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Opinion

Indecency daggers culture

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By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, January 25, 2021)

Music blared. Joy floated. Naira rained. Feet trampled. This is the spectacle of Nigerian lavish parties called owambe, a short-lived rivulet of opulence flowing into the sea of poverty.

Despite the sacred warning that the love of money is the root of all evils, man loves money, still. Money has many monikers; here are a few of them.

Apekanuko bespeaks the high esteem money holds among the Yoruba.

Ego, the Igbo magic word for money, is the fuel of commerce. It is different from ego, the personality framework and double-edged sword of Sigmund Freud that can kill or save.

When you hear the Hausa say kudi, they refer not to the unsung martyr of Nigeria’s modern democracy, Kudirat Abiola. Kudi, in Hausa language, is the password for business, and the stimulant that pumps fists in the air and opens mouth in shouts of rankadede.

“You’re dead without money,” says the English novelist, James, who can Hardley Chase nothing but Beauties, Money and Wine while cruising a BMW.

While money is, unmistakably, the oxygen that invigorates the earth, innovation is the blood coursing through its arteries. So, if money is this intrinsic to man’s wellbeing, common sense suggests that it should be treated with decorum. But this isn’t always so.

Oftentimes, money loses its dignity especially at owambe parties after gallons of alcohol had surged down the gullets to sit in the wells of stomachs and fiddle with the senses.

In a matter of minutes, earnings, salaries, overdrafts, borrowings and savings sprayed by friends, colleagues and relatives cascade from celebrants’ foreheads to the floor in moments of self-delusion.

Consultant Psychiatrist, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, isn’t fooled by such make-belief opulence.

He said, “Spraying of money is purely a materialistic display of power over others. It’s an ego trip rather than a self-transcendent expression of self. You can’t discuss the issue without looking at the fact that our leaders, whether political, academic or business, are stuck at the lowest rung of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which reflects in the primitive display of money as an instrument of power and dominance.

“When folks are self-actualised and their society encourages it, altruistic use of money for charity and helping the underprivileged are the hallmarks. It’s a self problem. It’s not a decent practice but as society matures, the practice may stop.”

Looking at the issue through the prism of royalty, the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Adesimbo Kiladejo, a medical doctor, said, “Spraying of money was a practice that started out as a show of appreciation and honour. It’s historical in Yoruba land.” The first-class monarch, however, called on members of the public to display moderation while spending money at parties.

He added, “The spender and the celebrant are at risk of consequent attack by the men of the underworld. People should obey the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulation outlawing the defacement of the naira.”

From a medical viewpoint, Oba Kiladejo urged Nigerians to desist from close contact at parties, stressing that coronavirus was real.

Giving a historic perspective to the discussion, a Professor of History, Osun State University, Siyan Oyeweso, traced the boom of mouth-gaping money spraying at parties to the 1970s when people danced to Juju music at grand parties.

Oyeweso, who is a Fellow of both the Historical Society of Nigeria and Nigerian Academy of Letters, however, condemned the practice, saying it negated the values of hard work, transparency, integrity and dignity of the Yoruba.

He added, “Fuji artistes later jumped on the bandwagon in the 1980s and the trend has grown by leaps and bounds till date. The practice is not good for the health of the society because it puts pressure on the younger generation, the future leaders, who engage in Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-Plus etc to get rich at all cost. The millionaires of those days made their money through hard work, diligence and integrity. The youths of today want to get rich quick or die trying.”

An Assistant Professor of Culture History, University of Abuja, Ranti Ojo, recalled that to boost their ego or status in the society, kings and aristocrats of yore gave money and clothes out to praise singers. “However, things have changed and the practice has grossly been abused, hence it should be discouraged.

“There are many aspects of our culture that must be stopped, spraying money is one of them because it promotes insecurity, inequality and financial imbalances in the society. Culture should be dynamic. If you need to appreciate the singer or celebrant, it should be done secretly with all modesty,” Ojo said.

An Assistant Vice President of one of the five top banks in the US, Chief Azuka Aghenu, said it was unwise to fritter money that could be used productively. Aghenu, who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, worked with the United Bank for Africa before leaving Nigeria for the US over 35 years ago.

He said, “I’ve seen Nigerians in Nigeria and Nigerians in the US take lines of credit to spray at parties. It’s crazy. Many of those who spray at parties have poverty-stricken family members; some of them haven’t paid their mortgages, house rents, children’s bills etc.”

But Soko music creator, Dayo Kujore, differed. The Juju music star said, “Yes, money spraying is part of our culture, it can’t be stopped. Ironically, spenders dancing on stage even spend more money on ladies than musicians. There was a socialite who spent N100,000 on every lady that was dancing on stage but spent N50,000 on the whole of the band.

“Many of the stage plays you see are discounted because some celebrants would come and begin to beg that they don’t have enough money.”

Yoruba’s most profound panegyric singer, Sulaimon Ayilara aka Ajobiewe, said giving money, clothes and shoes to musicians was the heritage of the Yoruba. The Ila Orangun-born artiste said, “There’s no way the musician would know that the person spending money on stage borrowed the money. And it would be insultive to publicly tell someone spraying you money to stop.”

But Ajobiewe explained that spraying money at parties while household bills were unpaid was foolishness.

Popular highlife star, Jesse King, said his brand of music doesn’t dwell on money spraying. The Buga singer, nevertheless, said moderation should temper the inherited practice. “Excessive spending is a personal issue. According to the Holy Bible, the spender should be careful not to make other people sin. We must also consider the mood of the country; a local government chairman, for instance, would be wrong to attend a party and spend lavishly when the road he took to the party was bumpy.

“People have the right to spend their money but we must be guided by the Omoluabi ethos,” he said.

Leader, Osun-famous Peace Band, Babatunde Taiwo aka Shalom, said the desire of every musician was to make money.

Shalom said, “Thugs, security operatives, the underprivileged, staff of event centres etc all wait for us at the end of each show. I have been sprayed a phone before. It depends on how the eulogy hits the spender. But I hate people trampling on money which is more prevalent among the Igbo.”

Missioner, The Companion, Imam Musa Beekolari, condemned wasteful spending at parties, citing the Holy Quran, Chapter 17: 26-27, which enjoins Muslims to give to the needy but likened the wasteful to brothers of the devils.

Founder, Ark of Life Charismatic Global Mission, Osogbo, Apostle Mark Babayomi, said money spraying had no biblical backing. He, nonetheless, explained that Abraham’s good deeds made God swear to a covenant.

The cleric, who called for moderation, said it was better to package a monetary gift and discretely hand it over to a celebrant rather than spraying.”

Culture is dynamic. I stand with Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho in the bid to change the culture of Fulani murderousness encouraged across Nigeria by the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led calamitous APC.

 

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion

Ethnic profiling as Nigeria’s predicament

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On January 9, 2021, operatives of Amotekun – the quasi-state police outfit of south-western Nigeria – went to Aiyete in Ibarapa LGA, Oyo state, on a mission to arrest suspected kidnappers based on “intelligence” from the local communities. At the end of the operation, Alhaji Usman Okebi and his two sons were killed and several houses burnt in Okebi settlement. There were reports of gunfire exchange. Now, I have tried to narrate this incident in the simplest form. However, what I have just written in one paragraph is very loaded. If I do not decode it, you may never understand the undercurrents and the implications. You would think it was a simple case of crime fighting.
Here we go. When the Aiyete incident was reported by the media, the pegs were noticeably different. A northern newspaper reported that “Amotekun has killed three Fulanis in Aiyete, Oyo state”. The Sarkin Fulani of Oyo state said: “Alhaji Usman has been living in that Fulani settlement for the past 45 years. He grew up there and I am surprised people said they were kidnappers.” But a southern newspaper reported that “Amotekun has combed the forests and killed three suspected kidnappers”. A local said: “The Amotekun corps burst the kidnappers’ cells today but the kidnappers resisted them. The kidnappers are Fulani.” Whom should we believe? Can you see our predicament?
In conflict situations, we usually take default positions, mostly in favour of our ethnic identities – no matter the facts. It is an emotional thing. Nothing is as simple as it appears. In the current Nigerian situation, if you are a typical northerner, you are likely to side with the Fulani herders. While you may readily blame certain crimes, such as drug-pushing and internet scams, on “southerners”, you would want kidnapping and rape attributed to “criminals” rather than “Fulani herders”. And if you are a typical southerner, you would want internet scams attributed to “criminals” and not “southerners” but want all kidnappings blamed on “Fulani herders”. Can you see our predicament?
Let me expand that. In the south, there is a deliberate narrative to pin all kidnappings and robberies on Fulani herders. In fact, it would appear no single southerner is involved in kidnapping. All kidnappers are Fulani herders. Or, to put it another way, kidnapping is only bad if it is done by Fulani herders. If it is by southerners, it is no news. Playing up the role of Fulani herders also helps the narrative that there is a Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda. In fact, there is a famous quote that Uthman Dan Fodio, the 19th century Islamic scholar and jihadi of the Fulani ethnic stock, said he would not rest until he had dipped the Quran in the Atlantic Ocean. Can you see our predicament?
Up north, of course, there is the tendency to be defensive over the activities of the herders. They are not kidnappers, many would say, but innocent pastoralists looking for pasture. They don’t carry guns. They don’t kidnap. They don’t rape. These are the regular defence lines. Gradually, some northerners are shifting ground and saying some of the herders may actually be criminals, but there is a new twist that they are not even Nigerians. Why then are we fighting each other over “foreigners”? Basically, we are dealing with ethnic profiling (which can lead to ethnic cleansing) and ethnic defensiveness (which can obfuscate the security issues). Can you see our predicament?
One popular proposal to curb the herders’ menace is to stop open grazing. I support this position. But my support wanes when the proponents say “with immediate effect”. Some states made laws to that effect. Unfortunately, you cannot stop open grazing immediately. The livestock will die. Just like humans, they need to eat and drink daily. If you stop open grazing “with immediate effect”, you are making a law that cannot be obeyed. And if you try to enforce it, there will be crisis. There will be pushbacks. The logical thing is to gradually transition to ranching. It will not happen overnight. Not even in one year. It will take time. It has to be planned. That is the intelligent way of doing things.
But there are issues with ranching as well, and I am not talking about the economic costs. The first is what I have already explained – the Fulanisation theory. While northerners predictably supported RUGA (the ranching initiative of the Buhari administration), southerners predictably said “God forbid”. Those are our default positions. The bigger problem, though, is the assumption that ranching can, or will, end kidnapping (and banditry). I’m sorry – these are two different things. There is the nuisance caused by cows and there is the criminality of kidnapping/banditry/rape. Ranching can tackle the cattle nuisance but only security can address the criminality. Let’s be clear about this.
If you ask me, I would say insecurity is the major driver of the current ethnic tensions in the land – but, sadly, things have been framed along sectional lines such that it has become practically impossible for us to have a meaningful conversation. The ethnic profiling – which, by the way, is not limited to only one side of the divide – has overshadowed the fact that the Nigerian security architecture is largely corrupt, inept and ill-equipped to cope with modern crimes. If our security ecosystem were professional, modern, proactive and apolitical, we would not be here arguing over the ethnic identities of criminals. We are certainly paying the price of this perennial inefficiency.
To be sure, we have been battling various manifestations of insecurity for decades. In the 1960s, our biggest issue was political violence as politicians tried to establish a hold on their domains in the post-colonial state. In 1970s, after the Civil War, armed robbery became our biggest challenge because of the influx of small arms. In the 1980s and 1990s, ethnic and religious conflicts provided the biggest challenge to the security forces, with frequent clashes and killings all over the country. The 2000s and 2010s witnessed the rise of violent religious extremism in the north and militancy in the south. That was the decade that birthed the devastating Boko Haram insurgency.
Today, we are dealing with our biggest security challenges ever. While political violence and armed robbery are still there, Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism as well as banditry and kidnapping have combined to expose the underbelly of the security architecture. The security agencies are overwhelmed – overwhelmed by chronic incompetence, overwhelmed by the fifth columnists in their ranks, overwhelmed by inadequate infrastructure, overwhelmed by the ethnic coloration of purely criminal activities. Political demagogues and ideologues are doing their best to set Nigeria on fire by politicising the insecurity and promoting ethnic cleansing. It gives them great joy.
Although, the current situation plays into the hands of ethnic champions who look for the slightest opportunity to milk our misfortunes and pursue their bitter balkanisation agenda, insecurity is not just in southern Nigeria. We are actually dealing with an aspect of state failure affecting hapless Nigerians – both north and south. I know for a fact that bandits, identified as Fulani, have been carrying out mass killing in Zamfara villages for years, dating back to not earlier than 2012. But it is Fulani killing Fulani, so it can’t be framed as Fulanisation, and it is, therefore, not sexy for the media. Yet, these are human beings like us being killed like rats. Politics has numbed our common humanity.
What is the solution? Insecurity in Nigeria is a multi-dimensional problem that can only be tackled with a multi-dimensional approach. The insecurity is the climax of many things that we have been discussing for years: poverty, unemployment and poor governance. We cannot address them “with immediate effect”. However, we must urgently secure lives. That is the irreducible minimum. We must concentrate on containing insecurity first while pursuing long-term measures. Those proposing state police should also know that some things cannot be implemented immediately: the constitution needs to change and police need to be trained and equipped. They need to be realistic.
Nigeria is clearly in a precarious predicament. We know insecurity affects everybody, but the only thing some people can see is “tribe and tongue”. We cannot solve our common problems by clinging to prejudices and biases – either through ethnic profiling or being defensive of our kith and kin. We need a middle road. We need solutions. Whether the kidnapping is in Sokoto or Saki, criminals are criminals and we need to drop our biases to confront the issues as dispassionately and as intelligently as possible. We need statesmen and women, problem solvers and peace builders, around the table. War mongers and ethnic champions should please give us a break.
Finally, while the Shasha killings – clearly a product of recent ethnic tensions in Oyo state – could have degenerated, we should be thankful that the real Nigerians still showed up. There were no reprisals in the north, which I can bet was the work of peace builders in the region. Reprisals are the easiest thing! Also, Premium Times, the online newspaper, reported how Yoruba protected Hausa and how Hausa protected Yoruba in the aftermath of the Shasha killings. I heard similar stories about the Nigerian Civil War. This is, indeed, who we are as Nigerians. It is only a few merchants of malice that are spreading hate. And they are doing it very well. That is exactly our predicament.
AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
WELL DONE, WAZ
On Thursday, Mr Waziri Adio concluded his five-year, non-renewable tenure as the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). He helped re-position NEITI, adding policy work to its portfolio, producing analytical publications and organising dialogues. I particularly was educated by the regular analytical insights into extractive revenues. NEITI used to be known only for yearly audit reports – which were not even regular. Under his watch, backlogs were cleared and reports are now faster at a reduced cost. Nigeria also got the highest ranking in validation by EITI, the global body. Above all, he served his country very well and left with his integrity intact. We’ve been friends for over 30 years and I am ever so proud of him. Excellence.
CARELESS WHISPERS
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state first sought to justify the bearing of arms by herders and quickly retreated, saying it was “a figure of speech” – as if we were all born yesterday. Governor Bello Mutawalle of Zamfara state also ran his mouth, saying not all bandits are criminals. He later retreated, saying he didn’t mean it that way. Whatever. The chief of them all should be Brig-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd), the minister of defence, who asked defenceless people being attacked by bandits to stop “running from minor things like that”. He said: “Is it the responsibility of the military alone? We shouldn’t be cowards.” Is this the quality of thinking among Nigerian leaders? Disastrous.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Apparently, the appointment of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the DG of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the first woman and first African in that position – did not go down well with the Swiss media. A number of them introduced her as “66-year-old Nigerian grandmother”. Linda Klare-Repnik of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, summarised it well: “If it had been a white man, the title would have been along the lines of ‘Harvard Economist, ex-World Bank Managing Director and ex-Minister of Finance’…” Well, we are also like that in Nigeria. The first thing we check is the ethnic and religious identities of appointees before we consider the résumé. Jaundiced.
HUMAN RIGHTS
The federal high court has scrapped all charges required to file cases on fundamental human rights. You are not likely to see that on the front page of newspapers, but it is a significant development. It is not enough for us to continue to demand a reform of the justice system. We must also seek to make things as simple as possible for the less privileged to engage with the system. Millions of people are shut out of getting justice because they do not have the means to seek redress in a court. Imagine how wonderful it would be if lawyers and journalists will work hand in hand, pro bono, to expose and combat the human rights abuses by the police and other government agencies. Progress.

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Opinion

Jakande buries them in shame

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By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, February 15, 2021)

History, like Ekiti’s Ikogosi springs of warm and cold fountains, embodies profundities. Either for good or bad reasons, history always cascades down the confluence of discovery, depth and truth, meandering into the past.

Whenever history repeats itself for good, cymbals accompany resounding ovations – like the joy of a soccer cup game win. But, oftentimes when history catches man on the wrong foot, grief trails destruction – like the outstanding incompetence of the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in securing lives and property.

Buhari’s colossal inability to deliver on any of his electoral promises reads like the devil’s scripture.

Eagle-eyed, silent and deadpan, history is the unblinking secret camera watching and recording events, not for God, but for man and the future called posterity, in the global village called humanity.

While un-smart nations writhe in pain as history rewrites unpalatable events, smart nations write in joy, historic accomplishments of epic proportions, on the glorious sands of time.

 Giant in size but dwarf in reasoning, the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government, in the first decade of the millennium, yanked History off primary and secondary schools curricula as a core subject even as the Buhari regime that has promised to restore it as a core subject since 2017, has yet to fully do so.

It’s scandalous that multi-billion-dollar security funds could develop wings and disappear while the self-acclaimed ruling Africa’s largest party was unmindful of the wisdom in the saying that a people without history are on the path to extinction.

That the PDP could even toy with the idea of expunging History from school curricula was a corroboration of the fact that successive national governments since 1999 didn’t have an understanding of citizenship rights and education.

If Nigerian leaders made citizens’ welfare the cornerstone of service, they would know that History is yesterday’s searchlight, beamed on today for man to understand the present and prepare for the future.

For the sake of the up-and-coming Nigerian generation which has been denied the knowledge of History by subsequent governments, I shall embark on a journey to Katsina in a history-driven vehicle.

While in Katsina, I shall teleport to the tomb of former Nigerian President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, at the Dan Marina Cemetery, Katsina, to pay obsequies to the memory of a true Nigerian nationalist who wasn’t an emotionless, tight-lipped nepotistic bigot. At the Dan Marina Cemetery, I shall compare and contrast the achievements of Yar’Adua with those of Buhari in order for Nigerians to see who the patriot is among the two Fulani sons.

I will also visit the Ilupeju residence of the first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, who passed on to eternal glory last week at 91, and compare him with the civilian governors that had led the state of aquatic splendor after him.

I decided to embark on this route of historical juxtaposition in order to be fair enough to Buhari, whose awful spokespersons, always make the life patron of Meyeti Allah cattle breeders look like the victim, who’s doing all in his power to make life better for an ungrateful Nigerian nation.

 Being a former university lecturer, Yar’Adua appeared more cerebral than Buhari. Yar’Adua addressed journalists freely and neither engaged in characteristic verbal miscues nor relied solely on prepared speech before addressing some local and international audiences.

Yar’Adua was the one and only Nigerian president till date, who publicly declared his nearly N1bn assets and liabilities, completely unlike Buhari, who vowed to publicly declare his assets while campaigning for votes, but reneged when he got to power.

Despite coming from an illustrious family and being younger to Buhari, Yar’Adua didn’t foist his Fulani ethic nationality over other nationalities even as he granted amnesty to Niger Delta militants, reflecting true nationalism.

Not one to be beclouded by political vindictiveness, Yar’Adua taught former President Olusegun Obasanjo some lesson in leadership fairness when he released the N10bn allocation accruable to Lagos State, but which Obasanjo had seized and refused to release despite a Supreme Court ruling.

Appointments by Yar’Adua into the leaderships of the Armed Forces, executive cabinet and government parastatals weren’t tilted in favour of the North just as he matched his word up with action, implementing the N18,000 minimum wage promised to the electorate.

A Master’s degree holder in Analytical Chemistry from the Ahmadu Bello University, Yar’Adua, who was the Matawalle of Katsina, didn’t open fire on innocent protesters while he was president for three years.

Also, he didn’t turn Aso Rock into a barracks for warring family members, wife, children and security aides.

The Nigerian leader, who died at 58, was in firm control of his household as there was no reported case of infighting among family members, yet he didn’t claim to champion any War Against Indiscipline.

Yar’Adua wasn’t a pretender, who owned choice properties, and yet wanted Nigerians to see him as Spartan and frugal. Also, he didn’t indulge his children by laying at their feet the fleet of presidential jets for running errands and photoshopping trips.

On the watch of the great Katsina General, Nigeria is not Golgotha. It’s an abattoir littered with skulls, limbs and blood of insecurity. It’s the hell where death snacks on the slow-moving chameleon and snaps up the reckless frog jumping about dangerously. It’s the riddle of the caring father that turns the gun on his harmless children who complained at the Lekki tollgate, threatening to squish more children in a promised second-coming blitzkrieg.

On Jakande’s 90th birthday in 2019, I wrote a tribute, “Lateef Jakande and the Lathieves,” in my PUNCH newspaper column on July 29, 2019.

The article read in part, “Baba Kekere, as he was popularly called, was elected on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria on October 1, 1979 and just five months after his inauguration, he built 11,729 schools, whereas a latter-day democrat cuddled the list of his cabinet members for six months!

“Visionary and incorruptible, Jakande saw tomorrow and was prepared to carry his people along with him into it. Jakande embarked on the construction of a metro line before the mallam led khaki boys to strike and terminate the monumental project. Jakande was subsequently probed and cleared of corruption charges.

“He changed the lives of his people through genuine developmental strides, establishing the Lagos State University, Radio Lagos and Television, Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, numerous housing estates, genuine free education and opening up Ikotun, Ajah and Jakande never named any of his landmark achievements after himself.

“He only wanted to live in the minds of his people forever. His children attended the public schools he built. His wife, Abimbola, neither operated as First Lady nor spent taxpayers’ money on personal whims called pet projects. While in power, LKJ never traveled out for medical check-ups or vacations.

“For him, no state assignment was so urgent to make him fly a helicopter though Lagos was rich enough to buy 10 copters. He never needed to buy bulletproof SUVs nor built a mansion on the island. Jakande lived among the people in Ilepeju with Oshodi as his next-door neighbor.

“Born in the Epetedo area of Lagos State on July 23, 1929 to parents who hailed from Omu Aran in Kwara State, Jakande rose through the dint of discipline, hard work, commitment and perseverance to become the Editor of Tribune newspaper and later founded the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Guild of Editors.

“He never had a university education but he had the love of his people at his heart.

 Since Lagos fell on the laps of self-acclaimed democrats in 1999, all the billions of dollars they expended on infrastructure cannot match the achievements Jakande produced in four years with little resources.

LKJ’s achievements litter the landscape. Where are their achievements? If you ask me, na who I go ask?

 Adieu, Baba Kekere!

This column goes on a four-week break – starting from next week. All work and no vacation… Cheers!

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion

Mad cows and even madder narratives

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By Wole Soyinka

The most distressful aspect of my recent interaction with cows and herders is that it has created a most unwanted distraction from the ongoing life and death Nigerian narrative.

One has to take time off to deal with distortions and Fake versions, while students are being reportedly waylaid and killed and/or kidnapped in Ondo and farmers are being slaughtered in my own state. In short, the killings continue even as panels are being launched to enquire into immediate past human violations.

For those who truly seek details of the Ijegba incident, I hereby affirm that I was never physically attacked, neither did I attack any cows.

The cows and herders did however attack my property – and not for the first time.

The police need to be very, very careful, learn to be straightforward with public information. Failure to adhere to that obvious, basic form of conduct means that the public will lose total confidence in security agencies and constantly bypass them in times of civic unrest, no matter how trivial or deadly.

How on earth could the police claim that my property was not invaded by cattle? It was. My grounds-men knew the drill and commenced the process of expelling them.

Fortunately, I was then driving out and was able to lend a hand by vehicle maneuvering. Both cattle and herdsmen were flushed out of my property. Once they were outside the gates, I came down from the vehicle and beckoned the herdsmen to come over.

At first, they pretended not to understand, then, as I approached, fled into the bush.

We thereupon “arrested” the cows, confining them to the roadside, while I sent my grounds-man, Taiye, to the police to come and take over.

Since they took rather long in responding, I summoned a replacement and proceeded to the police station.

On the way, we met a detachment, turned round, and together we returned to the scene of crime. The police wanted to commence combing the bush for the fugitives but I stopped them – what was the point? Keep the cows, I advised, and the owner will show up.

Of course, that owner eventually did. I thoroughly resent the police version which suggests that the cows never invaded my home: home is not just a building; it includes its grounds. And it was not a stray cow, or two or three. It was a herd – we have photos, so why the lie? It is so unnecessary, unprofessional and suspiciously compromised. The police suggest that I have nothing better to do than to go accosting cows on the public road – to what end?

If the police demand proof, the next time such an invasion takes place, I warn that there will be no lack for cadaver affirmation and the police will be officially invited to join in the ensuing suya feast.

So please, let us get serious! Getting serious means seeking with a sense of urgency, ways of terminating mayhem, impunity and the homicidal culture being imposed on us through some near cultic business minority who just happen to trade in cattle.

It means not giving up on peaceful solutions, but also being prepared for the worst. Those of my lines of thought have been working on various ways of sensitizing the nation to the very real and imminent danger issuing from this cattle aberration.

The menace, I repeat, challenges us as a cohesive entity and as communities of free individuals, committed to the dignity of existence.

Cattle imperialism under any guise is an obscenity to humanity. So let me serve notice that we are about to commence a process of public sensitization; we hope even the police will join hands with the agenda as it progresses.

A special practical plea: now that the railways are being resurrected, let us make cattle wagons a priority. I grew up with the regular sight of those practical conveyances. It is time to bring them back.

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