Tinubu and the meaning of insanity
Tinubu and the meaning of insanity
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, May 5, 2023)
I possess neither the intellect of Albert Einstein nor the anointing of Apostle Matthew, the tax collector and Jesus’ disciple. I’m only a Lagos-born hunter from Igbajo, the Citadel of the Brave — an inheritance of Osun State. Unlike Einstein and Matthew, I’m no Jew, no scholar, no philosopher.
Never can I hold a candle to Einstein’s erudition and groundbreaking theories even if creation imbued me with a dozen brains plus the durability of Methuselah. Even if I spoke in a thousand tongues, I’d be unworthy to touch the hem of Apostle Matthew’s garment. One of the mouth-gaping miracles, aka ‘ise iyanu’ in Yoruba, that I know how to perform lies in the ability of my mouth to refrigerate frying-hot chicken or steaming ‘isi ewu’ goat pepper soup without flinching. I also blink and breathe – a complete trinity of miracles.
Despite my dwarfness when compared with the personae of Einstein, and Matthew, who was also known as Levi, I wish to use the privilege of my penmanship to comment on an issue these two great men had written about many years ago. The issue is i-n-s-a-n-i-t-y.
Einstein says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” while Matthew preaches that the rich shall get richer and the poor shall get poorer, and I add: if both continue to do the same thing.
But I would rather be Einstein than be Matthew. Why? The Lord commanded, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” Genesis 1:28. Me, I’m not Mathias; I cannot ‘come and die’ like Matthew, the martyr did.
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Joking apart, Einstein is matchless. His panoply of works are groundbreaking. At just 26, his innovations such as Quantum Theory of Light, Special Theory of Relativity, Brownian Motion etc planted the seeds of global advancement in the soil of boundless possibilities by providing the templates for nuclear power, Google Maps, laser invention that revolutionised agriculture, manufacturing, exploration, security and medicine, just to mention a few. Whereas taking out the gospel of Matthew from the Bible won’t render the Holy Book incomplete as the gospels of Mark, Luke and John contain almost the same essence as Matthew’s.
Insanity in Nigeria tick-tocks with the two hands of the clock counting kidnapping, unknown gunmen, Boko Haram, banditry, barbarous herdsmen, militancy and ritualism as heritages of the outgoing All Progressives Congress presidency.
Insanity is treating insecurity with levity, the way the outgoing President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has done in eight years, and expecting peace, law and order to abound. Another apostle, Paul, says, ‘God forbid’ the abundance of grace in the plantation of sin, a synonym for heaven helps those who help themselves.
Before Buhari’s tragic years, insecurity was a shy ogre booming behind the cloud, jumping out to wreak havoc, and running back into the cloud. In Buhari’s time, however, insecurity abandoned the cloud, took up permanent residency in Nigeria, physically attacking Aso Rock, violating the Nigerian Defence Academy, taking kings hostage, killing soldiers and policemen for sport, trampling on the skulls of the poor.
President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, made Buhari possible. With the èkù-idà hilt of the sword firmly in his grip after coronation, however, the king unsheathed the I’m-for-nobody sword, sending the kingmaker scampering, lest the power-drunk king walked on Iragbiji blood into the palace as rite of passage.
One hundred and two (102) international trips in a period of eight years make Buhari a top contender in the race for World Itinerant President trophy. Statistically speaking, 102 overseas travels mean that Buhari nestled abroad more than once every month with, economically speaking, nothing to show for the numerous roaming about.
When talking about the insanity of doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result, Nigeria’s political class needs a cure. President Olusegun Obasanjo had his time in the air. His godson, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, shared airspace with birds of passage in his time.
The three leading candidates in the 2023 presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Mr Peter Obi, held many meetings with ex-president(s), governors, ministers, senators, and other politicians in foreign city capitals, yet Nigeria laments dwindling foreign exchange earnings.
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A statement by the media team of the President-elect said a few weeks ago, “After a very exhaustive campaign and election season, President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to REST and PLAN his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.”
Who made Nigeria unsafe to rest and plan if not the political elite? Do leaders of sane nations go abroad to rest and plan? Our dead-from-the-neck-up leaders proudly run to doctors in foreign lands for old-age surgeries; their ostrich buries its head in the sand at home while its fantastically corrupt rump is on exhibition abroad.
Nigeria’s currencies, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines, military hardware and software, telephony, and other strategic equipment are sourced from foreign lands, opening up the country’s security to manipulation and attack. Is the country going to continue in this insane direction under the incoming Tinubu government, and expect development to fall from the sky?
That the retired Major General Buhari failed woefully in the simple task of policing Nigeria adequately is a sad fact. How the country, nevertheless, expected a unidimensional soldier with a contentious school certificate to effectively inspire the military and provide national security beggars sanity.
The primary and secondary school claims of the incoming President came out smeared under searchlight. Is Nigeria, again, not doing the same thing, and expecting a different result?
Recently, the outgoing president asked for forgiveness from Nigerians, without stating which of his countless sins he wants Nigerians to forgive.
I’ll pick just one sin here, and that’s the Nigeria Police. If Buhari acknowledges his failure in this regard, and sincerely asks for forgiveness, I think many Nigerians will forgive him, knowing full well that the police represent just a tip in his iceberg of sins even as this sin-and-forgiveness exercise is capable of bringing to closure the horror of the last eight years.
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If Buhari was a conscious President, he ought to know that the country’s underfunded, understaffed, unmotivated police serve only the rich. When you need police service in Nigeria, you pay money to private accounts of police chiefs, who assign to you the number of police officers the weight of your money can procure. The Nigeria Mobile Police Unit is the most bastardised in this respect. Mobile policemen are now posted to churches, mosques, schools, and filling stations for various amounts of money.
Policemen and policewomen who should be guarding the citizenry are now sentries in private homes across the country in Money-for-Mopol deals between moneybags and police chiefs who swindle officers on duty by giving little or nothing to the men in the sun, despite receiving money on their behalf. The racketeering within the police is now so rampant that regular and mobile policemen are secretly and unofficially drafted from state to state to do guard duty by some members of the police hierarchy who collect money for the service provided. This is the reason why police response in times of emergency is lethargic in many states of the federation as policemen, especially MOPOL, would have been posted out unofficially to guard fat dogs in other states – for money that ends up in private pockets.
It doesn’t take rocket science or juju to unravel this security information I lay bare; it only needs a responsible President to put his ears to the ground, and do the needful. The first of the needful here is a total reformation of the police by ensuring adequate staffing, good salary, training and retraining, enticing retirement packages, housing etc.
The role of the police in ensuring security, law and order in a democracy cannot be overemphasised. The incoming President, with his foreign exposure and university education, should know this. Failure of the police is one of the sins of Buhari. Aare Tinubu should take note. Giving ill-trained, hungry and angry men guns and expecting them to act sanely is like setting a beggar on horseback – he’ll ride to the devil!
Tinubu and the meaning of insanity
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).
Bola Tinubu and Nigeria’s Coat of Arm
By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, May 26, 2023)
May we consider these two sentences: ‘You are stupid’ and ‘I am stupid’? While ‘You are stupid’ may be a wrong prognosis of another individual’s personality, ‘I am stupid’ is a dispassionate diagnosis of self. The former may draw arrows from the quill, the latter may draw pity or derision from the heart.
I’ll tell you what – the depiction of the symbols on the Nigerian Coat of Arms screams, ‘We’re stupid!’ If we, Nigerians, are not stupid, after almost 63 years of age, why can’t we, as a country, sensibly define the symbols on our coat of arms?
Information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs identifies the country’s ‘map, coat-of-arms (sic), flag, anthem, and pledge’ as ‘National Symbols’.
Dryly, the ministry goes further to say, “Coat of Arms: The coat of arms of Nigeria consists of a black shield with a wavy white pall, symbolizing (sic; American English) the meeting of the Niger and Benue Rivers at Lokoja. The black shield represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two supporting horses or chargers on each side represent dignity.”
There goes the beggarly information Nigerians and foreigners alike get about the country’s coat of arms, a supposed symbol of the quintessence of Nigeria. ‘Coat-of-Arms’ in one breath, ‘Coat of Arms’, in another. When both coats ram into each other, the wreckage is the coat of many errors that we currently have.
Please, hear how the National Museum of American Diplomacy describes America’s coat of arms on its website. It says, “The Great Seal of the United States is a unique symbol of our country and national identity. The Great Seal is impressed upon official documents such as treaties and commissions. The Department of State affixes about 3,000 seals to official documents yearly.
“In 1782, after six years and three committees, the Continental Congress decided on a less abstract seal and incorporated a design that reflected the beliefs and values that the Founding Fathers ascribed to the new nation. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, designed the 1782 seal to symbolize our country’s strength, unity, and independence. The olive branch and the arrows held in the eagle’s talons denote the power of peace and war. The eagle always casts its gaze toward the olive branch signifying that our nation desires to pursue peace but stands ready to defend itself. The shield, or escutcheon, is “born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue…”
But, shamefully, Nigeria’s coat of arms parades an eagle that doesn’t exist anywhere in the plains or plantations of the country – a red eagle! And the way it stands spinelessly like a stray witch on the coat of arms, toeing the green and white arc on the black shield, is so depressing.
Even the Foreign Affairs Ministry website, sadly, has no words to describe the strange red eagle; it just perches there aimlessly, doing nothing, but its redness probably signifies the various blood-sucking leaderships that have afflicted Nigeria even before independence.
I observed that the Nigerian military has a penchant for white horses. There’s no explanation for the idiosyncrasy. But I suspect the military, like all other walks of Nigerian life, suffers post-colonial hangover. I have noticed, too, that white horses were used during the inauguration ceremonies of past Nigerian presidents in this political dispensation.
Since independence, however, no agency of government has ever explained the symbolism of the two white horses in the country’s coat of arms. Why use white horses? Why not use the more popular colour, brown? Or black, to proudly identify with our colour?
In this era of super-smart kids, what would the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, tell his grandchildren when they ask him questions about the stupidity in our coat of arms? What would Tinubu tell his grandchildren when they ask why Nigeria’s rivers Niger and Benue are depicted as white when they are not even beaches? What would he and his contemporaries tell their grandkids if they query the soundness of their forebears’ minds?
There’s also no word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on the red flowers sprouting on the green forming the base of Nigeria’s coat of arms just as the country’s motto, “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress,” inscribed on a banderole, is unworthy of mention.
A look at the website of the Embassy of Nigeria in Tel Aviv says the Nigerian coat of arms was designed and adopted in 1960. There are 178 years between 1782 when the American coat of arms aka the Great Seal was designed and adopted, and 1960 when Nigeria designed its coat of harms. How then is it difficult for Nigeria to design a truly great coat of arms that would symbolise the peoples, heritage, culture and language of this great country? If patriotism and creativity inspired the American Coat of Arms, what can we say inspired the national embarrassment we call a Coat of Arms?
Some unintelligent members of the leading political parties may turn up their noses and say sarcastically, “Of all the challenges besetting the country, is the coat of arms the most pressing issue?” And I say unto them, “Oh ye sluggards, what singular challenge facing the country has ever been confronted frontally by any government, past or present?” I add, “Ye laggards, don’t you know that the coat of arms is a country’s CV, a preview into the rai·son d’ê·tre of a nation, the essence of a people?
Speak of the devil and he doth appear! Just now, one of the white horses on the coat of arms has bolted! It’s cantering from the Eagle Square, Abuja, where they were taken in preparation for the presidential inauguration coming up in three days. The second white horse follows in the trail of the first.
Second Horse: Charlie! Charlie! Wait for me, wait for me, I’m homesick too – after 62 years. This country is all desert now, no pasture.
First Horse: (Slows down for Second Horse to catch up) Lizzie, I told you long ago that it was high time we left Nigeria, but you remained ensconced in our past colonial glory. I told you to wake up to reality, but you won’t listen. The generation that knew the Queen is fast diminishing; this new generation of Nigerians will kill and eat us one day or serve our heads to their god of money.
(Both increase their speed)
Lizzie: We are old, we can’t make it back to England on foot. I have arthritis. There’s no hay, no water…
Charlie: I got it all figured out, just follow me…you’ll be back in England by air…
Lizzie: I think we should make restitution to this country, in particular, and all other countries that we colonised – in general.
Charlie: Lizzie, no amount of restitution will assuage the sin we committed here. Remember, we call them fantastically corrupt, if we give restitution, they will embezzle it, kill and jail themselves over it. Most of the restitution money will find its way back to England before the end of the year.
Lizzie: I don’t see this country ever recovering.
Charlie: No, not until kingdom come.
Facebook: Tunde Odesola
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