Ibadan: A Coliseum of Warlords

Emotional politics may soon turn Ibadan into a huge human abattoir where political enemies will be slaughtered like cows. Ibadan is in a dilemma. The peace has expired. The nightmare has returned. Wetie, the old, discredited thuggish orthodoxy of earlier generation is returning like a vengeful General to unleash the final pogrom. Post wetie, Ibadan silent pledge had been for peace and harmony of its people. To embrace such peaceful philosophy, Ibadan pretends to have forgotten its violent past. A kind of fortified barricade on its historical and political memory. The history of Ibadan is checkered by violence and violent Ibadan politicians have been claiming what belongs to them with violence. Ibadan has to re-interpret itself differently. The handwriting is writ large on the mountain height of Oke Ibadan that this ancient city of valorous Anakite giants is facing tsunamical internal implosion of the penkelemesi showdown.

Contenders from the bustling citadel of Aleshinloye to the tempestuous distemper of Yemetu are digging trenches that may soon receive fallen foot soldiers of greedy and selfish politicians. Words, embellished with warring denunciations and threat of mayhem spew out almost daily like fire out of the mouth of Chinese dragon. Newspaper circulation, especially the salacious ones that pass soundbite for common sense soar and reporters with the best scoop of inanities from Ibadan receive their editor’s humble gratification. Bloodletting, grandstanding muscular threat and vengeful promises invade and colonise the front pages of our newspapers as Ibadan, in a recalcitrant mood, advances menacingly toward the polling day.

Juju, guns, machetes and knives have become essential tool of political warfare for the 2011 elections. Babalawo, false prophets and ‘afa gbajue’ are all smiling to the banks. New anti-heroes of our political ferment are storming spiritual hideouts in droves and leaving behind boxes of naira as part exchange for ‘babalawo’ protective charms, the prophet’s victory psalms and the ‘alfa’s success ‘huntus’. Blood money is being used to build a warring coliseum where political gladiators will soon slug it out in a chilling frenzy of evil bestiality of bloodfest. Rambo’s celluloid make believe will become real. Hollywoodized fantasy will soon morph into grim, bloody reality in Ibadan.

The skyline across Ibadan is thick with evil foreboding. The city is in a state of statist gridlock. Beelzebub has arrived in town. He has sent out his blood sucking demonic agents. They will soon take more Eleweomos to the abattoir as I chillingly warned in the opening lines. The House of Alao Akala is tottering towards obliteration. The yoke of Oyo in the days of yore is returning back to pole position. Since yoke and burden are biblically twinned, we should then expect the burden of political irrationality to fall down hard on the innocent people of Ibadan. Call us waiting collateral and you are there! The burden will not fall down and die, to paraphrase MFM’s warfare mantra, but will be too heavy to bear by the good people of Ibadan. Politics has not come home to Ibadan. It has retreated. The bastardised version is on the prowl. Bastardised political orthodoxy encourages the creation of thuggish garrison. An Ibadan politician who is worth the name and desires to see more days on mother earth, could not, I repeat, could not afford not to have his own axe-wielding thuggish garrison. Manifestoes no longer deliver electoral victory but muscular, grenade lobbing, axe-wielding and ‘orifokasibe’ political game is the deal. In bastardised political re-engineering, opponents are nothing but elemental enemies to be eliminated.

Shameless politicians in a shameless show of shame deliberately advertise their war arsenal to cow cowards into surrender or intimidate stubborn foes whose arsenal of political warfare is equally fearsome. Governor Christopher Alao Akala is in a messy political quandary. So many irreconcilable odds have darkened Ibadan political landscape. There had been withering criticisms and relentless railings against Akala’s immoral acceptance of ‘Alatika’ lifestyle and his stinking corruption. Ibadan elite are firing from all cylinders and Akala, in their reckoning, is a fair game for a wild turkey shoot. Oyo State is currently hostage to Ibadan power cabal that is fighting hard to sustain a questionable jinx that requires a governor to spend a quadrennial term and vacate Agodi, the seat of power. Arrogant Ibadan elite would not allow any governor to have a second term. This is the nexus of Ibadan political quandary. However, what gives synergy to the ambition of both the overdriven Ibadan mafia and even the Ogbomosho mafia is the same prebendalist mentality of the do-or-die ideology of the old war horse, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Ibadan has slipped into the hand of reactionary forces. And these tyrants have taken Ibadan to a crossroad of violent conjuncture that may swallow Ibarapa, Oke Ogun, Oyo Alafin and Ogbomosho in its bleeding gullet. Unrepentantly, Ibadan indigenes still mourn with curious nostalgia the inner valour and natural rascality of Chief Lamidi Adedibu. But, the fire, this time, if it ever burns in Ibadan, will peel away Adedibu’s violent legacy like a Gentile’s foreskin in a Jewish sauna bath. President Goodluck Jonathan must not remain stone cold or too paralysed to confront Ibadan with courageous intervention. Warring brothers and sisters must exchange roses of peace and not guns. Talk of guns and roses….. Prominent sons and daughters of Oyo State like Are Arisekola, Lekan Balogun, Yekini Adeojo, Wale Oyelese, Chief Yusuf Akande, Chief Lere Adigun, Alhaji Teslim Aderibigbe Gandhi, Chief Areoye Oyebola, Dr Oluremi Atanda, Chief Lekan Balogun, Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, Rashidi Ladoja, Chief Victor Olunloyo, Kolapo Ishola, Dejo Afolabi, Dejo Raimi, Kola Gbadamosi, Bayo Alugbin, Raimi Omoowo, Teslim Folarin, Abiodun Ladega, Ronke Usman, Chief Femi Lanlehin, Lam Adeshina should seize their finest interventionist moment and steer Ibadan away from an unpleasant cesspit of violent anarchy or Ibadan, my Ibadan, may be governed with helicopter gunships and brutal military occupation someday soon.

Written by
Taju Tijani
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