Osinbajo Foot Soldiers: Rise of Hungry Authors and Pseudo-Intellectuals

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

I have found myself at the centre of an awful scenario, and recipient of unnecessary public interest from certain hungry authors and pseudo-intellectuals. My name is being bandied around by an army of pseudo-intellectuals, aka ‘25 Independent Authors’, as a paid-to-write journalist over the expression of my opinion on the shoddy performance of former Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.  In my article, I said that I am not among those Nigerians taken by the veneer of innovativeness Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, seeks to effect in the public space. Part of the imagery that I had hoped to convey from the title of that article was that there was no way a man who was very much a part and parcel of the eight years of blood, banditry, poverty and hardship could honestly want to portray himself as a saint, no way. In that article, I said that it appears that the Prof seems to be going to great lengths to distance himself from the fiasco of the Buhari regime, reminding me of the antics of Chicidodo, the bird in Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.  In Armah’s book, Chicidodo loves lovely maggots, but would make faces when it would pick them from the shit to eat.

Just after the publication of that article in The Guardian and Daily Independent newspapers, I began to receive several curious calls. I would not elaborate on the identities of the callers. From 1990 when I began to get my articles published in newspapers, my editors often told me that if my articles didn’t elicit any response, then I had probably failed in my enterprise. Therefore, having been a journalist for nearly 30 years, there is about no name I have not been called, that is until now that so-called representatives of ‘25 independent authors’ accuse me of being a pen for hire.

But just yesterday, Google indicated that my name had been mentioned online in some publications. And by Jove, the mentions were about that article with the imagery of Buhari blood running right through Prof Osinbajo’s agbada. The writers who I will not dignify by mentioning called me all kinds of names. What I suspect, at least from the tone and tenor of these publications is that oga Mr. former vice president may have read my piece, it having been brought to his attention. And then he probably has unleashed a bunch of very hungry authors at me. I say ‘hungry’ authors deliberately: how on earth would as much as ‘25 independent authors’ come together to write a book about the one man who was a part and parcel of the horror of the eight years that Nigeria witnessed, that is, if they were not behaving in the manner of parasites seeking a morsel for their alimentary canals? How?

Before I looked at the background of one of these so-called authors, I have gone back to skim through the tenets propounded in Ali Mazrui’s The Trial of Christopher Okigbo, to wit, a search for the template for which a true artist – author, poet, dramatist, sculptor etc could be so defined. If we follow the template established in that book, the so-called ‘authors’ are a mismatch and an abomination. Both of the ‘authors’ who wrote those tasteless articles are nameless in any literary circle in Nigeria or abroad. I have also gone back to look at my own subscription at the end of that article which seems to have ruffled the feathers of the patron of these pseudo-intellectuals. I have been properly identified as editor-in-chief/publisher of WADONOR, cultural voice of Nigeria – a publication which celebrates and promotes Nigerian culture – our food, our drinks, our traditions, our festivals, our ceremonies, our art and our marriages. Apart from paid employment with some media organisations, I have worked legitimately all my life for my Okro soup, semo, meat and water – items so above the reach of the average Nigerian when Prof Osinbajo SAN served as vice president in the Buhari administration. I have never collected a dime from anyone to put anyone down, and if the authors of those puerile pieces they caused to be published against their names have proof against my stand, I challenge them to come forth and state it publicly. I took the extra step to also look at the background of one of those hurling invectives at me, to find out that he bore much of the brunt of the mis-governance that bedeviled Nigeria for the eight years that his principal took very active part.  Another works in the PR side of town – PR being synonym for spin, trading and wheeling and hawking, while the other appears a parasite seeking to satisfy his alimentary needs by putting himself at the behest of anyone with a plate of porridge. The searches do not indicate their pedigree as authors, except perhaps the one they say was written by ’25 independent authors’.

In the days of Mansa Kankan Musa of the old Mali Empire, there were professional praise singers known as griots. They were sometimes known as royal bards or Chroniclers. These griots lived in the King’s palace, ate his food, drank his wine, and slept on the beds provided for them in the palace – and all for one purpose – to ululate and massage the butt of the king. In today’s parlance, they would be cheerleaders. What this Osinbajo ‘book’ appears to be is a biography. If so, biographers are what we refer to as ghost writers – they write only what the individual who has commissioned them. Such ‘books’ – whether written by 200 independent authors mostly end up as the handiwork of griots, and can be challenged and interrogated.

Some biographies, and like the Osinbajo ‘book’ have no place along the value chain of literary decorum. They are subjective pieces of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. That is not to say that biographies are bad in themselves – they are supposed to be written by responsible people who make a living from their art, and who add a good dose of circumspection to their calling. It is very evident from the rant and abuses dripping from the so-called representatives of the ’25 independent authors’ that they have zero circumspection. But then, what do you expect from griots who have been asked to distort history and misrepresent the facts?

I have accepted the challenge of one of Osinbajo’s griots and sycophants, to read the story of the ‘innovative’ former vice president, who they claim took strides of human rights and to do a review. My guess is that the ‘book’ will present lexical, morphophonemic and semantic challenges and will likely be a gargantuan bore –  imagine the cacophony and the incoherence to come from plodding through a ‘book’ written by ‘25 independent authors’.

You may also like

Leave a Comment