Tope Alabi And Gbajabiamila’s House Of Error
Fast and furious, the song and drums roar like a crash of thunder in raining season and she dances wildly like fire. Like a devil resisting deliverance, she jumps and gyrates with the skill of a striptease dancer. She dons a white Versace wear. She’s a famous gospel music evangelist. She chews widely on a piece of gum as her mouth sings His praise but her feet shuffles excitedly to that worldly dance step, zanku, mixed with a sprinkle of shakushaku, twisting and turning. She’s a disgrace to Christendom. She’s evil; nail her to the cross, they chorus.
I wasn’t a Tope Alabi fan. Not until I listened to her monster hit, ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, a couple of years ago. That song changed my perception of her as a colourless gospel artist assaulting the ear with monotonous dogma, devoid of talent, artistry and grace. I think ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’ is to Tope Alabi what ‘Ketekete’ – (The Man, the horse and the son) is to Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. It’s what ‘Eri okan’ (Conscience) is to King Sunny Ade. While ‘Ketekete’ cements the legendary of Obey as a foremost philosopher, ‘Eri okan’ affirms the genius of KSA as an unsurpassable, multi-talented artist of his generation. The brilliance that produced ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’ belongs in the evergreen realm.
Until I listened to ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, I had been put off by Tope’s alleged sex scandal with her late pastor, Prophet Elijah Ajanaku. The suspicion in which I hold self-professed men and women of God and the monologue that dominate her works had also caused me to see her songs as predictable and commonplace. In ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, Tope acknowledges the humbling birth of Lord Jesus and His predestined supremacy. She also preaches about the Holy Trinity and the ultimate ability of God, the Father, to do all things.
But with the zanku plus shakushaku dance steps she skillfully exhibited in a music video that went viral last week, not a few busybodies feel she should be tossed into a lake of fire.
The hoopla that trailed the video is rooted in Nigerians’ monstrous penchant to idolize religious and political leaders and sit them on the same throne with God. But Tope is just a two-legged mortal with a head, two eyes and a beautiful body susceptible to arousal when lovingly caressed by her husband, Soji Alabi. Though a celebrity, Tope is vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life like any other mortal – a reason why when death came knocking on the door of her father’s soul, neither her powerful voice nor her depthless compositions could turn death back.
For those who frowned on Tope Alabi’s zanku dance, here are a few sore points that they feel fall against the grain: Why should Tope Alabi, a 49-year-old married woman and mother, deftly ‘gbe bodi’ and dance like an uncircumcised teenager to Christian songs during the burial of her father? Why should a gospel singer, Christian leader and an entertainer dance so raunchily in public?
I won’t go to Israel to recall the curse placed on Michal for criticising King David, her husband, who danced in an ‘undignified manner’ before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant was taken to Jerusalem during a religious procession. I shall limit my opinion to the realities of our Nigerian sensibilities. I watched the video over and over, and I came to the realization that folks averse to Tope’s controversial dance did so because they couldn’t come to terms with the personalities of the hitherto dove-like Tope and the new eagle-like Tope. The sharp contrast between the two Tope Alabis, I think, was a major reason for the condemnation. If Tope had been known in the past to dance with reckless abandon, there would’ve been no room for the criticism. Having buried my mother at the unripe age of 63, I know there’s a sense of gratitude felt by children who have the privilege of burying their parents. I think that the sense of gratitude, joy and fulfilment felt by Tope birthed that dance.
It should be pointed out that Tope wasn’t dancing to salacious Naira Marley’s ‘Tesu mole’, she was dancing to a live Christian worship song performed by up-and-coming younger artists, who had come to support a big sister burying her father. To show solidarity with the younger musicians, I don’t see anything wrong with Tope doing the youthful zanku or shakushaku dance steps. Tope, who’s almost 50, should even be commended for having the stamina to compete with the youth in their own dance. Also, I see a dose of chauvinism in the criticism because I strongly feel that if the artist was a male, no eyebrow would have been raised. I’ve seen a number of popular male gospel artists do zanku and shakushaku dance steps in their music videos and no one has cast the first stone at them.
For being true to herself by openly showing her unrestrained dancing skills, Alabi shouldn’t be condemned. Her dance is in total contrast to the hypocrisy of the Nigerian political leadership typified, in this instance, by the House of Representatives which just ordered from overseas 400 brand-new Toyota SUVs for its members. It’s shocking that the House of Representatives could shun indigenous auto assembly plant, Innoson Motors, and ferry boatloads of foreign exchange to Japan to buy 2020 edition of Toyota SUVs when the Federal Government failed to transport Nigerian amateur boxers to Senegal for Olympic Games qualification trials – on account of paucity of funds. The callous Federal Government had shamefully turned down the request by some of the boxers, who had been in camp for several weeks without camping allowance, to sponsor themselves for the qualifying event. The boxers had been raining blows on one another in the hope of earning Olympic tickets in the different weight categories only for the Sunday Dare-led sports ministry to murder their hopes in cold blood. Giving the most absurd of excuses, the sports ministry said boxers would be sponsored to compete for Olympic tickets at the world boxing qualifiers in France. Nigerian leaders are surely walking with their heads upside down. Transportation to France will cost much more dollars. Qualifying from France will be like putting the came through the eye of the needle. Why go to France when you can get qualification tickets in Senegal? Are some people waiting to exploit the country for estacodes?
If the Major-General Muhammadu Buhari regime calls on Nigerians to fasten their belts tight, officials of government should also be seen as doing so. It’s wrong for misdirected customs officials to break into poor folks’ family kitchens in search of imported rice, turkey and toothpicks while President Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and House of Reps Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, their families and cohorts living on taxpayers money, eat foreign food, ride exotic foreign vehicles and treat the masses with indignity.
Even if it’s to score a cheap political point, it never occurred to the Gbajabiamila-led House to take up the sponsorship of just three of the boxers to Senegal by buying 399 SUVs instead of 400. These lawmakers have the latest state-of-the-art vehicles costlier than the incoming acquisitions. The Major-General Buhari-led executive appears not to have time for any other thing at the moment; it’s busy with ensuring ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members are treated with dignity, honour and love befitting of royalty. This is the change promised.
NB: Congratulations to the World Boxing Council new heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, the Gypsy King, whose victory I predicted. Fury’s victory is down to belief, passion and courage – virtues lacking in the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government headed by Major-General Buhari, a Fulani herdsman.
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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