Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:42 am
By Festus Adedayo
As one of the two guest lecturers at a June 12, 1993 election commemorative anniversary and celebration of the unique proclamation of the day as Democracy Day in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, held in Ibadan, Oyo State last week, I walked out of my wont: I showered effusive praises on Buhari for this unique feat. Conversely, I literally asked that hot coal be poured on ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for his disdain and hatred for the person of MKO Abiola, his classmate at the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta. I asked psychologists, political scientists to help posterity by downloading and connecting the missing tissues of Obasanjo’s disdain for MKO before the Otta farmer breathes his last, lest, at his passage, Nigeria still wallows in guesswork as to the real reason why Obasanjo never honoured MKO. In my amateurish psychoanalysis, I have on occasions diagnosed Obasanjo as a modern day African witch. This witch, who traditional Africa believes that, for her to eat her favourite cuisine of the human heart, callously burrows her blood-thirsty teeth through the victim’s kidneys and devours the victim’s liver from his bile-duct, has no place in her heart for mercy. The African witch’s pot of soup is rich in the flesh and entrails of her children, benefactors and close confidants.
Take a study of Obasanjo from the moment he glided into limelight. Like the witch, he devours those who are close to him and takes delight in being their pall-bearers. Look at Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, his friend and classmate, whose father reportedly used to ask Obasanjo to advise to get married. Unascertained and perhaps unascertainable rumour claims that Obasanjo, privy to Nzeogwu’s plan to strike in the first coup of January, 1966, leaked the plan to federal forces. Again, when Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka and Major General Iliya Bisalla struck and killed General Murtala Muhammed in 1976, Obasanjo escaped the hail of their bullets by a whisker. A frightened Obasanjo, like a coyote with its tails tucked into its furs, ran to the home of Ilesha-born millionaire, S.B. Bakare where he holed up till the coup was quelled and he was named the Head of State. Bakare was one of the first victims of Obasanjo’s 3-year Head of State-ship.
Then, look at his first wife, Remi, who stood by him through thick and thin of the furnace of rookie soldiering. One day, Obasanjo went to Remi’s house and removed the roof over her head. And this: while in prison on Sani Abacha’s trumped-up treason charges and the goggled General expired mysteriously, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief SM Afolabi and others gathered to nominate him as Nigeria’s president in 1999. Did you read Babangida’s evocative letter to Globacom’s The Bull, Mike Adenuga a couple of years ago? I paraphrase the letter – “Mike, they fought, sought to intimidate and harangue you to implicate me without you bulging.” Who was the they? It was Obasanjo who harassed, demonized and even got Adenuga to scamper out of Nigeria to live abroad like a fugitive because he would not yield himself as the crucifix to hang the self-styled military president. Obasanjo had, as Queen Herodias demanded that her daughter, Salome should ask King Herod for the head of John the Baptist, wanted IBB’s head on a platter and needed Adenuga to be his Salome. Read Awujale of Ijebu’s account of Obasanjo’s macabre craving in his autobiography.
S.M. Afolabi, Obasanjo’s senior in the secondary school, who risked his name to support his presidential candidacy, at a time Obasanjo was a pariah in Yorubaland, Obasanjo personally parceled inside a coffin. Again, check the list of the first set of governors Obasanjo sent Nuhu Ribadu after in 2007; they were his boys who fought Atiku Abubakar to the hilt for attempting to disgrace Obasanjo out of power. Ask Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, one of Obasanjo’s most trusted friends while in power. It was said that Fasawe used to enter the president’s bedroom. Obasanjo eventually smoked his head at the fireplace. There are a thousand and one other victims of our own Witch of Endor.
Having said all that, however, at the lecture, I submitted that we should critically examine the motive of Buhari’s recent fascination with MKO Abiola and June 12. Apart from being one of the major beneficiaries of Nigerian military top brass’ unconscionable annulment of the election as a de jure Head of State, being the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, (PTF) with its humongous budget and power, Buhari had never been ascribed a quotation in support of the June 12 struggle in 25 years. Underground sources even said he disdained MKO’s temerity to want to become Nigeria’s President. Never did Buhari say a word complimenting that unique democratic struggle and today, further sources claimed that Baba-Gana Kingibe, Al-Mustapha and many other villains of that struggle, are embedded round the seat of power like a boa constrictor enfolds itself round its impala prey. I told my audience that Nigerians should thus be wary of this illogical, unscientific affection for the June 12 course by Buhari, lest it be an affliction in disguise. I also submitted that, in the last couple of years, Buhari and Obasanjo’s disdain for each other has been colossal. Could the June 12 day proclamation be an attempt to finally kill whatever adulation Obasanjo’s kinsmen have for him? Also, it is on record that Buhari has never forgiven Ibro – IBB – for snatching his power inheritance in 1985 and slamming him in detention. IBB, you will recall, is perhaps the most brilliant, the most cerebral of the rulers of Nigeria thus far but who got a permanent scar that he will carry to his grave in the June 12 annulment. Could the Democracy Day be the final opportunity Buhari feels he has to pierce the dagger into Ibro’s navel?
Also, I asked my audience: between 1993 and now, is the quality of your life progressing for the better or retrogressing for the worse to warrant us throwing the cymbals in celebration of June 12 today? Should a Nigeria which, in 1993, you could travel round, from Kaura Namoda to Jalingo, from Jalingo to Nkalagu and down to Ilu Abo without molestation, which today has become one where you needed travel advisory before moving within a state or outside it, be one that should evoke praise for a man who, in four years, has worsened the take for the country? I concluded by telling my audience that, in my own estimation, aside its fascinating symbolism, we should weep, rather than celebrate, on June 12.
Herdsmen have turned virtually the whole of the country into a bedlam. Sokoto, Zamfara are suffocating under the bloody rat-a-tat of their AK47 guns. The Southwest is gasping under the blood-soaked jackboots of these emissaries of tears’ vice colonization of their territory. The other day, they invaded an Nsukka, Enugu State town, killing and maiming villagers with gusto. In Benue, we are yet to be told the actual statistics of the farmers they murdered in cold blood. At first, it was claimed that the blockade of their cows’ grazing routes was the culprit of their maniacal onslaught. Gradually, it is occurring to Nigeria that she had lived all these years with psychopaths from Fouta Djallon as neighbours whose core ideology is blood, tears and sorrow.
Key elements in Southern Nigeria have been scampering for the way out of this mid-day subjection of their land into a colony by alien aggressors. South West governors recently met and proclaimed feeble remedies and antidotes. The truth is, none of those folks can raise a finger to help their tormented constituents. Raise a cudgel against cow tenders kith and kin of the C-in-C and risk artillery fire of underground scuds of Aso Rock Villa? Unbeknown to those frantically scampering, seeking remedy to the cow lords’ malady in faraway Sokoto, the antidote to the malady of these bloody re-colonizers is right by their pocket, the sokoto. It is encapsulated in that war study theorem which states that you cannot continue to water the trough of your enemies’ frontiers and expect stoppage of artillery attack on your base. The South has been watering the trough of herdsmen’s frontiers by its stupid and illogical consumption of herdsmen’s cow meats. This is what gives the constant rampaging of the South by the herdsmen a muscle of its own.
What to do? Let the victims begin a concerted campaign against cow meat and a boycott of the killers’ beef. In doing this, it will not be doing anything atypical. Arondizuogu, Imo State-born Mazi Mbonu Ojike (1914 – November 29, 1956) showed the world that we could make ideological statement by boycotting what we have made part and parcel of our being. Ojike was Vice President of NCNC, an Nnamdi Azikiwe staunch acolyte, Deputy Mayor of Lagos in 1951 and later became eastern regional Minister of Works in 1954 and Minister of Finance same year. Between 1947 and 1948, Ojike was General Manager and columnist with Azikiwe’s West African Pilot, and was renowned for his two columns, Weekend Catechism and Something to Think About with his scathing analyses of issues. Ojike was more famous for his sloganeering of boycott the boycottables where he pioneered the boycott of cloths, food, dress, religion and dances that had no indigenous fervor and, in the process of promoting his own variant of Africanisation, chose a persistency in the consumption of African-produced brands. In place of imported gins, Mbonu consumed palm-wine and abacha, sauced with ugba in place of salad, etc.
So, the victims, from Sokoto to Zamfara, Benue, Nasarawa, to the whole of the South West, can effectively mimic Ojike in this quest to rout their tormentors. In doing this, they must first conduct a medical assessment of this destructive pastime of beef consumption it had engaged in for centuries. How healthy is beef consumption? Medics say that beef is one of the most dangerous foods man injects into his body. Its consumption has been linked with heart diseases, truncal obesity, low immunity and suchlike diseases. Do we know that the herdsmen themselves don’t eat the poison they want to kill the whole of humanity to protect? That is why they live longer, are healthier, thrive in bushes and when their wives give birth, have less obstetric complications, with babies that are smaller and are not delivered through caesarean operations. If the herdsmen can survive without eating their own beef, their victims too can. Like Ojike, local substitutes will readily come handy. Substitutes like bush meat, chicken, cat fish and the like. If this boycott succeeds and no one buys the killers’ cows, there will be no sale of cattle, no cattle colonies and no need for their patron to ban guns procurement by victims who want to protect themselves against rampaging herders. The boycott will ultimately prove to be a more lethal weapon against the tormentors than their AK47.
While writing this, I remembered the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi’s warning to Nigerians to stop criticizing Buhari and other Nigerian leaders. This was contained in his June 2 sermon at the church’s Headquarters in Gbagada, Lagos. Kumuyi’s reason for this admonition, according to him, is in conformity with the biblical admonition that God Himself appoints leaders and frowns at their stricture. Thank God that Nigerians didn’t allow this admonition to grow cold before they gave Kumuyi the back of their tongues. By the admonition, Kumuyi and his pastoral ilk merely wanted to continue flourishing their flock of morons and zombies, like the herders. For decades, this same Kumuyi decreed that his adherents should abstain from watching television, claiming it was the footstool of Satan. Today, it is this same television with which he conducts his global televangelism. You can draw an episcopal parallel to this obviously lax thought in the One Love Family head, Sat Guru Maharajji’s recent call on Buhari to make him Minister of Petroleum. What these spiritual leaders or herders crave is a community of idiots, pliable for their use. They are at home with the hopelessness of decades that governmental leaders inflict on the people because it is in the hopelessness that their flocks will increase, with more cash and a fleet of jets to cruise the whole wide world. Kumuyi should be told that that biblical admonition rests on the prong of leaders who were voted or selected by the people themselves. Nigerian leaders select themselves in their appointed conclaves and are not representatives of the people. Does he realize that the few developmental mileages Nigerians have got from their so-called leaders were got through agitations and protestations? Our leaders are, apology to writer, Ifeoma Okoye, men without ears.
A common thread links the need for us to boycott cow meats with the need for Nigerians to, for a minute, act like rational beings and not a community of cows. As rational beings, let us lift the veil and go beyond the veneer of Buhari’s June 12 day as Democracy Day. When you now situate this side by side Kumuyi’s doggerel, you will see that all that Nigerian leaders and their episcopal accomplices want is a cowed country or a country of cows.