Independence Speech: The Oracle Speaks Not

by Banjo Odutola

“Did you hear the president’s independence speech?”


“I heard his preaching and political party broadcast and Lecture on Advanced Principles of Government and Economics and big, big Cantabulary Oyinbo and…

“Then you heard more than I did.”

“As for me, the man was just talk talk.”


“What do you mean by talk talk?”

“Every year, he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“He travels abroad all the time and he has never given a financial account of how much each trip cost Nigeria”

“I see”

“What has his travelling got to do with the light at the end of the tunnel?”

“Tunnel dey Nigeria?”

“When he says he sees light at the end of the tunnel, I see OPC, Arewa, Afenifere, Bakassi Boys and Ohaneze.”

“May be they are the once carrying the light.”

“You self, you talk like Obasanjo.”

“Are you an Obasanjo man?”

“I am a Nigerian; not from the North or East or West or South-South. Just a Nigerian.”

“If you do not see the Obsanjo light at the end of the tunnel, what do you see?” “I see fire”

“What is the difference?”

“Light; Fire”

“Light brings Hope”

“Hope wetin”

“I hope you are not buying into that Hope that littered the Independence Day speech”

“I buy nothing that that I cannot sell. I am an Igbo trader.”

“You are looking for trouble from Igbo people.”


“They are all my friends.”

“I shall tell you where all that hope nonsense comes from.”

“Do you know that Bill Clinton was in Abuja just before Independence Day?”


“He started all this Hope nonsense.”

“Do you remember his speech at Arkansas?

“Do you know he comes from Hope, Arkansas?

“You not calling the president, a copy cat.”

“I call him Baba Iyabo.”

“I mean, you are not saying that Clinton asked him to sell hope in his Independence Day Speech to Nigerians.”

“I am not saying that.”

“So, what are you saying?”

“I am saying the speech has many signatures to it.”


“You are not saying the Speech is like a contract?”


“You have to read the speech and you would find the handwriting of an academician. It is probable that the president wrote the speech with the assistance of one or two of those Nigerian ITK advisers from American Universities. Those JJC, who believe Abuja is a part of the USA. Their sentences end with “men”, “you git me” and all the gutter language from America. There are many of them at Aso Rock. Honest. Mind you, their theories are good and Obasanjo should know these advisers are theoreticians. But someone said the president listens to no one. I do not believe it.”

“You tell me, what does oriented to developmental democracy at three levels mean?”

“It is yeye talk to Mama Alamala and the Maala that sells Suya at Shagamu.”

“I asked my friend’s mother to tell me about developmental democracy and she asked if it is cheaper than Gari or would it reduce the price of Rice at Tejuosho Market?”

“Me sef, I wonder.”

“I told her that this is Obasanjo 2003.”

“She asked if he was asking his overseas friends to bring “developmental democracy” to Nigeria, so that prices would come down at Kaduna Market.”

“…well, what can I say?”

“Oh boy, I have not finished.”

“Please leave Obasanjo alone.”

“Just before I leave him alone, what nonsense talk is “Super Structural Level?”

“May be the man is saying the price of Super Petrol is coming down.”

“Oh boy, it is another warped and diarrheic nonsense.”

“Why are you so upset?”

“Me? Upset?”

“I dey Kampe.”

“You too, you are a copycat.”

“Who am I imitating?”

“Baba now?”

“Which Baba?”

“President Obasanjo.”

“Oh boy, Obasanjo is no longer Kampe o.”


“If he could use the Independence Day Speech to talk about his impeachment, it appears katakata don begin to happen for Abuja.”

“You tell me, what has the impeachment of the Obasanjo got to do with the sacrifices of those that suffered to gain independence for this country.”

“Absolutely Nothing.”

“Now you see my point.”

“The talk of impeachment of Obasanjo has nothing to do with our collective aspiration as a nation.”

“What nonsense are you talking about?”

“Is Obasanjo not the only Nigerian in this country?”

“Yes ke.”

“No. He is only a Citizen.”

“The reference to his impeachment is nothing but a presidential blackmail.”


“He knows the proper place to plead his impeachment case. Let him use that avenue.”

“He is also advocating the communication arrangement for his Presidential Liason Officers (PLO).”

“Who cares about his PLOs? They can go to hell.”

“Hell ke?”

“Hell. Why does that trouble you?”

“The president asked a questioner at his so called Atlanta Dialogue to go to hell. So, his PLOs can go and meet the man there.”

“Baba, also touched on PDP.”

“No. He did not”

“Yes. He did.”

“In an Independence day Speech?”

“Who cares about PDP?”

“Obasanjo does.”


“Are we a one party nation?”

“The president thinks so. You see the man is becoming the bane of this nation”

“You have to admit that there is a good point in that speech. At least he talked about Children.”

“I like that his Children Summit”

“May be he is going to copy Bola Tinubu”

“What has Tinubu done wrong? Please do not bring Tinubu into this. The man is an action man.”

“Obasanjo too may voluntarily suspend his office for the sake of infantile propaganda. Oh boy, why bring these innocent kids to Abuja, for nothing short of a waste of national resources.”

“If Obsanjo wants to hear the concerns of Children, let him try those children who have to sell wares by the street side at the peril of their lives and for the sustenance of their families.”

“He can also try those kids that are hired out by their parents; the kids that are denied education; the ones dying because their parents cannot afford health care; the kids with no access to 3 daily meals in the present day Nigeria.”

“What do you have to say about the way he has blocked the sinecure for those “you chop, I chop” sycophants and contractors.”

“Look, my friend I do not believe the man.”

“He is attempting to appeal to the lowest denominator in all of us.”

“You tell me, are there no new Sycophants and Contractors enriched by this administration. It is all about musical chairs.”

“Be careful, you may be libellous”

“I am only implying that if the claim of the president were true, Transparency International would rate the country better.”

“That is a good point”

“If you want to stir Nigerians, make a general statement about people chopping money and leaders stealing money from government and you will see them all in a frenzy. They refer to all “those thieves” but no one volunteers names and evidence.”

“What about Abacha, IBB, Gwarzo…etc?”

“There is no news in those names.”

“Are you saying those three people are the ones the president is talking about?”

“You are crazy”


“Why am I crazy?”

“Obasanjo said “there is no evidence that my friend Ibrahim stole any money. So, please leave IBB out of this.”

“Are you an IBB boy”

“God Forbid”

“I catch una”


“Why bring God into this discussion?”

“Go and count how many times the president invoked the name of God in his speech. It is nothing short of blasphemy.”

“May be he thought he was teaching at Sunday School.”

“On national television?”

“Nothing is beyond Obasanjo.”

“OK, I agree to disagree with you.”

“That is the new presidential slang.”

“See fancy.”

“In all of these, what has the oracle got to do with it?”

I shall tell you. This is not the time to preach hope. We are all agreed that we have the framework in law, abundant natural resources and manpower. From this standpoint, we have nothing to do with hope. Leave hope alone and out of the business of Nigeria. Instead of preaching hope, let us wish for a revolution that will spill the blood of every public servant that patently lives beyond the remuneration of past and current office and the blood of those contractors that have taken money without delivery of their contracts should not be spared. If you are worried that we should not spill the blood of those that have brought Nigeria to the abyss, look to Ghana to find the precedent. We are not at a stage where our country needs the input of a Martian or a Celestial being for greatness. We have all that we need. We have invested in bad leaders and we still do. Therefore, there is little wonder that we are still hoping when we ought to be acting.

We are handicapped by quota system. Did you hear the Governor of Nasarawa complain that apart from Sule Lamido, there is no other citizen from his state that has benefited from “plump” appointments? This is an example of what destroys this nation. The Governor should be concerned about providing an enabling educational environment that produced the likes of Dr. Jubril Aminu and he should allow the natural progression of such foresight to take its natural course. He should not concentrate on the skewed system that produced Lamido as a Minister. The children of Nasarawa are capable of championing our national aspiration to a much height than the appointment of Lamido. If this Governor cannot dream of such greatness, do we wonder what our leaders are made of?

Hope is not needed now. Why hope, when what you are hoping for is here. Hope feeds no one. The people are hungry. The people are afraid of their own shadows. Our people believe they are not safe from armed robbers or miscreants who peddle chaos and destruction in the name of a myopic and patriotic nationalism. As Nigerians, we fear for the future of our children, we fear for the lives of our old people. We postpone procreation because we fear for the children unborn. For our people the light at the end of the tunnel which hope sees, leaves too much destruction in its trail. How can we hope when we distrust of each other? Please let President Clinton take his hope back to America.

We need no hope. We need competent and selfless leaders. In this country, we need action to deal ruthlessly with breaches of fiduciary. We do not need the criminal conviction of a nonentity chairman of an obscure local authority as banner for probity. We need action and we need it now. If Obasanjo wants to remain at Aso Rock to dream and hope, may be he should step aside and allow someone else to take the rein of government.

Mr. President, I wish you what you wish yourself and I wish my fellow Nigerians, a new and an active spirit for an action and deafness to all of the nonsense talk about hope. If a man has no ability to earn, he can hope that after gaining skills, he may earn a living. In our country, we have all that we need to make this a great nation. There is no need to hope. This is the time to act.

If we must hope, then this president is saying nothing new. It is coquetry. This Oracle is just taking us for a ride. Did you hear his asseveration that “Democracy as a way of life in Nigeria is not the exclusive property of leadership class. Rather, it is the property of the people. They chose it. They have died for it in the past, and they will die for it in the future if the need arises.” Baba Iyabo, you must be kidding. We want to chop life to the fullest. As Nigerians, we want to fly all over the world like you. Whilst thinking life; qua Star Larger, Guinness, Zebo, Harp, Guilder, Suya…..etc, this president is talking death. Mr. President, if this death business is a joke, please stop it at once.

Did you hear the president talk about a national cake? It is in the same speech that he is also dispensing a hope that we die for a democracy that has produced a famine in its dividends. If Obasanjo wants to die, good luck to him. As for the rest of us, we desire “…The only favour that leaders have that they can give to their people is honest, sincere, selfless, diligent and patriotic service.” I agree.

In closing, I implore the president to restrict his preaching to Aso Rock Chapel, his PDP administration to Chief Ogbeh and his hope to Otta, where he should return to count his chickens.

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