The Land Of Shameless Leaders (III)
Act 4: Scene I
Deities don’t read newspapers. Humans do. Orita Gbaemu is the crossroads in Osogbo where deities are appeased in August at the commencement rites of Osun Osogbo, the globally acclaimed riverine festival that uplifts culture and restores worshippers’ souls.
From time out of mind, the Ataoja, once in every August, sits in splendour under a royal canopy on Gbaemu Road to commune with the founding deities of Osogbo and herald the celebration of fecundity, purity, cleansing, protection and wellness in the land.
Orita Gbaemu isn’t only about annual deities, however. It’s also renowned as the newspaper distribution epicentre where people throng daily to read newspapers and aerate comments on topical issues. Ironically, at Orita Gbaemu, like in all newsstands nationwide, comments are free, facts are scanty.
Today, PhD students – Kiko, Beki and Solo – are doing their individual fieldwork in Osogbo, Kano and Umuahia respectively.
At Orita Gbaemu, Kiko examines how everyday people view governance and political leadership. He sits in the crowd with a rolling tape recorder concealed in his breast pocket, listening to the drift of conversations as readers factionally engage in political whataboutism.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: The Land Of Shameless Leaders
Now, whataboutism is the knee-jerk jagbajantis common among poor members of the public who respond to truthful allegations against their political leaders or parties by alleging that the greater sins lie with the accusers.
In Nigeria’s political whataboutism, very poor folks vigorously defend allegations against their political parties or leader(s) by bringing up counter allegations that don’t clear the air on the allegation levelled against their parties or leader(s). They’ll say, “Oh, you accuse Sai Baba of nepotism and incompetence, WHAT ABOUT the stealing-is-not-corruption mantra of the Badluck years and the holier-than-thou corruption of the Ebora era?”
For a once-in-four-years measly porridge, this is the whataboutism you’ll likely get upon raising questions on the disturbing funds found in the coffers of Mama Piss, which made her enter into plea bargaining: “Who’s a saint? Didn’t Mama Piss manage her matrimonial home more effectively than the beautiful hairdresser whose ceaseless domestic fights triggered guns on A-Sore-Rock. If you’re patient and have the stomach for political stupidity, you’ll hear: “The Bullion Vans of Bourdillon are not as sordid as the Article of Halliburton.” This is what you get when the masses, who should be grieving and protesting their futurelessness, hotly argue in defence of their candidates for the title of the Most Successful Thief after Saint Sanny Abutcher, Maradona and Ebora.
Act 5: Scene 1
In the Railway area of Umuahia popularly referred to as Isi Gate, hawkers run wildly after vehicles to sell their wares. At one of the newsstands, Solo is reading a copy of ‘Light’, a fearless newspaper that constructively criticises government policies. The cover headline reads, “Repeal ex-govs, speakers pension payment now – US advises.”
Reader 1: Wetin concern US with our country?
Reader 2: What rubbish are you saying? If you can collect millions of dollars in donations from the US, you must be ready to take advice on how the millions should be spent.
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Reader 3: The US should just leave our All-Pervasive-Congress-led government alone o. Did it advise the People-Dehumanising-Party when $2bn arms funds were being shared?
Solo continues to take notes.
At the Galadima Road newspaper distribution centre in the commercially-busy Sabon Gari area of Kano, Beki mingles well with the crowd. She watches poor members of the public, who are adversely affected by government’s corruption and inaction, defend to the death insane government policies. She buys a copy of ‘The Truth’ newspaper, and sits down on a wooden bench provided by a vendor, who orders a free reader to get up for her.
A cover-page headline, “Two presidential jets go missing,” screams at Beki.
Reader 1: Irresponsible journalism! The jets aren’t missing. Both are in Dubai. One flew Baba’s daughter to Dubai while the other flew her pinhole camera there for her graduation photoshoot.
Reader II: What nonsense! At whose expense? Even the American president and his family pay from their personal purse when they embark on private trips.
Reader III: We’re not in America, we’re in paraDIES.
The second lead story on the cover page catches Beki’s attention. It reads, “Anna-B bags degree in Wait-and-Get photography, paints Dubai red,”. From the illogical to the absurd, readers feast on the story, trading allegations for and against the vampires in government.
Soon, all hell broke loose with emotions boiling over and weapons and punches replacing speech. An hour later, the police, responding to a distress call, swoop on the scene, carting away edibles and arresting innocent traders.
Anna-B is having her graduation bash inside the $24,000 per-night Royal Suite of the 7-Star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. Unmindful of political, religious and ethnic affinities, children of Nigeria’s Who-is-Who grace the occasion in luxury automobiles. The MC introduces the super-rich children as Anna-B welcomes them amid booming music and perfect lighting effects.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Obasa Allegations Should Worry Buhari, Tinubu
Anna-B: Oh, you made it here? I thought you said you can’t make it?
Moh Article: You know the airways are closed due to the pandemic. Dad had to tell one of his pilots to fly me down here.
(She leads him to the table where the scions of Ebora, Jona, Aibibi, Abutcher, Bourdillon, Hell Roof, ROtM, Weak-A, Oshy, Abbey, Ebory, Mack, etc are feasting)
MC: Make some noise for the son of 9ja’s articulate politician, Moh Article!
(The hall erupts in deafening noise)
MC: Hey y’all, listen to me real quick. I’ve the singular honour and pleasure to invite to the M-I-C, one of the land’s most gifted stand-up comedians, I-go-Faint!!!!
(The hall erupts in ecstasy)
I-go-Faint: Helloooooo sombory!!!!
Crowd: Hi, siiiiiir!!!!
I-go-Faint: 9ja no dey carry last! I’m so happy to be here tonight, I tell you. (He waits for the noise to abate)
I-go-Faint: Why una dey make noise like Magoo for custody? We funny die for 9ja: person wey dey detain people anyhow without bail dey cry for bail when dem detain am now.
(Audience bursts into laughter)
I-go-Faint: Where’s Hushpoopoo?
Audience: He dey jail!
I-go-Faint: I wish Hushpoopoo dey here make he come give una handouts to give to una fathers about how to electronically steal and transfer 9ja to white people so that dem go help develop our country quick-quick. Dis suffer too much.
(Audience screams in laughter)
I-go-Faint: This party shows the unity and love in our land. It’s the poor people on the streets, the uneducated and the unfortunate that are giving the country a bad name, portraying the country as terrorists and kidnappers’ enclave. 9ja na Turn-by-Turn Plc. You guys don dey take over from una parents. Una be the faces of Nigeria’s future presidents, governors, senators, ministers. Una fathers may quarrel occasionally, but dem dey settle their differences las-las. Why quarrel when resources plenty yanfu-yanfu to go round?
I-go-Faint: Una mothers no dey quarrel because enough time dey to gossip and enough funds dey to do manicure and pedicure abroad and also buy designers’ wears, pants, bras and bags.
I-go-Faint: Governor Pay-o-Lou do well in curbing COVID-19, but im state Assembly insist on physical sitting, a member don die now; what a great legislature led by a scandal-free Speaker!
Audience: Eko o ni baje!
I-go-Faint: Pandemic dey kill everyday but pastors and imams wan make dem open churches and mosques. Who go fight for the poor? Common man no fit think again because poverty don turn im head. Das why poor people still dey support una parents wey dey thief for government despite say na di stealing make dem life meaningless. I’ll be back after this musical interlude!
FROM THE AUTHOR: Opinion: Indabosky And The Emperor Of Rivers
Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ softly overrides the applause.
Email: [email protected]
Obaship: Will Tinubu Violate Yoruba Culture For MC Oluomo? [OPINION]
“Yokolu, yokolu, ko ha tan bi? Tinubu gbe won sanle, won ti yoke!” is a Yoruba song of victory depicting the merciless manner Oduduwa incarnate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, smashed the spine of the enemy against Aso Rock.
Hehehehe! If you lift your eyes unto the East, and ask from where does your help come, please, discontinue reading this article because your help will never come! I don’t care whatever name you call me, I care the Almighty god of Lagos has taught the children of discord a lesson. I’m glad they won’t stop crying in eight years.
They are forever stubborn and stiff-necked like a fake KDK fan – these people who eat stones without drinking water, who wolf down yestern bread from the eastern parts without drinking tea, and yet demand freshly cooked gbegiri and amala in Lagos. If they are not stubborn, they should have heeded the advice of the lipless, wetin-you-carry Oba in Lagos, who saw tomorrow, and graciously advised them to jump into the lagoon.
I think drowning in the lagoon then is less painful than the prospect of being pushed down from Asso Rock now, one after the other, breaking necks, splitting spines and cracking limbs. Long may the Lagos monarch, Kabiyesi Real One, live for his foresight and fatherly advice.
The Atlantic Ocean never rests. The enemies of Tinubu will never rest. They wailed when Bola only had marine powers, controlling the Atlantic, the lagoon and Odo Iya Alaro. Now that he’s set to control the air, land and sea, let’s see where they will run to.
Mungun, if you think the owner of the bronze mortar only controls the sea and air, where in your reckoning is his land army led by the bloody illiterate called MC Oluomo, whose eyes are set on the stool of Oshodi? Did you say that MC Oluomo is horrendous? That an agbero can never become king in Yoruba land? You’re a goat! A blind, deaf and dumb goat for that matter. Is a former recharge card seller, Tunde, (I’ll change my name soon), not calling the shots in Asso Rock today? Listen, and hear me clearly, please; anything the All Progressives Congress touches turns to rust. Go and ask the dying giant, Nigeria.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Nigeria, Let The Igbo Go
Hahahahaha! I laugh a sad laugh. Erin iyangi. I’m utterly sad and scandalised that MC Oluomo, a dropout agbero, is APC leader whom senators, House of Representatives members, House of Assembly members, local government chairmen etc bow before in Oshodi-Isolo area. Ha!!! Uncle Bola, aye ma n baje lo re e!
Why would the youth want to go to school or stay away from crime when they see the life Oluomo is living? Why won’t MC Oluomo’s sidekick, the moron called Koko Zaria (imagine the name), threaten to beat up some female artistes and even call former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Chief Bode George, Dele Farotimi, Falz, Mr Macaroni etc unprintable names?
Political patronage shouldn’t be measured by the number of skulls acquired during conquests. Patronage should be on account of hard work, obedience to law and order, creativity, innovation, enterprise, nobility etc.
Hahahahaha. I laugh a sad laugh. The king that will fetter the elephant has yet to be enthroned. Who can stop Tinubu when his mind is made up? Tell me, who will stop Alameda from enthroning a serially accused murder suspect from becoming king in Yoruba land?
Did you not see how MC Oluomo, a hooligan, was swaying anticlockwise, like a lizard on hindlegs, on the streets, distributing garri to rowdy crowds in disguised vote buying when he could simply have told the impoverished crowds to queue up and benefit from his atrocity?
Musiliu Akinsanya doesn’t understand law and order. He understands brawl and Luger. Choose: Pig and filth or MC Oluomo and bloodiness – Omoluabi Yoruba will pick pig and filth. And it’s not about being picky, it’s about not descending into anarchy.
Osun descended into disorder when it enthroned a wife beater, hemp smoker, Yahoo-Yahoo, and Canadian convict as king, Lagos will surpass that record by installing as the king of Oshodi, a reputable man of immeasurable violence, MC Oluomo, who warned the Igbo not to come out and vote during the last general elections.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Tinubu, Atiku And Political Obituary (II)
Instead of the police investigating Oluomo for his inciting remark, the police became his lawyer, saying ‘let’s take it that he (Oluomo) was joking.’ Hahahaha! Oluomo n fi iku sere. The lifetime award for the ‘Most Useless Force’ in the world belongs to the Nigerian Police Force.
Let’s even imagine some ‘eru iku’ – merchants of death – in the National Union of Road Transport Workers rape a lady or kill someone, and the case was brought to Oba MC, (imagine the crazy name), in whose favour would the lout-turned-king rule? President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Yoruba do not deserve a real-life Itu Baba Ita of the late Gbenga Adebayo comic series.
It’s bad enough that some members of a murderous transport union rode on the back of your support to trample on the law and become terror that stalks round the clock. Making MC Oluomo king as a compensation for his violence would be a sin against humanity.
Oluomo boasted in one of his insulting videos that since he knew you in the 1990s, he had been highly favoured by you. Tinubu, omo Abibatu Mogaji, imagine, MC Oluomo and his gang have unfettered access to you – you, a first-class brain, whereas millions of graduates and hard-working Nigerians can’t live on $1 per day each. Please, do not aid the illiterate Oluomo in carrying his meal offering past the mosque. Please, let your umbilical cord with Oluomo remain on the owner-dog level. Please, don’t put the blue blood of Yoruba royalty at the risk of rabies from the attack dog.
Jagaban, now that you will be President, it’s time you made away with those unconventional soldiers led by Oluomo because you will now be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Where would you keep these frankenstein monsters? You can keep them in your palace in Bourdillon, it’s big enough but they will go haywire if you put them in a Yoruba palace. ‘Omo ile ni won, bi e gbe won si ori beedi, won a ja bo’ – they’re ne’er-do-well, put them on the bed, they will still fall and sleep on the floor.
I’m a Christian, but the import of Muslims giving honour and adoration to the late Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), and also reciting for the dead and the living, the Kurisiyu prayer found in Suratul Baqara, just hit me. May the soul of Chief Obafemi Awolowo continue to find repose in the Lord. May the Lord keep the family he left behind. Will Awolowo install an MC Oluomo as king? Yes, there was a place for the Adelakuns and the Adedibus, but it was never in the palace.
If you intend development for Nigeria, Asiwaju, you shouldn’t put square pegs in round holes. Oluomo is not even a thread in any hole. He’s an abomination to royalty and decency. Yoruba obaship shouldn’t be suya and ‘paraga’ given to assuage bloody fools.
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, may the Lord bless him with many more years in good health. He once warned about the need to appoint good people into leadership positions, singing, “Ka to fi eyan j’oye laarin ilu, o ni lati je eni rere…” I’m sure you know the evergreen song, sir. Is MC Oluomo a good man? Can you allow him to marry your daughter, Oyinda?
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Tinubu, Atiku And Political Obituary (1)
Baba Seyi, choosing an oba should be a painstaking exercise – just like Nigerians took painstaking measures to elect their next president – but the Independent National Electoral Commission tossed a coin, which went up in the air and never came down, and while the people were still grumbling, INEC announced you as the winner.
Well, now that you’re president, Bobo Chicago, please, endeavour to write your name in gold through laudable policies, erasing the controversial memories of you in public mind. A good name, you will agree with me, is the passport needed for Aljanah fridaus, not stored up wealth. I wish you good speed, Your Excellency.
Tunde Odesola is a senior journalist, columnist with The PUNCH newspaper and a guest writer in INFO DAILY.
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Wellbeing Of My Constituents My Priority, Says Edo Assembly Member-elect
Honourable Bright Iyamu, member-elect, Edo State House of Assembly, Orhionmwon South Constituency says his top priority as a lawmaker is to make life more meaningful for his constituents through sponsor of Bills that will change some ancient narratives in the area.
Hon. Iyhamu who was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the February 18 election, said his dream as a Lawmaker is to work with his sister constituency (Orhionmwon East) which was won by the opposition party with a view to touching the whole Orhionmwon and it people and not his South Constituency alone.
The member-elect who disclosed this on Thursday while fielding questions from newsmen in Benin, expressed willingness to put party difference aside and work with his sister constituency representative with a view to moving the entire local government area to an enviable heights.
He said: “It is not about APC, it is not about PDP or even LP, it is about the welfare and wellbeing of the people of Orhionmwon. It is not time to talk about party A or party B, we are elected to represent our various constituencies, so I plan to call the representative from my sister constituency who happens to be from the opposition that we should work together to move Orhionmwon to an enviable height during our time.
“If Orhionmwon is changed for the better during our time, they will not say party A or party B did it, but our names will be mentioned. So, it is not about party, but about delivery.”
READ ALSO: Edo Election Tribunal Receives 13 Petitions
Hon. Iyamu who said he also desire to use his office as a Lawmaker to build human capacity of his people, added that he will be holding town hall meeting with his constituents regularly to know their needs and addressing them.
Lamenting on how his constituency lacks basic infrastructure despite being a natural gas producing area, the member-elect said: “I don’t like the fact that Orhionmwon South is not having power supply. These are some of the bills I will sponsor when I get to the state assembly. Orhionmwon as a whole is too close to the town to be in darkness.
“Orhionmwon is one of the communities that produces gas – a natural resource – but most of daughters and sons of the local government are not benefiting from it. When I get to the house, I am going to sponsor a bill to that effect.”
He added: “Education in Orhionmwon is not encouraging. Orhionmwon is a kind of place you go, in a full public school just three teachers are attending to all the students from JSS to SSS. In the real sense, three teachers cannot make any impact in a full school. So, I will work towards addressing issues like this.”
READ ALSO: How Boxer Punched In-law To Death In Edo
Asked how he felt after the presidential election which recorded many upturn, the member-elect said he was not threatened because Obidient is a movement that does not look at party but Individuals capacity to deliver in an elective position.
He said one of the major messages the Obidient Movement passed accros was that power belongs to the people and that anyone elected and did not do well would be voted out.
He added: “Obidient is not a party but a movement; the movement cuts across political parties. Obidient is a movement that when they see that you have what it takes to occupy a particular position, they support you. So, it is not a party.
“I want to therefore urge all the youths like me to stand firm in the Movement, because with the movement, whoever comes into power, regardless of the party, knows he or she has to work, because if you don’t work, after your tenure end you will not be supported irrespective of the party.”
He vowed not to disappoint his people for entrusting him the position.
OPINION: The Cults Of Lagos
By Suyi Ayodele
Those who used Oro to win elections on March 18 are already back in the churches and mosques for thanksgiving. The pastors and the imams did not chase them away. Their thanksgiving offering and sadaqah were well received and ‘blessed’. The Muslims among them will start the 30-day Ramadan fast later this week. Their Christian counterparts are observing Lent, already. I am also putting my pastorate on notice. Nobody should doubt my spirituality after this outing. Thankfully enough, I have another two weeks to do penitence before the next Holy Communion service in April. I would have been in the “State of Grace” to partake in the spiritual meal. God, forgive your son all his shortcomings (Amen). Let somebody shout Hallelujah! My people say a man lives according to the epoch he finds himself in. Let us do Oro today. First, my tribute to the owners of this world (iba awon to n’ile aye). Oro is not common. It is not a daylight affair. It is a deity that speaks to the deep of the night. The whirring sound by Oro sends fears into the spines of the non-initiates.
Oyi rerere! – The whirlwind!
Ori firi – You see it in a flash!
Oku firi – You die in a flash!
There is a town called Ikole-Ekiti; it is the headquarters of Ikole Local Government, my local government area. Ikole salutes itself as one who knows not to do with children and sacrifices one to the gods (Ikole ri hun m’omo se, han modidi omo s’ebo). There is a short story behind the oriki (praise name). In those days when humans were humans, there reigned an Elekole, who had many wives and children. Among his numerous children was a particularly beautiful one, a girl, known as Eyinjuewa (the eyeball of beauty), his favourite. Being the king’s favourite, the princess became a spoilt brat, rude and arrogant. Ikole also has an Oro festival, Isemole (complete restriction), that is celebrated till date. During the festival, no woman is allowed to come out. We grew up to know that tradition.
One day, during the Isemole festival, Eyinjuewa got into an argument with one of the oloris. Being her brat self, the princess told the olori that she, being a wife to the king, had no right to talk down on a princess, especially the king’s favourite. The two women were in the kitchen, with Eyinjuewa stirring amala delicacy. Isemole was at its peak, with the Oro at its most whirring sound. Peeved by Eyinjuewa’s arrogance, the olori challenged her thus: “If indeed you are the daughter of Elekole, go out there and see Isemole like a true child of the oba”. Game! Eyinjuewa’s pride was challenged. She forgot tradition. In her madness to prove that she was full blue-blooded, she did the unthinkable. Eyinjuewa opened the kitchen door, holding the stirring stick in her hand and ventured out. Instantly, the legend states, she dried up on the spot! Oro did not spare her. It is axiomatic: that “bi obirin ba fi oju kan Oro, Oro a gbé” (when a woman sees Oro, Oro must swallow her)! After the incident, Ikole people composed a warning song to register Eyinjuwewa’s recalcitrance; a princess born into a cult but fails to observe the tenets of the group. That is the real Oro. It is a cult that women have no role in; they are forbidden to be initiated into the Oro cult.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Why Is Emi L’okan Afraid Of Awa L’okan In Lagos?
What is the place of Oro in Yoruba religion? Yoruba traditional system is controlled by three levellers of authority. Sitting on top of the hierarchy is the Oba and his council of chiefs. That is the only segment of the ladder that is open for all to see. The second layer is the Awos, which is made of cult members (Oro) and the ogbonis (the real Osugbo and not the modern day Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF), that accommodates all Tom, Dick and Harry. The third, which incidentally is the most powerful, are the real owners of the night; our mothers, the “eye buruku abi’ga winiwini” (the bad bird with beautifully arranged feathers), the witches, and to an extent, wizards.
Oro plays important roles whenever a member of a Yoruba community is to be excommunicated. If for instance, a man commits an offence which punishment is banishment, the Oro cult is called in to escort the culprit out of the town. Such a man is never to return to the community. It is a deity that was used in the days before civilisation, to execute criminals. In 2019, Yoruba popular Fuji star, Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, KWAM 1, at the height of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode must go campaign, hinted that Ambode would be chased away from the Alausa Government House with Oro. Ambode, we all can recall today, lost the APC governorship primaries to the incumbent Babajide Sanwo-Olu. That was four years ago. Why has Ambode not been able to return to the Tinubu political family ever since? That is what an Oro does when it is employed in the case of any adversary.
The All Progressive Congress, APC, in Lagos last Saturday called out Oro cultists during the gubernatorial and house of assembly elections. The ‘initiates’ came out in their numbers and were on the street, performing ‘rituals’. I saw some of the videos. I listen to the voices of the Oros. I laughed heartily. An acada man, who was watching the videos with me, wondered why I laughed. I told him what he saw on the streets of Lagos were comedians. He did not believe me. The acada pointed out the all-white dresses and the white tattoos on the bodies of the Oro devotees and I asked him not to pay attention to the costumes or the marks on their bodies. My argument was that if the real Oro comes out, those Babajide Sanwo-Olu arinjo dramatists would flee in different directions. I mean it. My mind raced back home. I remembered Orangun (my family deity), whose cognomen is: “umole ko pa aaro re hi ku finrin finrin ke si gbohun ebeora (the deity that ‘kills’ its chief priest completely for him to hear what the gods have to say). How will Orangun be out, and some mere mortals will video it? How will Ajale be at its elements and women will be by their window blinds, recording it? Who will dare do that? Truly, Eko gba ole, o gba ole (The thief and the lazy are accommodated in Lagos). What you saw on the streets of Lagos on Saturday are not Oros. The pots and the hyssop and the concoction are not the Yoruba traditional “sesere and agbo”. But they achieved the purpose for which they were deployed. The victims of the hyssop dipped into the pots are the Igbo non-native of Lagos and others who got scared and stayed off the polling centres, leaving MC Oluomo and his goons to have a field day. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, was clear in the build up to the February 25 presidential election that it would not be business as usual. On more than three occasions, especially when he was in his Yoruba enclave, he called for Ayajo (invocations) on his enemies. I have a faint idea of the capabilities of Ayajo. I equally know that a man who openly asked for Ayajo has more than enough in his traditional kitty. It is therefore not a surprise that on Saturday, March 18, Tinubu’s APC called in the Oro Cult to save the lord of Lagos from a second humiliation.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Tinubu And My Journey To ‘Exile’
This is why I find the Oro cults the Tinubu political family employed last Saturday in its quest to secure for Sanwo-Olu, a much desired second term in office, despicable and condemnable in all ramifications. The act is a total desecration of the Yoruba tradition. Ironically, those who deployed that infamy said that they were preserving Yoruba from the domination of the Igbo. The whole exercise showed how desperate the political class are. Sanwo-Olu, I understand, is of the Christian faith. I have been searching the internet to see where and when he professed his faith by denouncing the activities of the various Oro cults called to scare away potential voters from the Saturday election, especially those whose ancestry are not Yoruba. An elder, who I tried to sound out on the matter, told me: “Iwakuwa laa wa òhun to ba so nu, lo difa fun eni ti obe re so nu to lo la Inu pepeye” (we search for whatever is lost in odd places is the diviner who consulted for a man who lost his knife and then opened the bowel of a duck to look for it). This is the level that Professor Yakubu Mamood’s INEC has taken our electoral system. Expectedly, winners and losers were declared at the end of the charade!
The implications of the Lagos Oros are grave for our democracy. As much as I do not by any iota of imagination believe that the various Oro cults that were on display in Lagos last Saturday had any potency, my Yoruba background tells me that whether a gun has a barrel or not, no one should allow anybody to point it at him. The non-Yoruba residents in Lagos who stayed off the polling centres because of the Oro are justified. So, for the non-Yoruba residents of Lagos, who got scared and stayed off the voting centres because of the Oro cults, one cannot really blame them. Who could have said categorically if those jokers in white apparels and the equally theatrical ones slaughtering one unfortunate black goat had the capacity to harm people! While the acts were being perpetrated, where were the security agents? A system that allowed the Lagos scaremongers to perpetrate their shenanigan without repercussions, has set the pace for future anarchy. Very soon, a simple dispute between an indigene and non-indigene will lead to deities walking our streets naked. And I envisage that a day will come in Lagos, when the real ‘Lagosians’ will call out their Oros and non-indigenes will follow with canes. The days are numbered when Oro will turn to humans. Then, whatever is left of the vestige of Yoruba culture will be lost.
It was the Oro cult in Lagos. We had something else in other parts of the country. In many of the voting centres in Benin City, for instance, Igbo voters were completely shut out. This is what one of the respondents told me at the Ologbosere Primary School, Upper Sokponba, where there were 61 polling units and one could count the number of non-Benin voters by the fingertips: “You no be Yoruba, no be your people say make Igbo no come vote for Lagos”? I could not ask him further questions. His argument was that if the Yoruba could chase away the Igbo from voting in Lagos, why should the case be different in Edo? Sad, but valid. That is one of the negative implications of Lagos Oro on election day. This democracy is 24 years old. Not even in the days of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s “do or die” did we witness this type of perfidy. In one of the centres in Lagos, voters had to engage the services of ferocious dogs to protect themselves from thugs, who were moving about freely on a day that there was supposed to be restriction of movement.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: On The Path To A New Nigeria?
My summation of the March 18 elections is that humanity is lost in us all. Before you contest this, ponder on what Bayo Onanuga, one of Tinubu’s media aides said, after the Lagos charade: “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigeria state. It is not a no man’s land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business”. If these words came from the Onanugas of this world, what else do we expect from the MC Oluomos! We are back in the woods of perfidy!
Suyi Ayodele is a senior journalist, South-South/South-East Editor, Nigerian Tribune and a columnist in the same newspaper.
Court Convicts Businesswoman Of N47.6m Agribusiness Scheme Fraud
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