The Crowning Of Shekau
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.
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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
Email: [email protected]
Edo Sets Up Task Force To Tackle Fuel Crisis
The Edo State Government has commenced inspection to check fuel scarcity, hoarding, and a hike in the price of premium motor spirits in the state.
According to the special adviser to the governor on media projects, Cruseo Osagie, The task force set up to regulate the product, on Tuesday, inspected fuel stations in the Benin Metropolis to check against hoarding, as well as address the issue of artificial scarcity and arbitrary hikes in prices of petroleum products in the state.
Speaking to journalists during the inspection, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Ferguson Enabulele, said the state government will carry out further engagements with relevant authorities on the matter.
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He said, “We discovered under-dispensing in some of these stations, over pricing which cannot be fully justified as some are saying the sector has been fully deregulated but there is no formal letter from the state government concerning that. So, we still stand with the old prices of these products.
“It’s a bit difficult to reach a specific position on this issue now (pricing). We will hold further conversations with the DPR Office in the State and thereafter, inform the state governor of our findings.
“We will invite owners of filling stations to engage with them also. It is when we have that information that we will now know what to do because as we stand, there is no formal authority deregulating that sector but as against what most of these petrol stations are acting on – as if the sector has been fully deregulated and they have control over their pricing.”
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He appealed to the residents to be patient as there is going to be more engagement with the Department of Petroleum Resources to arrive at an authoritative position.
Senate Amends ICPC Act, Slams 2 Year-imprisonment On False Petitioners
The Senate on Tuesday passed an amendment to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC Act with stiffer punishment for false petitioners.
Specifically, the amendment to Section 25 of the Act, now provides two-year imprisonment with no option of fine on anyone whose petitions to the commission is found to be false or intended to mislead.
This was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, chaired by Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari (APC Kaduna North).
In the principal Act, the offence of false petition attracts a fine of N100,000.
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The amendment in Section (25) (1) says Any person who makes or causes any other person to make to an officer of the commission…any statement which to the knowledge of the person making the statement, or causing the statement to be made is false, or intended to mislead shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years.
The Red Chamber had in the past, planned to streamline the operations of the ICPC with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC so as to make it more proactive.
EFCC Told To Start Probing Buhari, Leave Ortom
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been urged to start probing the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari and leave ex-Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
Unconfirmed reports had it that EFCC had allegedly invaded Benue State, in an attempt to arrest Ortom.
It was claimed that the anti-graft operatives were invited on the orders of the Minister of Interior, George Akume.
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Reacting, Ortom had said the anti-graft agency operatives were welcomed into the state because he had nothing to hide.
However, a civil society organization wondered why EFCC was looking away from the alleged corruption allegations against Buhari’s government, but opted for Ortom.
Ternenge Bendega, the President of Benue Coalition for Democracy, BCD, recalled that in August 2018, after Ortom dumped the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on account of gross insecurity and his maltreatment by the leadership of APC in Benue State, the EFCC had went after him like a rabid dog.
A statement by Bendega reads: “Yesterday, the media were awash with reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was laying ambush to apprehend the immediate past Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on alleged corruption charges. The reports however did not state what Chief Ortom’s offense was.
“The government of Muhammadu Buhari is on record as the most corrupt administration in the post-independence history of Nigeria! Trillions of naira have been stolen under the watch of “Mr Integrity”, but the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies always look the other way while the country is being raped. They prefer to oppress those who have volunteered to fight for justice, like Samuel Ortom.
“Former President Muhammadu Buhari did not hide his disdain for Ortom. He wanted Ortom removed at all costs and his agent for executing the “project” was Senator George Akume, the leader of APC in Benue State.
“Today, the EFCC, apparently following the wink and prompting of the immediate past President, has resumed the witch-hunt of Ortom? But what is the former Benue Governor’s crime? His only “sin” is his boldness to challenge the powers behind the Fulani occupation agenda. He has dared to take the tiger by the tail. Ortom is apparently the first Governor to directly question the Fulani subjugation machinery and refuse to shift even a foot backwards.
“The immediate past Benue State Governor also knew that the beast would fight back and he prepared his mind for the war ahead. In the last couple of weeks, he often told his audience that he was ready to visit the EFCC if the commission wanted him to appear before it. What is not clear is why the commission would want to arrest a man who is willing to answer charges against him.
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“EFCC has exhibited the height of impunity by its selective war against financial crimes in the country. The situation where the commission harasses innocent citizens on politically motivated grounds is unacceptable.
“We task the EFCC to beam its searchlight on corrupt officials in the immediate past administration of President Buhari who turned the national treasury to their personal estate.”
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