By Suyi Ayodele
In Yoruba family sociology, children are categorised into three broad groups. The stratification is determined by the character portraiture of the child. The first category is called Omo Ojú – a child who requires just a glance from the parents to do the right thing. Omo Ojú is the ideal child any parent would wish for. He is the disciplined one who takes redress by the mere look of the parents. Most often than not, an Omo Ojú does not even require the presence of the parents before he or she behaves very well. A typical Omo Ojú is that child who says “my parents must not hear this” (omo obi mi o gbodo gbo). Omo Ojú behaves very well not because the parents are harsh on him or her, but because he/she is the well brought up one and attaches importance to the family name. Omo Ojú goes out with the mother and is offered food by their host. He/she refuses, politely, to take the food. The mother, if the host insists, merely says: “we just finished eating before coming”; even when they have nothing at home for their next meal and Omo Ojú nods his/her head in affirmation. Omo Ojú is an Omo Alálúbáríkà – the blessed child who gives no trouble to the parents.
The second category of children is the one known as Omo Ohùn or Omo Òrò – a child who requires you to talk to him or her before he or she behaves well. An Omo Ohùn or Omo Òrò, at times, requires the parents to say some unprintable words before he/she acts according to the acceptable norms of the society. He/she is not usually the delight of the parents. The parents shout, threaten or curse for them to fall back in line. These are the type of children you often hear their parents say: “even the creator knows I am not quiet about your matter (Eleda na mo pe mi o dake lori oro re). The father, for instance, in his peak of frustration asks if he indeed is the biological father of such a child. When that happens, the mother becomes dejected because her fidelity is being interrogated. Yet she knows that the father knows the truth but the behaviour of an Omo Ohùn or Omo Òrò is why the father queries the paternity.
The third category is the worst of them all. He is called Omo Igi – a child that must see the cane before he acts well. Omo Igi is the typical picaro of the worst form. Anywhere he is, there is trouble and chaos. He is as indecent as he is incorrigible. An inorigibe, Omo Igi goes back to the same offence almost immediately after a reprimand. Among his peer group, he causes chaos. In his family circles, Omo Igi is the allegorical Àjàntálá – an unruly child; the enfant terrible. He is an àwíìgbó (listens to no counsel), an àbéìgbà (refuses entreaties); a typical olóríkunkun (an irritant, stubborn being). Above all, an omo Igi acts only in his own wisdom. No matter how organised a place is, once an Omo Igi enters, peace takes a flight. He is an oníjàgídíjàgan (a compulsive trouble maker). He is also an àjàígbólà (when he fights, he does not know when to apply the brakes); the typical fight-to-finish element. The only thing an Omo Igi understands is thorough whipping or in the alternative, to be completely ignored. It is useless to persuade him to toe the path of honour. Nothing satisfies an Omo Igi unless he is disgraced and dishonoured. No parent wishes to have an Omo Igi as a child. No society desires his type. Most often than not, in the family and the larger society, an Omo Igi turns a pariah. His innate hubris of bad mannerism follows him anywhere he goes. He acts such that the larger society thinks he is not well brought up (aláìlékô). But the truth is that an Omo Igi is a typically well-brought up child, who throws overboard all his home training; hence he is called an àkóìgbà – impervious to training.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Oyetola, Aregbesola And The Palm Oil On Their Bedclothes
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, held its convention on May 28 through May 29, 2022, where it elected its presidential candidate. In the keenly contested primaries, the former Vice President and itinerant politician, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, won with 371 votes to defeat the incumbent governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who scored 237 votes. Ever since the election, the party has known no peace. What finally triggered the self-destruct voyage the PDP is navigating at the moment is the choice of a vice-presidential candidate. While Wike swallowed the bitter pill of defeat at the primaries, it was reported that Atiku made overtures to him to be his running mate. Wike, it was further gathered, was persuaded to accept the offer. In fairness to him, he never lobbied to be Atiku’s running mate. Atiku, the candidate, without any inducement, set up a selection committee to assist in picking a running mate. That was the beginning of the unending crisis in the opposition party. Atiku, for reasons best known to him, turned down the majority recommendation of the committee he personally set up and chose to pick Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate. His argument: “my running mate would have the potential to succeed me at a moment’s notice, that is, a President-in-waiting. In other words, the person must have the qualities to be President”, is what is stoking the embers of disunity in the party. Without being magisterial, I daresay that that statement is most ungentlemanly in content and un-presidential in delivery. Wike never lobbied to be anybody’s running mate. If Atiku decided to withdraw his initial offer, he could have done that without rubbing salt on Wike’s injury. There are some words that are too pregnant with meanings. Atiku uttered some at the unveiling of Okowa. Wike has the right to be angry. I would have been angry too if I were in his shoes. But even at that, his anger should be devoid of the tendencies to destroy the very house that has given him shelter in the last two decades. Why do I say so?
Wike’s open romance with the ruling APC in recent times is unbecoming. It shows a deep-seated bitterness. That, in itself, is as ungentlemanly as the initial offence. His rebuff of virtually all attempts to bring about peace tells much about his character. Hobnobbing with the APC at this critical moment, to me, is a psychological war of attrition against the PDP. I think, and very strongly too, that the PDP should ignore him! Otherwise, the party will be molding him into a Frankenstein monster that may turn out to be the party’s nemesis. My people advise that you cut the branches of an Iroko tree when it is too young; when it grows, it requires a daily sacrifice from you. Wike, by his romance with the APC, is embarking on a journey to political adultery, of which his Man Friday from Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, holds the patent right. It is a journey to political oblivion. People simply don’t learn from history. Bukola Saraki, in 2014, led some PDP governors and leaders to walk out on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Eagle Square. He thought he was on top of the world then. Where is he today? It took Bukola just eight years to bring to ruins the legacies his late father, Oloye Olusola Saraki, built over decades. The Kwara ‘o to ge’ movement swept him off the Kwara political ladder. Today, Bukola is struggling for relevance and he is back in the same PDP. In his Rivers State backyard, Wike has a living lesson. Rotimi Amaechi, as a sitting PDP governor openly despised Jonathan and practically became the APC’s ATM machine, counterbalancing the financial war chest of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As a minister of Transport, Amaechi concentrated almost every project in the North, thinking that his APC friends would hand over the party’s presidential ticket to him. They only allowed him to run around the Adokiye Amesimaka Stadium. When the real race began at the APC presidential primaries on June, 8, 2022, they shoved him aside. Ever since, who has heard anything about Amaechi again?
Wike can toe the same line. He can tear down the PDP for all I care. What have been the benefits of the PDP to the Nigerian masses, anyway? The worst that can happen to the PDP is the loss of the 2023 presidential election. If that happens, does Wike gain anything? He will only go into political oblivion like Fayose. The shout of “Oshokomole” attracts opprobrium on the streets of Ekiti today. Wike, if he likes, should invite General Muhammadu Buhari to come and commission projects in Rivers State so as to “pepper” the PDP. The shame of his political folly will soon come pouring on him like the rains after the August break. Atiku, at Okowa unveiling, said he wanted a running mate that is presidential in character and content, I felt it was too insulting to the person of Wike. But events in recent times have come to prove that the Waziri Adamawa was eternally right. When a man is accused of having a massive alimentary canal, he controls his gastronomical tendencies. I ask: is there anything presidential in the conducts of the Rivers State governor in the last few weeks? Where is the finesse of that exalted office? Where is the ‘Excellency’ in the prefix of his designation as a governor of a state? Atiku offered him the vice presidential slot, yes! Atiku set up a committee to select a running mate for him, OK! The committee selected Wike in a vote of 14 to three, so? Atiku went ahead to pick Okowa, what again? Is that why the house should collapse on everybody? Is that enough reason why Wike should become rabid in his anger against the entire leadership of the party? Granted that he sustained the party financially, as some are wont to argue, with whose resources was he able to accomplish that? Personal family inheritance or the patrimony of the Rivers people? Come off it! Truth is Wike is becoming an Alásejù – an obstinate person. My people say alásejù, péré niíté – the obstinate gets easily disgraced.
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It is usually difficult for a woman introduced to whoredom to retrace her steps. Someone, somewhere, has introduced Wike to the Lagos political whoredom. He is already in the web of the lords of political adulterers of the South West and the leech, which leads that gang, does not let go of whatever it holds. It is unfortunate that Wike would allow a common political harlot to lead him to his political Golgotha! The sad thing here is that unlike the Saviour, who resurrected three days after His Golgotha experience, there is no such grace for Wike. The choice is his’. PDP should dare him and put an end to the bully’s war of attrition. Bashorun Dele Momodu has put the issue in proper perspective. PDP is the only solid platform that Wike has, he counsels. All other political sand is sinking sand. If Wike likes, let him burn the bridge and kill the bridge builders as well. He is like a leech which threatens to kill the dog, its host forgetting that once the dog dies, the leech goes into extinction! I saw an inscription on a building in Ogbomosho some years ago. It reads: “Àdàbà ò ñáaní àhún kùn’gbé. Pápá njó, ęyé lo; kétékété kú, ìsó pin “- the dove does not care if the bush is set on fire. The bush burns, the bird flies. When the donkey dies, its tethering ends. That should be instructive to Wike. The one egging him on towards the slaughter slab of the Lagos whoremonger is finished, politically. He is now looking for more victims in a “da bi mo se da” scheme. How do I translate this? It simply means: join me in my sorry state. If that is how Wike wishes to end his political Odyssey, the PDP should wish him luck. No omo igi ends well in the first instance. Nyesom Wike will only be fulfilling his strata of atavistic regression!
Suyi Ayodele is a senior journalist, South-South/South-East Editor, Nigerian Tribune and a columnist with the same paper.
How The UN Aids The Powerful To Exploit Their Weak
As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari took the floor in the general debate of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (GA) last Wednesday, his family had a big personal celebration in mind.
“Congratulations to Mrs. Zahra B Buhari on your graduation with First Class Honors in Architectural Science,” his wife, Aisha Buhari, had written of their daughter-in-law on Facebook the previous day.
Such moments are of great joy to every family. But the lady was graduating from a university in the United Kingdom. In Nigeria, which Mr. Buhari has led for nearly eight years, universities have been shut down for seven months on account of a legitimate teachers’ strike for which he merely wants to punish the teachers.
Still, when he bellied up to the microphone, Buhari spoke curiously of “enduring values.”
“…If my years in public service have taught me anything, it is that we must keep faith with those values that endure. These include, but are not limited to such values as justice, honour, integrity, ceaseless endeavour, and partnership within and between nations.”
It is in such moments that you realise just how much the United Nations institutionally betrays the world’s weakest. Yes, the general debate must have sounded like a wonderful idea four decades ago when the organisation was being set up: an opportunity for Member States to come together and reflect.
“Reflect on what?” someone in a committee must have asked.
“Emm…emm…on anything they please!”
“Okay! Anything they please.”
Officially, the organisation describes the debate as “an opportunity for Member States to raise any topic and statements often reflect issues of importance to the Member State.”
If that sounded promising in 1946 when the thoughts of the founding fathers were lofty, it is now no less than the definition of smoke and mirrors, a device by which the organisation anoints the world’s most hypocritical leaders as they come to cast themselves as saints and heroes.
Remember: When Buhari spoke in his first general debate in 2015, it was the 70th GA, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, of which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a part, was being introduced.
Buhari identified the core objectives of poverty eradication and reducing inequalities as being “precisely at the centre of Nigeria’s new Administration’s agenda.” With the SDGs, he declared, “we have the opportunity to improve the lives of people not just in the developing world but in all nations.”
He bragged that his government was “attacking the problems we inherited head-on,” including “inequalities arising from massive unemployment and previous government policies favouring a few people to the detriment of the many.”
The following year, he told the 71st Assembly, “Fighting corruption remains a cardinal pillar of our administration. Corruption freezes development, thereby undermining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that our efforts in fighting corruption are yielding positive results including significant stolen assets recoveries…We are also strengthening our capacity of government entities to institutionalise reforms to ensure transparency and good governance.”
That was 2016, coincidentally the year Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world. Not only did Buhari also stop mentioning the SDGs by name, his government has yet to address poverty and inequality in any structured or serious sense. So much for “the opportunity to improve the lives of people…”
As for corruption, the Buhari era has become Nigeria’s worst, with such countries as the US writing warnings against re-looting into MoUs for repatriating funds.
More debilitating has been corruption in the desecration of values and institution, and abandonment of accountability and common decency.
Consider: when Buhari arrived for the GA in 2018, First Lady Aisha had just ordered the arrest of her aide-de-camp, alleging that he had failed to deliver to her large “donations” of about N2.5billion received as gifts for her. That was the corrupt and crooked being made to sound respectable.
Consider also that in September 2018, Buhari’s APC re-election forms of N45million were bought for him by an unknown group called the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network. That was a gift the “anti-corruption” leader was happy to collect, in violation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in Part 1 of Schedule V of the constitution.
And consider that in January 2020, Buhari gave use of the presidential jet to his daughter for a class assignment. In the US, President Barack Obama would have been impeached had he authorised one of his daughters to use The Beast as an Uber. President Joe Biden would be impeached were one of his children to use Air Force One on a personal trip. It is corruption.
The point is that away from the podium of the GA, Buhari has superintended an administration that is contrary to what he advertises. It is one of contradiction, vacillation, duplicity, and political infidelity. The government refuses to be held accountable, as demonstrated by the scandalous annual reports of the Auditor-General since 2015.
It is why Nigeria is no less than a failed state. It is now one of the world’s most insecure countries (partly arising from Buhari’s refusal to confront and disarm the rampaging Fulani herdsmen); bandits and kidnappers menace and kill everywhere; corruption thrives because Buhari’s APC seduces and rewards the nation’s biggest crooks, and never identifies those from whom it has recovered public assets. In an administration which proclaims itself to be fighting corruption, it is the corrupt who dominate the land.
In Buhari’s Nigeria, it does not matter that the universities are closed; there is an abundance of excuses and grievances but neither electricity nor jobs; manufacturing has stalled; the naira is on its deathbed; air and road travel have almost collapsed; following an attack on a commuter train on the Abuja-Kaduna line last March, the government cannot even operate any service.
In Buhari’s Nigeria, inflation is the champion; poverty is deepening; his nepotism has divided Nigerians broadly and diminished society deeply.
To hear Buhari at the general debate on Tuesday, however, and to see how slavishly his aides were quoting him on social media, none of these has happened. There is “Justice, Honour, Integrity, and Ceaseless endeavour.” Where and how?
If Buhari thinks indebtedness is wrong, why does he borrow recklessly only to beg for debt cancellation? For a government which has shown such disdain for the separation of powers, how has it “promoted the rule of law”?
By the time Buhari leaves in 2023, there will only be seven years left of the 2030 Agenda and that “opportunity to improve the lives of people.” When will he tell us what he has achieved?
These contradictions are possible because the UN has—in practice but contrary to The Charter—taken sides. In effect the general debate provides that if you are powerful enough, you do not have to be held accountable. That makes the UN as dubious as the leaders for which it covers up and guarantees perpetual conflict in the developing world.
I charge the UN with connivance and complicity. It must write accountability, particularly for leaders in their final appearance or facing re-election, into a new game plan.
OPINION: The Skeleton In Ibadan
“And who is my neighbour”? This interrogation came from a lawyer, who came to tempt the wisdom of Jesus Christ on the issue of love. The entire encounter is recorded in the Gospel according to Saint Luke 10: 25-37. We shall come to that story later. But now, let me tell you a personal story that gave me a very pragmatic definition of neighbourliness. Some years ago, I was in my hotel room in one of the states in the South-East on an official assignment. My mobile phone rang around 2.00 a.m. I struggled out of sleep to check who the caller was. Alas! It was my elderly neighbour, Reverend Amadin Obakpolor. What? Reverend? 2.00 a.m? Jesus! I was alarmed. I picked the call, my heart palpitating, I waited. The old man, who happens to be the Odionwere of my street, said he heard some noise in my compound, and knowing that I had travelled, he decided to call me to find out what was amiss since he did not have my wife’s number. I was a bit relaxed and thanked him. I immediately put a call across to my wife and I asked her what was happening. Her response was that the baby of the neighbour at the boys’ quarters had convulsion and only the two of them were at home, the young father of the baby too having travelled. She assured me that the baby had stabilised and that he would be taken to the hospital at daybreak. I called the Odionwere back and thanked him for his concern. By 5.30 am, my wife called back to say: “Daddy (the Odionwere) is here”. The old man woke up that early to check on them before dashing out to pursue the day’s assignments. I will never forget that act of friendliness and commitment to good neighbourliness. That incident brought back my Anglican rhymes of “whosoever you have the capacity to help is your neighbour” (Eni kéni tí’wo bá Nipa láto se ìrànlówó fún o, òhun na lenìkejì re, tójú rè). The rhyme is encapsulated in the Bible passage above, which our children’s teachers at the All Saints Anglican Church, Oke-Bola, Ikole Ekiti, tagged: “The Parable of the Good Samaritan”.
African culture is built around the family system. African traditional sociology holds that a man’s family members are not necessarily people he shares blood affinity with. For instance, a Yoruba man and an Ebira man living in Australia will naturally consider themselves as brothers because they are Nigerians. My Yoruba culture teaches that you roll over in your sleep on whoever sleeps close to you. That, in essence, means that when the need arises for urgent help, you call on those living in your neighbourhood. They are not necessarily going to be your blood relations. Brotherliness is a universal concept in Africa and the underlying factor is undiluted love. But things are changing nowadays. “Civilisation” has caught up with us and we have lost the bond of unity that was once the fulcrum of our daily life. Lagosians are the worst hit. Neighbours in the same house don’t see one another for days. In some extreme cases, most parents hardly see their children before bedtime as they are caught up every single day of the week in traffic, and are forced to leave home in the wee hours before the children wake up. Maids, in some homes, have replaced mothers. Little wonder that the spirit of Agape Love is fast receding. We are losing our humanity, we are losing our compassion. Our society is gradually refraining from the homogeneity that Africans were noted for. We have taken the new concept of “mind-your-own-business” to a ridiculous level.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Buhari, Monkeys, Snakes And Termites
This is why it is for a man to die and his skeleton was not discovered until after four years! I read the story over and over again in the Nigerian Tribune of Friday, September 9, 2022, on pages 21 and 22. The headline: “Community In Shock As Landlord’s Skeleton Is Found In His Room 4 Years After Last Seen”, was promo on the front page of the paper. I read the story with disbelief. It happened in Apete area of Ibadan. The story, which is very bogus on the paper’s online as https://tribuneonlineng.com/community-in-shock-as-landlords-skeleton-is-found-in-his-room-4-years-after-last-seen/, tells a gory account of how humanity has lost its form. The skeleton of the deceased, John Aderemi Abiola, could be seen on his bed. Terrible. His neighbour (are they neighbours?) said he was last seen in December 2018. They only cared to check up on him after snakes started crawling from his bushy compound to a neighbour’s house. The narratives from Abiola’s “neighbours” are out of this world. What type of neighbours would keep silent when they discovered that one of them was not seen for years? Excuses! The chairman of the deceased’s Adeosun/Idi Orogbo Landlords’ Association, Mr. Oluwafemi Omilana, explained that while Abiola would always pay his dues, “we noticed that he didn’t associate with others and he came to landlords’ meetings just once. His house has a high fence and was constructed at the back with a big space in front to the gate. We started noticing his absence in the community, although he didn’t mostly stay at home. He used to travel to Port Harcourt in Rivers State”. So for four good years, that is some 48 months, the “neighbours” assumed that Abiola had travelled. Yet he told them he would be back for the 2018 Ileya festival!
Grasses began to grow in Abiola’s compound and it turned out to be another forest of, possibly, a thousand demons, inhabited by reptiles. When the crawling animals would not allow Abiola’s next-door neighbour to enjoy the peace of his home (and he too moved in two years ago), the landlords association decided to do something. They hired some labourers to clear the bush and then they made the discovery! You are wondering why it took the association that long before they decided to do something. You don’t have to be an agriculturist to know what it looks like for bushes to grow in a compound for four years. The deceased’s car was said to have been covered up! Granted: Abiola was a recluse. Granted, again, his fence is also high, such that nobody would know what was going on in the compound. But ask, when the occupant died on his bed, was there no offensive smell coming out of the compound? Or is everybody in the neighbourhood hyposmia or anosmia? The secretary of the association, Pastor Olusola Bobade, affirmed that Abiola was paying his monthly dues regularly and even paid for the rest of 2018 in October and from January 2019 through September 2022, when the skeleton was discovered, the deceased did not pay again. That should raise curiosity. The excuse that the association reported to the police and was advised to hold on till “his return so that it would not lead to litigation on trespassing”, does not speak to our humanity. How long did they have to wait? Goodness! By the time the Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” game of the Apete residents was over, this is what they discovered of their once regular-dues-paying member: “his skull, showing that he was gap-toothed in front”. Abiola’s skeleton was discovered on his bed, every part of his figure detached, with his boxers around his waist. He rotted away in that position the way humanity rotted away on those who avoided, what my late father would call “sobolation”- busybody.
But Abiola’s case is not the only evidence of lost humanity in our dear nation in the last few weeks. Just this last Friday, September 9, 2022, a member of staff of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, Prince Carter Oshodin, committed suicide at his Umelu Community in the Upper Sokponba area of Benin City because he could not pay his bills. Due to the strike action by university workers across the country (academic and non-academic), their employer, the Federal Government, withholds their salaries. In the last seven months, this set of Nigerians have not earned a dime. Some of them are couples, with children, working in the same setting. Schools resumed in Edo State and other states of the federation on Monday. Oshodin had two lovely daughters. He knew that without a salary, the lovely girls would not go to school. He could not bear the sight of his children staying at home while their mates are in school. He decided to end it. That was an extreme decision, no doubt. Killing himself has also not put his daughters back to school. Why would a man not face his challenges and opt for suicide?
Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist, who was regarded as the father of sociology, wrote “Le Suicide: Étude de sociologie” (Suicide: A Study in Sociology) in 1897. He identifies four types of suicide: egoistic suicide, altruistic suicide, anomic suicide and fatalistic suicide. The scholar posits that “the structure of suicide rates is a positive function of the structure of a group or class of people’s social relationships and those social relationships vary according to their level of integration and (moral) regulation” and that the term suicide relates to all cases of death “resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result”. Of the four types, anomic suicide is most relevant t Oshodn’s case. Anomic suicide, the French scholar opines, occurs as a result of lack of social direction and individual’s moral confusion. These, Durkheim says, happen as a result of failure of economic development. In a simple sense, anomic suicide is a by-product of a society without orderliness; “a state of moral disorder where people do not know the limits on their desires and are constantly in a state of disappointment”, especially when people go through extreme changes in wealth and economic ruins.
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Oshodin belonged to the category of anomic suiciders. Oshodin’s union, the Non Academic Staff Union, NASU, called off its strike three weeks ago. But the inhuman and draconian policy of no-work-no-pay of the government caught up with him. Because humanity is lost in the government; because the government seeks to throttle everything and everyone that objects to its poor treatment of the citizenry, a promising life was cut short and two lovely daughters left fatherless and a young lady became a widow. Before Oshodin died, he was said to have approached some friends for help and nothing came. Probably, everyone is also affected by the economic strangulation of the present government.
Jesus Christ, in the passage earlier quoted above told the lawyer the following story of a man from Jerusalem, who was robbed and injured by his attackers, who left him half dead. A priest passed by the way and did nothing to help the victim. Ditto a Levit, the very elect of the Lord into priesthood. Later, a Samaritan came by the way, picked up the robbery victim, dressed up his wounds and lodged him in a safe place with deposit for further upkeep. Jesus then asked the lawyer: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers”? The interrogating lawyer answered: “The one who had mercy on him”. Jesus replied: “Go and do likewise”. How many John Aderemi Abiolas do we have in our neigbourhoods? How many Prince Carter Oshodins are looking for the next meal for their families in our immediate environment? Can I impose on you, dear readers, the injunction of my Lord Jesus: “Go and do likewise”? Know that every act of kindness withheld is an indication of dead humanity. Let my pastor note: this is my evangelism for the week! Permission to be absent on Saturday, sir!
Suyi Ayodele is a senior journalist South-South South-East Editor, Nigerian Tribune and a columnist with the same paper.
Queen Elizabeth: Saint Or Satan? [OPINION]
When two horses gallop without the clippity-clop sound of thudding hooves, chances are they are floating. Yes, the two white stallions charioting Queen Elizabeth floated towards Heaven’s Gate in a cloud of fire amid the evergreen Christian song, “Across the Bridge,” made popular by the late American country music singer, Jim Reeves.
Clad in her trademark hat, diamond-embedded suit, and gold-encrusted white gloves, she waved her right hand slowly as the chariot wafted through white and blue clouds while the song, “Across the Bridge, there’s no more sorrow…,” played in the background.
The Pearly Gates came into full sight after the giant bell chimed 96 times and the dirge, “Where We’ll never Grow Old,” began in a slow-pitch instrumental, “…Never grow old, never grow old/In the land where we’ll never grow old/Never grow old, never grow old/In the land where we’ll never grow old…”
The serene ambience of Heaven’s Gate was rowdy this morning. It’s true the dead don’t bite. But they do protest, just like they are doing this morning. Dead citizens from almost all the 56 countries making up the Commonwealth of Nations, which the Queen headed while alive, had stormed Heaven’s Gate, bearing placards with various inscriptions, urging the banishment of Elizabeth to hell.
Some of the placards read, “Here comes the Queen of Slavery,” “Elizabeth lineage disrupted God’s earthly order, she doesn’t deserve paradise,” “Elizabeth’s Britain: The most corrupt empire ever,” “Elizabeth, Hypocrisy Queen,” “The world would’ve been better without Elizabeth’s bloodline.”
The angels had a tough time controlling the surging protesters, especially those from Nigeria, where hate had replaced national conscience, and pessimism had pummelled patriotism into submission, leaving ethnicity, intolerance, nepotism and treachery as enduring branches on the tree of corruption.
“We no go gree o, we no go gree…,” the Nigerian protesters chorused, looking for discarded tyres, matches and fuel, but Queen Elizabeth was calm and unmoved, stern and unblinking in her bulletproof chariot.
When they couldn’t get anything to burn, the protesters later changed their song to, “Water run away my eyes,” mentioning epochs like colonisation, the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria, the looting of Nigeria’s artefacts and resources by Britain, among others.
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Also, the protesters shouted ‘Three gbosa’ as they mentioned the names of some departed activists such as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Mallam Aminu Kano, Chinua Achebe, Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Tai Solarin, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose pictures they held high up.
Simultaneously, many deceased Caucasians rose from the back of beyond and rallied to the defence of the Queen, chanting and spoiling for a free-for-all – all floating at Heaven’s Gate.
In the midst of the cacophony, the Queen calmly stepped out of the chariot, and walked towards Heaven’s Gate, her pedicured feet fleeting on the wavy clouds. But the Nigerian protesters rushed to the gate, their hands interlocking to form a barricade of bodies.
With the fire in her eyes protesting the unheard-of affront, the Queen, in a controlled tone, said under her breath, “Blimey! To what do I ascribe this crackbrained display of irritability? Is this the reward for civilising a backward people without history?
The Nigerian protesters roared in unison, calling attention to the Queen’s use of hate speech: “Did you hear that, Angels Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel!? She thinks she’s still in her empire built with the sweat and blood of blacks.
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Queen: Blast and fog! The earlier you know enemies aren’t permanent, only interests are, the better your understanding of global politics and power, and the more profitable it’s for you.
Protesters: Shame! Britain undermined Nigeria!
Queen: Lie! Britain saved Nigerian masses from the feudal oppression of greedy leaders who sold fellow Nigerians into slavery for mirror, gin, gunpowder and foreign food.
Protesters: If Britain didn’t colonise us, we would’ve been a superpower today?
Queen: On my life, Nigeria would have remained a merciless jungle dominated by wife-snatching and land-grabbing feudal lords, where only the rich and powerful thrive. Britain couldn’t colonise Ethiopia, though we tried. We couldn’t break their unity. Mark you, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, India, and New Zealand were former British colonies doing wonders today.
Protesters: You bequeathed a terrible political heritage to us, forcing the weak and unenthusiastic North on the strong and progressive South.
Queen: You allowed that preferential sleight to become an albatross when the South-East sought to upturn the political order by killing military leaders mainly from the North.
Protesters: Stop that divisive rhetoric! The South-East didn’t set out to annihilate military officers from other regions, it was a military coup in which logistics and plans went awry.
Queen: Tell that to the marines!
Protesters: Every country you set foot in becomes a story of pilferage, pillage and plunder.
Queen: I colonised Ghana, too. See what Ghanaian leaders have made of their country, see what Nigerian leaders have turned Nigeria into. Why did former Prime Minister David Cameron describe Nigeria as fantastically corrupt? It’s because billions of Nigerian dollars are stacked in foreign banks.
Protesters: Britain is also guilty; it colludes with Nigerian leaders to syphon Nigerian funds abroad…
Queen: Shut that latrine you call a mouth! Did Britain collude with Abacha to relocate the Central Bank of Nigeria abroad? By Jove, you have no idea how much other leaders stole from 1976 till date. When I administered your country, electricity was constant, roads were good, hospitals were functional, there was no ASUU strike, there was employment, life had meaning. It’s my bet that Nigeria of the slave trade era was better than Nigeria of today because life had a price tag then, it wasn’t as brutish and valueless as it is today.
(The protesters began to break off gradually, slinking back to the underworld one by one)
Queen: Did Britain also induce your prodigal leaders to jump on planes to London for mere meetings they can hold in the excellent Nigerian weather? Does that singular act not show that shame is a scarce commodity among your political elite? I’m very proud to lead a small country in population and landmass into the realm of global power. Love, kindness and patriotism are key components lacking in your country’s leadership.
Few remaining protesters: You’re the poisonous contaminant that polluted the confluences of our separate rivers, and made us sick, cancerous and vulnerable till date…
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Queen: She ignores the few remaining protesters, peacocks majestically to the gate and asks Angel Michael who sits before the Book of Life if her name is in there.
Angel Michael: I have searched the Book of Life seven times, not once did I find your name therein.
Transfixed, the Queen goes pale, then red, and blank, sweat oozes from every pore on her body. The cool, heavenly clouds gradually turn into harsh, dry wind, becoming hotter by each passing second.
Tunde Odesola is a senior journalist columnist with The PUNCH newspaper and a guest writer here in INFO DAILY.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
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