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The Crowning Of Shekau

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Tunde Odesola

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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?

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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.

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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.

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I-Sha: Strategy?

Boo: Yes, and an art of war.

I-Sha: Art of war?

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Boo: Haka ne! It masks the mind’s construction from the face.

I-Sha: Mind’s construction?

Boo: Exactly!

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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?

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Boo: Yes.

I-Sha: So?

Boo: I need to go and answer him or should I tell him to come into the bedroom?

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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.

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Interlude
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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!”

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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: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

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Student Docked For Alleged Threat To Life, Stabbing Another With Bottle

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A 26-year-old student, Victor Adegbulugbe, was on Friday docked in an Ogudu Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for allegedly stabbing another with a broken bottle on the head and back.

The police charged Adegbulugbe, who resides at Kazeem Street, Ojota, Lagos, with counts bordering on assault, a threat to life, grievous confrontation and breach of peace.

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He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Prosecutor, Insp Donjor Perezi, had told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Jan. 19, 2023, at about 9 a.m. at Muwazani hotel, located on No 22 Ogudu road, Ojota, Lagos State.

Perez told the court that the defendant stabbed one Akeem Adebare during an altercation and threatened the lives of Sharon Eunkoroh and Ibrahim Adebare that he would kill them with a gun.

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He said that the offences contravened the provisions of Section 175, 56 (1)(a), 168 and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

According to Section 173, anyone found guilty of the offence will be liable to three years imprisonment.

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The Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Tanimola, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000, with two sureties in like sum.

She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government.

Tanimola adjourned the case until February 15 for mention.

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Heavy Security In Osogbo As Osun Election Petition Tribunal Delivers Judgment

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There is heightened security in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, in anticipation of the judgment to be delivered by the Osun gubernatorial election petition tribunal.

The tribunal secretariat had on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, announced that judgment on the petition filed by Adegboyega Oyetola and the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) against the victory of Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been slated for Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Heavily-armed policemen and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were stationed at the Osun Secretariat of the APC, the SWAGA campaign office, the Adegboyega Oyetola campaign office and the Imole House campaign office of Governor Ademola Adeleke.

Also, heavily-armed security personnel were stationed at the Osun State High Court, the venue of the tribunal seating.

The road leading from the Service Lameco area to the Osun High Court has been heavily cordoned off, while from Oke-Fia has also been blocked.

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However, residents in the capital were observed going about their normal routine, with the only cause for concern among commuters being the lingering fuel scarcity.

The tribunal is expected to commence seating at 9 am on Friday.

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Recall that Adegboyega Oyetola is challenging Ademola Adeleke on two grounds; Adeleke’s educational qualification and the issue of over-voting during the July 16 governorship election.

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Experts Advocate Strict Action Against Gender-based Violence

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Experts handling gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria have charged authorities to stop paying lip service to the crime and begin to match words with punitive actions to deter perpetrators.

Dr Offiong Enang, the executive director of Gender And Development Action, (GADA) on Thursday in Calabar during a three-day event disclosed that feeling sympathetic towards GBV survivors was not enough.

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The three-day training of Gender desk officers in Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in Cross River was organised by the Coalition for the Promotion of Gender Justice, CPGJ.

Enang said: “Government agencies, Civil Society Organisations and every Nigerian must make noise with facts and vote resources for this fight; we need to stop behaving as if GBV is for other people when it is everywhere around us.

“If perpetrators see that people are doing nothing other than just feeling sympathetic, they will continue but when people respond by carrying out some activities, then the perpetrators would be afraid.”

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Speaking further, she said Nigeria should tell itself the truth as it concerns GBV even as she demanded that real data of GBV be put out in the public domain for everyone to see that the malaise was high in the nation.

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On her part, Mrs Victoria Emah-Emah, Executive Director, Neighborhood Carewell Foundation, said for the GBV fight to be effective, proper case management including referrals is imperative.

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She urged different groups to carry out proper referrals of cases.

She said: “Different persons and groups have different competencies, no one can provide all the services required by a survivor.

“There is need for partnership to ensure effective care of a survivor from psychosocial to medical, legal, protective and all other support required.”

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