I asked him about the two-third number of lawmakers that Saraki said would be needed to impeach him like Oshiomhole is asking for.
Brothers and Sisters in Crisis, the way the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), are going about their war of words, I am afraid that very soon we will have another phrase “If you Saraki me, I Oshiomhole you” added to our burgeoning political lexicons. Just the same way we had “if you Tarka me, I go Daboh you,” invented.
If you would recall, the legendary Joseph Tarka, who was minister of transport and then communications, under General Yakubu Gowon military administration, had called on Nigerians to report corrupt government officials as a way of stemming the pervading corruption in the system. Encouraged by the clarion call, Chief Godwin Daboh Adzuana. Daboh, a kinsman but a political enemy of Tarka, since the days of the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), in the 1950s, responded to the call by providing damning evidence against the minister.
Confronted by its sheer weight, Tarka was forced to resign. In return, he also looked for evidence to rubbish Daboh in a way that showed that his intention was not all that altruistic as he had originally made Nigerians to believe. At the end, it led to something like a tug-of-war between the two and that was how the phrase, “If you Tarka me, I go Daboh you,” was born.
Oshiomhole, the man I heard had since been crowned the Atawewe 1 or the Ose Oji 1, Odi-Mkpumkpu-Na-Eme Ire I of APC Autonomous Community, has asked Saraki to resign honourably or else be removed democratically. In return, Saraki said he will only do so if two-thirds of the Senators asked him to go.
When I contacted my lecturer in lexis and morphology, and the Head of Department of English, Lagos State University, (LASU), Ojoo, Dr. Mrs. Rachael Bello, on the issue of the word “honourably,” she wanted to know which spelling the person who used it, that is, Oshiomhole, went for, when he was talking about the issue: British or American.
She said that if it is British, it is spelt with a “u” between the second “o” in the word and “r” after it, but if it is American, it is spelt without the “u” in-between. I said since we are operating a British system of education, if Oshio-Baba is asked to write the word, he would spell it with a “u.” She laughed and asked why I am so sure when we are operating Presidential political system of government which is American rather than Parliamentary, which is British.
Back to our analysis of the word “honourably,” she said that morphologically speaking, it is derived from three morphemes: honour + able + ly. I told her that that is English. With the way we operate in Nigeria, I am sure by now, our politicians, their lackeys and supporters, must have divided the word into four or five morphemes: hon (for “horn before you overtake” at the National Assembly cornflakes (complex?) + our (to signify our selfishness and self-centredness in politics) + able (was it from this word that they got the name, Abule-Egba in Lagos?) + ly, (for liquor which everybody seemed to have taken an overdose measure of in recent times judging by the way we speak to one another as we prepare for the 2019 election).
She asked if there is anything like the Nigerian spelling of the word. I said there must be, going by the way Oshiomhole talked about it in his recent press conference. She said if there is, she is not aware. Presuming her answer to be too academic, I turned to one of these roadside, general-purpose (machine gun?), English language teachers, in our rundown secondary schools and he came up with what appeared to me to be a brilliant expose on this matter.
“Chairman, Laugher Line People’s Party (LLPP), (referring to me, that is), it works this way. If you resign like Eng. Nuhu Gidado, former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State did, without ruffling feathers, without calling anybody names, good or bad, without announcing it before hand, that is what Oshio-Baba meant by “ resigning honourably,” but if you resign like Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State did, that is not honourable resignation. In Gidado’s case, he did not horn nor overtake anybody. That’s why they left the man the Bauchi people nicknamed Zuciyar Talakawa (the heart of the masses) alone. Or, did you hear anybody make any noise or insult him when or after he handed in his letter of resignation and left? In Ortom and Saraki’s cases, they did not horn before they overtook APC party in political intrigues.” After explaining this to me, I said that as far as I am concerned, this idea of operating double standards, instead of either American or British, makes no Ortom (atom?) or Ayota (iota?) of sense to me.
Next, I asked him about the two-third number of lawmakers that Saraki said would be needed to impeach him like Oshiomhole is asking for. What does it translate to in real term? For an answer, he referred me to a math teacher that specializes in teaching and solving mathematical problems like no one does. Brothers and Sisters in Crisis, I was shocked when I asked the man the question and he said that two-third translates to 8/22. I knew that maths and I have never been friends from my secondary school days when I failed and almost failed out of school because of it, but to say that two-third equals eight over twenty-two, this one is even more confusing than the mathematical questions I had to grapple with in my school days.
I don’t understand, I said. “You don’t understand? Go to Benue State where eight lawmakers, against 22, tried to impeach the governor and you will understand. They say the men who gave us the expression “if you Tarka me, I go Daboh you” come from that state, abi? I said yes. “Very soon”, he added, “I see us replacing that phrase with a new one: ‘If you Saraki me, I Oshiomhole you.’ Take it or leave it. If you don’t know what Oshiomhole means by removing Saraki, ‘democratically,’ you better do so now before it becomes too late for you to do something about it.”