By Tunde Odesola
I laughed upon remembering Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30, and a proverb came to mind: “If death are strike dead the slow-motion chameleon with reckless abandon, why shall it not quench the jumpy-jumpy frog with instant automatic alacrity? Tell me!”
Chief Zebrudaya, the patriarch of Nigeria’s funniest English sitcom, New Masquerade, didn’t vocalise the above-written proverb, that’s my inexpert creation.
If he verbalised the proverb, Zebby, as his beautiful wife, Ovularia, lovingly calls him, would crack up viewers with his bombast while the funniest clowns in the history of clowning, Giringory and Clarus, would burst out from the kitchen dragging an empty pot of soup between them and arguing over who owns Nigeria, cows or citizens.
In relation to Nigeria’s political context, the imagery of the chameleon in the first paragraph is a symbolism for the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola but which was truncated by the northern oligarchy in collusion with a few greedy collaborators from other parts of the country.
Conversely, the presidential ambition of a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, I typify with the ‘jumpy-jumpy’ frog, patiently being awaited by the same oligarchy that killed MKO’s dream, along with their collaborators.
I plead not to be misinterpreted. Asiwaju enjoys the rights in the Nigerian Constitution to aspire to any political post in the land. But something is morally amiss if Tinubu – without publicly apologising for the 2015 deadwood presidential ambition he sandpapered and sold to Nigerians – is preparing to succeed the Katsina general whose maladministration has run Nigeria aground.
I wonder what would be Tinubu’s catchphrase in the 2023 presidential election. Would it be, “BAT: Consolidation of Sai Baba’s inglorious years?” or “Vote Jagaban to correct APC’s disastrous years?” or “Asiwaju: Leave story, jeun soke.” Seriously wailing and laughter are strange bedfellows. But when they work hand-in-glove, the Yoruba would say, “Oro buruku tohun terin.” Sometimes, nature could be as naughty as the proverbial case of Ibiye, whose goat was blind in the left eye while Ibiye was blind in the right.
The current situation of Nigeria is tragic, no doubt. What’s staring Nigeria in the face is no laughing matter at all. But in our tragic haven, the mind must escape to laughter, occasionally, otherwise mortuaries and asylums will boom in doom. Although it’s obvious that Nigeria should declare national emergency in critical aspects of the economy, the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari administration is totally clueless in halting the drift into abyss.
The green-white-green ‘abiku’ has snatched the sacrificial pot at the crossroads and smashed it on the bald head of the tall and bony herbalist. The old soldier called upon to help kill the roving hyena in the farmland has ended up in the belly of the beast. Sadly, Nigeria’s plight is akin to the case of Senegalese-born French midfielder Jean-Pierre Adams who underwent surgery for a knee injury in 1982 but hasn’t come out of coma 39 years after due to negligence on the part of the surgeon that performed the surgery.
For the unfortunate Adams, his surgeon carved him the pathway to eternal dungeon just like Nigeria’s messiah, Buhari, has unblushingly broken the covenants of hope he made to the people in 2015 and 2019, making the country worse than he met it. Shortly before he became president, Buhari, during his famous 2015 Chatham House speech in England, urged Nigeria to choose between voting for continuity of failure or to elect progressive change.
At Chatham House, Buhari thundered, “Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our people…What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency…”
Then he told a fat lie, “If I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria…No inch of Nigeria will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service…We will always act on time (emphasis mine) and not allow problems to irresponsible fester. I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front.”
Today, Buhari, who promised to ‘lead from the front’, is in obodo Oyinbo for a ‘routine’ medical check when his country’s medical doctors are on strike and his kingdom has been lost to insecurity. If Buhari’s trip was truly routine, why didn’t he show sympathy to sick Nigerian masses who can’t afford to waste taxpayers’ money on frivolous medical trips abroad, by commenting on the strike and giving the people hope?
If the head injury suffered in a lone motorbike racing accident by Yusuf, his son, had occurred on the day of his departure to England, would Buhari have travelled without his son?
Twice, Nigerians were scammed big time by Buhari and his co-political adventurers. When thunderclaps bellowed six years ago, the masses hurriedly emptied their earthen pots in anticipation of fresh rainwater. Now, the thunderclaps have ceased without a raindrop. More than half of the land was fooled. Gauntness was mistaken for lack of greed. Stony eyes were mistaken for penetrating focus on integrity. Now, everything has gone skyrocket with the wind.
How did we not know that this messiah had his children in schools abroad? How did we ever think he was part of us? How did we not know he would fail to publicly disclose his wealth? How did we not know that Goodluck Jonathan was only shoeless and clueless but Buhari is visionless and listless? How did we not know that messiah Buhari would turn the presidential fleet of planes into playthings for his daughter to hop on for photoshoots?
During the government of Saint Buhari, corruption abandoned its posh house at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and built a mansion inside the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, shedding its milk teeth of Jonathan years for the fangs, premolars and molars of the Buhari years.
My country people, I repeat, wailing and laughter are strange bedfellows. When they work hand-in-glove, the Yoruba would say, “Oro buruku tohun terin.” Since our President has left us to our fate, we mustn’t wait in sadness for the merchants of death that kill daily. I mean, let’s amuse ourselves before the kidnappers’ storm, let’s share a laugh before herdsmen arrive to rape, maim, kill and get rewarded in return.
It’s only in Buhari country that the police would arrest the trader assaulted in Abuja by the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, who is a judge. It’s only in Buhari land that the coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, would leave out players scoring goals in top-class leagues and invite players without teams for matches.
Ethnically and religiously, Buhari has polarised the land, otherwise, the type of heavy fine meted out to the ‘misyarning’ pastor in obodo Oyinbo should have been meted out to all the leaders misleading Nigerians into believing that COVID is unreal, sending many to their graves. It’s only in Buhari’s Nigeria that corruption presses charges against integrity. Insanity, please, give us a break.
First published in the Punch on Monday, April 5, 2021, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: @tundeodesola, Twitter: @tunde_odesola