By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, January 11, 2022)
Birth, breath and death; three seeds cohabiting in the same pod. Birth-breath-death: Sikiru Ayinde Balogun’s earthly journey in a winged chariot driven by fate, fuelled by freewill.
Fatefully, Ayinde was born by a butcher father and a pepper-seller mother. Utterly, he had no say over the spermatic fluid that shot him into existence.
By freewill, Sikiru was a motor-boy, bus conductor, soldier and musician. He could’ve chosen to be a butcher like his father or be the face behind his family’s ancestral masquerade called Adakeja or be a hoodlum in the Ayeye area of Ibadan, a city renowned for robust oratory and notorious free-for-all, ija igboro laarun Ibadan.
When death ransacked Fuji Chamber in Isolo, Lagos, but couldn’t find Ayinde, death mutated into a flight called fate and headed abroad, looking for Sikiru, whom it gripped by the jugular on St Mary’s Hospital bed in London.
Sikiru begged and sang melody to death, but death was deaf. He cried, but death was blood-thirsty, dragging Agbaje along into a dark, endless tunnel without looking back.
Ayinde is the puzzle called Fuji. His voice is the riddle of the yam flour displayed uncovered in the rain and wind, yet unaffected by both elements, but when the yam flour took a dive into hot water, it became amala, ready for gbegiri and ewedu.
If you ever heard the melody of the billowy octopus thumping a piano underwater, you’ll appreciate the mystery of Ayinde’s vocal cords resonating tunefully when singing but the cords stammer when speaking.
It’s the scientific fate of the male octopus to die after fertilising the female’s eggs just as the female octopus dies after giving birth. In the octopean world, live and let die is the mantra. Before Abinuwaye departed the mortal realm and embarked on the journey to Aljanah fridaus, however, he wrote his name in the sands of time with numerous great deeds.
Testifying to Barrister’s humanity, Galala king, Daddy Showkey, said, “Barrister gave me 250 bags of cement and 500 blocks to start the foundation for my first house in Ojodu in the 1990s. Today, I’ve a shrine in my house for Barrister. I put his picture there and pray to his spirit to guide me before I leave home everyday.”
He said, “Wasiu Alabi Pasuma’s wife had a baby boy one day before my wife had a baby girl. On Pasuma’s child christening, I visited his house and asked him why didn’t he invite Barrister to the occasion. Pasuma said Barrister was a busy man, who wouldn’t have time to come for the christening.
“There and then, I went to Barrister’s house. I went straight into Barrister’s bedroom and I told him about the christening of Pasuma’s child. I also told him my own wife had put to bed, too. Barrister gave me N250, 000 and told me to give a higher amount of money to Pasuma. I won’t mention the amount he gave Pasuma because I don’t have his permission to say so.
“I returned to Pasuma’s house and gave him Barrister’s gift. I told him to give me from his own gift and Pasuma gave me N150,000 from Barrister’s gift. On the day of my first child’s naming, Barrister came at night with a cooling van. He also gave me another N250,000 when my wife had our second baby.”
Showkey went on to say that Barrister, in 1994, when he (Showkey) was a nobody, Barrister sang his praise on stage, and when he went on stage to ‘spray’ him, Barrister told him not to, and Barrister, instead, ‘sprayed’ him, and told his manager to give him all the money people ‘sprayed’ Barrister while he (Showkey) was on stage, dancing. Showkey said the money was about N300,000.
Speaking at the inaugural Barry Day celebration organised by Ayinde Barrister Legacy Group, in February 2013, at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, said despite being very close to him, Barrister never came to seek contract from him when he was governor.
All the personalities, whom Barrister praised in his songs, including Alhaji Adisa Onifade, Chief Buhari Oloto, Alhaji Murhi Gbadeyanka, Alhaji Adisa Osiefa, Asiwaju Tunde Khamis Badmus, Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Chief Oyasola Oyadeji, said Ololade sang their praises free of charge.
Mayegun Musulumi of Iwo, Debo Badru, whose father taught young Sikiru the Holy Qoran, in Iwo, said Barrister did what he preached. He said, “I was the Personal Assistant to Governor Adetunji Adeleke in Osun between 1992 and 1993. Barrister was friends with Governor Adeleke since way back in the US. Whenever Barrister had a show in Osun or its environs, he would visit my house. I was very little to Barrister in everything, but he showed me love.
“When he visited one day, I told him that he should let us go and visit his friend, the governor. He agreed. When we got to the governor, they were happy to see one another. The governor pointedly asked him if he was interested in taking contract, but he said no.”
Juju music icon, YK Ajao, who said Barrister bought brand new musical set for him. “He treated me like a younger brother. He gave me money to build my house. I went to his wardrobe to take any kind of clothes I wanted, though his clothes were not my size. He would ensure I play before him so that the people who came to watch him would ‘spray’ me first. I would play for like only 30 minutes, but would make more money than musicians who played all night,” YK Ajao said.
Waka queen, Salawa Abeni, said while she was married to Kollington Ayinla, and lived under the same roof with Baba Alatika, she defied her husband by buying and listening to Barristers songs. “General Kollington would break the disc containing Barrister’s music, I would go and buy another one, he would break it, and I would buy another. From when I was a kid singer, Barrister had taken up the role of father in my life, Salawa said.
The anchor of Oludasile Fuji, a social media group formed in honour of Barrister, Otunba Tokunbo Okunola, said Barrister was clairvoyant. Okunola, whose group conducted interviews for Showkey, Badru, Salawa, and many friends of Barrister, said Barrister would’ve been richer than any African musician if not for his philanthropy.
For someone who has done so much to put an indigenous music on the global entertainment map, Olayimika deserves immortalisation from Nigerian governments at state and national levels.
But Ayinde-Ogun wasn’t an angel, after all. He was a hypocrite who turned the Holy Quran upside down to justify a shameless act after stabbing his bosom friend, Adisa Pele, in the back by marrying Pele’s daughter, Olayinka, who was carried by Barrister during her christening.
Despite his self-professed subscription to the Omoluabi ethos, Barrister shockingly attempted to justify his ignoble act in his 1997 album, Prophecy, by citing unrelated Islamic event, saying his shameful act was similar to what obtained during the time of Prophet Muhammad (SWT).
Pele, the PRO, Ayinde Barrister and his Fuji Organisation, was in the same car with Barrister in 1976 when he had an accident.
Apart from intensive womanising, Barrister also allowed his philanthropy to affect the earnings of his band boys with his attitude of giving all the money generated at shows and parties out to people.
Also, Barrister, who prided himself as singing meaningful songs, temporarily abandoned his style of Fuji to sing lewd Fuji songs called Saje.
Talking about Barrister’s love for the young to grow, Badru recalled that Barrister once had to sing Obesere’s music when fans were leaving his stage. Badru said Barrister’s stage became enlivened after he sang one or two of Obesere’s songs before Barrister went back to his own songs.
This capitulation reflected the dimming of the sun and its journey homeward.
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.
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