Dance, Comrade Adams to rescue us from the grips of the parasites that have sucked Nigerians’ blood for decades.
Some fellow kicked a fuss about Adams Oshiomole’s dancing habit at campaign rallies and asked for comments. I would humour him before I replied with a Yoruba church song; “Kole so ori apata”, meaning one should build one’s house on a rock. I remarked that was Nnamdi Azikiwe’s favourite chant at rallies. If he needed an orchestra conductor in those heady, informed and unflattering years of the struggle for freedom, he readily found one in Azikiwe, popularly known by his pen name, “Zik”.
Zik danced at rallies with market women and the “boys”, especially “Wahala” Benson and team swarming round him in Lagos on the stage. Perhaps, the comrade, helped by his antecedent, is echoing, though loudly, that Nigerians should build their state on a rock. Events of the past 32 years compel him to say it loud and clear in every means imaginable and available, including dancing to pass the message. We were thrown into a social, political and economic cauldron by wicked and insensitive leadership with no integrity; that would not care about our future. Such leadership must never again attend to the lives of Nigerians; wholly wasted years of no development. It was necessary to proceed to report Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, sporting the Gold Coast-style “Danshiki” later known as (PG) prison graduate, wearing medium-Afro hair cut, strutting the rostrum and gyrating with Accra Makola market “mammas” and the “Venrandah Boys”, to tunes of E. K. Nyame’s or Onyina’s bands in authentic highlife music.
After all, Queen Elizabeth II danced to Ghanaian highlife in 1961 at a grand reception in Accra to save the Commonwealth from losing Africa. See how wonderful the rescue therapy of “dance”!
Did he ever hear of popular politicians like Humphrey Omo-Osagie (alias B2) and Adegoke Adelabu (penkelemes) and their electrifying and crowd-pulling stagecraft and wisecracks? They were not squares. Only “men of the people” are called in politics and not “big men” who are small before the people. They ruminate in their over-estimated self-esteem to fight for spoils of victory, dictating specific offices for persons of their chosen. That is greed and not public service. Obafemi Awolowo danced at political outings, though not as dexterously as the labour leader Comrade. Has Oshiomole ever committed a faux pas at rallies? No.
We strode outside Nigeria to Kenya, pointing to the painting of Jomo Kenyatta on stage reeling shouts of “Harrambe”! and “Uhuru”! in measured Kikiyu dance steps at rallies. Remember Mandiba Nelson Mandela on stage in his native jumper and his legendary African dancing mode at political outings, gliding to Zulu and Xhosa music.
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Perhaps, my young prude did not know that they danced at American campaign gatherings, with all the razzmatazz that followed the train. So one reminded him of how at the closing days of Bill Clinton’s march to the White House, he stopped speaking but entertained the ever-growing electorate with his saxophone and his jazz dance as a maestro.
Al Gore repeated the same fashion to gain more than three million majority popular votes over George W. Bush in the queer American electoral system which he lost. Dance, Comrade Adams to rescue us from the grips of the parasites that have sucked Nigerians’ blood for decades. Who would match Donald Trump in twisting the head, neck, hands, fingers and with calculated steps, pacing the rostrum, even on ordinary outings to communicate with his followers?
The good news in Nigeria now is that the ruling party is being purged of the impurities that kept die-hard Buhari’s acolytes like me at bay. I could not wear the same political colours with many of those locusts who left the party and that is why it is victory that Oshiomole is stripping those masquerades naked. Well done but there is a lot more to win the war against planlessness and social corruption the “grab-grab” philosophy of SAP bequeathed to Nigeria. Those Buhari assembled to help him fight the battle seem to operate without a common ideal. Some still worship the discredited Breton Wood school. Others really do not know why they are in government because they are neutered philosophically. This is why while one welcomes the departure of Kemi Adeosun, one is not sure whether Zainab Ahmed, the replacement, has the philosophical and political sagacity for the job. Nigeria needs more than whistle-blowing and plugging leakages to recover from the decay of the lost 38 years. Nigeria needs a finance minister that could set targets on various aspects of growth and development-agriculture, manufacturing, public works and manpower needs.
Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh, Obafemi Awolowo the duo of Etukudoh and Oluleye produced the greatest practical development any African country ever achieved, except the mark reached under J. H. Mensah and Robert Gardener in the early days of Ghana under Nkrumah.
Then, we employed the whole of Africa and beyond; Europeans and Asians begging for attention. It was then we held tight to the doctrine of “expatriate quota” because we had more than enough local quality manpower to meet our needs. One does not feel comfortable with talks of foreign loans for this and that. What are we doing on our part to solve those problems with local men and materials? Have we tried and failed, which is positive approach? One feels humiliated seeing our revered President Muhammadu Buhari participating in China-Africa or USA-Africa or India-Africa or Europe-Africa summits. Have we sunk so badly that we approve all sorts of plots for aid? So also am I disappointed with people talking of foreign exchange parity. What are we producing to sell to the world? We slumped from producing for most of Africa to thoughtless importers.
Neither China, India, Germany, France, Russia, Japan nor Britain can lift us from our present fall. Only Nigerians can rise on their own with a push and a philosophy that build immeasurable confidence in them. I am happy stars like Mohammed Buba Marwa are returning to the APC to lend a helping hand to Buhari. We need men who believe in “do-it-yourself”. Samuel Ogbemudia, Audu Bako, Lateef Jakande, Esuene, Bisi Onabanjo, Bamanga Tukur and some others of my generation beat the world in solving problems in the past.
Buhari should be praised for convincing German, French and British industries; which shut their operations in Nigeria, to return to revive their plants. This is the beginning of actual recovery; not the vain talks of foreign exchange parity in a country that was not producing anything for any foreign currency to buy but crude oil. Welcome my Volkswagen.
Yet we find Nasir el Rufai, Babatunde Fashola and their school always looking for solutions outside our shores. Should not we be able to solve our power problems by building new plants and equipment with local men and materials? Did Chinese, Japanese, Indians and others have better human and material endowments if we had upheld the spirit of the 1960s to 1970s? We have the men, materials and climate to assail those handicaps we now experience, despite the prevailing pinpricks. Men trained in our universities are leading scientific research institutions in America and Europe. We helped to build Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuwait. Why one should praise Buhari’s attempts to rebuild our national structure, the absence of thinking persons largely is evident in his administration but for the services of Audu Ogbeh, Ogbonaiya Onu and Onyeama, comparatively older hands, who operate from clear-cut philosophy of patriotism.
Buhari in three years has shown the way forward. As my friend and colleague, Ted Layiwola Aderinokun, often reminded people, should one opt for a goat as one’s sentinel because one has no dog. This guard dog, Buhari, is good enough for us, not a goat that wasted $411 billion in six years to buy disaster. But Buhari must mobilise all Nigerians for the recovery crusade which should not be for contractors alone as some of his aides would want. After all, the lofty heights we ascended in the 1960s and 1970s were via a mixed economy, not by private sector alone, which has failed after 32 years. So consider direct labour and government participation in industries. What is the contingency for electric power now that the present scheme has failed?