I took a break from letting the Nigerian tragedy run my life when my family doctor told me to take things easy after my last comprehensive check-up. Watch the cholesterol, he had said. Now, I couldn’t blame Nigeria for that. My poundo, peppersoup, and French wine diet and low gym regiment were to blame. But when the doctor said to also take it easy on other fronts, I knew that the only other source of permanent stress, restlessness, and peripatetic headaches is the colossal failure that is Nigeria and the number of hours that this man-made tragedy eats up daily in my life. Stop worrying and thinking daily about Nigeria’s rulers, all irresponsible political rapists who have turned Africa’s best hope to the most embarrassing open sore of the black race; stop worrying about the complicit, ever-enduring followership which allows this to happen, and all other things shall be added unto you on the medical front. So I told myself.
The Oba of Benin availed me of a soft exit from public discourse. I could laugh, not cry, as I quit the scene of commentary. As I slammed the door shut on column writing for Sahara Reporters, Premium Times, and Daily Times; as I withdrew from daily reflections on the Nigerian tragedy on my Facebook Wall, my very last glimpse of Nigeria – the image that stood out – was thankfully not of the latest additions to Boko Haram’s body count. The last image was not of charred bodies and decimated bones on our permanently famished and voracious roads. The last image, at my point of exit, was of President Jonathan’s lonely and pathetic mien on the guest seat at the reception room of the Oba of Benin. Beside him, the empty seat of the host who snubbed him. There must be something with this president and aloneness on critical stages, I thought. A precursor to the vaudeville in the Oba’s palace in Benin is the image of the president, splendidly lost and alone on a stage, debating himself after dodging Muhammadu Buhari, Nuhu Ribadu, and Ibrahim Shekarau.
The gods are wise. The gods are not to blame. The gods are not like Nigerians because they have memory and they make very good use of it. That is why they advised the Oba of Benin to snub President Jonathan. The gods remembered that a little over a century ago, one of the Oba of Benin’s illustrious predecessors, Ovoramwen Nogbaisi, had very unpleasant dealings with the ancestor of the Nigerian state – the colonial apparatus. For Oba Nogbaisi, contact with the colonial apparatus was a disaster. We need not get into details here but colonial power eventually organized the so-called punitive expedition and sacked Oba Nogbaisi. He died in exile in Calabar. Significantly in 1914 – when the nightmare called Nigeria was born.
The gods have a funny way of making connections between things. They know that the Nigerian state is a mere successor to the colonial state. The know that the criminals running the Nigerian state are just black Nigerian criminals who replaced the white English criminals who ran the show until October 1, 1960. The gods understood that President Jonathan is merely the current rung of a continuum stretching all the way to the sacking of Benin under Nogbaisi. Not another visit by a state that only brings calamities and locusts! So, they reminded the current Oba of Benin what happened the last time the state came calling! Pastor Tunde Bakare had also not helped matters by issuing a statement on the destiny of President Jonathan.
Pastor Bakare was more gracious to President Jonathan than Sophocles had been to Oedipus or Ola Rotimi had been to King Odewale. While Sophocles and Rotimi destined their respective heroes to kill their fathers and sleep with their mothers, Pastor Bakare destined the shoeless one from Otuoke to bankrupt and balkanize Nigeria. The Oba of Benin, warned by the gods and sensitized by Pastor Bakare, was determined not to allow the “alejo tulasi” (uninvited guest) invade his palace with that horrible destiny so the monarch held a rapid dialogue with his legs, sending the spirit of bankruptcy and balkanization back to sender in Otuoke.
I had a good laugh as I mentally processed the intermesh between history, literature, and the presidential snub in Benin and resolved to end my self-imposed exile from public commentary only when Nigeria gives me just one good news – just one teeny-weeny good news to cheer. Just one thing to gladden the heart! When in search of good news from Nigeria, you have to be prepared to be content with the minutest crumb. In the extremely unlikely situation that you end up getting a half-good news from or about Nigeria, you dare not play Oliver Twist. You dare not ask for more. You dare not push it.
Daily, I would peep into the flow of news from Nigeria, hoping for the crumb, the half-good news that would make me end my exile. I was rewarded daily with the Sisyphean predictability of tragedies, heartbreak, sorrow, tears, and blood in Goodluck Jonathan’s Nigeria. While I was away, the President grew dumber, his cabinet grew sillier, the followership grew either more helpless or more complicit in allowing Nigeria’s irresponsible rulers make such a terrible mess of our lives. While I was away, our roads grew hungrier, eating loads of corpses daily. While I was away, Boko Haram began to take itself seriously as a potential competitor with the body count in Hitler’s concentration camps or Stalin’s gulags. They killed scores of citizens and killed those who had gone to mourn and bury them, including a Senator. They are still killing.
Still I waited for the elusive good news. I thought I’d gotten it with the announcement of the first female Chief Justice but I should have known that this is Nigeria. I was still digesting that news, weighing whether to categorize it as the one good news that would make me come out of my self-imposed exile, when news came from Port Harcourt that we have paid another heavy prize for the visionlessness and sheer uselessness of Nigeria’s rulers in ALL branches of government. Ninety-five innocent compatriots were roasted in one of those utterly avoidable accidents. I was dealing with that trauma when news also came that Patience Jonathan had been appointed a Permanent Secretary in absentia by Seriake Dickson, the sycophantic buffoon imposed by President Jonathan as Governor of Bayelsa state. I have written elsewhere that Orangutans are better envisioners of Orangutan society than Nigeria’s rulers are of Nigerian society. A friend criticized me at the time. I hope that the combination of President Jonathan, Patience Jonathan, Seriake Dickson, and what they are doing with/to Bayelsa state will convince my friend that Orangutans would never do such to Orangutan society.
As I considered the situation yesterday, it became clear to me that waiting for just one good news from or about Nigeria before ending my vacation from public discourse has begun to transform me into a relative of that fellow in the Yoruba proverb who elects residence at the bank of a river in the vain hope that he would witness the siesta of a crab. Atisun akan! The sweet sleep of a crab! Waiting for it has transformed that proverbial fellow into a permanent resident of the river bank. Waiting for good news from Nigeria is waiting for atisun akan, the snoring of a crab. I have decided to part ways with the fellow in that proverb. I quit the riverbank! I’m back.
Re: Atisun Akan
Olamide posted on 07-14-2012, 03:30:55 AM
Waiting for good news about or in Nigeria requires one to become 'Job' who comes back with smiles on his face after every disappointment. From the hopeless National Assembly to the judiciary that acquitted a Church Leader who assualted a Nigerian because the victim is 'nameless' to tanker explosions, Boko Haram getting better at spreading death, sorrow and fear (their regular trademark) and more government scams, it is looking more hopeless with every passing day. Nigerians are already indifferent to the regularity of the bad news (scams, deaths, government incompetence, corrupt judiciary, hunger, lecherous Pastors, bad roads, aircrashes) and will only become more lethargic as time goes on and things become worst from worse.
The lone voices (vocal minority) must not shut up or else, they would be playing right into the hands of the political class who wants them silenced. We need to even continue shouting it at them and hope that one day, Nigerians will develop the right fram of mind to challenge their leaders and ask for their rights. The Nigerian government is not sparing any efforts to maintain its evil grip on the masses by deploying an army of 'Internet Consultants' who responds to every criticism in cyberspace on behalf of the government. The government of Jonathan is cast by these weird persons as a victim of a conspiracy by the 'Northern elite' who are bitter that power has shifted to the South and to a 'Christian'. this ploy always work because comments after this will start focusing on tribal and religious issues, thus derailing from the real issue.
I hope someone will come with a deodorant to purify the polluted breath of fresh air we are prsently breathing.
Re: Atisun Akan
Blissfully posted on 07-14-2012, 04:35:39 AM
Welcome back. Who permitted you to leave in the first place. Dont mind that doctor of yours. It is deadlier to be an onlooker at the riverside than to pen these miseries that we experience daily.
Re: Atisun Akan
Lalakokofefe posted on 07-14-2012, 09:55:28 AM
What is that Sunny Ade song again? Eni ba wo 'seju akan, a pe l'eti omi...
Na God save you. You for tey for river bank.
In any case, our boys qualified for the Olympic basketball event. That was good news ke. Great news in fact.
We have to take any scrap of good news we can get ooo.
Re: Atisun Akan
DeepThought posted on 07-14-2012, 10:52:03 AM
I really don't know what to make of this anymore.
I've joked, begged, abused people like this fellow .....people who appear to still actually genuinely care and who still have some imagination to stop wasting their time and to do something more useful.
By that I don't mean the usual request for "solution". I've already come to the conclusion that Nigeria can't and won't survive, what I'm looking for is an articulation of some viable scenarios of how to get to a successful post Nigeria. Something that people can hope for and look forward to.
Pius - please stop wasting your time trying to wake up the dead or that which is on its way to death. The best one can do is map out a strategy for a speedy burial and then look forward to communing with the living and with those who still want to live
Re: Atisun Akan
Mikky jaga posted on 07-14-2012, 13:16:39 PM
Ekiti ACN urges Jonathan to resign
From: The Nation Published on: Friday, July 13, 2012
By Sulaiman Salawudeen
IF the Ekiti State Chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has its way, President Goodlluck Jonathan will resign with immediate effect.
Calling for the President's resignation, the party said it "is logical and deserved consequence of the entire inability of the president to ensure security of lives and property which is first responsibility of government."
Addressing reporters in Ado-Ekiti, capital of the state, party chair Chief Jide Awe, noted that "the most honourable decision for the president to take with the litany of failures that have assailed the nation recently is for him to return to his house and admit failure."
He said: "Nigeria is fast drifting into a failed nation and as at now, we are facing the challenges of corruption, insecurity and unemployment. So , it will be a disservice to this nation and President Jonathan, if people are allowed to perpetrate rigging in the coming election in Edo.
"The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Jonathan have failed the nation. They have failed to provide security and jobs for our youths and I know the people of Edo State will march up these evil doers with action by resisting their intentions to rig the election.
Awe, who condemned recent killings in Jos, particularly that of Senator Gyang Dantong and Gyang Fulani by unknown gunmen, traced the killing to "years of disconnect between the people and the ruling class, especially in the North."
Re: Atisun Akan
Adiela22 posted on 07-14-2012, 18:59:15 PM
While waiting for one good news, we see the recently confirmed I. G. of police in camouflage combat uniform gloating and gallivanting all over Edo State for a job as routine as election monitoring. Meanwhile the bribe taking Farouk Lawan is as free a air and oil subsidy thieves are busy funding the return to power in Edo State of one of their Jackboot morons. When this geographical contraption called Nigeria finally disintegrate ?