ENDSARS protests as mere smokescreen
By Lai Olurode
A literal, indeed, an illiterate and surface reading of the current ENDSARS protests will take them as a call for an end to police brutality. Of course, Nigeria Police is overwhelmed in several respects – poor funding, poor training and absence of low ethics. But more seriously is the task of being asked to police and maintain an impossible and an unequal, exploitative and oppressive material relationships. What is happening in Nigeria should not be completely unexpected for obvious reasons.
Of course, the Buhari-led government is not to be held entirely culpable for the current imbroglio. It would be most uncharitable and a historical to so submit. Of course, government’s handling of the immediate causes is abysmal. In the main, the causes are in the remote as the situation has fostered for generations.
Over the years, governments at all levels had shown much tardiness and unresponsive enough to cries of poor and unethical governance. Youth’s worries and cries had been left unattended to for too long. Our youth cannot see any dim of light at the end of the tunnel but hopelessness and frustration. Yet, through social media, the positions of youth in much poorer land are known. They keep on asking ‘why do we remain this way? The older generation even wallowed in ignorance. They are punished in retirement. Only ex-governors, their deputies and current public officials get retirement benefits. Though the houses of worship had proliferated, Nigerians now think more of this world before imagining and figuring what the heavens would look like. Religious leaders are no longer saintly. In their prayers, they patently and eagerly identify with the dominant political leaders and pray earnestly for their triumph over the downtrodden. Worst practices had become elevated. Pockets of ethical islands had become diminished and scoundrels have had a field day. Assuming for a second that the decay is at the centre, what are the striking features at the states and local governments, as crippled financially as they may appear to be? Are they completely handicapped?
Yet, we cannot gloss over the befuddling structure-agency problematic in Nigeria. The dominant structure of governance needs to be urgently reformed. But agents of the structure should be infused with a large dose of ethics. The money culture in public and private life has become so notorious and rapacious. The once vibrant culture of service has become diminished and moribund. Institutional effectiveness has become drained of their core essence of service delivery. Attempts to turn around by government are often met by organised resistance by benefiting from status quo. The very thought of how to revive things can indeed be intimidating. And yet, to ignore it can be suicidal. Culture, whether at the material or ideational level are central to development. To assume that the current impasse can be ameliorated through a structural intervention alone will be missing the point. Our practice and attitude toward governance and particularly its resources must change. Governments have been approached for too long as sites for spoliation and bandit. There cannot be any justification for Nigerian legislators to be competing in salaries and emoluments with their American and European counterparts. Nigerian’s per capita income is paltry and should be embarrassing to us all. Definitely, no government can throw its youth into the abyss of life and hope to rest peacefully, not even in the graves. Indeed, time is running out and all governments need to act fast. But as it controls a large chunk of national assets, the onus is on the federal, and particularly the national assembly to trigger and guide the reform process. The executive needs to demonstrate willingness to tolerate and embrace change. It is in our collective and self-enlightened interest to respond with alacrity to this crisis of governance lest we perish in the consuming inferno. Of course, no government can effect desirable change miraculously. Any good process takes time to germinate. But the process should start without further vacilation.
Olurode is a professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos (08022906068).
Ooni: The public displays of a king (1)
Ooni: The public displays of a king (1) (more…)
Tinubu: The Crowning of the Spiderman
Tinubu: The Crowning of the Spiderman
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, June 2, 2023)
From football to jollof rice, and other sundry striving like music and acting, I love the healthy rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana. But truly, Ghanaians know which is the giant of the two countries just as Nigerians know that the tattered singlet of Musa at the gate is worthier that the starched khaki of the brain-lazy, woebegone retired Major-General.
Though farther than Benin Republic, Togo, Niger and Cameroon in terms of geography, Ghana is closer to Nigeria in terms of shared experience and colonial language.
“Imagination is better than knowledge,” I agree with this wisdom of Einstein, who expatiates that, “Knowledge is limited to what we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.”
Through the trickery of the Tortoise, Nigerian folklore imagines connectivity between the dead and the living, weaving together a world of equality, freedom and dignity, where intelligence trumps force.
Similarly, Ghanaian mythology imagines the world through the labyrinth of the silk-spinning Spider, whose squishy body contrasts with the carapace of the Tortoise but both creatures’ legends secure a place for the weak in the society.
However, comeuppance awaits the Tortoise or the Spider whenever either wishes to take advantage of the vulnerable through wit and cunning.
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In the worldview of African forebears, before things fell apart, intelligence always triumphs whenever brute force runs naked, making the Yoruba say, “Ogbon ju agbara lo,” wisdom is greater than power.”
The story of former President Muhammadu Buhari and incumbent President Bola Tinubu is similar to the Ghanaian myth about Nyame and Anansi.
Anansi is a spider who wants to be the owner of all the stories known in the world, but all stories belong to Nyame, the sky god. Anansi tells Nyame of his wish to buy all the stories from him but Nyame tells the spider the price is unaffordable.
When Anansi insists, Nyame attempts to outfox him, saying Anansi could have all the stories of the world if he could capture the four most dangerous creatures in the world. An excited Anansi assures Nyame that he would capture all the four creatures, and even offers his own mother, Ya Nsia, to boot!
The four creatures include Onini, the python; Osebo, the leopard; Mmoatia, the Fairy; and a hive of Mmoboro Hornets.
Anansi has a beautiful wife, Aso, who is super cunning, and whom he listens to. With his wife’s advice, Anansi beguiles all four creatures, one after the other.
To capture Onini, his wife devises a plan, and they both set out for the brook where Onini lives. There, they began to argue loudly about Onini’s length. Onini comes out and Anansi tells him about their argument.
Onini brooks no contest with the majesty of its length, it quickly stretches out beside the branch which Anansi brought with him. To get an accurate measurement of Onini, Anansi advises that one end of the python be tied to the palm tree branch while the other end should be tied against the other end of the tree branch.
After tying the head of the snake to the branch, it was easy to persuade the snake to have its tail tied to the other end of the stick. And the python became more vulnerable than a sitting duck.
To capture the leopard, Anansi digs a hole in the ground along the path which Osebo treads, covering it up with brushwood. Returning home after dark, Osebo falls into the pit. Anansi, the Good Samaritan, offers to get Osebo out of the hole through his web. But when the leopard got out of the hole, he remained a prisoner in Anansi’s web and was subsequently carried to Nyame’s palace.
The spider entraps the Mmoatia Fairy by making a doll covered in glue and placing it in the prairie where the fairy plays. She sees the doll and gets attracted to it, touches it with both hands and becomes glued.
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Anansi lures the Mmoboro hornets into his gourd by pouring water on himself and telling the hornets that a dangerous rain that had beaten him in another community, was fast approaching. He advises them to get into his gourd for safety. They obliged and became Anansi’s victims.
The Spider goes to Ya Nsia, his mother, and reminds her about the promise he made to the Sky god. Ya Nsia agrees to go with Anansi to Nyame.
Boxed in by the Spider’s achievements, Nyame summons the elders and his army, tells them about Anansi’s conquests, which no one else or kingdom could do, and thus pledges all stories to Anansi, the Spider. So, every story became known as a Spider story.
I’m almost sure scaling the hurdles wouldn’t have been smooth sailing for Anansi. There might have been moments of despair and frustration when he angrily shouted, “E gbe awon stories yi wa, EMI LOKAN!”
Unlike the world of Buhari and Tinubu, the world of Anansi was a law-abiding world, where crime was punished, and virtue rewarded.
It was a world, where the elephant, though mighty, couldn’t usurp the rights of the ant, and the lion, despite being the king of the jungle, dared not take what didn’t belong to him.
It was a world that would ‘open the calabash’ of death to a brainless, callous and nepotistic king who recently plundered the land for eight years of misgovernance – just like they ‘opened the calabash’ for wicked kings in the old Oyo Empire.
In the olden days when the Tortoise and the Spider counted among the wise men, people voted without let or hindrance, and their votes counted. The electoral umpire, even if it was the glasses-wearing YAK, dared not fail to upload the results of the presidential election as ARTICUlated in the electoral law.
During the days of the fabled Tortoise and the Spider, Umpire YAK dared not cause disaffection within the polity, as he did yesterday, without being summoned to the king’s palace, and bagging an outright banishment to the Evil Forest or the severance of his head from his neck at Imogun, the Place of Skulls.
If Yak followed the electoral process through, the Articulate and the Obidients would probably not go to the Court of Judges to lay their grievances over why the Bat was crowned the king without announcing his victory through the Kakaaki, as required by the law of the land.
Things have turned upside down today. Thorns have grown on the throne in Ife, and the king can no longer sit on the stool of his forebears but go about looking for plastic chairs in Owambe parties, allowing Pete, Tom, Dick and Harry to hug him.
In those days of the Tortoise and the Spider, when the blind Baba Fakunle predicted in Ola Rotimi’s ‘The gods are not to blame’, that King Odewale would marry his mother and kill his father, it came to pass.
Today, Christian and Muslim clerics have turned the church and the mosque into casinos, where forecasts are churned out like locusts in flight, with none coming to pass.
A cleric predicted that he was the incoming President Number 16 and that Buhari would hand over to him. Another one warned witches and wizards not to come to Abuja – as if witches and wizards ever amounted to anything or as if they are the problems of Nigeria.
Many Nigerian pastors and imams are fake men of God who brag about power over all infirmities but none has ever cured either a cough or a headache, not to talk of HIV/AIDS or COVID-19.
The removal of petroleum subsidy is a step in the right direction but the President must not behave like the Tortoise who got all the wisdom of the world in a gourd, which he tied to his neck, without knowing how to get the gourd to the top of a tree. Tinubu must exhibit cleverness and be be prepared to go to war against the oil cabal.
Online reactions trailed the presence of President Tinubu’s wife, Remi, for being present at an official meeting the president held with some officials on Wednesday.
Did Aso, the wife of Anansi, not help her Spider husband solve his riddles? If you don’t know the meaning of presidential monarchy, go to court.
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
(OPINION) Open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR
(OPINION) Open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR. The President Federal Republic of Nigeria.
All existing protocols are duly observed.
My constitutional rights as a Nigerian moves me to write this letter to you our New President – Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.
Congratulations on your assumption to the office as the 16th President of FRN.
These are my inputs to your administration for us all to get the desirable results in your new Government.
In the comradeship terrain it’s said that – Victory for One is a victory for all and injury for one is an injury for all. I pray that may you succeed in your tenure as the First Citizen of Nigeria Aamiin.
First and foremost I say A big congratulations to you and all Nigerians home and abroad for the bold step you took to announced the REMOVAL OF FUEL SUBSIDY.
Sir!!! Nigerians say No to any form of CABALS home and diaspora.
I suggest the below public figures in Nigeria to serve directly under your administration.
According to two of our contemporary democracy founding fathers – late President Nelson Mandela he said that any system that fails to take Education as Priority is a failure.
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You the President of FRN said & I quote that you believe in the revolution of our great country Nigeria but not by any form of battle, civil unrest or war but by our intellectuals.
The above mentioned quote tell us the power of education.
On this note, below are my submission to your desk directly sir.
I suggest that Education & insecurity are twins sectors which need urgent attention and have to be in your priority list sir through the below –
1. Prof. Ishaq Olarenwaju Oloyede For Minister of Education.
2. Retired Generals like Alani Akinrinade, Olu Bajowa, Ishola Williams, Jubirila Ayinla, David Jemibewon etc should be consulted for security.
3. Emir SLS & his formidable team for Economy planning.
4. H. E . BRF & his crew for what they are Guru at.
5. Prof. Pat utomi & Senator Kalu orji plus others from the East are also key in PBAT administration.
Note – Education sector has to cover other areas like – Computers, Technology, sciences and Researches etc.
These sectors have to make your priority list after the above to achieve the desirable results Viz –
1. Health sector
2. Power , Petroleum & mines sector.
3. Agriculture sector.
4. Infrastructures sector.
5. Welfare of all the citizens old and young (unemployment, old age benefits etc).
These 7 key points are very vital sir and if you can deliver them to us, Nigerians, your name will never be forgotten in the country’s Best governance list.
Pray that May Allah make it an easy task for us and all yours formidable team Aamiin.
God bless Nigeria Aamiin!!!
I am comrade Hon Akinpeju AIT (National General Secretary ABAT Educational Support Team).
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