Kongi and the madmen

THIS must be a distressful season for Professor Wole Soyinka as Nigeria journeys through its peculiar season of Kongi and the madmen. The Prof has spent almost a lifetime teaching in the classroom as well as national and international fora to know well enough that some people are uneducable.

I am still deciphering the “leap of faith” that came upon him last week that he granted an interview to the BBC talking about the herdsmen war at our doorstep and dictating to President Buhari the words that should be flowing from his presidency at a moment like this.

Three days after he spoke, Mr Femi Adesina in a direct response to Gov Ortom who said Gen Buhari should stop portraying himself as Fulani President jabbed that prescient Buhari would become talkative if he had to be speaking on herdsmen who are not relenting in their nefarious activities every now and then .The herdsmen were back on an attack at Soyinka’s Abeokuta residence to practically show the war is at his doorstep.

But in a very bizarre twist of fate some Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina sprang up around Prof and started making excuses for the madmen we call herdsmen who were not invading the home of our celebrated icon for the first time.

Of all the reports that I read, there was none that said the Professor was physically attacked but to throw cows into his compound is the ultimate attack on o Nobel Laureate . The backhand service for cow imperialism which Prof. has been our General against is not lost on us .They gave the impression that there was no attack since Prof. was not hacked like Olufon or any of the other celebrated victims of Fulani warfare around us .

I even read a portion of a statement saying the house is unfenced and that was when I had to reach out to ask the author if that makes the private residence of WS a grazing field for the Fulani.

Justice Adewale Thompson in a landmark judgement as far back as 1969 already settled the matter that there is no law that compels a farmer to fence his farm against herdsmen not to talk of a private individual fencing his home. Justice Thompson emphatically declared: “I do not accept the contention of Defendants that a custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of farm to fence his farm whilst the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage. Such a custom, if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and therefore unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to in his cattle. Sequence to that I banned open grazing for it is inimical to peace and tranquility and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.”

Professor Soyinka has cleared the air on his speech in the order of the man of truth that he is and he remains a star for that matter. The statement reads:

“The most distressful aspect of my recent interaction with cows and herders is that it has created a most unwanted distraction from the ongoing life and death Nigerian narrative.

“One has to take time off to deal with distortions and Fake versions, while students are being reportedly waylaid and killed and/or kidnapped in Ondo and farmers are being slaughtered in my own state.

“In short, the killings continue even as panels are being launched to enquire into immediate past human violations. For those who truly seek details of the Ijegba incident, I hereby affirm that I was never physically attacked, neither did I attack any cows.

“The cows and herders did however attack my property – and not for the first time.”

The motive of the attack on Prof.’s house is not hidden to the wise: to cow the uncowable.

I have had a belly laugh with the almost silly way the police has been celebrating the fact that the cows the Fulani used to invade Prof house belongs to a Yoruba man .It takes mad herders to take cows to that place. Only a mad Yoruba can drive cows to invade our Kongi’s house or be doing open grazing in modern world. We have never said there are no Yoruba who raise cows.


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