Lexicographers have their ways with terminologies. What, for instance, is the relationship between a wake of vultures and a wake in fluid dynamics? Whereas a wake of vultures refers to a group of vultures that are feeding, wake in fluid dynamics is, according to Wikipedia, either the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary blunt body, caused by viscosity, which may be accompanied by flow separation and turbulence, or the wave pattern on the water surface downstream of an object in a flow, or produced by a moving object (e.g. a ship), caused by pressure differences of the fluids above and below the free surface and gravity (or surface tension), or both. If this is not confusing enough, try to relate a kettle of vultures to the traditional kettle you aknow. Whereas a kettle of vultures refers to vultures in flight, a kettle, sometimes called a tea kettle or teakettle, is, according to Wikipedia, a type of pot, typically metal, specialized for boiling water, with a lid, spout and handle, or a small kitchen appliance of similar shape that functions in a self-contained manner. Kettles can be heated either by being placed on a stove or by their own internal electric heating element in the appliance versions. A committee of vultures, which refers to vultures resting in trees, do not also seem to have a direct relationship with the committee that you know.
While I wouldn’t want to kill valuable time or burn precious energy trying to understand or analyze the minds of lexicographers, I’d like to ask for a vote on which of the three types of vultures mentioned above we should dedicate this space to. The feeding vultures may not make much of a story. We know that when vultures find food, usually dead animals, they strike the eyes first and thereafter disembowel the animal. After feeding on the intestine, they proceed with the rest of the meaty body. What is, however, spectacular about this group of vultures is their immunity. Dead and decomposing animals may be host to all manner of diseases but the wake of vultures have something to teach medical and research scientists. There are even myths and legends that say that wake of vultures was considered to be the first group of environmentalists. They are said to be the very first to undertake the unenviable task of cleaning communities. Since communities did not have ways of disposing of dead bodies and faeces, they depended on wakes of vultures to do that for them. It is, therefore, good and convenient to say wakes of vultures have historic values and also provide a challenge to animal scientists concerning their immunity.
Does a committee of vultures have anything to teach us? I would say that they are harbingers of peace and prosperity. Resting vultures signify life. When all is well in a community, or when a community is not afflicted by death, vultures retire to communities. They rest and perhaps pray for the worse to happen because their life depends on the dead.
The kettle of vultures, on the other hand, is a harbinger of death. A kettle of vultures hovers around calamities and the dead. They jubilate and thank God for answered prayers when others are visited by the cold hand of death. They roam around looking for dead bodies and not for healthy and living beings. This is why they are linked or related to witchcraft, and, in some cultures, with evil.
In today’s Nigeria, we are inundated with the incessant noise of the political kettle of vultures. This group of vultures could be seen hovering around Aso Rock, wishing Mr. President dead.
Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari is sick and has had to scale down his official functions. But does that justify this kettle of vultures to beat the drums of celebration? No! It is unAfrican and entirely indecent for greediots to gloat over the health challenges of a fellow human being not to talk of the President whom God has bestowed the responsibility of piloting the affairs of this country. What is expected of any decent human being is to feel empathy for Mr President, and pray for him. Yes, he may not survive his sickness, as even headaches are known to have taken the lives of multitudes of people across the continents; but there is that chance that the God who created him and bestowed him with the duty of presiding over the affairs of this country may have a surprise for him and the millions of Nigerians who voted for — and/or love — him.
Dead or alive, President Buhari has acted his role as a patriotic, courageous and principled Nigerian and President. He has made the point that corruption does not pay and that someday, somehow, the corrupt shall face the wrath of the law. With or without President Buhari, corruption can no longer hold sway the way it held sway under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The horizon of the average Nigerian’s understanding of the extent of the destructive nature of corruption is expanding by the day. Many now know that corruption is way beyond bribery and that it goes as far as a greedy few cornering the resources of the state. Nigerians now know why electricity and all other infrastructure necessary for development and growth are in such a wretched state.
While the political kettle of vultures is wishing the President dead, may I join all well-meaning Nigerians in praying for his quick recovery. May I also use this opportunity to pray for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in the onerous task of holding forth for Mr President in these trying times.