It’s 2:30am but she lays wide awake in bed. Her disturbed mind, with the measured precision of an expert blacksmith, tongs each issue troubling her mind on the anvil and sets the hammer to work, forging shapes into metals, burnishing hope into a grave polity. I-Sha needs to quickly find an elixir to the two ailments plaguing her husband – deafness to reason and numbness to reality.
The thoughts came pouring down her soul like snowflakes in winter – white, feathery and beautiful yet icy, bone-freezing and deadly. She gently turns on her side, pulls the succulent duvet under her chin and lolls up on the kingsize bed, glancing at her husband sitting on the chair by the lamp.
She looks at the lion she married several years ago and sadness fills her heart. In place of the lion, a cat she sees. Though still slim and suave, the bouncy confidence has departed the gait of the man she adored. Boo, as she fondly calls him, was efficient when he donned the green khaki – only needing to open his mouth, and a horde of subordinates would fall over themselves in submissive obedience to his command. But this democracy babariga is too large and too complicated for Boo to wear. With his gangly frame, he always seems lost in the billows of the parachute the agbada of democracy has turned into. In democracy, Boo seems like a whale stranded on seashore. In the military, the zombie structure masks his inadequacies.
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I-Sha: (She clears her throat) What’s going on, Your Excellency?
Boo: Menene, I-Sha?
I-Sha: What’s going on in your government? Don’t feign ignorance, you know what I’m talking about, Your Excellency.
Boo: It’s midnight; you need to be in bed, sleeping.
I-Sha: I’m in bed. I’ll sleep when you put my mind at rest.
Boo: Picks his teeth.
I-Sha: You see, that’s what I’m saying; it’s about 3am and you’re picking your teeth. You ate at 8pm, you’re picking your teeth at 3am! Whenever there’s an urgent issue, you pick your teeth.
Boo: I-Sha, picking my teeth is a strategy.
Boo: Yes, and an art of war.
I-Sha: Art of war?
Boo: Haka ne! It masks the mind’s construction from the face.
I-Sha: Mind’s construction?
I-Sha: So, you know the strategy and art of war, and Boko Haram has been feeding the flesh of your soldiers to the birds? You know how to mask the mind’s construction from the face, yet you can’t do anything without your rough-riding relative, Haba Kia, and the manipulative Mammon Dowrat, who have completely seized power from you.
Boo: What do you mean?
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I-Sha: Who gives commands to your service chiefs? Who gives directives to ministers and heads of government agencies? Nigerians know who they voted for, but they’re amazed how another C-i-C emerged in Kia. They also know that Mammon is the voice on the throne. The masses are utterly disappointed in you, muji na. You deceitfully kept the promise of change to their ears and shattered it to their hope.
Boo: (His phone rings, he picks it) That’s Mammon calling. He’s in my private room.
I-Sha: Mammon calling?
Boo: I need to go and answer him or should I tell him to come into the bedroom?
I-Sha: (Exasperated, speaks in Hausa) Is it Mammon who should answer to you or you answer to Mammon?
Boo: This is a democracy; everyone is equal.
He gets up and leaves the bedroom. Tears roll down I-Sha’s eyes.
Both Dowrat and Kia greet as Boo steps into the private room.
Boo: Why is everybody shouting your name all over the place, Kia?
Kia: (Chuckling) I don’t know, Your Excellency. I must be doing something great.
Boo: Even I-Sha won’t sleep; she’s worried. They say you and Mammon have taken over governance. Do these people know anything about devolution of power?
Dowrat: Anyone can say whatever they like. An urgent matter of state brought us here, Your Excellency. It’s the coronavirus.
Boo: Oh yes, I heard that the coronavirus is now in Lagos. What’re you doing about it?
Dowrat: That’s why we’re here.
Boo: Good. What’re you doing?
Dowrat: We need to embark on vaccination of cows against the dreaded disease before it leaves Lagos for the North. We need about N20bn for the exercise.
Boo: Coronavirus is a very deadly disease, Mammon! Will N20bn be enough?
Kia: We’ll manage it and take N300m from the N386m earmarked for the treatment and prevention of the disease from being transmitted among humans.
Boo: That’s ok; humans can talk, cows can’t.
Kia: When I leave here, I’m going to look for a professor of virology and appoint him as the head of government’s intervention on coronavirus initiative for cows.
Boo: Will you appoint another professor of virology to oversee the remaining N86m earmarked for human vaccination, treatment and prevention?
Kia: The disease was discovered in Lagos, not Kaduna, Your Excellency. A primary healthcare officer will be ok for humans.
Boo: You this boy, you’re very wise. I don’t know why everybody is shouting coronavirus! coronavirus! Kenya has suspended all flights from China, South Africa has evacuated her nationals from China.
Kia: People from the North don’t travel abroad, so we don’t need to evacuate anybody.
Boo: Even Ateekoo that I defeated is advising that I suspend flights from countries affected by coronavirus. What does that one know about governance?
Dowrat: I wonder o, Your Excellency. His former boss from the rock city has gone mute after your re-election
Boo: You’ll soon begin to hear his voice when the new policy comes on stream.
Kia: Which of the lofty policies? Is it the one seeking southern land for herdsmen? Or the one seeking to criminalise resistance to herdsmen killings?
Boo: No, it’s the bill seeking to crown Boko Haram leader, Shekau, the Shehu of Terrorism; grant amnesty to repentant Boko Haram members and allow them enjoy foreign education.
Kia: Haa! Those bills? They will just shout and keep quiet. When they refused to allow rugga and Boko Haram was killing them, they shouted and shouted and stopped. This one also, they’ll shout and keep quiet.
Boo: I like it that the bill emanated from the senate. If it was from Azo Roc, they would’ve, by now, been burning tyres on the streets.
Kia: Don’t mind them, Your Excellency.
Boo: Have you spoken to Shekau?
Kia: Yes. He’s very happy. Particularly, he loves the policy that seeks to enlist his members into the army. He even expressed his desire to head the joint Army with its headquarters in Sambisa.
Dowrat:Lofty as these policies are, we need to be wary of the western world; you know they like poking their noses into people’s affairs. They’ll make an issue out of the babies Boko Haram mistakenly threw into bonfires. They’ll listen to the false allegation that Boko Haram is a terrorist group that kills and rapes.
Boo: People don’t know that everything that has an advantage, has a disadvantage. Did Odion Ighalo not profit from the coronavirus outbreak in China? This is why I’m not going to worry myself banning flights, setting up quarantine centres or providing any support. What will be, wll be.
Dowrat: We should even thank God the disease was discovered in Lagos, like the Ebola case. The coronavirus would’ve been uncontrollable if it broke out in the North.
Boo: I’ve said it; everything that has an advantage, has a disadvantage. They said I should sack service chiefs, I refused. If I had sacked them, would we be having this wonderful partnership with Boko Haram today?
I-Sha, who overheard all their conversation, looks through the door and shouts, “Takulahi!” meaning “Fear God!”
One of the men countered, “Allah ya halince ka!” meaning, “May God punish you!”, and he goes after I-Sha.
Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist and a columnist with the Punch newspapers
$23m Abacha Loot: Group Drags Buhari, Malami To Court Over Nigeria’s Agreement With US
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari over the agreement between Nigeria and the United States for the repatriated $23 million stolen by Sani Abacha.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is a respondent in the suit.
The agreement signed in August followed the $311 million Abacha loot returned by America in 2020.
In suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to direct the President and Malami to make the details public.
The body wants to know the mechanisms put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.
SERAP noted that the repatriated $23 million is vulnerable to mismanagement as a substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 remains unaccounted for.
The suit filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe relies on the Nigerian Constitution, the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations.
The lawyers said Nigerians look forward to the court’s favourable judgement as they are entitled to information about the use of public funds.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit which was instituted on Friday.
Delta Community Presents Akanigboro III To Chief Priests Of Ijaw Kingdoms’ Gods
Heir to the traditional stool of Akanigboro, King John Falabu Court, Akanigboro III, a priestly stool of ancient Mein Dynasty, has presented himself to the chief priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms.
Akanigboro III, addressing the chief priests at Ezebiri in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, who came from the various Mein kingdoms, including from Mein ancestral home of Ogobiri in Bayelsa State and various Mein Kingdoms in Delta State, said he sought to present himself to them to inform them of his ascension to the ancient stool after much hesitations and refusal to the wish of his ancestors.
The meeting, which started with prayers to God in recognition of His supremacy over all creatures, featured questions, answers and advice.
Responding to questions of scrutiny from the chief priests, Akanigboro III, who went into historical lane, said: “The Akanigboro stool is a priestly stool and original kingship stool of Mein, progenitor of Mein clan, who was the first on the stool, being Akanigboro I.
“When Mein passed on, his son, Akan, ascended the stool and was Akanigboro II.
“When Akan passed on, there was a development that stalled the ascension process of a new ruler on the stool, which situation lingered for centuries with the kingdom in disarray without a ruler.
“It was this situation that led the children of Mein to leave our ancestral home, Ogobiri, in the present-day Bayelsa State, and migrated down to the present location called Western Ijaw, where they founded communities and kingdoms. More so, it was that same development that led the heir to the stool to migrate to the present location, Kpakiama and which history is known by all Mein descendants.
“Now, when I was growing up, I began to receive messages from the ancestors in my dreams that I’m the chosen one to ascend the Akanigboro stool, being a descendant of Ogubo, but I did not heed to the dreams.
“But, as time went on, seers from various places started telling me that I’m the chosen one to ascend the stool.
“With all these signs, I was hesitant until it got to a point I was disturbed by the ancestors which forced me to present issues, first to my family members, then to the people of Ogubo-ebede quarters who, in turn, presented me to Kpakiama urban community that I’m the chosen one and that I’m ready to ascend the stool of Akanigboro.
“However, the leadership and people of Kpakiama urban community received the news with joy and prayers to bring alive the ancient stool of their progenitor with the assurance that they’re ready to do the needful to ensure the Akanigboro stool takes its rightful place once again.
“The essence of calling you to converge here is to formally inform you that a chosen heir has ascended the ancient stool of Akanigboro. I was supposed to visit all communities in various Mein Kingdoms to inform you, but to make it easier, I opted to call all of you to Ezebiri. More so, I have earlier visited our ancestral home, Ogobiri, before this gathering here”.
In their response, the priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, speaking through the chief priest, Mirror of the gods, Ezebiri, Chief Godwin Oroupade, thanked him for informing them and said that the Akanigboro stool rules over only three communities in Mein Clan, stressing they had no roles to play in his priestly stool since he’s not ruling over Mein Kingdoms.
Oroupade, who is the Eseduo of Kerebiri-Mein kingdom and Chairman, Priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, said: “We have heard you. The Akanigboro stool is well-known but it’s not ruling over all Mein Kingdoms. “Therefore, we’ve no part to play in either confirming or accepting you.
“We, after our deliberations, have resolved to inform you that your stool is not ruling over Mein Kingdoms but it’s ruling over the children of Akan who found three communities, including Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri.
“So, we advise you to go and consult with your people, and if they accept you and your coronation is made ready, we, chief priests of the gods of Mein Kingdoms will come and celebrate with you.
“Again, I want to emphatically state here that no chief priest is having dominion or rulership over another in Mein Kingdoms.
“We’ve just formed an association where I’m the Chairman and I’m never a superior to any other chief priest, nobody is superior to anybody. We’re all chief priests in our various areas of abode and never a subject to anyone.
“We threw so many questions at you because of the misinformation about this gathering, as some people alleged that we’re preparing to install you in this gathering, which is unfounded because we’re no part of the Akanigboro stool, hence, we don’t have the powers to do so.
“So, go and consult with the people of Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri on the way forward for your stool”.
However, Akanigboro III thanked them for the warm reception and advice and promised to speak with his people for the successful resuscitation of the ancient stool.
Obasanjo, Okonjo-Iweala, Agbakoba Suggest Solutions To Nigeria’s Challenges
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Director General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former President, Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakogba were on Saturday among Nigerians who suggested solutions to the challenges bedeviling the country at the 113th Anniversary of Kings College.
The anniversary titled, ‘Building the Nigeria of our dreams,’ was organised by the Kings College Old Boys’ Association.
Obasanjo who led the Kingsweek 2022 colloquium which was held at the Kings College, Lagos, said Nigeria as a country was poor, insecure, and had other challenges because of its choice of leaders.
The former Nigerian leader said, ‘‘We are politically divided, economically disunited we are nowhere, we are down the drain. Diplomatically, Nigeria is not at the table. Before, we had sent troops to Sudan, Seirra Leone but today, we can’t send troops to the Republic of Benin. There are three races in the world, white, yellow, and black. For now, America is leading the whites, the Chinese are leading the yellow race, and Nigeria with 225m people is created by God to lead the black race. When we stop disappointing ourselves we can take care of the continent and the black race. Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity, or political division.
‘‘It is the advertently or inadvertently choice of our leaders. It is not God’s choice for us. If God hasn’t chosen that for us we can do better. For Nigeria, we have done a few things right but we have not continued to do it right. We need a government that understands Nigeria and Africa which will be fair and sincere with Nigerians, together with the right government, this nation can become the right leading country to develop Africa.’’
In her speech, Okonjo-Iweala said her dream was for a Nigeria in which 95 per cent of the people had access to potable water, quality education, and more women participation in the political and economic life of the country.
‘‘Nigeria can fight poverty, and improve people’s lives if it is properly managed. Our revenue sources are not diversified we depend only on one revenue. Nigeria lacks a sacrosanct social compact in the country, there should be a guideline that dictates certain things that should be sacrosanct. We should have guiding principles to decide our we manage, save, spend and take vigorous actions on our revenues. As a country, we need to have certain indicators of how our economy should be governed. If we do this, we have so much to gain.
‘‘We have had episodes showing we can sustain strong growth, all we need is to work on all key indicators and move in the right direction.
‘‘If we build a strong governance we need to choose our leaders wisely, we need to ensure we build a strong foundation, we need to get our leaders to accept social compact that will take us into the future.’’
Agbakoba said, ‘‘We have been to a lot of conferences and it is time for us to face the real question. We will never come out of this if we don’t sit and ask ourselves if we are really one until the infractions are tackled. Do we wish to be one because this marriage was imposed on us? What marriage do we really want? Why have we excluded all the nationals at the national conferences we have had?’’
Another guest speaker, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, enjoined Nigerians to get involved in the political and electoral processes, saying lack of appropriate and quality leadership, selection process, and criteria while choosing leaders were a major challenge in the country.
‘‘Since 1999 till date, there has been a remarkable decline in the quality of leaders. Lack of appropriate selection and criteria in Nigeria’s leadership and electoral process. The country’s challenges cannot be addressed by bad leaders who have come into power through the faulty recruitment process.’’
Former president of KCOBA, Dr Sony Kuku, added, ‘‘If we have the right people who love Nigeria if we can get people into governance without godfatherism, ‘Ghana must go’ the better for us. The older you are the more you want Nigeria to be together.’’
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