By Lasisi Olagunju
Once upon a time, I got a book gift from Charly Boy. Like many in my generation, I love books, especially unusual ones. And that precisely was what I got from the son of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa. The title of the book? ‘My Private Part.’ Curiosity won’t kill me. I grabbed the book and flipped through the 626 pages. I discovered the content wasn’t what I thought. It is not what you think. It is an insightful, all-absorbing life account of the weird one – in pictures and captions. His provocative choice of title was merely a continuation of what Wole Soyinka, who wrote the Foreword, described as the counter-culture which Charly epitomizes. The unusual man played on the natural love of primates for sensual stuffs. But if Charly Boy was playing pranks with words, there is an evangelist online who has no time for innuendos; absolutely none for insinuations and allusions. She calls balls balls in cassock and keeps a straight face. She has just told us her own ‘private part’ story, and the Internet caught fire and has remained burning since. You and I call her Mummy G.O.
Mummy G.O says what no one has ever said and she is harvesting uproars in bounteous bales. Her latest is about her first night with her capable husband. That is a story no one tells with an ordinary mouth. It takes a swill of spirit to tell tipsy stories. But she did without thinking about those of us who might be underage in years of experience. Listen to her sermon on the pulpit of The Most High God: “He (the husband) was once my boyfriend before I became born again o. When we now married, this man stood up and said “Haha!, what is happening now? Are you not formerly my girlfriend? Why am I sleeping with you and you become virgin again, why?’ It took this man more than thirty minutes before he could penetrate because I automatically became a virgin again. Yes, my husband was surprised. He said ‘what! How come your body became closed.’ I prayed and He (God) answered me and I am not joking. He can do it for you again. Even till today, my body still remains tight, and I am not joking.” You heard that ribald testimony about hymen regrown through prayers and remembered Hymenaeus in the Christian Bible. He was the character accused in 1 Timothy 1:20 of making “shipwreck concerning faith.” Hymenaeus and a claim of magical hymenoplasty are not too far apart in ecclesiastical rascality. But what do I know? I am a Muslim.
Mummy G.O. said she was not joking. Her attentively quiet audience also knew she wasn’t joking. They were in thralldom of the Overseer nursing the health of their faith; so they didn’t laugh. We are the jokers – those of us who are self-righteously outraged by her bedroom expose. We better make good use of the lady’s pentecostal prayers to stitch the rent innocence of Nigeria. We have a bleeding president deflowered by age and overused by his own ambition. Do we need to be told that our president needs the kind of regeneration which restored the virginity of the evangelist on her wedding night? The president, during an interview session on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Wednesday, said he was aged and tired. “Age is telling on me, working now for six, seven, eight hours a day in the office is no joke,” the president told the NTA. Should a president have a closing time? He added: “Questions of executive council memos from as many states as possible to be considered virtually every week. So, really it is a lot of hard work, but I asked for it and I cannot complain.” He said he was “looking forward to the next 17 months” when he would be free of our troubles and would rest like his age mates. Listen to him again: “Yes, I think COVID-19 has come to my rescue in the sense that the amount of people that you need to see, can’t see you…And about my age, yes, I see my colleagues, they are now resting. I assure you that I’m looking forward to the next 17 months when I too would have to be less busy.” The president said he is not complaining; complaint is not the right word here. There is an appropriate word in the English dictionary; it is ‘whine.’ The gerund is whining which is as useless as the privacy of the impotent.
President Muhammadu Buhari yowled that he would be here for the next 17 months. He is tired bone and blood but his maths is correct. We are tired too of the ruinous inability of his reign. But what can we do? Nothing except that if we want to enjoy our president, now is the time to initiate him into the regeneration secret of Mummy G.O. We should stop all jokes; she may be the solution to what ails our country and incapacitates our leader. We should make our president to be at least 20 years younger so that we can enjoy him more here while ‘the-other-room’ takes the balance. My recommendation is that the evangelist should be taken to the president; or the president should be taken to the evangelist. Whatever. Give the baby to the breast or the breast to the baby; that should not be a problem. What would be problem is leaving the child malnourished which is what is happening right now.
Nigeria is an awfully bad user of leaders. We use and recycle and use again and again. There are credible reports that we are plotting to bring back Goodluck Jonathan next year to continue where he stopped seven years ago. There are consequences for excessive use of anything. Like overused, retreaded tyres, a blowout is almost certain for everything abused, including leaders. That, precisely, is the kernel of Buhari’s lamentation in that NTA interview. He said: ”Yes, because, look, as you know I have been a governor. I have been a minister and I’m in my second term as President. So, I have gone through the system and really, what else can I do with this country?” Did you hear that rhetorical question? The old man is asking what else we thought he could do with (not for) Nigeria.
When the guard is tired and himself needs a prop, then there is trouble. Horrendous attacks from herdsmen resumed on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway last week. Media reports said they shot and killed a driver, abducted five others and demanded N30m ransom from the family of a female victim. They were in Ondo State too where villagers lost lives and homes. That is the share of the South West in the inadequacy of a nation with a tired government. In Katsina, the president’s home state, a poor farmer was abducted in a serially raped area called Faskari. His poor children met, sold everything they had and raised the ransom sum of N50,000 to have their dear dad back home. The eldest of them took the money to where the Yoruba would call Igbo Odaju – forest of the heartless. The outlaws took the money, freed the old man on Thursday, but replaced him with the son in their custody. Ransom for the son is N100,000. The farmer, Saidu Faskari, had to remove and sell his roofing sheets to raise the funds. Heart wrenching photos of the roof being dismantled are online. Note that some neighbours had the money to buy the sheets but they lacked the humanity to give that money to the old man without making him homeless. The president is from that state. Is it safe to tell him to help that roofless farmer at this moment? At least, there is nothing this president cannot do. Can he call someone at home to seek out and replace Saidu’s roof? How many more Saidus exist unreported in that north of daily doses of death? At the western front of Katsina is Zamfara state where 200 people suffered horrific death last week, courtesy of another band of bandits. What was that thing the president said on that mass murder? He promised to track down and eliminate the criminal gangs who were subjecting innocent people to a reign of terror “including illegal imposition of taxes on the communities under siege.” When a government admits that another ‘authority’ exists in its space and has snatched the power to levy taxes, then know, please, the world has come to an end.
The president said age is telling on him. But Buhari, even in his tiredness, appears to have moved ahead of all of us. He is already talking of life after office. He is giraffing his exit date the way a groom longs for his bride. He said he was not expecting us to thank him for graciously staying in our Aso Villa of rocking chairs and busy toothpicks. He said: “I have given my best and I hope after I leave, Nigerians will reflect and at least not show appreciation. I’m not expecting any appreciation. But what I’m expecting is for Nigerians to say yes, this man has done his best. This is the most I’m expecting from Nigerians. But it’s no joke. I’m telling you.” He is not expecting us, including the Faskari farmer and his roofless family, to thank him? Now, did you notice that Mummy G.O ended all her strong sentences with “I am not joking” and Daddy Buhari closed his own with “it’s no joke”? That is what walking in the spirit does to people who share the anointing of unusualness in grace.
The very old man may be tired of reading “executive council memos from as many states as possible” but he won’t be tired of fighting after office. A day before the NTA interview, there had been another with Channels Television. All sorts of comments and commentaries on what Buhari said and unsaid in that interview are everywhere. But I pick his response to a question he thought suggested a possible probe of his regime after 2023. The president said: “No. Let him come, whoever it is. All important things, I’ll make sure that they are on record. Nobody should ask me to come and give any evidence in any court, otherwise, whoever it is, he will be in trouble because all important things are on record.” Some people are so blessed that they are above questioning. They issue queries but they can’t be questioned. Buhari is one of them. He came in 1983/84 and asked brutal questions. Then he left office, and years later, democracy asked him to come render accounts of his deeds as a military leader. He spurned the Oputa Panel with its summons, and nothing happened. If anything happened at all, it was that he came back to power in 2015 and has been asking questions since then. Now that the egret is going back home to its whiteness, it is issuing threats of trouble. The man is giving a notice that, after leaving office, whoever questions his handling of our affairs “will be in trouble.” The president’s no-joke mien while uttering those granite words has a parallel in Mummy G.O’s I-am-not-joking declarations. Both are the anointed of God, let no one touch them.
*Dr. Lasis Olagunju, journalist, editor and public affairs analyst, wrote this originally for The Tribune, Ibadan