Oyinlola keeps his promise despite Tinubu's victory – Newstrends
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Oyinlola keeps his promise despite Tinubu’s victory

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Tunde Odesola
Oyinlola keeps his promise despite Tinubu’s victory
Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, December 1, 2023)
In all my column-writing life, I’ve never kicked off an article with a quotation. But if I was going to do so in this piece, I would’ve started with the most popular Yoruba incantation and chanted, “Ohun ta wi fun ogbó, l’ogbó n gbo, ohun ta wi fun ogbà, l’ogba n gba, kóse kóse ni ti ìlákòse, á sùn má párádà ni ti igi àjà… tùèh! I, Babatunde, the son of Odesola, hypnotise you reading this article never to ask me for a percentage of the jackpot I just hit. Tó, àbàlá Èsù!”
I repeat you won’t catch me starting my column with a quotation because I believe the writer should be able to capture the attention of his audience right from the opening paragraph, using their own words, and not someone else’s. But, life is different strokes, different folks; the style is the man, after all. One man’s suya is another man’s poison.
Life is a bed of thorns, roses and ironies. Nigerian Christians and Muslims won’t disrespect a babalawo as they would disrespect a pastor or an imam. They believe and fear the efficacy of the babalawo’s juju more than they believe and fear the efficacy of their own prayer and God. Ayé Akámarà! This life: thorns, roses and ironies.
This was why some netizens, a few weeks ago, came after the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, casting the stones of ridicule at him, calling him a fabulist.
To be sure, a fabulist is a composer of fable(s) and a fable is a partly factual story telling a general truth. Can you now see how the Yoruba, in a case of mischievous ingenuity, got to call a lie fàbú? I wonder if the greatest fabulist of Nigerian comedy, Gbenga Adeboye, got to know the etymological origin of fàbú aka oduólójì before crossing over to the land where nobody grows old.
Netizens scoffed at Adeboye for saying God halted winter when he visited Colorado. “Years ago,” Adeboye began, “I was invited to Colorado in America, in January. I don’t like cold weather at all. So, I said to my Father, ‘I’m going to Colorado, while I’m there, suspend winter’. Throughout the days I was there, people were wearing T-shirts in January. He (God) pushed away winter, brought in summer. I boarded the plane at 5 p.m. to travel back to Nigeria, two hours after I left, all the snow that had been hanging in the air began to fall.”
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Ironically, most of Adeboye’s critics are Christians and Muslims, who purportedly believe the miracles in the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran. They believe Moses parted the Red Sea, Elijah shut heaven from sending down the rain, and Joshua stopped the sun from setting. Yet, they don’t believe Adeboye.
I’m not a man of great anointing like Adeboye. My faith isn’t up to a fraction of the mustard seed but I know it doesn’t snow ceaselessly all through January in America. I mean, it snows and stops, and snows and stops for days in January. So, I go with Adeboye. But I’m not unmindful of the fact that Nigerians have grown weary of religious leaders because of the shameful behaviour of many of them. Adeboye is different.
Anyway, I hypnotised the reader of this piece with incantations because I know you won’t fear me if I point the Bible or the Quran at you and speak in tongues. But seeing me brandish my horn stuffed with feathers, cowries, red cloth topping, and chanting, ‘Fírí, fírí loju n ri, bòhùn, bohun làgùtàn ń wò, tùèh!’, I’m sure you won’t wait to see the manifestation of abenu gòngò, you will japa.
I chose the àfòse African traditional method to protect myself and my jackpot because I know some readers won’t heed my warning not to solicit money from me after reading this story. Hypocrites that don’t believe Baba Adeboye, is it me that they would believe? Dey play.
Please, come with me on the journey to my newfound wealth. In 2003, I was transferred from PUNCH headquarters at Mangoro, Lagos, to Osogbo, Osun State, as state correspondent. That was shortly after Chief Bisi Akande left government and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola got in the saddle. I sailed into Osun on the wave of the acrimony of the time when you were either a friend or a foe; there was no fence to sit on.
I didn’t witness Akande govern but I heard the tales of his commitment and prudence. I also saw the sprawling grandeur called Governor’s Office which his administration built with disciplined frugality. It was during his term the Ife-Modakeke War ended.
Before berthing in Osun, I had worked at the PUNCH head office as a proofreader, reporter, and correspondent in Ondo State, among other positions. So, I clearly understood PUNCH’s credo of fearless and impartial journalism. Like young David, PUNCH kitted me with battledress and gave me a two-edged sword, telling me: fear not, fail not.
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I had hardly dismounted the horse I rode into Osun when I started using my sword. I began to fire stinging reports serious enough for the Chief Press Secretary to Oyinlola, Lasisi Olagunju; Press Secretary, Kayode Oladeji; and Media Assistant, Bamidele Salam, to notice. Olagunju didn’t like my reports and he gave me a name, Alakatakiti, which means troublemaker. Oladeji courted me with diplomacy while Salam always appealed for understanding.
Governor Oyinlola also took notice of my reports. So did the Osun Peoples Democratic Party led by the late charismatic Ademola Razaq aka Landero. The state PDP felt I was a rebel fire ignited by the fuel of the opposition Alliance for Democracy. But, it appeared Oyinlola didn’t see me as an enemy, though he knew I was critical of his government. At news conferences he addressed, he would openly ask of me, saying, “Tunde Odesola da? Ko wa? O ti lo mitini? Ha! O wa? Ma bo niwaju mi, je ki n ma wo o. (Where’s Tunde Odesola? He didn’t come? He has gone to their meeting? Ha! You’re here? Come over here, come and sit in my front, I want to be seeing you so that you won’t say you didn’t hear me well and I will see something different in the paper tomorrow!)
Nationwide, government ceremonies were often long and governors wouldn’t speak until the tail end. Osun wasn’t different. Due to this, I didn’t like attending government functions because you won’t be able to attend to other stories. And PUNCH preferred human-angle and exciting stories to bureaucratic stories. Even when you wrote government stories, PUNCH taught us to dig beneath the press statements.
A dilemma occurred along the way. Oyinlola would ask of me at state functions covered by journalists but I would’ve left within minutes if the press conference didn’t start as scheduled. So, Olagunju and Oladeji devised a plan. From my house to the Government House, Osogbo, was about five minutes just as the distance from the Governor’s Office, Abere, to my house was about 20 minutes. So, Olagunju or Oladeji would call me when the governor was about to deliver his speech, and I would arrive just in time.
At a particular news conference in the Governor’s Office, I indicated my intention to ask questions but the Master of Ceremonies had publicly said every journalist should only ask just one question. Oyinlola saw my talking with the MC and he asked what the issue was. He intervened, saying in Yoruba, “Let Tunde ask all his questions. I’m prepared for him. If you don’t allow him to ask his questions, what you will see tomorrow in hIs paper is, ‘Oyinlola bars PUNCH journalist from asking questions, front page.’ Speak, the General is listening.’”
I got the mic and asked, among other knotty questions, if the governor was going to reshuffle his cabinet like he did two years into his first term.
Oyinlola’s commissioners, who had been having a good time laughing and enjoying the programme, suddenly became silent, letting out a collective hiss and murmur. If looks could kill, this year should be the 15th anniversary of my demise.
Oyinlola expressed confidence in the work of his commissioners, to which they all shouted for joy, showing how relieved they were. After the news conference, the ADC to the governor, Mr Bola Adeyemi, came back into the hall, looking for me. He said the governor was calling me. I went with him to the governor in his car, outside the venue of the news conference.
When I got to him in his car, Oyinlola said, “You asked when I’m going to reshuffle my cabinet; what do you want?” I told him I just asked him the question because he reshuffled two years into his first term. Then he said ok, and I left.
• To be continued.
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
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Opinion

House of Reps’ legislative banditry against universities – Farooq Kperogi

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Farooq Kperogi

House of Reps’ legislative banditry against universities – Farooq Kperogi

I would have missed the story of the devious designs by members of the House of Representatives to extort vice chancellors, rectors, and provosts of public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education if my Facebook friend Dr. Raji Bello hadn’t wondered aloud in a status update why Daily Trust’s February 10 story about this didn’t scandalize the nation.

Dr. Bello’s angst caused me to look for the story. Upon reading it, I was numb with revulsion by the blazing legislative banditry of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Other Services which, according to Daily Trust, coerced heads of “53 federal universities, 63 state universities, 38 federal polytechnics, 49 state polytechnics and many federal and state colleges of education, among other institutions” to “pay N2million to facilitate the ‘verification’ of the documents submitted to the House committee.”

The background to this alleged legislative brigandage is that in January this year, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved the disbursement of N683,429,268,402.64 to public higher education institutions under the TETFund scheme.

From this amount, every public university will get N1, 906,944,930.00. Every public polytechnic will get N1,165,355,235.00, and every public college of education will receive N1,398,426,282.00.

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund, apparently, wanted a share of these billions and chose to invoke the constitution to legitimize their banditry.

Although the law that established TETFund does not require that the National Assembly approve expenditures of money disbursed by the Fund to higher education institutions, the House Committee has cleverly leveraged a clause from the 1999 Constitution that says, “No monies shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those monies has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly” as the basis to insist that institutions get its imprimatur as a precondition for spending money approved for them.

Forget, for the moment, the fundamental misunderstanding of the constitution that this thought-process betrays. It is curious that the House Committee is instructing institutions to halt the execution of all TETFund-financed projects for no justifiable reason at all.

“You are requested to furnish the committee with the full implementation details, including but not limited to the drawings, designs and specifications for all projects procurement and services as contained in your 2024 TETFund Normal Intervention Allocation letter issued to your Institution,” the House Committee wrote to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU).

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This makes absolutely no sense. What purpose does this sort of “oversight” serve? How can you arbitrarily order the stoppage of approved, ongoing, time-bound projects in midstream, and then request details of the projects and the appearance of heads of the institutions where the projects are being executed as requirements for the continuation of the projects? If quality control and oversight were the motivation for this, it should have been before, not after, the fact.

In any case, as a policy, TETFund requires institutions to “present a strategic plan for at least 10 years, indicating the kind of projects the institution would like to undertake” before funds are approved for them in order “to avoid a situation where some institutions or politicians would hijack or stop the projects initiated by previous vice chancellors,” according to the Daily Trust.

The House Committee, in other words, is basically duplicating, albeit incompetently, the work that TETFund had done, and confirming the fears that informed TETFund’s 10-year strategic prequalification plans for institutions that benefit from their funds.

An accountant of a polytechnic told the Daily Trust that the House Committee’s pretense to performing oversight duties over higher ed institutions is an elaborate “racket.” He recalled a previous encounter with the House Committee, which asked his school to bring “Ghana-Must-Go” bags full of photocopied documents to a house hearing.

“I was really shocked when we arrived together with our rector,” the accountant said. “They didn’t ask us to open the bags; they just asked the rector some questions. Of course, they have been settled far ahead of time. Therefore, within the shortest time we were asked to leave.”

An unnamed vice chancellor shared a similar experience. “Besides directing us to come with ‘Ghana Must Go’ bags of photocopied documents, we have been forced to pay money in order to get a clean bill,” he said. “I am not sure they are even reading the documents.”

I am acutely aware that most people are too hungry and too filled with anxieties for how they will survive the next day to care about the extortion of our universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education by rapacious and conscienceless legislative bandits, but this culture should worry us all. The deeper we allow it to settle into a cultural subconscious, the more difficult hopes for a national rebirth become.

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In urging heads of higher ed institutions to resist the House Committee, Haruna Yerima, a professor of public administration at ABU and former member of the House of Representatives who became famous for his praiseworthy and uncommonly bold anti-corruption battles against both the executives and his colleagues from 2003 to 2007, said the legislative extortion of heads of institution is the extension of a broader, older culture of out-and-out legislative brigandage that he’d witnessed.

“What the VCs, rectors and provosts are complaining of is reminiscent of the ugly past where some lawmakers demanded money to pass the budgets of some ministries and agencies or screen some presidential appointees,” he said.

This is the legislative equivalent of abduction for ransom. We need to formally recognize and acknowledge that there is now such a thing as legislative banditry. I conceptualize it as the unethical, coercive, or corrupt practices by legislative bodies or their members, which encompass extortion, demanding bribes for favorable legislation, interfering unduly in administrative matters for personal gain, or using legislative powers to intimidate or exploit others.

The term, of course, derives inspirational and epistemological provenance from the quotidian banditry that Nigerians have now become habituated to. In other words, legislative banditry is banditry conducted within or facilitated by legislative frameworks.

The alleged behavior of the House of Representatives Committee on TETFund and Other Services is classic legislative banditry. The committee members are accused of exploiting their legislative oversight powers to extort money from tertiary institutions by making unreasonable demands for documentation and payments to facilitate the approval and implementation of projects that are already approved and funded by TETFund.

This misuse of legislative authority for personal gain or to exert undue influence over public institutions should be condemned by everyone who cares about Nigeria. It should also be resisted by the heads of higher education institutions.

Higher education institutions are struggling to survive as it is. That was why when it came to light late last year that the federal government had asked universities to turn over 40 percent of all their internally generated revenue to the federal coffers, I wrote a stinging column on November 11, 2023, titled “Tinubu Wants Even Broke Universities to Fund Him.”

Fortunately, the government reversed the policy after this. It has turned out, nonetheless, that it isn’t uhuru yet. Universities escaped the jaws of executive avarice and jumped right smack dab in the middle of legislative banditry. Who will save them when they appear before pampered, overpaid, and slothful legislative bandits on February 27?

Farooq Kperogi is a renowned Nigerian newspaper columnist and United States-based Professor of Journalism.

House of Reps’ legislative banditry against universities – Farooq Kperogi

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APC digging its own grave in Edo – Azu Ishiekwene

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Azubuike Ishiekwene

APC digging its own grave in Edo – Azu Ishiekwene

Nigeria’s politicians have perfected the art of burying themselves with one foot sticking out. And it appears that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will, once again, stage this rite of self-destruction in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.

The party’s primaries on Saturday was such a shambles, it has now been forced to conduct it again, with no guarantee of a sensible outcome for an exercise involving perhaps less than 500,000 members (parties routinely inflate their roll). If Governor Godwin Obaseki’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had paid to put a spell on APC, the outcome would not have been more potentially devastating.

Yet, this is a governor whose bet to install a successor from his own party is not necessarily based on his own record, but on the gift of an opposition in disarray.

After the turbulent last four years at Osadebey House between Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, it looked all but certain that the divided house of PDP would collapse when elections hold again in September.

And this was not wishful thinking. Not only has the common political front that paved the way for Obaseki’s ascension to power in his first term eroded; in his second term, he has been fighting both internal and external political enemies, severely limiting his attention and performance.

If his first term was uneventful, it was precisely because that was when the seed of the state’s future political crisis was sown. Even though his benefactor, former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, had installed him in office in the hope of replicating the Tinubu-Fashola model in Lagos, Obaseki had other plans.

The new “tuke-tuke”

Once he was ensconced in office, he made a point of telling the remnant of the Oshiomhole crowd still hanging around the corridors of power, that power had changed hands. No longer, he reportedly said, were the days of “tuke-tuke” politics, a carryover from the era of Tony Anenih, which former Edo State Commissioner for Information and presidential aide, Louis Odion, once described in Louis-pedia as a political variant that empowered touts and prioritised rent for politicians for doing little or no work.

Obaseki, the blue-eyed Lagos Boy and financial consultant, advertised as the answer to Edo State’s private sector woes, should know. He was a core member of Oshiomhole’s cabinet, now determined to carve his own path.

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When after taking power, however, he began to cut off the supply line to the trough, starving the APC’s political structure in the state of nutrition, the battle line with Oshiomhole was drawn. The former governor who had also become the Chairman of the APC at the time, used his position to block Obaseki from getting the party’s ticket for a second term.

Obaseki of course milked public sympathy and later decamped to the PDP where he contested and won re-election. As a result of his defection, he governed with a hostile, hobbled parliament. Fourteen – and later 10 – out of the 24 members of the State House of Assembly were in the opposition and they operated mostly from a hideout provided in Abuja by Oshiomhole.

Significantly damaged in legitimacy, there was very little Obaseki could do. He has spent a greater part of the last four years watching his back for a deputy who, were he in the opposition, could not have plunged more daggers in the government’s back.

Residents have borne the brunt. Not only has Obaseki replaced the old cult of “tuke-tuke” with the new cult of “yes-men,” reports from the state also indicate that there are few paved roads and other social infrastructure such as water, hospitals, and schools, especially in areas outside the capital, Benin City.

The more you look…

Not unlike a good number of the states, the doubling of the state’s internally generated revenue from N1.8billion monthly in 2016 has barely been felt in rural areas where homes are still without water and school buildings are still largely without roofs and students without teachers.

Although Edo is currently ranked above its peers in the South-South poverty league with 1.4m (out of the state’s 3.9m population) living in multidimensional poverty, a government determined to make its mark could have done far more to lift the people.

Obaseki has done well in cultivating an elite in smart suits, while keeping up a façade of performance, especially with high-profile media events like Edo Best, Alaghodaro Summit, and the renovation of the Secretariat. But as surely as the ball of pounded yam never fails to press into the straying fish crumb in the soup, these projects have been criticised, particularly by the opposition, as the government’s conduit pipes.

Edo could not have been riper for the taking than in its present state, but Oshiomhole’s ambition may well be the wrecking ball. In my forecast entitled, “What you might expect in 2024,” published last December 28, I said, “The biggest danger to APC’s victory is Oshiomhole…except the APC finds an overwhelmingly appealing candidate, the party could be in for a surprise.”

The result of the party’s “inconclusive” primaries on Saturday, showed that the surprise came early. From reports, Oshiomhole, APC’s certified nemesis in Edo, managed to suborn forces in the Presidency to hand over the party’s flag to Dennis Idahosa – a candidate that Oshiomhole’s government had once described as “untrustworthy,” the most flattering of the government’s description at that time.

But suspects have their moments of redemption. Except that in this case reports on the conduct of the primaries on Saturday showed that even the redeemer seemed so far gone in his waywardness, he suborned not only Abuja, but also one of the most notorious political conductors to supervise the primaries.

A crime scene

The result, of course, was parallel primaries. One with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers present – as it should be – that produced Monday Okpebholo; and the other, which invariably produced Idahosa, became a crime scene.

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The outcome was neither organised, even from the point of a common heist, which it was; nor was it politically strategic. Idahosa, the beneficiary of that crime scene, is from Edo South, where Obaseki, who is backing Asue Ighodalo, a candidate from Edo Central, could significantly undermine APC’s votes. A third candidate, Anamero Dekeri, even emerged from the woodwork, to claim victory!

It’s true that whether a political party holds its primaries in the motor park or at a brothel, it is not the business of non-party members. The point, unfortunately, is that we have seen that in the end, voters pay for the travesty, corruption and incompetence in the parties.

APC should have learnt that lesson in Zamfara four years ago when a court ruling invalidated the entire state election over shambolic party primaries, never mind a recent Supreme Court ruling that has further muddied the waters.

At elections, voters often have uninspiring choices – Tweedle-dee and Tweedledum – inflicted on them by party primaries that were anything but primaries. The crimes committed by politicians behind closed doors soon become public bastards, often leading to voter apathy, bitter wranglings or needless court disputes. It’s incredible that parties that can’t even manage their own affairs want a chance on the bigger stage.

PDP may laugh – and indeed it should, as it appears that the APC has already handed it the shovel to finish off the burial rites. But with Obaseki’s deputy, Shaibu, threatening to bring down the roof, it would be interesting to see how the PDP and the Labour Party, which is also having its own troubles, organise their own primaries.

If Nigeria’s elections – party, local council, state or federal – has taught anything, it is that as surely as a stumble precedes a fall, shambolic primaries lay the foundation for turbulent electoral outcomes and unstable governments.

Once again, Edo is proving that the story is not about to change.

… Azubuike Ishiekwene is the Senior Vice Chairman and Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP Newspaper Group. NNL.

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Should elected Nigerian leaders undergo psychiatric tests?

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Tunde Odesola

Should elected Nigerian leaders undergo psychiatric tests?

Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, February 23, 2024)

Guitar Boy, Sir Victor Uwaifo, is dead. But the ‘Mami Water’, which he saw at the Bar Beach and sang about in 1966 when he was just 25 years old, lives on. Today, the ‘Mami Water’ swam all the way up from the deep and boomed through a giant loudspeaker at the Ojota motorpark in Lagos, singing: “Guitar Boy/Guitar Boy/If you see mami Water o/If you see mami water o/Never, never you run away/Eh, eh/Never run away, Victor Uwaifo…” Even angels in heaven can’t resist dancing to the electrifying guitarwork of the song. 🎶Pin-pin/🎶dun-dun/🎶pin-pin/🎶dun-dun/🎶pin-pin/ 🎶dun-dun…Guitar Boy!…If you see mami water o…🎶.

A garage thug, Kilimanjaro, sings along with Uwaifo in a gruffy voice, cigarette smoke billowing down his nostrils like a fumes-belching locomotive driven by a grumpy engineman.

“That time wey Mami Water dey tell Victor Uwaifo make e no run, Nigeria never turn into jungle. Now, na Mami Water herself don dey run from Nigerians. If Mami Water and Papi Water show for Naija now, Nigerians go chop dem with dem bones and fins,” Kilimanjoro bellows, coughing big phlegm up his throat, “twah!” he spits it out. “E no go better for my enemies!”

Lepa Shandy, a busybody hawker in the park, moves from one vehicle to the other, selling a jambalaya of medicines. “If you no get wife, girlfriend or olosho, no buy dis medicine o. Make you no go tamper your landlord wife or daughter if you no wan live under bridge,” Lepa Shandy announces.

She brings out another medicine in a colourful pack. “Dis one name na Caterpillar! Make una lift una joyful faces up and behold this one-cure medicine, epa gbogbo ise. Na New Delhi in New York City dem make am. E dey cure hepatitis, glaucoma, leprosy, COVID and AIDS. Dis medicine no dey cure HIV o. Me, I go tell you di truth. Just drink am with rainwater or well water. Das all.”

“Ehs! Ehs! Wos! Wobi!,” Kilimanjaro calls out to Lepa Shandy, “Shey you still get ‘Total Restoration’?”

“Ha, e don finish, people don rush am but I go get am next tomorrow. Na dollar cause di go-slow. How many packs you want?” “I want half dozen.” “OK, I go bring am next tomorrow.”

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Lepa Shandy: “Shey, una dey see so, na my medicine those wey sabi dey ask for so o. ‘Total Restoration’ dey cure all types of worms, obesity, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, bone marrow, diarrhoea, diabetes, too much sweating, poor hearing, weak vision and fear.”

Kilimanjaro: Shey you hear say lion kill person for Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife?

Lepa Shandy: I hear di news o. Man and animal just dey vex for Nigeria. Suffering too much. No difference dey between the Ife lion and Nigerian leaders. Both no get mercy. Both wicked well well.

Kilimanjaro: Di lion for go Az-o-Roc, after e visit Az-o-Roc, make e enter legislature, judiciary and the ministries one by one. After Abuja, make e come dey enter states one by one?

Kilamanjaro: Ha! Dem go kill am!

Lepa Shandy: Kill wetin!? Na Layon I dey talk about o, no bi lion o. Layon na combination of lion and ‘anjonu’ spirit. Even bomb no fit kill Layon. You no sabi say black power dey?

Kilimanjaro: Look, me I believe in action. Make we all comot for street, block everywhere, no work, make everywhere standstill. Na di only language wey our leaders dey hear bi dat.

Lepa Shandy: You don forget wetin happen for Lekki Tollgate?

Kilimanjaro: Dem stop Lekki riot because na only Lekki di riot take place. If to say other states of the federation join, government for negotiate nah. Government dey tighten poor masses belt, dem dey loose dem own belt. All dia pikin don turn billionaire finish. Poor man no fit chop one meal a day again. Wo, me I wan listen to the great national debate for radio, biko!

Lepa Shandy: Na wah o.

Kilimanjaro: After Buhari ride Nigerian donkey to coma, e kari half-dead donkey give im paddy, Tinubu, wey no fit complain publicly because dem bi Taiwo and Kehinde, different sides of di same coin.

Kilimanjaro: (Tuning the stereo in the road transport union office) When dem go begin di debate sef?

The secretary of the park, Acapela, tells Kilimanjaro to tune the stereo to Radio Enlightenment and Freedom 700.07 FM.

Kilimanjaro: Ha! Dem just dey start di debate. Rich man pikin school versus poor man pikin school. E go loud!

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Debate Moderator: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the Great Debate! We have two schools slugging it out today. They’re Overlords Private College, Ikoyi, and Bondage Public School, Ajegunle. The topic of today’s debate is, ‘Should elected Nigerian leaders undergo psychiatric tests?’ Overlords Private College are saying NO to the topic while Bondage Public School are saying YES. The lead speaker of each school has five minutes to speak while the supporting speakers have three minutes each. I hereby welcome the lead speaker of Bondage Public School to the podium.

Bondage Lead Speaker: My name is Idris Ayomeye. I’m from Bondage Public School. I greet the distinguished chairman of this august occasion, the incorruptible panel of judges, the accurate timekeeper, my co-debaters and the esteemed audience.

(The audience roars into applause)

Bondage Lead Speaker: I’m here to support the motion that Nigerian leaders should and must be subjected to psychiatric tests. Permit me, Mr Chairman, sir, to open my speech with these two Bible quotes: Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”; and Romans 6:1: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin and expect grace to abound?” These Bible quotations sum up the story of Nigeria, a country, where wickedness and injustice rule. It’s a country where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission prosecutes and secures the conviction of a Nollywood actor, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, for ‘spraying’ the naira while the same EFCC looks the other way when Fuji musician, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, and one undignifying monarch, the Olu of Owode, Oba Kolawole Sowemimo, engaged in criminal abuse of the naira. I must commend the Egba Traditional Council for suspending Sowemimo over his disgraceful act. He should be sent back to ipebi for proper tutoring. I don’t know how some characters become obas in Yoruba land.

(Deafening applause. Kilimanjaro, Acapela and many people listening to the debate in the garage jump up in jubilation)

Bondage Lead Speaker: Mr Chairman, sir, Nigeria is a country of promise-and-fail leaders. President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the Oputa panel to try the wrongs of the past, but General Badamosi Babangida, who was accused of many wrongdoings blatantly refused to show up, and nothing happened. Babangida never appeared in court despite incriminating allegations over the death of Dele Giwa. Those who killed MKO Abiola and his wife, Kudirat Abiola, are walking freely today. One of them, a Major, is even pontificating all over the country.

(Kilimanjaro grabs a chair, puts it on his head and dances, shouting, “More! More! More!)

Bondage Lead Speaker: The Presidency, police, ICPC, rights activists, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, etc see how people abuse the naira daily, yet they look away. Nigeria looks away as public hospitals have turned into morgues, public schools have become havens for hoodlums, roads have turned into deathtraps, electricity supply has turned to darkness supply! If a country can so brazenly exhibit injustice and brutality, tell me why its elected leaders shouldn’t undergo psychiatric tests. Please, tell me why.

(Shouts of ‘Tell them!’ ‘Tell them!’ Tell them! from the audience fill the hall)

Mr Chairman: (Hits his gavel on the table) Order! Order! Order! (The hall becomes less rambunctious)

Bondage Lead Speaker: (Wipes his face with a handkerchief and sips some water) General Muhammadu Buhari promised to jail the looters in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Who did he jail? Were we all not in this country when Patience Jonathan sought a plea bargain? Were we not all in this country when Buhari and his cabal brought in a fake airline as a national carrier, spending millions of dollars on the fake airline? Can someone tell me why our leaders shouldn’t be subjected to psychiatric evaluation? President Tinubu has been in the saddle for almost a year, chasing shadows, haunting the worst Central Bank Governor in the history of the country, Godwin Emefiele, but conspicuously leaving out Buhari, whose bidding Emefiele did. Can someone tell me why our…

Kilimanjaro: Ha!!! NEPA!!! Dem don cut light for studio o! Dem don become uncomfortable o. Haa! Naija and government magic…

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

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