By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, December 7, 2020)
The molue is a bizarre bus. It’s a bucket of bolts with the loud noise of a helicopter. Indeed, the 49-sitting-99-standing-passenger bus is renowned in Lagos, Africa’s largest capital city, as a mobile coffin.
With the clanking sound of an engine about to knock, this particular molue, painted in green-white-green colours, jangled to a jerky stop as the driver squished the failing brake pedal to the floorboard, causing a collision of passengers against the unblunted metal edges of the shabby interior body work.
In a three-part choreographic sequence, human noise erupted from inside the molue after the deafening engine noise died down and a thick smoke enveloped the jagged metal contraption.
Cursing and coughing, Lucky, the driver of the molue, and his conductor, Sambi, were the first to emerge from the eye-peppering smoke of the bus. Swearing and sweating, passengers of the fully loaded bus emerged from within the smoke like displaced cockroaches, coughing and furious.
Purchased since 1960, this molue had not been serviced by subsequent drivers who only fed fuel to the grumpy bus despite ceaseless complaints by passengers calling for a total overhaul of the vehicle.
At different times in the accident-ridden life of this molue, subsequent negligent drivers had ignored the demand for a turnaround maintenance by passengers whose flesh, clothes and goods were daily ripped by the sharp metal edges inside the bus.
After the cloud of smoke had cleared and the black oil dripping from under the vehicle had stopped, Lucky pinched a dripping hole in a sachet of ‘Sledgehammer’ with his teeth, and in one belching gulp, drained the alcoholic content.
However, all hell broke loose when Lucky implored the passengers to go back into the bus to commence their journey to Abuja.
Lucky: Let’s go inside the bus and pray so that we can commence our journey in earnest.
Passenger 1: What kind of stupid and clueless driver is this? So, you can call for prayer after drinking ogogoro, abi? Are you supposed to call for prayer or fix your cursed bus?
Passenger 2: You kari bus komot for house, you no gauge oil, you no gauge tyre, brake no good, no whipper, no horn, no pointer, yet you collect money from us, and your motor come pafuka on top Third Mainland Bridge. Me, I no sabi swim o. I don warn you o, ehn-ehn!
Lucky: Don’t come and insult me here o. I’m not an ordinary driver, I am a graduate and I have my degrees, including a PhD. I’m here to serve the masses. So, don’t talk to me anyhow.
Sambi: (Appealing to the passengers) I’m also a graduate but I’ll speak pidgin so that everyone can understand. Na because make we no delay una for road here, das why my oga say make we pray and manage the bus to Abuja. Na small thing dey worry the bus o; na just to change the crankshaft, gearbox and carburetor, then we go make it to Abuja in 24 hours; we can still manage the brake to Abuja, my oga sabi pump failing brake well, well.
Passenger 2: You must be mad, you this stupid conductor! You want to manage faulty brakes from Lagos to Abuja, abi? It’s you that will not see 2021, you murderer!
Just then, a sparkly bus parked in front of Lucky’s shambly molue. Written boldly on it was, “Integrity Airbus.” The bus owner, Eko, came out with his garage mob, and together, they poached passengers from Lucky’s bus. A tired old man called Baba Integrity was the driver of the bus.
Eko: (Appealing to the stranded passengers on Lucky’s bus) Abuja straight! Abuja straaaaight!! No stopping for road o. Fully air-conditioned bus at affordable price. Free wi-fi, free food, maximum security of life and property, peace and enjoyment guaranteed during the journey. Abuja sttraaaaaightt! You guys know I won’t lead you astray, this bus is heading to the Promised Land straight!
(The ensuing surge for space on the bus almost led to a stampede. All the passengers, except one, abandoned Lucky’s bus and went on to board Baba’s ‘Integrity Bus’. Three passengers, Johnbull, Paine and Iya Aburo spoke freely on Integrity Bus)
Paine: Ha, see Chief Eko himself vouchsafing for this bus, it must be reliable.
Other Passengers: It must surely be.
Baba: (Speaking over the intercom) Trust me, I’m a tested and trusted driver. You know I’ve done it before. I’ll give you a trip you will live to remember for the rest of your lives.
Passengers: (Roar in applause)
Eko: You guys are very lucky Baba graciously agreed to drive you to Abuja by himself. No force in the world can stop this bus.
Paine: (Effusing joy) Yes, we sabi. Na God say make Baba show up to rescue us from the dangers on the Third Mainland Bridge and the sea under. For my life, I no go ever enter any motor driven by Lucky and his PindiPi company.
Johnbull: Na true, we all dey very lucky.
(Everyone was in amazement of the Integrity Bus – its sheen and perfect body work. But as Baba attempted to start the engine, the paints began to peel off. The engine failed to crank.)
Paine: Wetin bi dis? Lucky’s bus still dey move small-small, dis one no even move at all. Na from frying pan to fire be dis o.
Johnbull: But why dem come build special cabin for Baba for driver seat nah? I mean, why we no fit see Baba face nah?
Eko: To drive the Integrity Bus no easy. All of us sabi Abuja road very well – armed robbers full everywhere, Boko Haram dey yanfu-yanfu, kidnappers dey berekete. So, Baba need concentration to drive and crush all the robbers, Boko Haram and kidnappers on the road.
Paine: Drive and crush Boko Haram, robbers and kidnappers at the same time? Baba na James Bond or Formula 1 driver, uhmm?
Johnbull: Abeg, wetin be di bus wi-fi password?
Garage boy: It’s not advisable to use wi-fi now because Boko Haram can use wi-fi signal to locate and blow up this bus.
Paine: Ha?! But we never even comot Third Mainland Bridge nah?
Garage boy: Yes, I know, but Boko Haram dey everywhere o.
(A baby lets out a shriek)
Garage girl: Make im mama give am breastmilk nah. Abi you no want make Baba concentrate ni?
Iya Aburo: It’s the hotness here that’s making my baby cry, not hunger. Please, switch on your full air-conditioner.
Eko: Iya Aburo, so you no sabi say air-conditioner no dey good for small pikin? Air-conditioner is a very dangerous thing o.
Johnbull: Wey the food una promise passengers?
Eko: When embarking on this type of dangerous journey, you need fasting and prayers.
Iya Aburo: Please, come and help me open the window by my seat so that my baby can get some fresh air.
Garage boy: Dat na very big security risk o; you want to expose other passengers to danger? Passengers mustn’t even touch the window blinds. Everybody should just put their trust in Baba, he’s doing a fantastic job, we are moving so fast.
Iya Aburo: But I can’t hear the sound of the engine.
Paine: I can’t hear any engine sound, too. Is this bus flying or are we not riding on Nigerian roads full of potholes?
Eko: Baba is trained to dodge potholes.
A passenger angrily yanked off the blind from the window, alas!, the vehicle hadn’t moved from the same spot it picked the passengers.
Passengers: Whaaaaat!!! Why haven’t we moved from the same spot since?
Baba: You lazy passengers can’t understand. I’m trying to make a choice between staying with the devil, that is, the Third Mainland Bridge, or plunging you into the deep blue sea below!
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Opinion: Igboho writes President Buhari, by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, July 25, 2021)
Shugaban Nigeria, ya kwana uku.
Your Excellency, I do not seek to rouse the ghosts of the slain victims of Fulani Ghoulish Nomads (FGN). Before you hasten to add hate speech charge to the list of rootless allegations your rulership has levelled against me, let me quickly state, sir, that ghouls are not only located in northern Nigeria.
They’ve sprouted and taken over every inch of the land ruled by your underachieving regime, wearing the masks of terrorism, corruption, rape, banditry, ritualism and daily bloodshed – kicking Nigeria in the teeth – with no end in sight.
Aare Buhari, though the dead have long buried the dead, their ghosts won’t just rest in peace. So, the spirits of the dead continuously hover over the face of the waters, crying for justice and seeking repose, but getting neither from your bullying regime.
Before my letter reopens the bleeding wounds of the past, permit me to do a brief and formal introduction of myself, sir. My name is Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo. I’m a 48-year-old indigene of Igboho town in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.
Your Excellency, if Oke-Ogun evokes some sense of utter disdain in you, I understand. It was Oke-Ogun that caused you to storm the Oyo State Governor’s Office, Ibadan, in October 2000, in company with some prominent Fulani leaders, on the allegation that some Yoruba farmers allegedly killed 68 Fulani herdsmen in a reprisal. Do you remember the incident, Baba Yusuf?
God bless his soul, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, the first executive Governor of Oyo State in the Fourth Republic, who hosted you and your aggrieved entourage from the Caliphate.
Before he spoke on the occasion, Lam, as the governor was popularly called, first called on the state Commissioner of Police, and the state Director, Department of State Services, both of whom told you to your face that the alleged death of 68 Fulani in the hands of Yoruba farmers was untrue.
Lam also called on his deputy, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Michael Koleoso, both indigenes of Oke-Ogun, and the chairman of one of Oke-Ogun LGs, Chief Ademola Alalade, to speak. They all told the truth which indicted the Fulani in Oke-Ogun as the killers of their Yoruba neighbours.
Your Excellency, when he spoke to round off the meeting, Lam advised the Arewa Consultative Forum to seek the unity and peace of Nigeria at all times.
Baba Buhari, though I never attended a university, I’m not an illiterate. I can read and I can write, despite starting out as motorcycle repairer. Through hard work, self-improvement coupled with my belief in Ifa, I’m today an employer of labour.
Shugaban Nigeria, just like you don’t write your speeches yourself, I didn’t write this letter myself, too. Baba Zahra, mi o gbo oyinbo nla nla, walahi! I don’t understand big big grammar. But I understand justice and truth. This is why the cause I champion, which is the emancipation of the Yoruba from daily killings, victimisation and repression, is being supported by true sons and daughters of Oduduwa. The support is what produced this letter, Your Excellency.
Baba o, I am citizen Igboho, a creation of the abject Nigerian leadership. Like millions of my ilk living in the nooks and crannies of the country, I’m a product of years of government neglect.
When your government kept silent as Fulani herdsmen butchered my people day and night, I embarked on the road called self-help and employed bravery, street wisdom and defiance to rescue my people.
This was after Dr Fatai Aborode, Europe returnee, was killed in his Igangan community of Oke-Ogun by suspected Fulani herdsmen when he complained that his 400-acre cashew farm was eaten up by Fulani cows.
President Buhari, though Aborode’s murder was one death too many, your regime kept silent and did absolutely nothing to assuage the killing or assure the people of Igangan of their safety. Also, popular herbal trado-medicine practitioner, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, aka Oko Oloyun, had over a year ago been killed along the Igbo Ora-Eruwa Road in Ibarapa, among many other deaths. Ironically, sir, hundreds of captured Boko Haram terrorists were granted pardon and rehabilitated into the society, after alleged deradicalisation.
Baba Halima, I’m not a criminal. The pervading sense of hopelessness, injustice and insecurity in the South-West was why I went to Igangan and gave the Fulani therein an ultimatum to vacate the land.
Sir, do you know that long after my seven-day ultimatum, the Emir of Muri Empire in Taraba State, Alhaji Abass Tafida, has also given a 30-day ultimatum to Fulani bandits. But he hasn’t been declared wanted.
Your Excellency, as I said early on, I may not understand big big ‘turenchi’, but I can read and I can write.
I read on Sahara Reporters website that the emir didn’t only give a 30-day ultimatum for Fulani killer herdsmen occupying Taraba forests to vacate, he also said, “From now onwards, if anyone is kidnapped from this emirate, we will go into the bush and kill any Fulani man we see.”
General Buhari, if a Yoruba or Igbo monarch had said what Emir Tafida said, the fire emanating thereof from Aso Rock would’ve burnt the crown on the head of such a monarch into ashes. But because the emir is from the North, Aso Rock looked away like a corrupt invigilator who has been bribed by cheating students.
Baba Hadiza, what have I done wrong? I’m only fighting for my people, just like you took up the cause of your people and led a delegation to Lam in October 2000.
Oga Buhari, in 2019, you also led a delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York, where, in your own very words, you advocated ‘the rights of the Palestinian people to have their own country…and live in peace in their own land’.
Having said this to the ovation of the world in 2019, President Buhari, what is the justice in your rejection of the clamour for self-determination being championed by me and my fellow comrade, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, when southern lives are not worth a fart under your regime?
Baba Fatima, it’s natural if your health is diminished by old age, but I know your memory is still intact to remember that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2012, lamented that his government had been infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists.
Ogagun Buhari, your own regime is no better. It’s even worse because whereas it was Jonathan’s government that was infiltrated then, it’s your cabinet that has been infiltrated by Islamic fundamentalism now.
A beloved member of your kitchen cabinet and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had, in a sermon years before he became minister, openly expressed views sympathetic to the notorious al-Qaeda group and Boko Haram, describing the slain al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, a worthy Muslim. Pantami also expressed happiness that infidels were being massacred.
Infidels in the eyes of the Pantamis peopling your cabinet would be no less than millions of Christians, traditional religionists and believers of other faiths in Nigeria. With such a minister in your cabinet, Mr President, what’s the guarantee that the war against terrorism isn’t a lip-service by your regime?
Only God know how many innocent Nigerians were killed by Islamic terrorists who took up arms against perceived infidels having been fired up by Pantami’s destructive sermons.
Instead of investigating Pantami to check if he had been truly deradicalised or not, the Presidency rose stoutly to his defence, and said the leopard has changed its spots.
I, Igboho, didn’t say one-hundredth of what Pantami said. Today, Pantami is a free man but I and the supporters of my cause are being hounded by your regime. Two members of my family were killed when DSS attacked my house. This nepotistic attitude is unbecoming of a father, mujin Aisha.
Your Excellency, I’ll close with the words of your forebear, Uthman Dan Fodio, “Conscience is an open…”
Thank you, sir.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
Opinion: Do not kill Kanu and Igboho, by Tunde Odesola
Reflections on the man Nnamdi Kanu, by Chimamamda Adichie
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.
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.
Kanu not in court, case adjourned till Oct 21
Insecurity made FG to retain DIGs, AIGs, says minister
PDP governors insist on e-transmission of election results
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
55 lineages of COVID circulating in Nigeria, says NCDC
Railway6 months ago
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Business6 months ago
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
COVID-195 months ago
55 lineages of COVID circulating in Nigeria, says NCDC
Business6 months ago
FEC approves N21.89bn National Theatre renovation agreement
Editorial6 months ago
Reps kick against reopening schools on Monday
COVID-196 months ago
Biden, Treasury Secretary say Republicans COVID-19 aid too small
Business6 months ago
Why we want to replace BVN with NIN – Minister
metro6 months ago
Bandits kill Minna Catholic priest, 10 in Zamfara