More than the tears, sorrow and blood that it leaves in its trail, the terror of the complex narratives that surround Boko Haram has boomed more than the bombs it explodes killing hundreds of Nigerians. The complexity of knotty issues that surround the terror group demand more urgent need to untie them, far more than the actual war itself. It would seem that the moment Nigeria is able to decode the knotty and naughty narratives of Boko Haram, conquering these blood-thirsty hounds surrounding Abubakar Shekau would be a fait accompli.
The latest of those complex narratives is one spun by Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, immediate past governor of Yobe State. Gaidam, last week on the floor of the Senate, sponsored a bill which the Upper Chamber Thursday began its deliberations. It was a bill seeking to have the Federal Government establish an agency for the rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and integration of repentant Boko Haram insurgents into society.
Of all the queer narratives from the Boko Haram insurgency, the most laughable is the latest from Geidam. Already, the Nigerian military is said to have latched on to this Geidam mindset. In January, the army said that about 608 repentant Boko Haram insurgents had begun what it called De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme under its Operation Safe Corridor in Malam-Sidi, Gombe State. However, feelers from soldiers at the war front indicated that they frown at this strategy of incorporating these cold-blooded murderers, who kill them mindlessly, into normal life. But if this military tactic was tragic, Geidam’s bill is a disaster.
Ali Ndume, former Senate Majority Leader, who represents a senatorial district under the violent suzerainty of Shekau, last month, articulated the disastrous pillaging of the Boko Haram on his constituency. While government is bothered by and engrossed with the act of giving peace to the victimiser, it is less concerned by the agony and pains of the victims. Many of the Boko Haram victims who fled to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are ravaged by hunger, malnutrition, rape as well as hordes of other socio-economic vices.
When the Gaidam bill, suspected to have a high dosage of abetment by government, becomes an act, those who kill and maim our wives and offspring will expectedly draw salaries and emoluments from this agency. Sponsors of this bill most likely draw their proto-type from the Niger Delta militant rehabilitation strategy. What they probably have also forgotten is that, for this abiku child sired by these Islamists and fundamentalists, our commonwealth that runs into billions of Naira are spent on procuring armaments to prosecute this Boko Haram war and hundreds of Southern children in the army who are not privy to this perilous blood-sucking ideology, are daily wasted in the line of fire.
The question to ask Geidam and his sponsors of this Satanic bill is, what moral justification will Nigeria have to pardon hardened insurgents who have killed hundreds of our people, not to talk of deploying Nigeria’s resources to catering for them? Second, what exactly is repentance and at what point is it got? How do you know repentance when you see it and what guarantee do we have that the so-called repentant insurgents will not return to the vomit of their erstwhile terror group, with the aim of committing worse atrocities? With the shoddy and peremptory arrangements that have become posters of Nigerian government, will this rehabilitation not boomerang, siring more despicable hatred for Nigeria in the hearts of the so-called repentant insurgents?
We are aware that Boko Haram has become a multi-tier business model for many toads of war – apology to Eddy Iroh; the fat-epaulettes, big-brass military Generals and the upper echelon of government. We are aware that these people see Boko Haram as an opportunity to collect their own quota from the depthless well of Nigeria’s unearned money, but they should not insult our collective intelligence by counting, as the Yoruba will say, our six-fingered hand in our very presence.
Still on the level of the incredulity of the Gaidam bill, during the tail end of the week, the latest news filtered in, indicating President Muhammadu Buhari’s attempt to continue to flower and flourish the looting trough welded together by the late military despot, General Sani Abacha. A report by Bloomberg agency was to the effect that the United States had raised an alarm on the Buhari government. US had alleged that it was hindering its effort at recovering Abacha loots domiciled in the hands of a fellow graduate of the Abacha loot school, Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu. The US also alleged that Buhari had made up his mind to hand over $100 million of the stolen Abacha loot to Bagudu who had earlier been jailed for six months in America.
Now, apart from the fact that Abacha appointed him Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, (PTF) which was literally an alternate government at the time, no one can say for sure what twine binds Buhari and the late military despot together. Since his death in 1998, Buhari has carried his abiding friendship to this late friend of his to even absurd level. Granted that this is a measure of true friendship, it also conscripts and confers the person demonstrating posthumous friendship with an outlaw some measure of outlawry. This is the cross Buhari carries.
Even when tomes of dollars he filched from the Nigerian treasury and stashed abroad, said to approximate about $5billion, are being repatriated home in tranches, Buhari still claims that Abacha didn’t loot the Nigerian treasury.
Now, it will appear that with Buhari, the more you look, the less you see. Why will a government live such a Janus-faced life? In one breath, the Buhari government claims to be cleaning the Augean stable and in another, it defecates on that same stable. My own fear is we have been inundated with rumours of Buhari’s health challenge, thus raising rebuttable presumption that we are being administered by a surrogate in the person of the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari. The leaked memo which went viral last week from the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongono, is also an indication that this surrogacy claim may be true after all. The real question is does Buhari have the presence of mind to personally abet these incorrigible moral incongruences that have become the flag of his government?
Disgraceful soundbites from the palace
I have tried unsuccessfully not to lend a voice in the show of shame of the traditional institution in Yoruba land that is trending now, for two reasons. One is that, I am very close to many of the stakeholders of that institution. Second is that, lending a voice would be akin to washing the dirty linen of the hitherto revered institution in public. But the truth is that, obaship in Yorubaland is gradually going extinct. Today, it lacks regards, doesn’t command respect and it must shape up or be shoveled out of total reckoning.
The altercation between the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi and Agbowu of Ogbaagba, Oba Dhikrulai Akinropo is the proverbial last straw that has broken the camel’s back. It is such a disgraceful, disheartening and dispiriting act that should make every Yoruba son and daughter cover their faces in shame. But it is a small manifestation of a larger rot that has assumed epidemic proportion.
The political class should be held responsible for this rot. Since we began to have fraudsters, identity thieves and persons of no identifiable pedigree as leaders of government, it was obvious that soon, they would infect the traditional institution with their virus. And they have. We must not shy away from admitting that bastards of Yorubaland are mostly on traditional stools today. 419ers, drug addicts and peddlers, voyeurs and perverts, evil merchants who will kill their fathers and rope their mothers for the murder, occupy the apere. They sell traditional lands at random and appear in demeaning and beggarly functions that they shouldn’t be seen at. They don’t even know the history of the traditional stool they occupy and are so averse to intellect that they don’t take time to study what their forefathers did or didn’t do. They are the mentees of the political bigwigs who themselves have no identity. Recently, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, was so peeved by this descent that he announced that any oba who clubs, eats in public and subverts what was known of the obaship system in Yoruba land does not deserve the prostration of any Yoruba man.
Iwo is a great town with great sons and daughters. I remember a similar event as theirs that took place in Akure, Ondo State some years ago. Erstwhile Deji of Akure, Oba Adepoju Adesina, was alleged to have brawled in the public by beating up his wife. Akure people prevailed on government to depose him as brawling does not represent that great kingdom. Today, he is history. Iwo people are decent people. I knew that much while I was a pupil of Ajangbala DC Primary School in the early 1970s. The ball is in the court of the children of that famous river called Odo Oba.
Tope Alabi and colour of God’s dance
Traffic of comments on Tope Alabi, evangelist and gospel singer’s dancing appearance at an event said to be her mother’s burial, has become huge. Alabi is held to be a moral example to thousands who saw her solemn songs as exampling moral authority. The viral comments made me to steal a glance at the video. Dressed in a Versace track suit-like trousers and a tiny top, the gospel singer waltzed her hips in a manner of wayward girls called in boyish slang, Slay Mamas and made suggestive sexual gestures.
Commentators after commentators have crucified her as backsliding into “the world,” with many claiming that they wept profusely at this descent. Smart as those Christian Pastors who legitimize every of their earthly misdeeds by citing instances in the bible, Alabi was quoted to have claimed that she merely danced as biblical David danced.
So, how should a Christian dance? Or, put differently, what is the acceptable model of a Christian dance? Many churches have today funki-vised, fuji-vised and Apala-rised Christian dance steps. So, if these dance steps are acceptable, what is wrong in prostitute dance steps, in case we accept that what Alabi danced was a prostitute’s dance step?
The dilemma in apportioning blame on the Alabi dance steps is same dilemma encountered centuries ago when Christianity and Islam intruded into the culture of the Yoruba people. The two religions were alien to this land and have caused culture clashes. Syncretism abounds in Yorubaland as a result of these clashes. How does the African waddle through the puddle of this clash?
Alabi’s dance is a manifestation of this clash. As far as I know, while Christianity has its songs, it doesn’t have own approved dance or dance steps. When you dance African dances to Christian liturgical worship, you are bound to record the clash and the backlash that a notable evangelist dancing like a Slay Mama is faced with today.