Ha! Atiku, You Again!


Ha! Atiku, You Again!

By Taju Tijani

Note: This article was written over 7 years ago. Atiku is unravelling yet again in 2018 as the most confused and Nigeria’s greatest political hustler and prostitute.

Pundits, political commentators, columnists and studio discussants have all bemoaned the sheer rascality of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) convention in Abuja. That Atiku, the chief mourner, should ended up as a hectoring, vituperative and toxic grammarian against President Goodluck Jonathan is unsettling many disciples of genteel public conduct. Nobody, not even his PDPian cousins, ever thought that the urbane former VP carries the genetic imprint of a negative epigrammatist. What catalyzed the overdrive of his acerbic tongue was the fear of losing the primary to his arch foe, President Goodluck Jonathan. At last, the Jobian debacle found a bitter fulfilment: what he feared most eventually happened to him. He lost and lost brilliantly. Atiku was unplugged!

Thursday January 13 was a date with fate. A day when fatalists celebrate fatalism. The whirlwind of fatalism washed Atiku ashore in a spectacularly tsunamical fury. Rather than walk in from the cold all wet and jittery, Atiku soaked himself in baleful bile against a humble Jonathan who later emptied his political dream. Landslide became respectable once more as a political lexicon on that fateful day. Atiku Abubakar, like his political cousin Ibrahim Babangida, is a restless politician still prowling the grassland of this blessed nation for delicious game to feed his voracious appetite. His former position of Vice President gave him that rare chance to hunt and he hunted as far afield as Dubai and South Africa stashing up the old trophy of his hunting days. Atiku, Obasanjo, Babangida and Buhari have all proved right the theory that former leaders could only live fulfilled lives only when they are the cynosure of political activity.

Atiku’s shattering fall hinged on manifold circumstances, all of them typical aberrations of Africa’s political class. First, Atiku calibrated his lustful neighing for power on narrow ethnic irredentism of an ancient political order of a bygone era. He worked on the emotion of his Northern sympathizers as to make Jihadism a no contest. The disappointment of it all was that the destiny of Jonathan would not allow the old hegemonic contradictions between the North and South play out as to serve the wilful desire of Atiku. Even, the Jonathan magic worked its sorcery on neoconservative wannabe Northerner like Bukola Saraki. Saraki turned out to be a bad tooth and a foot out of joint in Atiku’s bid for victory at the PDP convention. A hard lesson in placing confidence in an unfaithful man. Saraki was the burglar who stole Atiku’s coat in cold weather.

And Saraki, being a pragmatist rat, unleashed the most fatal blow of the primary’s shenanigan and delivered his Kwara fiefdom to Jonathan. Enfeebled by Jonathan’s sorcery at the moment of decision, Saraki had to opt out of the antinomian deal requiring his support for Atiku and further damaging the myth of an impregnable Northern political hegemony.

Secondly, Atiku started on a wrong bellicose footing. He opened a floodgate of nasty spat with an incumbent Jonathan who calmly and methodically seized on the lofty dream he has for a future Nigeria. Atiku cavilled more on the old corruption charges levelled against Jonathan by EFCC when he was in charge of Bayelsa State. The irony here is huge. A case of a pot calling the kettle black. Atiku’s handlers in going for Jonathan’s scandalous money laundering scam may be shameless victims of amnesia. Patients of memory barricade! As at the inception of the primary contest, Atiku had the controversial PTDF indictment hanging like a sword of Damocles on his head. On the day of the primary, a devastating, character-sinking advert of US Congressional investigation of Atiku’s unresolved money laundering littered all the dailies. Atiku’s past became fair game and a treasure trove for Jonathan’s men to dig for dirt and death.

Thirdly, Atiku’s gratuitous attacks against the PDP when the honeymoon was over were exhumed. Jonathan’s men converted them to long nails that sealed off Atiku’s coffin. There were relentless public reminders of the damning and damaging comments he infamously made when he morphed from a sceptic PDPer to a converted ACN.

His epic migration from PDP to ACN and back to PDP is a stuff of political harlotry of Adamawan orientation. He fulfilled the proverbial dog returning to his own vomit and by extension, a fool repeating his folly. This restless political hustler and prostitute is in 2018 doing the same thing – moving forward and backward. Habit die hard you might say? Hmmm!!

Alternative theories clustered around his fall like steel filings to a magnet. Atiku is perceived as dynastic-driven, irascible, tyrannical, bellicose zealot, lover of political turmoil and hero of hectoring dissonance against political foes. Atiku’s combative language deployed so assiduously mirrors the unbroken command and control mentality of the North toward uppity Southerners looking for power- power which the North has long hijacked as their birth right! He led a political rebellion against both the PDP and Jonathan through the firestorm fusillade of rebellious words. While the ugly effusion lasted, he committed sin against public decency all the way. All agreed that his political obliteration was a just and resounding punishment for his hubris. Atiku, while the primary election lasted may have injected opprobrium, colour, malice, anger, tribal antipathy, jealousy and abuse into the sterile governance of Jonathan, but was he ennobled by it all or brought down to earth from his ethnic perch?

Did his sermons announce him or was he announced by his own ill-sounding sermons? Articulating Atiku to be disarticulated even in Adamawa, his home state, announced the obituary of his political life. However, there is life after politics. He could do a John Stonehouse, the errant New Yorker who assumed a new identity and walked away into the dark night. He could also embark on a prolong Indian summer which would give him plenteous time to interrogate his restless soul. Whichever way, Atiku has ditched into a crushing political dilemma.

tajutijani@hotmail.com

 

Advertisements

CUPP: Coalition of Traitors! Traitors!!Traitors!!!


CUPP: Coalition of Traitors! Traitors!!Traitors!!!

By Taju Tijani

Perfidious! Perfidious!!Perfidious that is what they are. Political vultures that is what they are! Political prostitutes that is what they are! Political scavengers that is what they are! Political rascals that is what they are! Political jobbers that is what they are! Political cowards that is what they are! We are seeing the entry of a pugnacious phase in the evolution of political associations in Nigeria. We are watching with sneering disdain how man, the rapacious and scavenging variants, can form a wicked confederacy of adversarial fraternity to pursue a depraved agenda of unseating just one man – President Muhammadu Buhari.

Our democracy is now going gothic where the twin evil of greed and revolting selfishness continue to drive public service and citizen engagement. We are also seeing the evolution of the barbarians trying to fight the virtuous. Olusegun Obasanjo, the king of the center of the universe, has metamorphosed again. Abubakar Atiku, the guy who owns half of Dubai, is out of the wood. Olu Falae is dug out of his pit to offer a gloss of legitimacy to a disparaging, inconsequential and political buffoons who shelter under the leaky umbrella of Coalition of United Political Parties. As I write, CUPP is an illegal entity that has been able to re-gathered incongruous characters with differing nuisance variables.

Most of the political assassins under the CUPP fold are ungracious, ungrateful, ill-mannered, boorish, clowns, ignorant, bullies and dangerous to our democracy. The supposed amalgamation of coalition of the so-called third force is nothing but byword for desperation, anarchism and disruption. One by one, members of this rogue gallery have, through sheer arrogance and cavalier insolence, pronounced annus horribilis over the APC government. Every articulation of President Mohammadu Buhari’s misses and slips are wrapped in savage attacks and mindless abuses. The ranks of R-APC to the least of the confederating party is now infested with delusional fantasy of seizing government by 2019 and sending President Mohammadu Buhari back to Daura. Deadpan easy? Is it?

There is no social compliance in their methodology. There is no political compliance in their operation. There is no ethical compliance in their ethos. There is no cultural synergy in their posturing.

All they know is that Nigeria is their Imperial Rome that must be taken back through stolen money, more money and nothing but money. There is no integrity capital among members of this noonday cowards, who, in their whimsical calculations, Nigerians are seen as fools who have no memory of the merciless plundering and balkanization carried out on the nations treasury by PDP from 2009 till 2015. Nigeria was obliterated morally, socially and politically.

Before May 2015 national rescue by President Mohammadu Buhari, Nigeria occupied the bottom place in all the mystery index you could imagine. Corruption was helped, sad to say, by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who, in a moment of psychiatric seizure, pronounced that stealing was not corruption. Further, corruption was helped, sad to say, by the media that was bought over by the PDP, and the media in turn, offered its editorial boards, column spaces, airwaves as sounding boards of PDP misinformation, propaganda and social re-engineering.

In an apparently coordinated act of solidarity, nearly all media houses took money from Sambo Dasuki to help launder both the damaged ego of ex-President Jonathan and also wrap PDP as a party of progressive idealism as opposed to regressive and right wing populism that it truly was. Today, all the raging political hormone of CUPP is towards one agenda: destabilize the APC government, reject the politics of integrity and then rewrite the history of Nigeria in another painful chapter of corruption, bourgeois governance and reckless oppression of the Nigerian masses through monetized politics.

They want to return Nigeria back to the caves. Bukola Saraki and all his paid acolytes has one agenda: line behind their shepherd (Saraki) and prettify his image as the new messiah who could rescue Nigeria from all the blustering of gabbled explanations of Buhari that herdsmen could be defeated, economy is on the right tracks and anti-corruption war is on track. All the government narrative of the complexity of governance is falling on deaf ears. The R-APC rebels believe with astonishing ignorance, that Buhari is clueless. That is, their leader is clueless. Irony upon irony!

What a nation! What perfidy! To wake up one day and read that Bukola Saraki has been acquitted by the Supreme Court of 13 count charges of false declaration of assets backdated to 2003. That this shamelessly ambitious rascal is discharged of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state. That this crafty man was absolved of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer – Governor and Senator. The offences, the charge said, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. Mr. Saraki is also said to have breached Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act which is punishable under paragraph 9 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. The timing of his Supreme Court victory is not lost on intelligent Nigerians. He needs this crucial clean bill of corruption charges to ever be considered a presidential candidate for the rag tag assemblage of political jobbers plotting a democratic palace coup against President Mohammadu Buhari.

Saraki’s Republic of National Assembly has been variously regarded as a den of thieves and ritualists. Saraki, the con artist, looter, revisionist and betrayer went underground to fund insurrection and a circle of critics to savage Buhari over insecurity and herdsmen genocide without realizing that he is part of the clueless and inefficient APC government in power.

At a time when he needs to rally round his leader and show unflinching solidarity by sending strong messages to the herdsmen killers through party unity, he jumped ship and failed the test of collective responsibility.

Bukola Saraki has consistently demonstrates a post-modern political posturing that shrugs off collective ownership at the expense of selfish expediency. President Donald Trump of USA is a blustering racist, misogynist, ill-mannered, elitist, volatile, emotionally complex, unpredictable, unstable, trouble maker and dangerous. He has offended every government in every continent. His addiction to twittering is a bane and its real-time effectiveness has been abused by Trump to cause offence almost daily. Yet, and this is a big yet, the Republican Party has not fragmented because of the mental depravity of its leader.

The Republican Party has not collapsed because of Trump’s political shenanigans. The party members are is still supportive, loyal and long-suffering because of its steadfast bond of conservative ideology.  Members of the US Congress are not shut up with stolen cash as Saraki has done to our National Assembly members. Senators in the US Congress are not fair-weather and calculating politicians looking for ways to destabilize Trump’s tenure.

This is the time to start to question the unquestioned tradition of political prostitution of the likes of Obasanjo, Saraki, Melaye and many other politicians whose purpose in politics is blatantly selfish interest as opposed to the nobler enterprise of national interests.

The ongoing contemporary political culture, which, turbo-charged by social media, only encourages narrow spectrum, personality-driven politics devoid of ideology which almost always opens door to traitors to destroy, balkanize and eventually abscond to form another cluster of disgruntled elements who have no integrity, character, principle and known political ideology. CUPP is not a benign entity that could deliver Nigeria from the complexity of its governance. Rather, it is the abyss of hell where Saraki wants to hand all members to Satan to string them on his hooks like suya.

President Mohammadu Buhari will win 2019 elections without any doubt. Nigerian voters are not fools. They have seen the interior compass and emptiness of past PDP’s massive looting of Nigeria’s resources. They have come to realize that rogue and desperate politicians are nothing but political prostitutes with zero visions of how to change the status quo. Rather they would rather reinforce its excesses and return governance to stealing and corruption. The CUPP gladiators are going for broke because they are already broken, defeated and subdued before the 2019 race. Away with traitors! Away with CUPP!! Away with desperate politics!!! Away with political parasites and lechers!

Griiingggg……….griiiiiinnnng…………Is JKF there? Thanks for vindicating all my postulations on Ekiti under its thoroughly beaten, bruised and roundly defeated head of Okada politics, Peter Ayo Fayose. He needs 39 lashes minus one on his broken back!!!

tajutijani@hotmail.com

On being Nigerian and Hating It.


On being Nigerian and Hating It.

By Taju Tijani

Hackney, East London. In a red London bus travelling from Dalston to Shoreditch where I earn my income. A middle aged woman sized me up and requested to sit beside me. I obliged instantly. The writer in me began to rear its interrogative head. Talk to her, it began. Don’t talk to her, it cautioned. Relax and chat her later, it reasoned. Look, you are getting down soon, why bother the poor woman……let go….let….go!!! I shut down that devilish operating system confusing my mind. It was either I challenge this demon and announce that I was in charge or he will smile and wink in triumph like the absconding scoundrel he always is.

It is summer in London. We are all basking under the baking sun. Sun’s out…fun’s out!!! Sun worshippers among us have emptied into all the streets, malls, parks and gardens all across Hackney. There are soft nudity anywhere you turn. Exhibitionists are proud to offer their curves for free to every male prying eyes roaming to feast on cleavages and bums. Men now show hairy legs through their khaki shorts. Some of us who have pumped up chest are proud to display our muscles to a chorus of ooohhh and ahhhs from appreciating women.

Then my co-traveler received a call. She dissolved into Yoruba language. After lengthy gossip with the caller, she heaved a sigh of relief. Then I opened the door into her universe. I used the most potent passport that will grant me entry – I spoke in the best tradition of an Ibadan man. Shocked and ruffled, she gave me an unbelieving look. It dawned on her that I was not the Ghanaian she thought I was. Epele madam, I started. Ese sir, she responded with dignity. We talked about the baking hot weather, family, work and Nigeria.

On the last, she frowned. Nigeria ke? It was as if I had struck her on the solar plexus. She descended so heavily with blistering expletives on that geographical space called Nigeria. She was throwing grenades on all our value systems: institutions, leaders, religion, lifestyle, education, marriage, our attitude to money, man inhumanity to man, herdsmen killings, political parties, politicians and at the end, pronounced bitter curses on her native land. Her reminiscences of what Nigeria did to her was lamentable.

 

Her nostalgia of the harm and disappointment she received from family and friends made her issued more curses on Nigeria. She renounced, rejected, divorced and vomited Nigeria. There was palpable sadness in her tone. She kissed her teeth in revulsion……Pssshhhhhh!!! She cursed Babangida, Obasanjo and Jonathan. She vowed never to set her foot on Nigeria again…..ever! Madam Kofo, let us give her that name for now, roared like thunder, her mouth foaming with saliva.  She left Nigeria 30 years ago for a greener pasture of UK. But each time she visited Nigeria in those 30 years, she returned to UK with horror stories of man’s inhumanity to man, arrested development, 419 among family members and all sorts of hard luck tales. All the money sent for investments were lost to 419 among family members. Other business startups funded by her wealth were looted by her own brothers and sisters.

Eventually, something happened. In 2008, the father died. The only magnet that kept attracting her back to her root was now gone. She visited for the burial. She celebrated her dad and fondly remembered all his evergreen values he bequeathed to his children. She left in acrimony. Baba was yet to be buried and given the final respect, yet the siblings have been warring for the houses, cars, gold, silver, brass and other warts left behind. There were threat of juju among the siblings. Madam Kofo, was cast in the mould of a rich woman by the family. She lives abroad and so she should not scavenge for her dad’s possession left for all. This idea was mooted in secret and among the more aggressive members of Madam Kofo’s family.

Two days to her departure, she was told all that was said in secret. She was shocked and dazed that her own siblings plotted to disinherit her because she lives abroad. She smelled blood, warfare and imminent death. She took her bag and fled back to the UK. Another victim of Nigeria’s theatre of wickedness and greed. She has vowed never to return to Nigeria.

Yemi, a young teckie (he works in IT) lives in the IT hub of Shoreditch. He has a wife and two small children. I see him every morning cleaning his gleaming, late model, Mitsubishi station wagon. I befriended this dapper car loving guy. With time we got talking. He, like Madam Kofo, also thought I a Ghanaian. I am learning here that appearance could be deceptive. I am learning that we should avoid presumption when it comes to nationalities. When Nigerians meet, the glue that always bond us together will remain talk and debate about Nigeria – that behemoth that still shames  my own tribe of Diaspora Nigerians.

Yemi has a bundle of horror stories to share about that nation. Nigeria, it seems, gives a bitter baptism to his children that leaves a permanent scar on their mind. Yemi once shipped buses to Nigeria to try his hand as a transporter. That business was ruined by supervisors at home who are more ambitious than Yemi. He bought a land in Lagos. The land was sold to multiple buyers. The buyer who could boast of having the most merciless Babalawo in his service won the day. He lost millions of naira.

Like Madam Kofo, death and funeral took him to Nigeria in 2008 also. A chilling coincidence! His father answered the call of heaven. After the burial, he called it a day with Nigeria. Since then he has neither visited Nigeria nor hope to do so again. Yemi is 40 years old. Madam Kofo is in her 70s. Each generation is handing the baton of rejection of the homeland to another!!

Sister Efe is also a Hackneyite. Petit, smart and beautiful. She left Nigeria in the early 80s. Her own rendition of the Nigerian story was also tinged with sadness, sorrow and horror. I never knew until one day when I teased her and asked about her last visit to Nigeria. She looked intently and gave me an angry look. She was initially speechless but then opened up. So, you still dey go Nigeria, she asked. I do, I responded. Na wa o……you dey go that stupid ….thief….thief country wey politicians don finish, she said. I hate Nigeria, she blurted out…….Yes, I hate that country. I shook my head ready for more grenade. Then she said that she was last in Nigeria over 20 years ago. Her business trips now takes her to Hong Kong and Dubai. Nigeria no be my country…..manke una hold am, she said shaking her head.

I have distilled here the depth of sorrow and shame brought on Nigeria by corrupt political class. Thousands of Nigerians abroad are denouncing Nigeria because of the shameful aberrations of our values, friends, families and politicians living in that space. Nigeria is a moral conundrum. Trust is deficient in our gene pool. You cannot put your trust on Nigerians when you live abroad. Wickedness is pervasive. Love of money has destroyed family unity. Greed has eaten deep into our souls. Diaspora Nigerians are losing pride in their country. Being Nigerian and hating it is gaining converts. Identifying with Nigeria is becoming a dying patriotism. Politicians have brought the most dishonor, disrespect and moral disruption to our nation. To many Nigerians in the diaspora, Nigeria is no longer a home to return to, but a living hell to avoid, renounce and denounce all together.

tajutijani@hotmail.com

Give Me Double Shots of Musa on Ice, Please!!!


Give Me Double Shots of Musa on Ice, Please!!!

By Taju Tijani

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky media company wanted to pour sand into my garium- on-water (Gari) on Friday. I was off from work and determined to watch Nigeria play against Iceland. I had an early lunch of mansize ground rice (Gira), okro and large pieces of unroasted chicken. To flush the load down, I prepared two large glasses of pomegranate juice mixed with bitter lemon and diced with Greek, plain white yoghurt. Everything was going swimmingly until I heard a message ringtone announcing that Sky, my cable provider, is having a technical problem and that the problem is being fixed. What!!! The devil is a liar, I sighed.

Elaine Turley, my white, kind neighbor from Hampshire was home from work. As I banged on her door, she opened up with a grin and announced same sad news of Sky’s decapitation from the airwaves. However, she said that I should come in and watch it on normal television. Quickly, she fixed me with a glass of wine and vacated the best viewing corner on her soft, grey settee. She asked if I wanted curry. I declined and reminded her that I have just had gira. I had to explain the meaning of gira anyway. She laughed and faced her paperwork while I glued my face on the telly like a monk receiving instruction from the Dalai.

Then the match started. The duel between Nigeria and Iceland. This is a defining, glory-seeking match for the Nija team. They must win and win convincingly. I had made a vow to renounce my Nija citizenship if they lost. What is the point of dual citizenship if one of the citizenships could not make me proud in the World Cup? You reckon? England my adopted nation had beaten Tunisia 2-1. That victory created a sense of belonging for my British citizenship. Britain is a footballing universe. They worship soccer here. It goes hand in hand with brawn, hooliganism, betting, rowdiness and nationalistic passion.

Back to the Nija and Iceland football battle. It had to be seen as a battle, because, prior to the match, the entire team had vowed to die on the field rather than lose. I thought this was just a filibustering statement to rally the entire commonwealth of 178 million Nigerians behind them. Nigerians too were ready to castrate the entire Mikel Obi and his gangsters of 11 if they ever suffered defeat from the Icelanders. The sun must melt the ice.

As if the team knew what was coming, they seized the moment and defied settled preconceptions before the World Cup of Eagle’s lack of preparation, accusation of lack of stamina for gruesome 90 minutes drill and how we are not man enough to beat the speed of non-African football players. Then the tournament began. Iceland whipped our backside in the first half. Nigerian players were rolling around the field like yoyo. I did not pray for miracle. I only looked on, hoping that something must happen. Something more than miracle.

At a stage I was sipping my wine like a professional taster. I was tensed with anxiety. What is wrong with these boys? My mind kept on saying. I was like a caged tiger. I was rolling on the soft settee like a roll on deodorant. I punched my fist in the air. I guffawed. I kicked Elaine cushion skyward. She gave me a dirty look. I did not care. I must prove to the world my recent convert to football. I was known to be an ardent boxing fan. I could name all the boxing greats. The boxing genre is on my fingertips. My memory has stored pages of pages of boxing matches. But not football. But because Nija was involved……

I had to be involved – spirit, soul and adrenaline!! Then gbam, from nowhere, I saw this scrawny guy called Ahmed Musa running like Usain Bolt. Is he in Russia to run or play football, I questioned my mind. Then, inch by inch, he dribbled the invincible Icelandic players. Inch again by another inch, then, like a tornado I saw a round leather ball slammed into the net. It is a goooooaaaalllll!!! It is a goooaaalllllll!!!!! I screamed! I jumped up! I spilled my wine!!  I sank again on the seat to confirm if the goal was real. Yes, very real…..

First goal in 49th minute of play. The sun has melted the first ice! Nice one chaps! Then the duel continued. Now, the initial anxiety over my dual citizenship was temporarily suspended. I may still have the two passports if these guys win this match, my heart thought aloud. Then, emboldened and encouraged by the first goal, the entire 11 eagles on the field spread out their long wings, beaks and talons for turf war of kill, or be killed. As the eagles spread out and lock on to the prey, the head of the pack was again single out. It was Musa! When the ball was passed to him, he dribbled the defender, dislocated the orientation of the Icelandic goalkeeper and lobbed another grenade with a thunderous shot. It is a goooaaalllll!!!! It is a goooaaallllll!!! Second goal in 75th minute of play. The sun has melted the second ice!

 

 

 

Two goals to nothing! Up Nigeria! Up Eagles! Then the bedlam!!!  I danced toi-toi, the South African dance. I ran around Elaine’s delicately decorated living room. What is the matter with you, she cautioned me like a stentorian seminary teacher. I ignored her. This is my moment. The magic Musa moving moment!!!

This is my defining hour of glory and celebration. I felt very smug and emotional. However, a surge of electric current went through me at the 83rd minute when Iceland was given a penalty. Gylfi Sigurdsson the shooter could not hit the G-string. With baited breath, I used telepathy to move the clock forward to the end of the game. I was feeling orgiastic. When the final whistle wheezed out, the entire Nija universe went on rampage. My daughter sent a message through WhatsApp…….Dad…..dad……Nigeria is winning the World Cup, she teased. Then, Nigerians shut down WhatsApp server! We are now in control of the social media. We love celebration….no matter how innocuous like winning a World Cup match against Iceland! The drums were rolled out. It was show time in Nija unique style. It was a day that will be remembered forever – the magic Musa moving moment!

The Gernot Rohr boys have made me proud to be Nigerian. Nija for life now. Striker Ahmed Musa has saved my dual nationality status for good. But, something is round the corner that may wipe away this joy. On Tuesday, which happened to be my birthday, the eagles will go into football warfare with Argentina, the two-time World Cup champions. Help, would merciless Messi deny me my newfound football orgasm? Dunno. That is hours away. It can wait, while I enjoy my double shot of Musa on ice. Forget Prosecco, forget Guinness; my beloved baba dudu, forget the threat of Messi, let us toast to double shot of Musa on ice.  Anyone for double shot of Musa on ice?

tajutijani@hotmail.com

 

 

 

History, Babangida, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami & Soyinka’s Hall of Shame


History, Babangida, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami & Soyinka’s Hall of Shame

 

By Taju Tijani

 

At a recent speech to mark the launch of the new Cambridge History of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, the Irish president, spoke eloquently on the importance of knowing about the past. “A knowledge and understanding of history,” he observed, “is intrinsic to our shared citizenship. To be without such knowledge is to be permanently burdened with a lack of perspective, empathy and wisdom.” And, he continued, “to be without historical training, the careful and necessary capability to filter and critically interpret a variety of sources, is to leave citizens desperately ill equipped to confront a world in which information is increasingly disseminated without historical perspective or even regard for the truth.” 

 

On an earlier occasion, Higgins had urged the need to see history “as essential to understanding who we are today”, and as also necessary to debunk myths, challenge inaccuracies and expose deliberate amnesia or invented versions of the past. In so saying, he was in good company, for as Eric Hobsbawm once put it, to know little of the past is “to grow up in a sort of permanent present, lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times we live in”. 

Hobsbawm, in turn, reiterated a point Cicero had made long ago: “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of a human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” 

 

These are wise words because a knowledge of history is not only vital for an educated citizenry but also for good government. History should be an essential part of our national culture and national life. “The present,” Soames Forsyte of The Forsyte Saga once observed to his daughter, Fleur, “is rooted in the past; the future in both”. The above quote are not my words. I have repurpose it here to purify this piece. History as a subject was banned in Nigeria’s educational curriculum but only recently reinstated by President Mohammadu Buhari after many bruising battles by valiant men and women who see the dangers of living in a nation without any sense of its own past.

 

We need history in Africa more than anywhere else. We live in a wicked continent full of oppressors, political impunity, corruption, killings and the reign of mad, bad and evil leaders. By documenting our stories we will someday be able to know who among our leaders deserve national exaltation and honour and who among them deserved to be dishonoured, shamed and send to jail for their past deeds.  We should not only be documenting the good deeds but also the inanities of our leaders. Also, we should also be going back to prize open the yellow pages of our documented history from time to time, or else, it will be frozen and forgotten. President Mohammadu Buhari has now lay down a fantastic rule book of good governance. He did not allow 25 years of June 12 injustice to remain frozen forever. He rescued it. He unpacked it. He invoked the spirit of fair play and justice and today June 12 has joyfully returned from slumber to be a national celebration. Well done, President Buhari. I owe you one on this milestone.

 

However, beyond the belated justice for Chief MKO Abiola and democracy in Nigeria; beyond the GCFR, beyond the apology to his family, beyond the naming of many monuments after his name, we should pause a bit and do the other right things. One of those right things is the evocative call by Professor Wole Soyinka for a hall of shame, or book of shame, in itself, a history book, that will name, shame and punish the various Esaus, Judas, unpatriotic military officers, conspirators, annulment Jihadists, Yoruba haters, anti-democrats, beneficiaries, traitors, rebels and  unfriendly friends of Chief MKO Abiola who all prevailed on the military junta of Military President of Ibrahim Babangida to annul Nigeria’s freest, fairest and nationally accepted election in our history.

 

There is no healing that will be more cathartic than to punish all the myopic revisionists who changed the destiny of Nigeria and subverted the will of the people with such bestial impunity. None of them were mindful that a day of reckoning may soon catch up with them. Nigeria needs to travel this road from now on. The sure fastener of Western democracy is the purity of their justice system and the ability of their laws to operate retrospectively. June 12 shamed Nigeria. On June 12 1993, democracy was castrated, gang-raped and its tenets was defiled through mass coercion, brutal killings and Babangida’s monopoly on the means of violence.

 

June 12 dis-configured our democracy.  Hundreds of ordinary Nigerians paid the supreme sacrifice. Chief MKO Abiola’s thriving business empire collapsed. Other innocent Nigerians were made compulsory collateral due to the infamous assassination of Chief Abiola. Closure of the sore of June 12 infamy is still a distant dream. For that to happen, Babangida, the cruel architect of the daylight election robbery, General Abdulsalami Abdullahi, the man who was at the helm when Abiola died under his watch, then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the shameless, selfish and unrepentant beneficiary of June 12 and other living actors of that democratic heist must be named and entered into our hall of shame. They must be forced to pay restitution, persecuted and sent to jail. Those who fail to learn from history will eventually become its casualty. June 12 grand gesture of recognition and the belated bestowal of GCFR will remain mere gesture until we recognise that gesture without content is not good enough. June 12 was not just a mere avoidable trajectory, it was also a monumental one. The annulment was symptomatic of the kind of barbaric military dictatorship of both Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami lawless junta. Where there is a tragedy, the world must demand for the villain!

 

The 25 years of deafening silence on General Abdulsalami Abdullahi complicity in the death of Chief MKO Abiola should be interrogated. This man is no saint.  Was he the silent assassin who threw Chief MKO Abiola down the cliff to his death? He must be questioned and made to give a clear and unequivocal articulation of who really struck the death blow on MKO? How did he die? Who made the decision? Why was the decision to waste him and his mandate ever made? Who are the principal actors? Who are the supporting cast in this ghoulish play of the brutality of death? It was popularly alleged that Chief MKO Abiola was brutalised to death. We must, as a nation, slip deeper into all these lines of whodunit for us to have any semblance of closure.

 

tajutijani@hotmail.com

Nigeria: 19 years of Democratic Vanity


19 years of Democratic Vanity

By Taju Tijani

On Monday May 29, 2018 this nation celebrated yet another 19th anniversary of democracy Nigerians are yet to enjoy and be proud of. Today, I will do a robust, rebarbative and analytical democratic audit of the last 19 years and see if there is any space for self-celebration. Nigeria has a weakness. That weakness is our obsession for ugly and narcissistic self-congratulations at the drop of a hat. In terms of democratic experimentation, this nation has nothing to celebrate. Ours has been a messy democracy where we lie to each other and at every turn we love to reaffirm the simpering narrative that Nigeria is a giant in Africa’s socio-economic-political-cultural life. Really?

Welcome to a messy democracy that has disfigured and defiled the noble status God originally bestowed on Nigeria.  In a messy democracy anything can happen. In a nation that harbours pathological impatience for its leaders, agitation for miracle can happen. In a nation like Nigeria that is fixated on the tribe of its leaders, ethnocentric hatred is the order of the day. In a nation where politicians are driven to public service for personal gain, that society is doomed to servitude, poverty and despair. In a nation where laws and orders are designed to shield the rich and powerful from prosecution, that nation will have to grapple with lawlessness, confusion and violence.

As a writer, public commentator and opinion moulder, I have my list of disenchantment with the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari. Millions of his supporters also hold different opinions about his successes and failures. One man opinion of his success is another opinion of his failure in the pursuit of the Nigerian project. All these opinions have now coalesced or crystalized into some form of disillusion and hopelessness for the manner he has handled the endless challenges facing Nigeria. To some, Buhari has failed. To another, Buhari is a success. To some, Nigeria is a work in progress.

For the past three years, there have been public discomfort with so many decisions and indecisions of President Mohammadu Buhari. The chorus of regrets is ever becoming louder and Nigerians are wondering where the old chutzpah mythically associated with President Mohammadu Buhari has gone AWOL to? Also, I have to remind my readers that the narrative that Nigeria is a great nation has remained the most enduring script crafted by our elites to inflate our egos and encourage a sustained self-glorification that has no basis in reality. The question is, if Nigeria is that mythical land of Eldorado, why would you and I still recoil in ongoing horror at the mayhem, confusion, insecurity, hunger, unemployment, lawlessness, kidnappings, killings and inaction of our government over many manageable aberrations? What has been the life and blood gains of 19 years of democracy for millions of Nigerians? Why is agitation for a new order so strident under Buhari if our democracy is working? The sobering truth can now be revealed: Nigeria has been practicing democratic vanity expressly designed to enrich the rich and pauperise the poor.

Only last week, the President revealed that the money stolen by Jonathan administration and his looters were so much that they may not be able to recover all the loot in the life of his administration. The subtext is this: for 16 years, the People Democratic Party (PDP) violently and rapaciously raped and looted the wealth meant for Nigerians under the name of democracy. This is the reality we all shy away from. We practice democratic vanity on a grand scale. The politicians have cornered Nigeria and her resources and, sad to say, even Buhari cannot fight and win the war against despoliation.

Check this out. The cost of maintaining the vanity-oriented rogues in both our National Assembly and House of Rep have become the burden and misery the Nigerian state has to carry on its fragile shoulders. It is intellectually absurd and morally repugnant to think that the same petrol-dollar being used in feeding our parasite class – politicians – is denied to the poorer mortals among us. Why would a supposedly rich nation like Nigeria continue to waste resources on the vanity of its senator-politicians, who, according to President Buhari, have contributed nothing to national rehabilitation for the past 19 years?

Why do we need to be feeding the vanities of hounds and scoundrels we call law makers? Believe me, we have accommodated 19 years of wicked, vanity-driven and profligate democracy that had bankrupted Nigeria before a rescue came in May 2015. When Buhari entered office in May 2015, there were sound of collective hosannas from all Nigerians. Then the harsh realities of governance and the discovery of monumental stealing configured his CHANGE agenda. Today the mood has change from a messiah to crucify him. The hosannas has given way to cries of pain or even horror as we watch daily how his government is foundering on the rock of inaction over insecurity.

The cold miserable truth is that 19 years of democracy has succeeded in producing political lechers who wear their new badge of billionaire status without shame, fear or sense of contrition. I will like to repeat and re-assert President Buhari’s famous argot: In 19 years of democracy, where is the light? In 19 years of democracy, where are the jobs? 19 years of democracy, where is the peace and prosperity for Nigerians? In 19 years of democratic journey, where are the sober, conscientious, humble, just, sincere, transparent and public-spirited politicians we can all be proud of? In 19 years of democratic tutelage, where are the patriotic, avaricious-averse, dedicated, morally upright and integrity-driven politicians who will alter the contour of our shame, disconnect us from corruption, retune our moral values and recover our stolen paradise from thieving politicians whose sole aim is to steal, kill and destroy?

Who will unbundle the cost of democratic governance? Who will cut out fat allowances, benefits and salaries of our lecher-senators? Who will ban politicians from driving around in darkened SUV and convoy?  Who will puncture the bubble of ostentatious and profligate lifestyle of Nigerian politicians and align their expectations with the wishes of the Nigerian people? After 19 years of profligate democratic interrogation, the question is who will be martyred for a New Nigeria? Who! Who!! Who!!!

tajutijani@hotmail.com

 

 

 

Ekiti: Here Comes Fayemi, The Second Time Charmer? By Taju Tijani


Ekiti: Here Comes Fayemi, The Second Time Charmer?

By Taju Tijani

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of losing, the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of victory from a perceived enemy. “

 

Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, JKF, is on a relentless mission to Fayeminised Ekiti his beloved home state once again. He is on a revenge mission to convert those who once rebuffed him into ardent supporters or cheerleaders. Ekiti town and cities are becoming magical laboratories where Kitians are being wooed back to Fayeminism. As hurricane Fayemi sweeps across the tumultuous landscape of Ekiti, the re-occupation or re-conquest of the State House by JKF, is a matter of months. Welcome to occupy Ekiti at all cost for Fayemi. Welcome to do-or-perish politics of Ekiti kete. Welcome to politics at its ugliest!

 

Time, that greatest healer of all wounds, will soon tell if Fayemi’s groveling apology to the people of Ekiti has been accepted. Time will tell if he is truly the stone that was once rejected but about to be the capstone. Time will tell if he will be a living proof to the old argot that says: sometimes people have to reject you before they accept you. In earlier incarnation, Fayemi was known as a pompous, over-educated and elite-oriented politician. From 15 October 2010 -16 October 2014 when he was governor, Kitians remembered with no fond memories Fayemi’s aloofness to his grassroots base. They remembered him as the over-confident governor who felt he was better than the state he governs. They remembered him for his tedious and posh Queens English that distanced him more than attracted the people to him. The Kitians demonised him as the ‘wicked’ governor who starved teachers and civil servants and poured salt on their injury with conceit and snobbishness.

 

Today, in our wistful nostalgia, we are awaiting the imminent return of a credible hero who have fought a battle with his old demon of arrogance and disdain for his people. Today, Fayemi is being called upon to purify the desiccation of Ekiti land by Ayodele Fayose. Today, age, wisdom and introspection in the wilderness have all combined to mellow and drained the repellent poison of arrogance that cost him the governorship throne.

Fayemi is proving not to be a man who enjoys oblivion. Ekiti politics is his oxygen – he cannot survive without it. His time as the Minister of Solid Minerals under President Buhari is a mere detour or stop over in his destination. He likes the temptation of Ekiti’s macho politics where cutlasses, axes, broken bottles and guns are necessary armour of survival.

JKF loves the emotional rush of dirty politics and its backroom intrigues and betrayal. Ever since politics was rebranded as a battlefield or do-or-die affair by Pa Obasanjo, the Nigerian political terrain has been turned into a blood–soaked killing field. Ask the people of Rivers and Ekiti states. OBJ was the abhorrent pioneer, who, during the second republic, justified political anarchism as a necessary end that justified the means. The First Republic may have laid the ‘wetie’ foundation in the old Oyo politics, but Obasanjo stretched the warring baton with his unguarded do-or-die political doctrine and people like Ayodele Fayose has remained a horrible beneficiary of this orthodoxy.

 

In 2014, when the unexpected happened, it happened like a thunderbolt. Fayemi was defeated in the gubernatorial election by Fayose. Worse, he was shamed in his own local constituency of Isan Ekiti under the Oye local government. To Fayemi, the defeat was worse than humiliation.  He alleged electoral robbery. He will not allow the perfidy to go unchallenged. The whole nation was stunned. For the first time, Fayemi gained an important illumination. He had no army. He had no police. He was made powerless. He was reduced to mortality. He was alone in a political wilderness. His ego was deflated by a rascally, but grassroots savvy and aggressive man called, Ayodele Fayose. Beaten, broken and brutalised, Fayemi embraced the cold chamber of political meditation.

 

The immediate aftermath of the 2014 defeat were streams of anti-Fayemi’s purge that circulated in outer space. Political commentators, social media pundits and columnists in turn diagnosed Fayemi and concluded that our cerebral, handsome and bespectacled politician had some diseased organs. There had been accusation of Fayemi’s failure to staunch the haemorrhaging of his grassroots support base. His quasi-intellectual aloofness and elitism that conspired to alienate the traditional institutions. APC’s mortal weakness for imposition. Fayemi’s predilection to “blow Queen’s grammar” rather than pedestrianised his “oyinbo” with area boy’s lingo like a Fayose. He is accused of being an advocate of polite politics in a state notorious for head-banging political turmoil.

 

Aware of the tough terrain of Ekiti political waters, the President has warned that Ekiti must be conquered and its soul returned to its waiting redeemer, John Kayode Fayemi. In turn JKF has equally boasted that Fayose will be paid back in his own coin. In 2014, Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan of corruption memory, supplied the money, the Army, the Police, the riggers and the thugs and delivered Ekiti to Fayose. Today the same enablers – money, the Army, the Police, the riggers – are now in favour of JKF.

This irony, this massive power shift, this no-condition-is-permanent are the political lessons for Ayodele Fayose. Today Ekiti is Fayose’s Imperial Rome that must be defended with every ounce of Kitians’ blood. Ekiti now sits precariously on the tipping edge of political fragility. Accusations and counter accusations are ratcheting up the polity. Fayemi’s billboard was allegedly ripped by Fayose’s standing army. There is accusation that APC and by extension the Federal Government plans to use students of the Federal University at Oye as INEC officials in a clandestine move to rig the July gubernatorial election.  There is fear and apprehension among PDP politicians and their civilian cheerleaders of political suicide if Fayemi wins this election. The fear of his victory portends a clear and present danger. The assumption is that Fayemi in victory will surely engage in pound-for-pound politics of bitterness against all plunderers of Ekiti resources.

 

However, Ekiti most lovable rogue, Ayodele Fayose, has boasted that the Army, the Police, the tanks, the Federal cash and riggers are no match to the Rock of Gibraltar facing them – the menacing, stubborn, faithful, loyal and courageous people of Ekiti. He boasts that he still controls the scripts in Ekiti land and that his clone, Professor Olukolapo Olusola Eleka, still has a cathartic chance to rip through to victory come July 14, 2018. The subtext is this: Ayodele Fayose is reminding Buhari and Fayemi that the nostalgic Ekiti people will always remembered how he, Emperor Fayose, satisfied their hunger with stomach infrastructure and thus the people will not allow John Kayode Fayemi to win and enthrone a wicked and crippling austerity that has remained the marker of APC’s government.

 

Is JKF our second time charmer? Will the people of Ekiti fall in love with him this second time? I am holding my breath but hedging my bet on……………Fayemi is on a mission to recoup lost time and opportunity. He may never find both time and opportunity again after this election. He is on the run for his destiny. Shamefully, his politics is fast answering to personal pathology – his demonic desire for power, his inflated ego, untamed Fayosophobia and desire to humiliate and punish Ayodele Fayose who has consistently outsmarted and shamed his overrated intelligence and scholarship.

 

tajutijani@hotmail.com