The caption for this piece was originally meant to be “Strange Things In A Strange Country” but at the last minute I changed my mind and settled for the above. I decided otherwise because I believed Fayose’s presidential ambition (as laughable as it seems) and Senator Melaye’s recall conundrum presented more appeal and suitability. Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state and Senator Dino Melaye are two (executive and legislative) reprobates this democracy has thrown up. Standing up to them, exposing their folly and refusing to buy their nauseating political brand remains a duty we owe to our embattled country in defense of her troubled democracy.
Nigeria is a strange country populated by strange fellows. Having lived in a couple of countries outside the shores of ‘Naija’ for over a decade I feel ashamed to say that whenever I had cause to visit home the issues of security and dearth of infrastructures always occupied one’s thoughts. Questions like: how can one navigate the big modern jungle without compromising both his safety and health? How can one cope with the generalised lack of power supply and the consequent noise of generators in and around the neighbourhood? Some people risibly call the ownership of the power machine “I better pass my neighbour”. And others simply label it NEPA (Now Expect Power Always). Nigeria boasts of a burgeoning ‘generator generation’! How can one bathe with some untreated water and not lose his natural pigmentation? How can one drive around cities, towns and villages dotted with pot-holed ill-maintained dirty roads and streets? Posers and more posers dominated your thoughts all day long, long before you fly in.
I must confess that ever since President Buhari took over the mantle of leadership two years ago I have not been to Nigeria. But some compatriots who had gone and back were telling us of how things were improving. But they equally reported that some perfidious politicians were still confusing gullible Nigerians telling them that there was difference between six and half-a-dozen, score and twenty. Nigeria is bound to make more progress if corruption is fought with more vigour and more jobs created for the army of angry, hungry and jobless youths. Besides, the time for restructuring of our federal system of government is now.
Strange things do happen in Nigeria every now and then. Strange things like the acquittal of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for his proven false declaration of assets by the Code of Conduct Tribunal headed by one Danladi Umar. However, we have been informed of how Saraki had ‘bribed’ his way out with a whooping 2 million Dollars! Saraki is a very smart crook who knows how to get things done or crooked up in his selfish interest. He seems to have learnt a lot from his late father ‘Oloye’ who was a political strategist in his lifetime. We strongly condemn the pro-Saraki verdict reached by the learned men of CCT. And now that the federal government, dissatisfied with the shocking ruling, had filed an appeal we hope that the injustice delivered by the CCT would be corrected soonest.
Strange things like the ‘removal’ or replacement of the Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) from the secondary school curriculum by the Ministry of Education with Islamic or French language studies. Recently Apostle Johnson Suleman of the Omega Fire Ministry had issued a statement condemning the development and declaring that it was a sure way of islamizing Nigeria! Though the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had taken up the matter by engaging the Acting President Osinbajo in their recent visit to the Villa it must be made clear that Nigeria remains a secular state. And therefore any attempt (overt or couvert) to foist Islam on her must be resisted by every means possible. Osinbajo must act now before it is too late.
But beyond the CRK suppression from the curriculum it is baffling that a struggling nation besetted and buffeted with myriad of problems could have time for trivialities like tinkering with a religious study in school rather than doing something radical to improve the quality of education in our schools. There are cases of youth violence, unemployment and delinquency waiting to be tackled. Besides, it is our considered view that religion will take us nowhere! Some ‘godless’ societies like China and Japan are recording extra-ordinary progress but we are content with moving backwards with imams, pastors and prayer warriors everywhere!
Strange things like Musliu Obanikoro, former fugitive PDP Minister under GEJ, ‘romancing’ with Asiwaju Tinubu and planning to dump the embattled PDP for the APC ruling party (that is if he had not surreptitiously done so yet as rumours suggested). Today those being chased by the EFCC for looting are finding it very convenient to decamp in order to save their heads but the war on corruption must go on without fear or favour. Obanikoro (or Onikoro) has taken a political shellacking lately so he is desperately pursuing rehabilitation which he knows only Asiwaju can offer. But let Tinubu be careful of such turncoats, such vandals.
Strange things like the recent arrest and parading of the notorious kidnapping kingpin Chukwudubem Onwuamadike alias Evans in Lagos. Before the police cornered him after a gun duel in his Magodo residence Evans had made stupendous wealth through organized armed robbery, drug running and abduction for ransom for years living happily in Lagos without detectives fishing him out. The Nigerian law enforcement agencies need to be more pro-active in intelligence gathering. Bragging about his capture or making noise about same on the television and newspapers is an advertisement of our policing backwardness. Evans was caught but there are other smaller ‘Evans’ out there still kidnapping and evading arrest. So, there is nothing to ‘celebrate’ here please!
Strange things like Lekan Fatodu hiring a small crowd of ‘area boys’ and staging a loud obscene demonstration in front of the premises of Saharareporters’ Civic Media Lab in Lagos last weekend. Fatodu was the same fellow that physically attacked the Publisher of SR, Omoyele Sowore, earlier this year on the streets of Ikeja, Lagos. I had labelled him an ‘assassin’ then in an article. He was ranting and blabbing about what he and the thugs he brought along tagged “Fake News” reports of Saharareporters. When I watched the video clip online I concluded that Fatodu had an axe to grind with Sowore. Yet his rabble-rousing would never have any effect on Sowore or Saharareporters. SR has grown beyond Sowore as it were. The website has attracted wide readership and following. It is a leading online platform where Nigerians and other Africans at home and abroad meet in a beautiful cross-fertilisation of ideas.
Given its whistle-blowing nature it is beyond censure or censorship. And no government agency or individual can control its content or editorial policy. Therefore, Fatodu and his army of urchins must be told clearly that their “fake news” campaign was dead on arrival. He only succeeded in ridiculing and embarrassing himself on camera.
Strange things like the rogue Senator representing Kogi West constituency in Kogi state, Dino Melaye, writing a book on corruption and publicly presenting same. Dino, the “thug” and “dog” was reported not too long ago to have escaped assassination in his Lokoja home. Before then he and his state governor had been at loggerheads, trading accusations and insults over affairs in the state. The Governor, Yahaya Bello, had called Dino unprintable names and Dino in turn had accused the Governor of double voter-card registration and maladministration. He even accused Bello of being behind the failed attempt on his useless life and the on-going attempt by his constituency to recall him from the Senate. Indeed it is very obvious that Melaye deserves recalling given numerous scandals and criminal activities trailing him all along.
Dino wants to be Governor of his poor state but Kogi cannot afford to have a character like him at the helm of affairs. Melaye must have written the 600-page book entitled: “Antidotes for Corruption: The Nigerian Story” to register his presence on the national scene as an established author! One literally capable, in his infantile mind, of replicating the monumental feat of Prof. Wole Soyinka as the only African Nobel laureate. However, if he wants really to be another ‘Kongi’ then he must go back to school (preferably Toronto University where ex-Speaker Salisu Buhari ‘graduated’ from) where he would study creative writing and thereafter go for a PHD. Dino’s legislative rascality has gone on for too long; that is why one is delighted that something is being done in his constituency to sanction him and take him home.
With many scandals and fraudulent activities as his achievements in the upper legislative chamber and the recall mission in high gear Melaye cannot pretend any longer that all is well in his daily tweets. Breaking news has it that he has instituted a suit to block the move for his recall. He may well ‘buy’ a Judge soon to issue a perpetual injunction preventing anyone from ever recalling him! He has a staggering resources to recruit a Judge who would do his bidding. We are living in a strange country of strange happenings.
His foray into authorship has given us an insight into his literary weakness and limited intelligence. The book itself is for crooks like him. That was why the people that attended the book presentation could best be described as “a gathering of disgusting reprobates”. As Prof Soyinka told Sowore recently during his visit to the Civic Media Lab: “I hope the media when they do their launch, will not be like the launching with which the nation was treated recently in Abuja. I think this nation — you and I — have been slapped in the face by some of the disgusting reprobates that we know in any level of connection with power.”
Strange things like Fayose days ago holding a street rally in the state capital on the third year anniversary of his ‘victory’ in the June 21, 2014 governorship election. We all know how Fayose, Jonathan and co rigged the guber poll that produced him as Governor yet Ayo cannot keep quiet. But stranger than that was the Governor declaring that “God” had revealed to him that he would be Nigeria’s President post-Buhari in 2019! The truth is that Fayose was talking balderdash. If he could be President then Abubakar Shekau can equally lay claim to the presidency! Fayose never ceases to amaze sane minds. Someone who still has some outstanding cases of murder, corruption and electoral brigandage hanging on his head could be so bold to re-define hubris by masturbating presidentially? But for him to aspire to the highest office in the land is in itself a study in hubris. His metamorphosis from a danfo driver to the government house in Ado Ekiti is already a ‘landmark’ accomplishment only a political reprobate could pull off!
Yet, Nigeria being Nigeria (where nothing is impossible) Ayo ‘stomarch infrastructure’ Fayose may well get away with his audacity of impunity.