memories of his administration’s earlier romance with the media which described him as incorrupt, patriotic and development-hungry. Your Excellency, without performance, politics is quicksand. The President’s newfound disdain for the media could be a reason why he probably doesn’t read Nigerian newspapers anymore.

Because if he does, he ostensibly would have read the stories of alleged massive corruption eating up his cabinet, the corruption in the fight against terrorism, menace of Fulani herdsmen, insecurity, selectivity of the anti-corruption war, policy vacuity, ethnic lopsidedness in appointments etc. A government that reads and acts on news reports won’t wait before a foreign news medium, the BBC, embarrassed the nation with the well-researched documentary masterpiece, “Sweet, sweet codeine,” before banning codeine-based syrups because many Nigerian newspapers have, hitherto, published reports on how drugs have been ruining Nigerian youths, but governments at all levels had looked the other way. With the BBC report, heads should have started rolling within the ministry of health and the pharmaceutical industry – if our country is not big-for-nothing.

“Shall we gag the President” was one of the initial headlines I penned for this article. Indeed, a couple of other headlines weaved in and out of my mind as I put the article together. At a point along the line, I had headlines like, “Shut the heck up, Mr President!,” “President Buhari makes me sick,” “Is dementia setting in on the Presidency?,” “Stop whining, President Buhari; perform!” “God won’t do your work for you, President Buhari,” “What Trump truly thinks of Buhari,” among others.

The greatest Reggae musician of all time, Bob Marley, died at the age of 36, gifting the world great songs recorded by his group, Wailing Wailers, which comprised Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and himself. Marley, who later adopted the name, Wailing Wailers, after the group broke up, wailed against different forms of oppression afflicting the black race, professing hope and redemption until he died in Miami, Florida on May 11, 1981 of melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, which started from a toe and, over the years, spread to his lungs and brain.

Call it empty wailing, President Buhari practically wailed against nothing in the Washington interview with his despondent resignation and depressing buck-passing unto God. No, Mr President, the buck stops at your table and no God’s. If God participated in the 2015 presidential election that brought you to power, Nigeria would have been saved your stagnating inaction. Whimpering in faraway USA that “Only God will judge” is a confirmation of the worst fears of Nigerians that Mallam Buhari has no answers to the challenges facing the country and an abdication of the authority, powers and responsibilities vested in him by the Nigerian Constitution.

I implore the President to mentally format the military tactics he learnt decades ago, they appear to be archaic and irrelevant in solving our present challenges. I recommend to our President, a studying of Thomas Hobbes’ theory on the State of Nature, where life is ‘nasty, brutish and short’ in the absence of responsible leadership. I also recommend crash courses in effective public speaking, logic, democracy, international relations, economics and geography. Hobbes’ postulations on the “State of Nature” would teach President Buhari that anarchy is what you get if you leave only God to judge the monumental financial crimes committed under the rapacious Goodluck Jonathan administration and other crimes committed across the country. If he had stayed a few days longer, maybe President Trump would have taught President Buhari that judgment starts on earth if life must have a meaning. I’m almost sure Trump would have said something like, “See why I called your country shithole, Moh’m? Some frigging assholes stole your country blind, and yet they have the temerity to talk and challenge you to your face? My Lord! I can’t imagine why you call Nigeria a country! Trust me, if it was America’s money that was stolen, I would have smoked out those thieves one by one – from Port Harcourt to Aibardan to Oshog-bo to Kanoo and hanged ‘em all by the balls, all of them! That’s how to make a country work.”

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.”

——-

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.