Nigerians have turned the hopelessness of the country to a huge joke. An internet user, named Chidi Okereke@chydee tweeted: “If Pharaoh did not let the Israelites go after the 10th plague, what will God have sent next?” The answer he got was “APC” from one Agbogidi. I don’t know if our husbands in Abuja and Lagos have seen it. This is how a vast number of Nigerians perceive their party. They say it is worse than any of the Biblical plagues. In the eternal wisdom of our elders, there are two people that one does not advise.
These two sets of people don’t listen to any voice of reason or wisdom, except what their inner minds tell them. They are called “agodogbo eshi”- the large intestine of a horse – in my native Ekiti dialect. These impervious fellows die with their inner thoughts. The first of the sets is a man with ambition. The second, a twin sister, is a woman in love. Nothing can be more unprofitable than trying to talk these ones out of their convictions. Summing up the uselessness of counseling the duo, our elders find solace in the apothegm: “Agodogbo eshi ba eshi hilo; ade ba alade harin” – The large intestine of a horse dies with the horse; the character dies with the man.
Character, in our native setting, is like smoke; you can’t hide it. The pretense to decency and civility notwithstanding, an ill-mannered fellow exhibits his idiosyncrasies, eventually. The two characters depicted in the chosen headline today fall into the groups of people you don’t advise, no matter what. Incidentally, both Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and his fellow “agodogbo eshi”, Senator Oluremi Tinubu of Lagos West Senatorial District, share so many things in common. By ancestries (Ekiti and Itsekiri), they could be stubborn. In politics, they are members of the APC.
In terms of political towering, both have made their marks. They are both products of a single political godfather and forebear, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, BAT. BAT, as the husband of Senator Remi, also sired Fayemi, politically. That Fayemi and BAT are driven apart from each other now does not change the fact. Denying that BAT is the proverbial squirrel that broke Fayemi’s political palm kernel is akin to saying Judas Iscariot was never a disciple of Jesus Christ. More intriguing, Fayemi and the female Tinubu both have their eyes on Aso Rock Villa. Fayemi wants to occupy Aso Villa as the next president; Mrs. Tinubu is an expectant First Lady. She hopes, and leaving nothing to chance, that BAT will be the next president, come 2023. The duo rely on the present occupier of Aso Rock, General Muhammadu Buhari and the Northern cabal, Buhari represent, to achieve their ambitions. Therefore, they are quick to pacify Aso Rock at any given time. In doing that and remaining in the good books of Aso Rock, they know that they must be Machiavellian in approach and delivery. Like the two wise eaters of the native ‘isapa’ soup, they may be left with only the water. But they must seize every opportunity to out-manoeuvre each other. The rest of us can be the unfortunate casualties; that is very secondary to them.
The above explains what transpired in the last one week between the two subjects. Mrs. Tinubu started the Aso Rock-pleasing game on Tuesday last week, when she interrupted the submission of Senator Smart Adeyemi, Kogi West. Adeyemi had played the drama king while talking about the parlous state of the security in Nigeria. The drama did not go down well with Madam Tinubu. The Kogi Senator said that insecurity is “the worst instability we are facing. In fact, this is worse than the civil war”. The former National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), summed up the hopelessness of the nation’s security architecture alluding to how difficult it is for any Nigerian to embark on a 50-kilometre journey anywhere in the country.
He affirmed his membership of APC, but added, “but it has gotten to a point that as supporters we cannot keep quiet”. Sitting directly beside the weeping Adeyemi, Mrs Tinubu kept shifting on her seat like someone under the attack of bed bugs. When she could no longer bear it, the wife of the one called the Lion of Bourdillon interjected, rebuking Adeyemi: “Are you in PDP? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing? She used the classical allusion to remind Adeyemi of how the BAT political machinery delivered Kogi West, against the moving caterpillar of the canary, Dino Melaye. For the Tinubus and their 2023 ambition, the gory picture of bloodletting, maiming, kidnapping, crass inefficiency and the hopelessness of the present situation are too sacrilegious for a member of the APC to mention; more importantly, by a product of the BAT political clan. Only a traitor, “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, does that.
That is how the matriarch of the Tinubu clan sees things. Any condemnation of the senseless killings of other Nigerians in their hundreds, on a daily basis, must wear political colour. If the late Fuji exponent, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, were to replicate Madam Tinubu’s interjection in a song, he would have sang: “like husband, like wife”. And he would have been eternally right! For the Tinubus, any direct or implied excoriation of bad occurrences in Nigeria must wear a political uniform. BAT did the same thing when Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fashoranti, was murdered on July 12, 2019 by Fulani herders, at a village close to Ore, Ondo State. All BAT saw in the dastardly act was politics. At a ‘condolence’ visit to the old Fasoranti, a man in his 90s, BAT could not contain his anger that Olakunri’s murder was ascribed to killer herdsmen.
He hated the “stigma”. He did a census of kidnappings in Nigeria and pointed at “how it started, where it all started, there are a lot of copycats”. He demanded to know how long the nation had “faced insecurity in this country and cases of kidnapping”. He asked: “Is Evans a herdsman who was arrested? At the risk of being political, he queried: “Where are the cows”? His ambition made him forget that Baba Fasoranti was still mourning. Another “where are the cows?” played out last Tuesday on the floor of the senate. “Iru iro ni iborun” (the wrapper and the scarf are the same), our elders say. For the Tinubus, anything that stands on the way to Aso Rock is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. That is what ambition does. It blinds its carrier to the naked reality.
So much for Mrs. Tinubu and her allegory. We return to Fayemi. He, last Saturday, appeared on the 2021 edition of “The Platform”, organised annually by Poju Oyemade, Senior Pastor, Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos. He said two things during the session that caught my attention. One, he submitted, with magisterial finality, that the security situation in Nigeria today, is far more genial than it was in 2015 when Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was president. He told us to be grateful that APC is in power. Otherwise, criminals would have overrun Nigeria. Fayemi holds a doctorate degree in War Strategy. He cannot be said to be ignorant of what a war situation is. I will not interrogate his sense of knowledge or ability to appraise a real bad situation, one that is worse than war time. But I find his comparison of the security situation during GEJ’s administration and what is obtainable now, very unfortunate and execrable. Fayemi has his eyes on Aso Rock come 2023. But that should not make it impossible for him to see what the blind can see clearly. In the 2015 era he alluded to, Nigerians from South-West, South-East and South-South, watched from the sidelines, the killing fields Boko Haram, bandits and other insurgents, made of the North-West, North-East and to a greater extent, the North-Central zones.
The situation is not the same today. Months ago, Fayemi had one of his commissioners kidnapped, close to Ishan-Ekiti, Fayemi’s hometown. Just two weeks ago, the traditional ruler of Ilemeso Ekiti was kidnapped in his palace. Ilemeso-Ekiti is just about a five-minute drive to Ishan-Ekiti. About a month ago, Fayemi was in my Isaba-Ekiti neighbourhood on a condolence visit to the families of farmers killed by herdsmen. That did not happen in Ekiti in 2015. Fayemi couldn’t have suddenly forgotten that in 2015, before his APC took over, one could travel from Ibadan to Ado-Ekiti, through Otun-Ekiti to Ilejemeje, Omu Aran and finally to Ilorin and back to Ibadan through the same routes without apprehension or anxiety. No one engages in such indulgencies nowadays. If indeed 2021 is safer and better than 2015, I challenge Fayemi and his colleagues in the South-West states of Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo, to take a leisure trip on the route above without security.
The headlines will be too screaming! His second take during the programme is his metaphor of “glass ceiling” in Canada, as against Nigeria, where he posited that “there is no glass ceiling”. He said that while trying to dissuade Nigerian youth from seeking greener pastures elsewhere. Fayemi admitted, though, that there are enough frustrations in Nigeria “to make you want to give up and pick that visa and go to Canada”. Just like our elders say: “if farming is an easy task, blacksmiths will not sell hoes and cutlasses”. In the 80s and early 90s, when Nigeria was good, Fayemi, ‘Andrewed’ himself to the United States of America. There was a “glass ceiling” there, but he smashed it and obtained a Ph.D.
Now, he is persuading the youth to “let’s all work towards making it (Nigeria) a better place.” Good enough. Children learn by imitation. The youth too want to go to Canada, “a popular destination” and also smash the “glass ceiling” and then come back. Interestingly, Fayemi came back from the “glass ceiling” America to inherit what those who faced the killer squad of the dark-goggled General Sani Abacha, laboured for in the days of NADECO. That is another “war strategy”, anyway. It is called “mo’ja, mosa” (he who fights and runs away…). Fayemi’s counsel, like Tinubu’s allegory, are not just self-serving but equate the tactics of Aso Rock-pleasing actors who desire to satiate those they erroneously believe will deliver 2023 to them. It is the “I am loyal” syndrome. Like Tinubu, like Fayemi; but we all wait and watch to see how the macabre dance for the soul of Nigeria in 2023 will not end the same way the medieval allegorical concept terminated.
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