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Fashola’s eureka moment at Lekki tollgate

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By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, November 9, 2020)
Donkey’s years ago, before greed overtook leadership and snatched the reins of governance, Lagos was a free society without a tollgate.
Doubtlessly, the tollgate was a taboo in Lagos ages ago. This was in the days when history took culture under its wings together with language and tradition, forming a formidable foursome.
This was before government calamitously embarked on the journey to remove history from school curricula, deify foreign cultures, denigrate Nigerian languages and scorn tradition.
Nowadays, the four-pronged society preservers – history, culture, language and tradition – have been rendered as gaping as the four missing incisors in a mouth sentenced to pronouncing, “Surely, every thief stealing seashells by the Lagos seashore shall die by the sword at Tinubu Square.”
This pronunciation task is an impossibility for anyone without the incisors because the  incisors, what the Yoruba call ‘eyin faari’, are needed to pronounce dental sounds.
If you know Lagos very well, you will know its history, culture,  language and tradition. You will know the Eyo. If you know the Eyo, you should know the opambata, the aro and the agbada.
The opambata is the long, fearsome stalk of the palm tree wielded by the Eyo masquerader. The agbada is the white, overflowing regalia and the aro are the panegyrics of the Eyo.
Born at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital and raised in Mushin, I memorised the ‘omo alagbada tolonga, tolonga’ Eyo panegyrics, a must-know chant among fellow youngsters back in the day.
That was a season when Lagos was sane, bold and unconquered. It was a time when Lagosians boastfully chanted the Eyo praisesong, recalling how their forebears’, in these tuneful lines, vowed never to pay toll at the boundary: “Eyo baba n’tawa, to nfi goolu se’re, awa o ni sanwo onibode, o di’le.”
But Lagosians now pay toll, to and fro, at the Lekki profit gate everyday. Even the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a true Lagosian, can’t mobilise fellow Lagosians not to pay at the Lekki bondage, sorry, boundary gate. Iyen ma lewu. Odikwa risky. Baba-Baba mustn’t hear that.
I understand the encumbrances of serving and past Lagos governors. I know how gingerly former Lagos governor and incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, carries the burden of loyalty. But millions of Nigerians don’t. I’ll jog their memory.
When asked at a senate ministerial screening in 2015 about his view on loyalty, Fashola responded, “The concept of loyalty is a strange one. The real answer is that may our loyalties never be tested. I always pray that may my loyalty never be tested.”
He went ahead to narrate the story of two daughters who were unwilling to donate a kidney to their sick mom after the Lagos State government promised to send their mom abroad for transplant, stressing that he never wished his loyalty to be tested because no one knows the cost.
Fashola, at the intense screening, insisted that he had never been disloyal to any cause he has ever ‘signed on to’, stressing that, ‘no one can accuse me fairly of giving my word and going back on it’.
Fashola is fervently loyal, I know. He’s an unfrivolous Lagos poster boy who minds his business, plays his table tennis and smokes his cigarettes.
Fashola was loyal to his godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, first – as chief of staff and later as first term governor. During his second term as governor, his loyalty was seriously tested, and Fashola doesn’t like his loyalty to be tested.
Several days after Nigerian soldiers murdered many youth protesters at the Lekki tollgate plaza last month, Fashola visited the scene after it had been washed clean of innocent blood.
As he stepped out of his vehicle and made a solitary and determinable peregrination at the scene of the public execution, Fashola’s loyalty was on trial. But remember, he had warned that he doesn’t like his loyalty to be tested.
Fashola wore brown plain clothes underscoring the prevailing sombre mood. The plain clothes were also a foretaste of the breakthrough about to happen. He folded his hands behind his back like a wise man while his roving eyes scanned the drainage, road and tollgate pillars.
Like a prophet who takes the cue when his hour has come, Fashola looked up at the tollgate beacon and continued on his solitary mission…then his eureka moment unraveled in broad daylight when he suddenly discovered the crime-scene camcorder!
As he fetched a handy piece of cloth from inside his plain clothes, headlines for the next day’s newspapers probably flirted around his mind, “#ENDSARS: Fashola unearths secret camera,” “Fashola discovers breakthrough lead at Lekki,” “Detective Fashola!”
Brilliant people are gifted with anticipatory thinking. It’s possible that Fashola envisioned himself being swarmed by reporters after his earthquaking finding, falling over themselves in the bid to ask questions while he basked in smiles of triumphal accomplishment.
But killjoy Nigerians felt Fashola was acting a comedy. They weren’t grateful that Fashola didn’t act like the Greek polymath and inventor, Archimedes, who reportedly ran home naked from a public bath, shouting eureka! upon discovering an insight into volumetric displacement.
Shame on fault-finding Nigerians! They descended on Fashola and smeared his reputation on social media. If Nigerians accuse Fashola of owing his allegiance to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), rather than to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I’m sure they won’t be mistaken as to where the allegiance of the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly lies.
Perpetually in the news for wrong reasons such as staggering corruption allegations, the Lagos legislature is tethered to Tinubu, to whom members of the House publicly pledge their allegiance, always.
By now, former Nollywood actor-turned-lawmaker in Lagos, Desmond Elliot, must’ve seen how his foreign surname has been turned into a rhyme scheme of unprintable adjectives signifying stupidity.
Employing dishonest reasoning, Elliot drew the ire of Nigerians when he called the Lekki protesters ‘children’, warning the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, about the need for an urgent clampdown on Nigerians using social media users to demand better governance.
Elliot wasn’t outraged about the merciless killings of innocent youths by Nigerian soldiers at the Lekki tollgate, but was scandalised that protesters, in reaction to the killings, could storm the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, and seize the fleeing king’s staff of office.
Because Elliot must please the gods, he boomed, “When I went through the comments I could not believe it (sic); the curses, the abuses from children, and I asked myself, ‘Is this Nigeria? What is going on?’ Culture is gone!.., Mr Speaker, in the next five years, there will be no Nigeria if we don’t start now!
Start what kwanu? Start a fresh orgy of killings? Elliot’s statement was one of the most horrendous vituperations against the memory of those who lost their lives in the Lekki peaceful protest. The way he feigned annoyance and laboured to string passable sentences in the weirdest accent was dishonorable.
Without living in the Tabon-Tabon area of Agege, the phonetics-speaking Elliot even fired a couple of Chief Zebrudaya bullets, among others. Hear him, “The youth is (sic) not only those who do the peaceful protest!”
Reacting to the fallout of the state-induced riots that greeted the Lekki killings, a colleague of Elliot in the legislature, Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, said most Nigerian youths are on drugs, most of the time. What!?
Alli-Macaulay is a member of the current ninth Assembly that pardoned former Lagos Deputy governor, Femi Pedro, and restored all his outrageous privileges to him while Pedro’s predecessor, Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor, who committed no offence as Pedro never got her privileges restored.
Shamefully, Alli-Macaulay is a member of a House whose Speaker has a yoke of corruption allegation hanging at his neck.
Which one is it better to be, a drug addict or a chained Assembly?
Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

Opinion

Opinion: Do not kill Kanu and Igboho, by Tunde Odesola

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(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, July 12, 2021)
Any day, a cow in a china shop is a recipe for disaster. Anyway, it’s also a metaphor for Nigeria.
Anywhere, a cow never frolics in a china shop, except in a great-little country like ours, Nigeria, where it lounges in a china shop; lolling its big horns, swaying its brisk tail and clattering its rugged hooves to the noise of crashing china while the President of the shop watches in sadistic silence.
Anytime, the mother cow and its male, the bull, should be in a ranch, mooing and munching mounds of hay, living each day in contented confinement, happy that they have everything – fodder, fun and fur – long before the stainless knife comes along to close their eyes in death. The cattle are unlike the average Nigerian, who’s bereft of everything: hope, dignity and prosperity, except the skin on his body.
It’s animal cruelty to lead wretched cows, bulls and their innocent calves over one thousand kilometres along the forests, on foot, from Daura through Ilorin to Ore, Sapele, Afikpo, Opobo – in an age-long practice – demeaning in nature and tragic in logic.
It’s sheer stupidity for a government to insist on establishing grazing routes for nomads in the 21st Century when a country like the US has over 31 million beef cows in cattle farms and ranches spread across its 50 states. Why are President Buhari and his Fulani caste afraid of ranching? I do not know.
Though cattle can see. Sadly, they can’t talk. They can see the ill-treatment nomads mete out to them, making them trek in sun and rain, day and night – in pregnancy, infancy, sickness and old age.
If only cattle could talk, they would say, “Moo, Mr Foolish, you don’t need to trek uncountable miles in the wilderness to raise beef. The more you make us trek, the more weight we lose, the more our meat loses nutrients, and the more susceptible we are to diseases, sicknesses and death.
“Moo, Mr Foolish. You’ll make much more money, create more jobs and mitigate the effects of climate change if nomads buy and own lands across the country to ranch. Making us eat farmers’ crops is being kobo-wise, naira-foolish because hardship and inflation accompany famine, always. Huffing over a particular terrain over time, our hooves destroy the architecture of the soil, causing erosion to set in, and engendering environmental degradation.
“Moo, Mr Foolish, meat production has never caused the violent break-up of any country. Nigeria must not be the first. None nomads in the society don’t have to sing panegyrics to cows in order to live and farm on their ancestral lands or eat meat.”
If only cattle could speak. But Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), can speak. And, on July 1, 2021, he spoke to some Nigerians resisting to bow down and worship cattle – in ‘the language they understand’.
In a midnight operation on July 1, the Buhari regime bared its fangs by sending an amalgamation of Nigeria’s security forces to the Soka residence of Yoruba self-determination activist, Chief Sunday Igboho, in  Ibadan, Oyo State, where they killed two innocent Nigerians, carted away JUST seven rifles, ammunition and personal charms in a raid the Department of State Services said was to uncover arms stockpile. Seven rifles, in the eyes of the Buhari regime, amounted to a stockpile of arms.
Whether or not they believe in Judgment Day comeuppance, the blood of the two men murdered in Igboho’s residence, Saheed Adisa and one Alfa, is on the hands of President Buhari and his deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Why did I say so? Igboho was never invited by the Buhari-Osinbajo-led fascist regime for questioning. He never turned down any invitation from security agencies. Why then did Buhari-Osinbajo send killer goons to attack the residence of Igboho, shattering the peace of his law-abiding neighbours. Some residents of the neighbourhood, especially children and the aged, may never get over the tragic experience for which the regime will never apologise.
Igboho said about N2m in his wardrobe developed wings during the attack by the Buhari-Osinbajo killer squad, which also announced that 5,000 rounds of ammunition were found in Igboho’s house, an allegation the Modakeke-born activist had denied, saying the guns and ammunition purportedly found in house were planted there.
When US Special Forces attacked the Abbottabad residence of the late world’s foremost terrorist, Osam bin Laden, in Pakistan, on May 2, 2011,  American soldiers on the mission recorded every minute of the discreet operation, part of which was later televised.
I’m still baffled as to why the killers sent to Igboho’s house didn’t wear body cams, and if they did, why has the Buhari-Osinbajo regime not released the videos for the world to see that Igboho truly stockpiled arms and ammunition?
If Igboho killed the intruders sent to his house by Buhari-Osinbajo on July 1, 2021, he would have won in court and be awarded a hefty sum in damages in case the incident happened in a right-thinking nation.
The destruction and seizure of the CCTV cameras in Igboho’s residence, and the riddling of his exotic cars with bullets were enough evidence that show the Buhari-Osinbajo regime had lost the legitimacy to adjudicate on the  killings of farmers by Fulani herders.
If President Buhari and VP Osinbajo are not convinced about the inappropriateness of the attack on Igboho, a simple search on Google would show tonnes of videos recorded at Nigerian police stations during public parades of army-uniform-wearing criminal suspects that attacked innocent citizens’ houses.
Is Igboho, therefore, guilty if he opens fire on suspected marauders who invaded his house in the middle of the night, more so, when his house had been attacked and set ablaze by ‘unknown gunmen’ earlier this year?
The barbaric manner of the murderous attack on Igboho’s residence gives vent to the suspicion in public circles that government security agencies were also responsible for the earlier attack on another residence of Igboho, also located in Ibadan.
It also exposes the hypocrisy in the Buhari misgovernment which has never reprimanded killer Fulani herdsmen, not to talk of apprehended them.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while reacting to the arrest of the leader, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, said Kanu ‘lived a five-star life across several countries, travelling on chartered private jets, living in luxury apartments and turning out in designer shoes and clothes. Of course, as we all saw, he was wearing an attire made by Fendi, a luxury Italian fashion brand, when he was arrested.” How lower can a government descend and trivialise issues bothering on national security, rule of law, self-determinism and individual rights?
I abhor violence, and do not support some of the methods adopted by IPOB in their operations, but the Buhari regime’s silence on Fulani killings and marginalisation of the Igbo are some of the reasons that sustained the heroics of Kanu.
In the eyes of the Nigerian Constitution, which General Buhari and law professor, Osinbajo, swore to uphold, Kanu is deemed innocent until the allegations against him were proved in court.
If the Buhari-Osinbajo rulership is keeping Kanu on the pretext of ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, he should not be denied access to his lawyers. Abi, for how long would the government try to keep the details of Kanu’s kidnap in a yet-to-be-disclosed country?
Since his arrest about two weeks ago, he had been denied access to his lawyers and relatives – this is not in accordance with global best practices.
It’s easier to comment on Igboho, who had spoken since he went underground because some facts about the invasion of his house are now in the public domain.
The same thing cannot be said of Kanu who’s held incommunicado by a government whose body language forebodes intolerance and victimisation.
Kanu must not die in Buhari’s custody.
Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
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Opinion

Reflections on the man Nnamdi Kanu, by Chimamamda Adichie

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Yesterday I announced that I would unveil my thoughts regarding the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Several people reached out, advising me to be neutral and steer clear of political discourse. They meant well for a young female writer with a reputation to protect, an image to project, and the care not to cause offense. I almost yielded but changed my mind this morning.
The Igbos are the same people about whom I wrote my current published work, In Blood and War, a book set in the then troubled Biafra.
On principle, I consider it unethical to make money off retelling the struggle of this tribe, and in the same breath be silent about their same struggle.
It is beneath morality for a writer to choose to speak only when it favours him or her. To retreat to silence in order not to ‘taint’ reputation.
To speak on this particular issue, of the man called Nnamdi Kanu, does not tribalize me or my works of literature. Especially as this remains an age-long fear of most writers; the fear of offending, a fear of stepping on toes, of banishment by a displeased societal sect, and even possible ostracism.
I speak because the making of a villain or hero often depends on who tells the story. Representation matters, when perspective becomes the thin line between an activist or a terrorist.
WHO IS NNAMDI KANU?
Nnamdi Okwu Kanu is a Nigerian Biafra political activist, and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.

In a move to create an independent state for the people of old Eastern Region of Nigeria through an independent referendum, Kanu founded IPOB in 2014.
He began his activism for the freedom of Biafra as director of Radio Biafra in 2009, and anchor of Biafra awareness under Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
NNAMDI on Referendum, and SECESSION
According to Article 2 of the nation’s constitution, Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
Our law does not recognise the right of a state to break away from the union. The only way to legally grant such an option is through an amendment to the law.
Hence, Nnamdi Kanu’s call for a referendum.
Same constitution only addresses two scenarios where a referendum is recognised – state boundary adjustment and the recall of a member of the National Assembly.
Headstrong on this path, Nnamdi Kanu ran into trouble with the Nigerian government and was first arraigned over allegations of terrorism, money laundering, treason, others, on October 14, 2015.
Later granted bail in 2017, he fled Nigeria in September after the military invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, in the southeast of Nigeria. A move that prompted the Nigerian government to secure a court order proscribing IPOB as a terrorist group.
Nnamdi Kanu’s whereabouts remained unknown until his recent arrest a few days ago. He and his co-defendant are currently facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. He also faces charges on unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society. The presiding judge adjourned the case to July 26, 2021.
Last week, while parceling one of my books to a buyer, a young boy of about 20 years old was making a call beside me.
At the end of his call, I understood four things:
1. He was negotiating to pay 200k to obtain a form that will identify him as a Niger Delta militant
2. This young man was not a militant
3. Incriminating himself and mortgaging his future through filling out such form would enable him get his share of the amnesty dished out by the Federal government monthly.
4. Our government negotiates with terrorists.
Since the arrest of the IPOB leader, my feed has been agog with posts casting aspersions on his person. Of which majority are made by Igbos, falling over themselves in a frenzy to denounce Nnamdi Kanu.
Meanwhile, a regular Hausa man is yet to put aside his Suya trade, cast on ashes and put on sackcloth, and then come on social media to endlessly bemoan the menance of Boko Haram in the country.
My ear still itches, awaiting the day a regular Yoruba man would take a chill off a peppery dish to criticize Obj. for not being the messiah we had hoped for. No, he is their brother. They must not speak bad of him.
Neither are the Ijaws pausing the oil bunkering trade in the rivers long enough to come online and rant about distancing themselves from militancy in the Niger Delta region.
I am yet to see any of these tribes measure the size of their phallus by how hard they throw their kinsman under the bus.
But not your average Igbo man.
No. Not the average Igbo man with itchy fingers, who masturbates off lambasting Nnamdi. The Igbo man must belong. He must trend. It is fashionable.
The Igbos are a bit too extra on this table.
GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY?
Still on the call for secession, on the 2nd of June 2021, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made the below ‘heartwarming endearment’ to the Igbos on Twitter :
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The above threat from the house of the presidency stinks of beating a child and asking him not to cry.
No one in their right mind departs a good home, one that is working.
Shouldn’t the real question then be . . . why do these people so badly want to stay apart from the rest of the nation?
First demonize a people, call their outcry terrorism, then their injustice becomes acceptable, their oppression becomes deserving.
Guilty or not guilty?
Nnamdi’s methodology may be rad, but his intentions are understandable. And for that, I will not throw him under the bus. Unbridled passion, passion without diplomacy, is all I see.
sober reflections

In the words of Peter Tosh, everyone is crying out for peace and none for justice.
I ponder in idle musings:
Whether Nnamdi is a terrorist, depends on what you mean by a terrorist. Yesterday it was Sowore. Then the youths at the Lekki tollgate. Today Nnamdi. Or could it be that this country only understands you better when you act mad?
On nitty-gritty, we might have become a nation that picks and chooses the brand of terrorists deserving of amnesty. Perhaps the class with guns and doing the most harm are more deserving on the VIP list. That is the only way the massacre of the armless IPOB youths can make sense.
One day, in a saner clime abounding in freedom of speech, I will laud the beautiful corruption of a beloved country called Nigeria
Till then, we will watch the brave made into examples, and shiver at the spectacle, until fear seals our lips and sends us tumbling back into the tunnel of silence.
*Chimamanda Adichie*

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Opinion

OPINION: The electric car Buhari-Osinbajo built Tunde Odesola

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(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 21, 2021)

Chanting a million and one ‘gbosas’ to acknowledge the magic performed last week in Abuja by Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), would be an exercise in ingratitude.

For executing the 8th Wonder of the World, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo deserve to be worshipped by Nigerians forever.

Surely, it can only be magic, not a miracle; to strike the ground with a wand, ‘gbaa!’, and a car’s rooftop cracks open the earth, slowly erupting into full view, like a mild volcano, amid dust and thunderous chants of ‘CHANGE!’, birthing the first Made-in-Nigeria electric car, Kona.

It can only be Eh-Fi-Si abracadabra. You may call it ‘efisi’, if you like swagger.

Without a workforce, steel rolling mill, power supply, technological know-how, mechanical and electrical components, the Buhari-Osinbajo government must have secretly gathered invisible hands that worked round the clock to produce Nigeria’s first electric car. This government doesn’t lie, I swear.

Permit me to quickly buttress my deep conviction that the Buhari-Osinbajo rulership doesn’t lie.

Exasperated about being called a liar, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a viral video, said, “‘My seven-year-old grandson called me and said, ‘Grandpa, tell me the truth; why do they call you Liar Mohammed?’”

Alhaji Lai added, “I looked at him. What do you say to a seven-year-old (grand)son? How do you explain politics to him? So, I said, no; don’t mind them.”

The Buhari-Osinbajo government doesn’t lie, it only doesn’t fulfil promises. Soon, the FG will replace the gloom on Nigerian roads with the gleam of the green electric car. This may not be by 2023, however; remember, Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, prophesied the APC would rule for more than the next 32 years.

Fathered and christened by Hyundai, a South-Korean automaker, Kona electric car isn’t an abiku that comes and goes in countless seasons. But baby Kona had actually come in November 2020 when Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, publicly unveiled and presented it in Lagos, where the car was ostensibly manufactured.

Therefore, Osinbajo wasn’t the godfather of Kona, it was Sanwo-Olu, who presented the car at baptism. I repeat, this government doesn’t lie.

 

Don’t get me wrong, please. It’s not a crime to present and re-present the same car to the public 30 times, it only shows government’s seriousness and commitment to technology transfer.

But do you know the real reasons why the cerebral Osinbajo re-presented Kona to Nigerians seven long months after Sanwo-Olu had unveiled it? I know, and I’ll tell you.

After six months in power with neither direction nor a cabinet, signs that the aircraft of the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would need to be pushed and jump-started – like a ‘kabukabu’ – began to manifest.

The Buhari-Osinbajo regime badly needed the Kona PR because in the last six years, the Federal Government hasn’t fulfilled one-hundredth of its electoral promises.

But unpromised dividends of democracy such as killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, corruption, ethnic agitations, banditry, nepotism, despondency, fear and hopelessness have been delivered as sizzling hot takeaways to Nigerians benumbed by a tragic, fractured nation.

 

On their campaign trails in 2015 and 2019, Buhari-Osinbajo brandished hope to the electorate, churning out promises like the rapid-fire guns used by killer herdsmen.

 

As their ecstatic supporters roared during campaigns in 2015, Buhari and Osinbajo promised to crush Boko Haram within three months in power and lower the exchange rate of dollar to naira which then stood below N200.

 

The magical duo promised more, vowing to ban government officials from going abroad for medical treatment, dismantle the Office of the First Lady, publicly declare assets, distribute 20,000 megawatts of electricity within their first four years, revive Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, construct superhighways across the country, among others.

 

I can bet my neck that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of integrity will fulfil its electoral promises before the expiration of its two terms, although the blood of innocent southern and Middle Belt farmers have been used to irrigate the pasture fed to Fulani cattle.

 

Today, the naira has thankfully appreciated at almost N500 to a dollar while light doesn’t blink in my Iyana Ipaja-Agege neck of the woods just as intensive work is ongoing to complete the 100-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, six years after promising the construction of phantom 3,000-kilometre superhighways across the country.

 

Thank goodness the Buhari-Osinbajo government is winning the terror war though everyday negotiations and payments of ransoms on kidnapped citizens across Nigeria are rampant and reminiscent of the slave trade era when dog life was of higher value than human life.

 

It’s true that confessed Boko Haram terrorists are now regular guests at government houses where they are hosted to sumptuous negotiation dinners with their AK-47 strapped across their necks as they smile at the camera, while the President has commanded his troops not to ‘give breathing space to terrorists’.

 

For a government being bashed at home by its citizens for innumerable reasons, and buffeted abroad by world leaders over the ban on Twitter, a re-presentation of Made-in-Nigeria Kona by Osinbajo was highly needed.

 

Despite its rarity, however, I had the good fortune of seeing an electric car yesterday. My shylock landlord, after increasing rent on his houses and shops for the third year running, bought one and decided to unveil it on Father’s Day.

 

I didn’t go out to felicitate with my landlord. I remained in my one-room apartment and peeped through the window because I’ve yet to pay security levy. The bill is despite the fact that robbers have visited the house twice in the last one month.

 

I could see and hear everyone clearly because the car was parked near my window. This is what I heard:

Caretaker: Oga landlord, dis tear rubber na confam o!

Landlord: (Smiles) It’s the Lord’s doing, it’s beautiful in our sight.

Corper: (Snapping selfies with the car) This car is tush, sir. How much does it cost, sir?

Landlord: N24m only.

AbereIfa: Ha! Dis small car?

Caretaker: Don’t you know it doesn’t use fuel? It uses electricity.

 

AbereIfa: Electricity? How?

 

Landlord: The car runs on electricity. When fully charged for 9 hrs 35 mins, the vehicle can cover a distance of 482km which is equivalent to the distance between Lagos and Warri.

 

AbereIfa: If the electricity wey follow am come finish, where you go see light recharge am?

 

Caretaker: Oga Landlord will go Ghana or put 50 litre-gallon fuel for boot. If electricity finish, oga go pour fuel.

 

Landlord: No, it doesn’t use fuel. I’ll charge it here at home.

 

AbereIfa: With tenants’ prepaid credits? That one no go dey possible o, oga.

 

Caretaker: No be electric car you suppose buy, Landlord. See, armed robbers dey disturb us every night, the toilet is not good, there’s no water, tenants are unhappy.

 

Landlord: How does your welfare concern me? Are you members of my family or tribe?

 

Corper: Landlord, get into the car and drive it nah. I want to see you drive your electric car like the one I saw on TV yesterday.

 

Landlord: You saw one on the TV yesterday?

 

Corper: Yes, sir.

 

Landlord: How did the one you saw on TV look like?

Corper: It was green in colour.

Landlord: Green?

Corper: Yes, green and gleamy. I saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo behind the wheel, in company with two big men. There were many security men around the car, putting their hands on the car as if preventing it from disappearing.

AbereIfa: Chai, dis girl.

Corper: Yes, nah. They didn’t allow the car to move freely, unlike President Joe Biden’s test-run of an electric Ford truck in the US. Biden fastened his seat belt. You can’t say that about every big man in the Nigerian electric car. And Vice President Osinbajo used one hand to drive, Biden used both hands.”

AbereIfa: VP used one hand? Chai, diarisgod o.

 

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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