Dr. Bukola Saraki is easily one of the lords of the clan. And that is to speak in the style of Chinua Achebe, maker of Things Fall Apart. Saraki, following the Achebe line, could be said to have risen suddenly to great and mighty heights in society. Saraki had been a senior adviser in the Presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former dictator made good as elected President. And that was 20 odd years ago, when lizards were few and far between.
The same Saraki later became a two-term – eight years – governor. And immediately he left state powers, Saraki exited into being a senator of the Federal Republic. And just as quickly, he scaled up to being the Senate President, the third most powerful man in our universe. And lest you forget, Saraki is still a sapling, as those who are 60+ can still knock his head for being a junior. Things happen. Ahiazuwa.
However, it might serve well to remark that, while Saraki, like Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, made history in his youth, Saraki, unlike Okonkwo, was literally born into greatness. His father, Saraki senior, now dead, was part of the first generation professionals. Like his son, he too was a doctor. And he parleyed his trade of curing the diseases of others into profitable political capital for himself and connections. It was not just that Saraki senior was the Senate majority leader in one incarnation, he had a fibrous reach to who-is-who across the country. For instance, he was personal chummy to General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, General Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, all former heads of states and from the three big regions. But above all, the senior Saraki was the dominant playmaker – some say god the father – of politics in his native Kwara State. It is in fact rumored that Bukola Saraki being a governor was as much by the votes of the electorate as the practiced political intrigues of his father. Anyway, all that is gone. However, give or take, Saraki has done magnificently well, a mighty man of power and considerable economic punch in these choleric times. And he has endured, politically.
Saraki came under furious and immeasurable political and legal death-row siege from the presidency. A salient point, however, is that it was a presidency Saraki helped catapult to power. But he was not brought down or particularly low. In fact, he triumphed and then jumped ship. Saraki a former lynchpin and driver of the rise of Buhari/APC into power is now the PDP director-general of the Atiku Presidential campaign.
The question now is, can Saraki magick two opposing presidential wins in one lifetime? The question is important both for Saraki as for what he represents. In other words, is Saraki/the PDP merely in the game or are they really in the zone? Being in the zone for non-sports fans, is in being in your game at the highest efficiency levels. In other words, being a Messi at his best hour.
Now, Saraki, by the way, as his father, is a very clubbable type. He is as close to Atiku as he is Ekweremadu or Ojora. So, when he emerged as czar of the Atiku campaign, it was clear he was not an ordinary operative. He commands our attention for all he says or does not say.
And on 09-01-2019, he was a guest on Channels television. He said pretty much, but one aspect of what he claims interests us. According to Saraki, the civil rights groups have become silent because of the climate of fear, oppression and persecution of the current regime. Saraki cited the incarceration of Deji Adeyanju as an example of the intolerance that stifles civil protestations.
Perhaps, Saraki was like Okonkwo, a great man as Achebe hints, who has lost his perspectives. And because of that loss of perspective, of 20-20 vision, Okonkwo, like Saraki may, begins to act in error, to enact the tragedy of things collapsing on his head.
Now this. In late 2018, I was chatting with a well-respected, Cambridge-educated professor. The professor himself is not into the human rights business. But he is a sought after brain box for them and other pillars of society, across party lines. He is of South West extraction. And the South West is the greenhouse of civil society businesses.
And we quote the professor: “I have advised the PDP people who accuse the civil rights communities of complicity, of silences, in these Buhari times, to go sponsor their own communities of human rights groups. That is, the PDP people cannot demand that other people plant and water the trees under which they may seek out shade and cover. These things are not transactional. It is a relationship thing. PDP should wake up.’’
Of course, we can confess the advice was no revelation to us. We had researched a paper on Nigerian human rights community. And the result is that they are at best official opposition, they are a part and beneficiaries of this present governance structure. In other words, they approve of the present structure of injustice in Nigeria, which includes taking oil from the South-South and South-East and expatriating its revenues to build up Lagos and Abuja. In short, the current skein of human rights communities are articulators and proponents of G2ism.
Anyway, one has to salute their genius for theatre, for dissembling. By dramatic cleverness they have gestured themselves into others, even the very elect, believing they are in the game for any national good. The point is, that is the least and furthest thing in their actors’ minds. And despite the fact that they have “one chanced” the third most powerful man in the black universe, the fact of their insincerity and duplicity is provable.
Okay, it so happened that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, a Christian and minority man from the North, spoke. According to reports “Dogara to Northern elders: Speak out against insecurity as you did under Jonathan” … Dogara, has challenged northern elders to raise their voices against insecurity in the region “just as they did during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.” Mr. Jonathan hails from Bayelsa, South-South Nigeria, while the current President, Muhammadu Buhari, is from the North-West. (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/305206-dogara-to-northern-elders-speak-out-against-insecurity-as-you-did-under-jonathan.html)
What is immediately apparent is the studied duplicity of these agents. So, when and while it was Jonathan, a non-G2, even accidental, leader, all hell was let loose. The so-called human rights communities waxed aggressive, heroic and even desperate. In fact, Soyinka, a lead agent of theirs, for instance, went nuclear. He tarred another man’s wife a shepopotamus. (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/142952-wole-soyinkas-overreach-by-ebenezer-obadare.html)
In that coinage was imbedded considerable toxic literary payload. It was to convey the evil halo that the woman is the type that wallows in shit-oozing corruption. And she has the fat of it to prove it. She and of course her husband.
But today, corruption is worse, so also are insurgency and cluelessness, but Soyinka has found the peace and quiet that have always eluded him. In fact, he goes ahead to canvass that this present order be retained by playing games with words, his forte. He says: “We have got to develop very healthy scepticism… ‘this is Lucifer from hell’ …” Speaking of Atiku? (https://punchng.com/2019-soyinka-attacks-ex-president-for-supporting-a-devil)
Anyway, the larger point is this. If the Senate President misreads the practiced duplicity of the human rights playmakers as fear, then there is greater fear he is merely in the game, he is out of the zone. His understanding of the forces at play, not just the actors at work, is grossly faulty. And in war or in politics, the first art of generalship is in reconnaissance, being able to map thoroughly and correctly your enemies and then yourselves and allies. If you lack a correct measure of who you and your environments are, you did be like Okonkwo, a tragedy waiting to happen.
Last line: Yinka Odumakin might just be the only good man out of the lot or rot that was the G2ism human rights playmakers. He mourns and rationalises: “Unfortunately, a lot of the civil society players who we knew many years ago have kept quiet. It is as if they have even left the country. We also now have a quasi-military regime in place that is selling a culture of fear into the lily-livered.” (https://punchng.com/you-cant-dare-to-hold-a-protest-for-a-day-against-this-govt-in-power-yinka-odumakin)
His fact is that admitted in evidence. The civil society players have quit their trade as it is that one of their own and most beloved is in power. But the contention, which Odumakin develops further that it is a climate of fear, of quasi-militarism, that is holding them back can’t hold water.
This is because Buhari, as evil or good as he is, is not yet as brutal as General Sani Abacha. The analogue is this. When a faction or coalition of the G2 felt that their estates were in danger they fled via NADECO routes, to London, etc. And unleashed new wars on Abacha.
The question: has the NADECO route closed? The answer is no. The back story, however, is that the G2 are not feeling any threats or losses worthy of their breaking sweat. In fact, they are in closeted, default agreement with the naked tribalism of Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Alhaji Babatunde Fashola. That it is now a formal G2 empire, comprising the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba rollercoaster.
Finally, the best we can say of the human rights communities in Nigeria, including support characters like Agbakoba and commentators like Saraki, is that they are like Galileo. Galileo, my teacher told me, was operating on a framework that neither he nor any other was not consciously aware of. The years had to wait, till Descartes, for the fact of Galileo’s unstated framework to be formally established. Point is, whether these communities are Galileo-type geniuses or not, they are operating on a framework they are not aware of, or refuse to be. And it is G2ism. All else is in humour. Ahiazuwa.