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OPINION: Tinubu’s Karma And Osinbajo’s Ingratitude (2)

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Tunde Odesola

Until a combination of punches breaks the jaw and smashes the face into a massive mess, the fleet-footed boxer shuffles on confidence and charisma.

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Like the hyped June 27, 1988 heavyweight superfight in which Iron Mike Tyson demolished Michael Spinks in just 91 seconds, the hyped June 7, 2022 All Progressives Congress presidential primary in Abuja, similarly ended in a humiliating defeat for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Before I proceed any further, I must apologise to my readers for not concluding this two-part article last Monday due to unforeseen circumstances. Gladly, the one-week hiatus has provided me with the opportunity to view the APC delegate primary election through a multidimensional prism of insight, foresight and hindsight.

Armed with the benefit of hindsight, saddened by the failed outcome of the presidential primary, and faced with a gloomy political future, I’m almost certain the vice president would today wish for three things: to turn back the hands of time, remain unblemished and not to have contested against Tinubu.

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Uncle Yemi lulé
At the end of hostilities, Osinbajo, despite an eloquent political speech and the trademark Awo cap on his silvern head, scored a scanty 235 votes against the staggering 1, 271 votes polled by his former boss and godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose symbolic cap, since 1999, bears broken chains signifying freedom whereas governance in Lagos, nay Nigeria remains perpetually shackled with unbroken chains.

Shockingly, the erudite vice president also fell face-down yakata at the feet of a former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, who got 316 votes just as Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, got 152 votes, trailing Osinbajo with 83 votes.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Tinubu’s Karma And Osinbajo’s Ingratitude (1)

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Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, says Roman philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Verily, the APC presidential primary has come and gone, but long-lasting scars, suspicion and regrets persist.

Shortly after the vice president contested and crashed at the primary, Dolapo, his wife, tried to assuage the pain of defeat in an Instagram post to her husband, calling him, “Oluyemi, Oluleke, Omoluabi, Omo oko, Oninu re, Oniwa pele, Oniwa tutu, Ologbon, Olododo, Alaanu,” and added, “I’m proud of you.” I’m very proud of ‘Deputy Olule’, too.

The law professor wasn’t only roundly beaten, the senior pastor stands the risk of his name going down in the book of political oblivion for committing the commonest ‘sin’ in Nigerian politics – challenging a godfather, and being politically naive not to throw in the towel when a dirge was being sung for the failed ‘palace coup’.

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And every man is the architect of his own fortune. During my undergraduate days in the late 1980s, I returned home from school one day and quickly headed to a friend’s house nearby. Lanre Akintunde is the name of my friend. He’s currently a lawyer based in Lagos.

Back in the day, the Akintundes’ three-bedroomed flat along the Old Ota Road, Orile Agege, Lagos State, was a rendezvous for boys in the hood to engage in mischievous things when Lanre’s hard-working parent, the late Alhaja Wosilat, a single mother, was away to work.

On that particular day at the Akintundes’ ever bubbly house, I met some friends who were yet to gain admission into tertiary schools. They began to talk in low tones as soon as I walked in, indicative that they were keeping a secret. I left the house soon afterwards and never inquired to know the secret. But I had a hunch the whispers were about the ongoing school certificate examination.

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A few weeks later, the bubble burst and the dam broke. So, they came to my house to tell me what Messiah did. One of them, Laja, (not real name) narrated their ordeal: “A white-garment church prophet in Oko Oba area of Agege has swindled us, Tunde. The prophet, popularly called Messiah, promised us resounding success in our WAEC. He said we didn’t need to read, that we were going to see a hand, which would be invisible to others, writing correct answers on the chalkboard. He gave us white handkerchiefs to wipe our faces during the exams. He also gave us spiritual pens.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Deborah’s Blood Stains APC Presidential Form (1)

He said if we didn’t see the invisible hand writing on the chalkboard because of our sins, angels would go and fetch our answer scripts from WAEC and write correct answers for us.”

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The narrator, who is a multimillionaire today, scored ‘F9 parallel’ in the exam. ‘F9 parallel’ was a jocular term for undiluted failure when the student couldn’t record an ordinary pass, let alone a credit. Incidentally, however, all the victims of Messiah are today successful family men.

The fate that befell my friends was similar to the fate that befell the vice president, who waited in vain for Buhari to favourably deal his mighty hand in battle, and make the sun stand still at the Eagle Square, but night fell and darkness engulfed Osinbajo, his popcorn and ice cream while victory song broke out in Tinubu’s camp.

While serious students burnt the midnight oil, my friends didn’t. While Tinubu held his destiny in his hands and strategised, Osinbajo, the purported anointed candidate of Buhari, expected the President to announce him as consensus candidate. Even God helps those who help themselves.

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For Osinbajo, the unending human traffic to his office would soon dwindle, calls to his ever-busy lines would reduce, and the charm that power imbues would fade off gradually like the moon disappearing behind the clouds on its way back to the East at dawn. Sadly, Osinbajo’s name, not his backers’, would be mentioned whenever a lesson in godfather-godson tussle is taught in Nigeria. It is what it is.

As the value of Osinbajo’s stocks depreciates in the dusk of Buhari’s administration, those of Tinubu would appreciate as the APC prepares for the 2023 general election. The lionet will take backstage for the lion to roar on centrestage.

Profiting from the power of insight and foresight, I wouldn’t contest the APC presidential ticket with Tinubu, if I were Osinbajo, for the simple reasons that he brought me from classroom to stateroom, from relative obscurity to stardom, from middle class to upper class.

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During the build-up to the primary, Tinubu was called greedy, very well; but I’m yet to see any Nigerian politician whose bank deposit, after their tenure, remained the same it was when they assumed public office. There’s a Tinubu in every Nigerian politician. A certain Baptist politician who allegedly had less than N20,000 in his account before assuming power, retired into a life of opulence.

Osinbajo supporters vehemently pinned corruption on Tinubu, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If someone’s been eating from Tinubu’s largesse in the past 23 years, and never complained about his excesses, you must be unhinged to suddenly wake up and accuse him of corruption because the biggest cake in the land is up for grabs, and you have a stake in it.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Deborah’s Blood Stains APC Presidential Form (1)

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I believe Tinubu never helped those he ever helped for altruistic reasons, but for his own selfish political reasons. That’s not good. However, it’s also sickening for latter-day turncoats of Tinubu empire, who cheered while Jagaban dispensed positions and favours their way, to now cry foul when the Landlord of Lagos decides to spread his prebendal favours elsewhere.

Since the owner of bullion vans, Tinubu, who lives in Bourdillon, laid the issue of who nominated Osinbajo as vice president to rest, nobody has come forward to contradict him. I had wondered how anyone in their right senses would say Osinbajo was picked as vice president without the knowledge of Tinubu.

I also heard the argument that Osinbajo added value to Tinubu, and I agree. But Osinbajo wasn’t the best graduating law student in his undergraduate set, neither was he the professor with the highest ResearchGate score or citation in UNILAG before Tinubu handpicked him in 1999. When Tinubu nominated him above Yemi Cardoso and Wale Edun as vice president, it was for self-preservation, and not to come and topple the applecart.

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Birds of a feather, they say, flock together.

Concluded.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion

OPINION: Soyinka Sails Pyrates Out Of Emi Lokan Sea

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Tunde Odesola

During their 70th anniversary celebration that lasted from Friday to Sunday, penultimate weekend, members of the National Association of Seadogs aka Pyrates Confraternity converged on Ikeja, the capital of the former federal capital, Lagos State.

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They were a colourful sight to behold in their white long-sleeved shirts, black trousers tucked into white socks, black shoes, sashes, red regalia and red scarves bearing the skull and crossbones emblem that serves as an allegory of life’s friability.

Pyrates were not in Ikeja on sight-seeing. They were not in Ikeja to grovel before the political seat of power in Alausa. In Ikeja, Seadogs brainstormed on burning national issues and advanced the need to check the disturbing wave of insecurity across the country, calling on authorities to redirect the drifting ship of state away from the yawning precipice.

After the jaw-jaw, the confraternity, in its characteristic manner, held a massive procession along the streets of Ikeja on Sunday, singing a medley of state-of-the-nation songs, among which was the chart-bursting ‘Emi lokan’ that went straight up to No 1 on social media billboard.

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Founded at the University College, Ibadan, in 1952, by seven adventurous undergraduates, known as the Original Seven, the National Association of Seadogs is a charitable and humanitarian confraternity registered with the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act Cap 98 with branches spread across the 36 states of the federation, the FCT, and countries such as USA, UK, Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Ireland and South Africa.

The Original Seven include Wole Soyinka, Ralph Opara, Pius Oleghe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede; Nathaniel Oyelola, Olumuyiwa Awe and Sylvanus U. Egbuche. They formed the Pyrates Confraternity to fight elitism and class privilege by rich students who looked down on poor students at the university.

The idea that fertilised the germination of the Pyrates Confraternity was found in the novel, Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), on the escapades of pirates.

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FROM THE AUTHOR:2023: Niger-tuary, Land Of The Living Dead [OPINION]

In drawing up the philosophy for their confraternity, the Original Seven adopted the scant but good traits of a few pirates on Treasure Island. They distilled the good traits which include vision, bravery, loyalty, comradeship, honesty and reliability into their guiding principles called the Four Compass Points, and these are: Against Moribund Conventions, Against Tribalism; For Humanistic Ideals, and For Comradeship and Chivalry while they jettisoned bad traits such as deceit, drunkenness, corruption and hypocrisy exhibited by many pirates on Treasure Island.

The Original Seven also changed the spelling of pirate to Pyrate in order for their organisation not to be mistaken for the contemptuous sea-going bandit buccaneers that are loosely called pirates. Like Pyrates, which is a moniker, Red Devils, is also an example of a curious name borne by the renowned Manchester United FC.

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The inflection of the noun ‘pirate’ to ‘Pyrate’ isn’t new to intellectual circles; Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah, inflected the adjective ‘Beautiful’ in the title of his classic novel to read ‘The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born’.

A defunct Nigerian newspaper, Weekend Concord, owned by the winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election, the late Bashorun MKO Abiola, once headlined a story, ‘A disaster’, when the late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa, a former Minister of Works and Housing, was arrested over alleged coup plot.

Editor of Weekend Concord, Oga Mike Awoyinfa, was specifically responsible for casting headlines for the newspaper. He also cast the headline, “Drugs? Not Alaafin matter,” when someone in the entourage of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, was caught with drugs in the UK.

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According to the website of the organisation, www.nas-int.org, NAS closed down till date all its in-campus, student branches on July 28, 1984 when the despicable activities of imitator organisations masquerading as confraternities became rife on Nigerian campuses.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Ekweremadu On The Cross

The song, Emi lokan, wasn’t the first NAS would compose to lampoon bad leadership in Nigeria. They had sung ‘Ogoni people don suffer’ to decry the degradation of Oginiland, they also sang ‘Kenule Saro-Wiwa’ to lament the killing of the Ogini activist, just as they sang ‘Chicago and Toronto universities’ to criticise the controversies surrounding the certificates of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari.

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Some other notable Nigerian leaders, institutions and ideology derided by Pyrates in their songs are President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, former Governor James Ibori; INEC, National Assembly, Boko Haram, among others.

Simple in composition and rhythmic in verse, Emi lokan goes thus, “Emi lokan, emi lokan, papa wey no well, e dey shout emi lokan; hand dey shake, leg dey shake, papa wey no well, e dey shout emi lokan.” Emi lokan, is a Yoruba expression meaning ‘it’s my turn’.

It’s against the aforementioned historical background and evolution of the PC that many have seen the song, Emi lokan, as another apt commentary on governance and leadership. To this set of watchers, it was wrong of Soyinka to frown on the mocking of Tinubu, who propounded the Emi lokan entitlement theory when he staked his claim to the presidency in a famous speech in Abeokuta recently.

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To this group of people, Soyinka was protecting Tinubu because both of them are of Yoruba ethnicity. This group, comprising mostly people from the southeastern part of the country, reminded the Nobel laureate that he had called Patience, the wife of ex-President Jonathan, sheppoppotamus, in 2013.

Particularly, a lecturer, who teaches sociology at the University of Kansas, USA, Prof Ebenezer Obadare, in his article, “Wole Soyinka’s Overreach,” published in Premium Times, had criticised Soyinka at that time for the use of sheppoppotamus, a word he described as disrespectful of Patience.

It lies within the rights of Obadare to criticise Soyinka’s use of language against Patience. I commend his courage. For the purpose of the dialectics that Tinubu’s Emi lokan has thrown up, however, it should be noted that Soyinka spoke against the overbearing tendency of Patience in Rivers politics at that time on a personal level, and not as Capoon Blood of Tortuga. During the sheppoppotamus saga, the image of the PC was nowhere in sight. It was the white mane and the literary pen at work.

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That said, the image of the Nobel laureate cannot be totally separated from that of the PC, an organisation he has ceaselessly provided inspiration to since inception. Because of his larger-than-life international and national image, partisan individuals or groups are wont to make political gain from Soyinka’s connection with the fraternity. This was what Kongi was speaking against in his disavowal of the Emi lokan song.

More importantly, the song was an antithesis to PC’s time-tested values that condemn the mockery of individuals on account of tongue, tribe, creed, colour, health, association etc. NAS is a non-political organisation though members belong to various political parties, leaving the song to go unchecked would’ve put a question on the neutrality of the fraternity, and given some political parties an edge in the countdown to the 2023 presidential election.

Also, mocking Tinubu over his unconfirmed health status puts the lie to the respect African values place on the sick as encapsulated in this Yoruba proverb, “A kii ti oju oni’ka mesan ka a (you don’t mock the man with nine fingers)”

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In condemning Emi lokan, Soyinka buttresses his argument using the example of his ‘ideological uncle’, and author, the late CLR James, who ‘remained alert, lucid and combative for decades’ despite suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

If Emi lokan had criticised Tinubu for putting Lagos in his pocket, or condemned Peter Obi for the way handled some financial transactions of Anambra State when he was governor, or knocked Abubakar Atiku over the privatisation of national assets, Soyinka wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.

FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Tinubu’s Karma And Osinbajo’s Ingratitude (2)

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For the first time in my life as a columnist, I defend Tinubu because Emi lokan was an indecent blow below the belt.

Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist, columnist with The PUNCH and a guest writer with Info Daily.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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OPINION: ASUU, Keyamo And Buhari’s Profligacy

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Suyi Ayodele

Former human rights activist, Mr. Festus Keyamo is from Effurun in Uwvie Local Government Area of Delta State. I passed through Effurun on Saturday, July 30, 2022, on my way to Omadino, an Itsekiri town. Keyamo has been in government for seven years. I did not see any positive impact of his being a minister of the Federal Republic in his hometown. The roads are still very deplorable. The traffic by the popular Effurun roundabout snarled as usual. So, I was not surprised, when I saw him on national television last Friday, approving the closure of our universities, since February 14; six months ago. You definitely cannot give what you don’t have. Someone who has no empathy at home, will likely not have sympathy for the weak outside. I will come back to what he said at the interview, presently.

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When the history of Nigeria is written from its contraption as a nation in 1914, to the end of this present pseudo-democratic dispensation, the government of General Muhammadu Buhari will go down in history as the most insensitive, incurably deaf, pathologically dumb and pitiably unexciting. I refused, deliberately, to add wickedness to the qualities of the over seven-year old government of the Daura-born retired General. Since a figurine was sold to us in 2015 as a Messianic meteor from the celestial realm, the nation has witnessed negative attributes that cast the present administration as a leadership that thrives in wickedness. And it will not matter how the promoters of the government and its Hallelujah orchestra would want us to see the Buhari government. In their sub-consciousness, the promoters and the man who heads the comatose government, know that their place in history is on the negative side. No amount of window- dressing, propaganda or advocacy, like the one marshaled by Festus Keyamo last Friday, can change the verdict of history.

Since February 14, 2022, till the moment you are reading this piece, a period of 176 days, ASUU has been on strike. That is half of a year. The strike action, as we all know, was called by the Union because the government refused to honour the valid agreement it willingly entered into with the university lecturers in 2009. From the time the agreement was signed some 13 years ago, only God Himself knows how many times ASUU had gone either on full strike, warning strike, or entered into negotiations with the government. While canvassing for votes in the build-up to the 2015 general election, one of the issues on the front burner, and which the then opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, and its candidate, General Buhari, used to de-market the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, was the issue of ASUU strike. From Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the one, who claimed to have single-handedly installed Buhari, to the very vuvuzela of the opposition party and now a minister in the badly-run government, Lai Mohammed, Nigerians were told once Buhari was sworn in as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, strike by university teachers and other unions in our tertiary institutions would be a thing of the past. Nigerians believed them and chased Jonathan back to his Otuoke, Bayelsa State country home. Now, the hoi polloi are wiser. Not only has the Buhari government failed to honour the 2009 agreement, it has reneged over and over again, on the new common fronts his government found with ASUU. The cerebral union has been raped over and over again by Buhari and his deceits, such that at a time in history, ASUU went on strike for nine full months. The sad implication of Buhari’s infidelity to ASUU struck me on Tuesday last week when some children returned from their school. One of them announced: “Daddy, I am now a 400 level student o”. I stole a glance at him as we meandered through the barricades mounted on the road by some aggrieved Nigerians, protesting one of the inhumane policies of the government, and asked him about his secondary school classmates, who opted for public universities. His answer got me thinking and I was very sad. Those poor students across the country, who gained admission to the university the same year, are still in their second semester of part one, or first semester of part two! That is what Buhari’s insensitivity has done to the Nigerian children.

Unfortunately, it is the same government that Keyamo went on a national television to defend. For all he cares, ASUU can go on strike till the second coming of the Saviour because the Buhari government would not borrow money to pay them. The former “human rights activist” turned politician, asked Nigerian parents to go and beg ASUU instead of appealing to the government to fulfill its agreements with ASUU. Keyamo is not just a lawyer. He wears the Silk as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. He was noisy in his days in the human rights community. I am sure those who mistook him as one of them and as a freedom fighter, are in pain now. I am not in the least disturbed because I can differentiate noise from real sound. As a SAN, Keyamo knows the sanctity of agreements. He knows that once you put pen to paper and sign the dotted line, going back on the terms, letters and spirits of the signed document is not only criminal, but equally immoral. But he is in government. And not just an ordinary government, the one that has no single blood of humanity flowing in its veins and those of its handlers. I knew almost immediately the Buhari administration began in May 2015 that nobody would be in the administration and retain his or sanity afterwards. If you ask me, I will tell you without blinking that the first thing anybody in the Buhari government traded off is his or her humanity. Check all of them out and tell me anyone in this government who will pass the test of humanity, compassion and kindness. Keyamo asked: “Should we go and borrow to pay N1.2trillion yearly? Terrible! What the Urhobo, Delta State -born lawyer asked us is if we expected the government to borrow to get our children back to school. But what he did not tell us or ask us is how much of our patrimony his principal, Buhari, has spent on his interminable medical trips to the United Kingdom. He failed to tell us how much a pint of blood costs in a London hospital, where Buhari once spent 104 days. I take a bet that Keyamo, in his wildest activism, will dare not ask his principal how much airport charges Nigeria paid to keep the Presidential Jet at Heathrow for months, while Buhari was hovering between heaven and earth. What percentage of N1.2 trillion would the Buhari hospital bills, estacodes, Basic Travel Allowances for aides and other ancillary expenditure be?

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FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Nigeria’s Democracy On Life Support

Keyamo, again, did not take into cognizance that whenever his principal becomes invalid and hands over the nation to a cabal, the nation loses in trillions of hard currencies. He failed to recognise that our economy would have been a lot better had we been fortunate to have a president who is physically fit, mentally alert and psychologically sensitive. The SAN did not know, or ignored the fact, at that interview, that a town which makes the invalid its king does not prosper because the health of a king determines the prosperity of the town. He is also ignorant of the fact that if the Buhari administration, at its inception, had employed core economists to run the affairs of the nation, there wouldn’t have been need for Nigeria to borrow a dime. Had it been we have people, whose knowledge of basic economic theories is higher than that of a POS sales girl, our Naira would not have been left to be in its present free fall, thinking that things will sort themselves out. Keyamo, in his bid to defend the voodoo economic policies of the Buhari administration, failed to take into account that the N1.2 trillion he bandied as ASUU demand came to that figure because the administration he serves has spent the last seven years and three months blaming others for its lack of focus and directionless policies. He is deliberately ignorant of the fact that he, as a junior Minister of Labour and Employment, and his principal in the ministry, Chris Ngige, are misfits, whose trainings, dispositions and intellects have no bearing in dealing with a cerebral body like ASUU; hence they keep compounding the issues for an already apathetic government.

Again, Keyamo said: “You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion”. What a way to reason! Did it not occur to Keyamo, at that interview, that nobody has held the country “by the jugular” more than a president, who spends half of his days nursing his failing health?. Does the senior lawyer need us to tell him that by the lukewarm attitude to the issue of insecurity, banditry, Boko Haram, insurgency and killer herdsmen, the Buhari government under which he serves as a junior minister, has held and still holds Nigerians’ windpipes? If Keyamo thinks ASUU is the one trying to “blackmail you (Nigeria) to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads”, can we ask him who “blackmailed” this government to donate one million US dollars to Afghanistan? ASUU? Was it ASUU that “blackmailed” the Buhari government to lay standard gauge railway to Maradi, Niger Republic, while trains in Nigeria got stuck in the middle of nowhere because of lack of diesel? And if indeed, the government cannot pay ASUU because “you have roads to build, health centres to build, and other sectors to take care of” , as Keyamo argued, can we simply ask him how good is the road to his Effurun home town? How many Federal Government hospitals are in Effurun? Funny people!

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FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Oyetola, Aregbesola And The Palm Oil On Their Bedclothes 

But while Keyamo was at it, dissipating energy to defend his principal, Buhari had a different game. To the shame of Keyamo, his ilk in government and “the-government-is-broke” orchestra, Buhari approved the sum of N1.141 billion for Niger Republic to purchase vehicles for its security personnel! That is a government that has kept our children at home for the last six months because it has no money to pay ASUU. Talk about insensitivity; think about Buhari! I will refer you, dear readers, to my March 8, 2022, piece on this page titled: “Nigeria: The Story Of A Squatter Who Nurses A Pet Dog”. That is what Buhari does. My people say “Eniyan ti a nbo kii bo aja” – he that is living on charity to feed does not rear a dog. Keyamo said Nigeria cannot afford to pay ASUU but his master doled out N1.141 billion of our patrimony to his brothers in Niger Republic. Nigerians daily live at the mercy of bandits and are killed like poultry products yet we are supporting another country to fight insecurity. Have you seen the rickety vehicles the Nigeria Police Force uses? You wish to puke when you read some of the things this administration does. Hours after bandits attacked Kuje Prison and set free felons, Buhari jetted out to Liberia to deliver a lecture on security. How many police stations have functional vehicles in Nigeria? How many patrol vans would Innoson Motors, for instance, have given us with the N1.141billion Buhari’s Father Christmas gift to Niger Republic? When you think of those things, you will come to one conclusion: This government is not just insensitive; it is congenitally wicked!

Suyi Ayodele is a senior journalist South-South South-East Editor Nigerian Tribune and a columnist with the same paper

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2023: Niger-tuary, Land Of The Living Dead [OPINION]

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Tunde Odesola

As the Boeing 747 airliner descended at the J.F. Kennedy International Airport, spread-eagled, its massive tyres forked out, grinding the New York tarmac on the dot of 4pm.

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This was when Abba Kiyari roused from his deep slumber since the Delta airplane embarked on the 13-hour flight from Lagos, Nigeria. All his life, he had never slept for 13 straight hours before. Only a powerful sleeping drug could make him do so. When was he injected? He had no idea.

He took in his environment, slowly; he was sandwiched between two sunglasses-wearing white male Americans on the very last row of seats in the commercial aircraft. Kiyari looked across the aisle to his left, a well-built black man in suit kept a straight face with a large dog sitting beside him. Across the aisle to his right were two young ladies in black T-shirts that announced their collective identity, FBI.

“FBI?!”, Kiyari thought to himself, letting out a silent fart and two drops of urine in his pant. He lifted his right hand to suppress a yawn but the hand was snapped back by a handcuff shackled to the seat.

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Gradually, everything came back to him: The FBI had got an injunction of the Federal High Court, and served it on the Inspector General of Police: “Release Abba Kiyari for immediate onward journey to the US.”

“Welcome to America, Mr Kiyari,” one of the white guys greeted politely as the plane taxied to a stop. He unlocked the handcuff on Kiyari’s right hand.

Like the Very-Important-P he was, a convoy of police cars pulled up to pick Kiyari outside the arrival hall en route to Rikers Island Prison, Queens, New York. He appeared in court the next day and was remanded in prison custody till March 17, 2023, his birthday.

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However, it was a memorable reunion for Kiyari, his fellow compatriot, long-time business partner and fraudster, Ramon Abass aka Hushpuppi; and Obi Okeke aka Invectus Obi, another compatriot and solid internet fraudster, in the prison.

Hushpuppi: Oga Kiyari, na your face bi dis? When you land for God’s Own Country? I’m very happy to see you. (Smiles, stretches out his hand.).

FROM THE AUTHOR: Gbàjàbíàmílà: Once Upon A Thoughtless Speaker [OPINION]

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Kiyari: Hush, no be so we talk am nah. (Reluctantly shakes hands).

Hushpuppi: Oga A-K, you too see say na cast di deal cast nah.

Kiyari: But you supoz no mention my name nah. You ruined the career of an awaiting IGP.

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Hushpuppi: I no mention your name; FBI bust my phone and retrieve all our conversations and voice notes ni.

Kiyari: Wetin go come happen now?

Hushpuppi: Heaven no go fall, oga. Make you just relax and await your sentencing. Here safe pass Ikoyi and Ass–o-Rock.

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Kiyari: Me, the begotten son of President Bubu go to jail?

Hushpuppi: Even Bubu go go jail if e commit crime against America. You think say here na abbattoir like Naija? Tell your Bubu to dey pray make International Crimnal Court no open book reach the human right abuses im maladministration commit for Lekki Tollgate. Broz, you don see Obi?

Kiyari: Which Obbi? The politician?

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Hushpuppi: No, our own Obi, the Guy Man. Invectus.

Kiyari: Oh, dat one? E dey here, too?

Hushpuppi: Yes nah…Ah, see am dey come for front so.

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(Obi walks up to the duo. Greetings)

Obi: Good to see you, Abba. Which day you land?

Kiyari: Yesterday.

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Obi: How Naija nah?

Kiyari: Naija dey o, everybody dey busy with 2023.

Obi: If Nigerians wise, make dem vote for Obbi. Na im bi di messiah.

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Hushpuppi: Becos na your brother, abi? Obbi ko, Obiagheli ni. Na Bourdillion go win the election, jo!

Kiyari: As Sai Baba don allow US get me, na Atiikuu Waziri I dey support now. After e enter, e go arrange my freedom.

Hushpuppi: Atiikuu na don, Bourdillon na mafia. Oga Kiyari don port fast-fast.

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Kiyari: I don port o. But Obbi can never win.

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Obi: Why?

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Kiyari: E no get experience. Na guy man.

Hushpuppi: Correct!

Obi: No, he’s not 419, he’s just smart like Trump, that’s all.

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Is that why your people are wishing him dead?

Hushpuppi: Leave matter for Matthias. Tell your idol to declare where e get money to build personal supermarket while serving as governor. We also sabi wetin happen for the brewery matter.

Obi: Chai, see Hush dey talk about corruption o? Fear God nah!

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Hushpuppi: You no talk? Why I no fit talk about corruption? Nigeria na game and we all bi players, including the pre-sin-dential candidates. Me, I no talk say Bourdillon na angel. Na No 1 thief e be. But na im I go mobilise for even from prison here because e sabi chop and share.

Kiyari: Me, na Atiikuu I go mobilise for because na fellow northerner and professional presidential candidate. Make no hypocrite come dey do like saint for where I dey o. If no bi for wetin happen to me, I for don open Obbi yansh nah. You sabi say na thief dey know how to catch thief. See di man wey admit say im put state money inside private account come dey claim saint now.

Hushpuppi: Na di same man get foreign accounts while serving as governor o.

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Obi: Seriously, are you guys comparing Nigeria’s foremost principalities, Bourdillon and Atiikuu, with Obbi? Are you guys mad?

Hushpuppi: We no mad. E gbe kini yi wa, Bourdillon lo kan! Giam Bourdillon, na im turn!

Obi: Hush, you’re rooting for someone who owns the treasury and state of Lagos since 1999? I know we’re scammers, but, please, let’s say the truth for once! Obbi is not in the same class with Bourdillon and Atiikuu. Never! Oil doesn’t mix with water.

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Kiyari: Abeg, leave story! No bi una people dey call Nigeria zoo before? When did the zoo turn into paradise? The North will never allow your people to rule. Never!

Obi: Kiyari, you prefer to die worshipping someone who privatised all Nigeria’s assets into his pocket, ehn? America jail im senator, Jefferson, wey folo Atiiku do deal but some people big pass the law for Naija.

Kiyari: Leave us alone. We no dey jail for North.

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Obi: You, Hush, your candidate na real bat: fake origin, fake parentage. No visible investment, yet e sit on top multibillion political empire wey consist governors, ministers, senators, representatives, CEOs etc.

Hushpuppi: Who no dey fantastically corrupt among Nigerian leaders? Mention one.

Obi: No dey compare whistle with thunder, Ofe-mmanu. Pickpocket different from armed robber, Mala (fool).

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Hushpuppi: Na you sabi, Ajòkúta-mámumi.

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Kyari: Hush, leave the Nyamiri alone. Dem tink say dem wise. When Obbi queue behind Atiikuu four years ago, Atiikuu na saint. But now, na devil.

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Obi: Let’s leave pettiness, Ofe-mmanu and Aboki; Nigeria needs rescue fast!

Hushpuppi: Continue with your internet terrorism as if na only eastern votes go win di election.

Obi: Obbi is young, healthy and willing to serve.

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Kiyari: Make e carry im will go wilderness.

Hushpuppi: All Bible prophets na old men.

 

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Obi: Bullion vans, senator wife, Iyaloja daughter, billionaire son, missing secondary school certificate…

Hushpuppi: Leave am, e don repent. Obbi daughter no dey Pandora Papers?

Kiyari: What of Obbi wey list im high credit score as qualification for presidency?

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Hushpuppi: Dat na anoda misleading claim. Even me wey dey jail get highest credit score. Any idiot can have highest credit score nah.

Obi: Una sabi say Igbo bi di most enterprising tribe for Naija. We go survive if heaven fall.

Hushpuppi: Ta! Enterprising kill you there! Stinking arrogance!

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Obi: Ok, make una continue with una madness.

Kiyari: Na we own Naija.

Hushpuppi: Jaga lokan.

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Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist, columnist with The PUNCH newspaper and a guest writer with Info Daily.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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