Today, Everywhere and everything are toxic. Even the air we breathe is toxic. It reeks of odious and smelly putrefaction from caked blood of innocent Nigerians split open by afternoon baking sun (apologies, Ayi Kwei Armah: “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born”).
Our farmlands are death mines, laden with deadly booby-traps set up by rampaging Fulani herdsmen. They hug AK-47 rifles that spit fire on a daily basis against innocent farmers who have offered no provocation. The once-upon-a-time teeth-stained, kolanut-chewing, smiling and friendly herders moved harmlessly acro
ss the highways, footpaths and farmpaths. We, as children growing up in the 60s and 70s, usually came out to sing with our near national anthem rendition, to herald them in. What has happened? I don’t know. Or, do you? They have since turned into vicious, blood-sucking monsters that decimate our local population. Our song in those days was, “Malu koga, malu, koga, daba daba koga; ikpisa yeghe the akhia; edunu kpotha mho abo; ne the gbea kpu pku” (translated: “cows with hooves, cows with hooves; they are led by weak elderly men; men who carry sticks, with which they flog the cows kpu kpu”). We would come out of our huts, hailing them, giving them water to conserve in their pitchers made of cow skin and tied to their shoulders. Those were the good beautiful old days. Not anymore.
Today, however, like in Wole Soyinka’s metamorphosis of Brother Jero in “Jero’s Metamorphosis” (1973), which followed “The Trials of Brother Jero” (1963), these once innocent herders have metamorphosed into murderous and remorseless savages, killing, maiming, pillaging and raping farm owners and peaceful indigenous landowners right on their farms and in their homes with gusto, eclat and a vainglorious sense of triumphalism.
In our homes and on the roads, Nigerians are no longer safe. In the markets, schools, workplaces, air, train, waterways and forests, death stares the average Nigerian in his wrinkled face. Nigeria has become a grisly killing ground. It has become the poverty capital of the world, snatching the diadem from India. There is seering agony, mass disenchantment and grave disillusionment. Hunger and abject penury live with us. Melancholy and gnashing of teeth overwhelm Nigerians. Hopelessness and haplessness sleep with us on the same wretched beds. Hot tears, sorrow, pains, pangs and blood remain gods and goddesses on whose pulpits Nigerians worship in their homes. Schools are hurriedly and prematurely shut down, not from fixed holidays, not from unanswered ASUU’s seven months’ strike engineered by a clueless government, but to prevent students from being abducted and kidnapped by rampaging bandits and kidnappers that operate as a state within a state. The government watches helplessly, wriggling its hands with shocking resignation to fate. Non-state actors now commonly challenge the sovereignty and suzereignty of Nigeria, planting their flags on Nigerian soil, collecting taxes from and giving citizens passes and identity cards. Bandits kidnap schoolchildren and instruct their parents to procure for them large quantities of tarodo, tatashe, tomatoes, Maggi, onions, garri, beans, rice, palm oil, vegetable oil, salt and other condiments. They need the ingredients to feed their children and keep them alive for ransom to be paid for their release. This is glaring evidence of a failed state.
Fighting corruption, a mantra once hugged by this government during political campaigns, has since graduated from a kindergarten school to a postgraduate institution, strutting about unchallenged, like a proud peacock. Government appointees brazenly steal billions of dollars, with the EFCC and ICPC still busy pursuing ruling government’s political opponents. They use the ugly and primitively stolen money to mop up scarce dollars, leading to the present horrific artificial shortage of dollars, a situation of one dollar exchanging for about N740. And still counting. Didn’t this government meet the dollar at between M160 and N175 in 2015? Gosh! We are now No. 148 out of 180, and the second most corrupt nation in West Africa, courtesy, Transparency International’s Anti-corruption Perception Index). Inflation increases geometrically. Debts accumulate daily. We now borrow money to service debts, not payment of the real debt! Next generations have mountainous debts hanging on their necks. The present government has mortgaged our individual and collective future with reckless abandon.
Nigeria has never been so polarized and divided along primordial ethnic, religious and linguistic cleavages.
Nigerians from all walks of life appear shell-shocked at a country they can no longer recognise within seven years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s disastrous government. Well, I am not one of them. I had seen this ugly situation coming. Like Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow, like the Oracle at Ile-Ife that gazes into the future and pronounces a future Ooni, I saw these perilous times coming. I had predicated all these in the very first 50 days of this government.
Buharists, Buharideens, his bootlickers, ego masseurs and obsequious fawning passengers in the corridors of power mocked me. They abused and bayed for my innocent and patriotic blood. But history and current happenings have now completely vindicated me. Oh, thou sweet history. Oh, archivist Google that never forgets!!! In this piece, I now serve you my predictions, after analyzing Buhari’s first 50 days in office, in a piece titled, “Is President Buhari overwhelmed by serious issues of Governance?” (http://thestreetjournal.org/https://thestreetjournal.org/opinion-is-president-buhari-overwhelmed-by-serious-issues-of-governance/https://thestreetjournal.org/is-president-buhari-overwhelmed-by-serious-issues-of-governance-by-chief-mike-ozekhome-san).
This piece was written and first published on July 19, 2015, only after 50 days of Buhari’s tenure! Now, read on:
“Is President Buhari overwhelmed by serious issues of governance?”
“Let me confess that I am aware of some commentators’ argument that it is too early in the day to assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s thrust and style of governance. After all, they argue that he has only spent about 50 days out of the expected 1,460 days of his four-year tenure. That may very well be so. But, a proverb in my Weppa-Wanno, Etsako language (I disagree with some irredentists who try to label my language a dialect), states that, “Oto laza le aghua noa khi ukpuwah” (It is the very day a puppy is littered that people would decipher if it would develop a curved tail). In other words, the morning tells the day.
“Although he has himself publicly confessed that he cannot be expected to perform optimally at the same pace, and with the same vigour and strength, as when he was Governor of old Borno State at the youthful age of 33 and later Head of State at 40, it would be most uncharitable, even disingenuous, to accuse him of senility, or anything near it. Far from it, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is still very agile and quick witted. After all, octogenarians (near nonagenarians), such as Chief E.K. Clark, Chief Olaniwu Ajayi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, et al, stormed the Nigerian National Conference in 2014. Their intellectual prowess, coupled with their plenary and Committee contributions to all issues, were such as to leave us, the younger generational elements, panting and gasping for breath. Indeed, 85-year-old Alhaji Ahmed Joda (one of the famous “super permanent secretaries” of the Gowonian era, step out, Chief Philip Asiodu, Chief Allison Ayida, et al; more on this later), headed PMB’s transition committee. Not a few Nigerians believed, however, that the slow pace of the committee’s work was ascribable to its gerontocratic leaning. I have no opinion here!
“The build-up of expectations”
“The campaign mantra of the APC was “Change”. It was APC’s campaign that former President Goodluck Jonathan had performed woefully, below expectations. The party tagged him clueless, lily-livered, and that he ran a very corrupt administration. Many, nay, most Nigerians, bought this heavy propaganda. Social media activists, especially, took Jonathan to the cleaners, tearing him to pieces, tarring him with the paintbrush of shame, odium and gross underperformance.
“The build-up was high. The anti-corruption mantra was held aloft like a banner of victory. The taming and extirpation of insecurity, root and branch, was orchestrated like a stuck record (remember PMB’s famous “I will lead form the front”). He was believed because he is a retired Military General and former Head of State.
“Some comparable reminiscences”
“The build-up was what was expected of Enugu Rangers vs. Mighty Jets Football Club (of Jos), or Raccah Rovers vs. NNB, Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin vs. IICC Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan football championship final encounters of the seventies and eighties. I was then in the secondary school and university. National Stadium, Lagos, Ogbe Stadium, Benin City, Liberty Stadium, Benin City, Adamansigba Stadium, Ibadan, Kano Stadium, and Jos Stadium, Jos, were a must to watch these matches. Nigeria then stood still and on tenterhooks on weekends. A pin drop could be heard in any of the stadia where these legendary clubs played. Fans and spectators figuratively stopped breathing. Ace commentators, Ernest Okonkwo, Tolu Fatoyinbo and Folorunsho Ishola blared, their names. “Chairman” Christian Chukwu, “Mathematical” Segun Odegbami, “Chief Justice” Adokie Amiesimeka”, the Atuegbu brothers, Haruna Ilerika of Stationery Stores of Lagos, Emmanuel Okala, Felix Owolabi, Mudashiru Lawal, Bright Omokaro, Friday Elaho and Joe Erico, among others, held sway. Sam Garba Okoye, Ismaila Mabo, Yakubu Mabo, Benedict Akwuegbu, Olayiwola Olagbemiro, Sam Pam, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Ogidi Ibeabuchi, Christian Madu, Jossy Lad, Amusa Adisa, Samuel Ojebode, Joe Appiah, Moses Otolorin, Kunle Awesu, Alabi Aisien, Kadiri Ikhana, Sunday Eboigbe, George Omokaro, Agboinfo, Sylvanus Oriakhi, and Henry Ogboe, reigned supreme.
“Sorry, pardon me, if I digressed too far off as this write-up is not about football. It was to show the passion with which the clubs played, and the high expectations of Nigerians. Football in those days was food. It was life. Nothing else mattered. It was the oxygen Nigerians breathed. Glued to small radio sets and the 4pm black-and-white television sets, Nigerians watched with bated animation as these clubs slugged it out. Enemies suddenly became friends. All Nigerians were united. No foe.
“That was the same way Nigerians expected PMB to hit the ground running. They expected him to be not just a magician in the mould of Professor Peller but also a miracle worker in the mould of Chris Oyakhilome, all rolled into one. The stakes were very high during the campaigns. They are higher today after his unexpected victory.
(To be continued)
Sounds and Bites
“Question: Please, what does it mean when you fry yam in the dream? So, in my dream others were boiling yam but I was frying mine. Where are the Joseph’s?
Answer: Oil is hotter than water. This year you will see shege.” – Anonymous
Thought for the week
A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, cause the expected or predicted event to occur and thus confirms its own “accuracy”.