New York Times The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer’s son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation’s best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday at his home. He was 99. His death was confirmed by Jeremy Blume, a…
Does the above headline sound like any definition you know?
Okay, you still don’t get it, right?
How about “government of animals, by animals and for animals?”
Well, even I, am not too sure I haven’t heard that line before.
What I’m very sure of, however, is that all is not well when voters go to the polls and give their mandate to one person, only for totally different persons (whose names were not on the ballot) to now be exercising that mandate.
All is not well when that same mandate is then skewed to serve the interests of a few shadow (and shadowy) individuals, who neither represent the mandate holder nor the mandate givers.
It gets so dizzying that even those whom we ordinarily thought should be in the know are now confused themselves. And to make matters worse, they are even too scared to name names. Rather, they are smartly resorting to animal imagery and plenty of ‘animal talk’.
Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that the University of Abuja has officially been designated an IDP camp for cows displaced by violence in other parts of the country. That’s story for another day. But very soon, the vice chancellor might need to reallocate bed-spaces, to give accommodation policy to the new intakes. The accommodation policy may soon read like: Three occupants per room (one cow, two students). But I digress.
They are talking about lions, lionesses and lion kings (and the battle of emergent young males to rule the pride and, of course, wrest the monopoly of mating the females, in the absence of age-wearied lion king). Superimpose that with national gang-rape!
There are also hyenas, jackals and lesser animals of this animal kingdom we stubbornly insist on calling a country.
Painfully, when my brother, Nnamdi Kanu, described our country as a zoo, we sought to crucify him. But pray thee, where do we find so many animals in one place? Isn’t it at the zoo or jungle? Or if we want it to sound a little psychedelic, we could call it ‘animal farm’.
In my culture, it is said that whenever a child feels like insulting his father (or simply dismissing him as a wild animal), all he needs say is, “Papa, you’re a lion”. And the old man would foolishly accept a compliment – an acknowledgement of his prowess.
So, in the final analysis, we’re all animals. Nnamdi Kanu was right – at least, on this zoo theory.
Now, I’m beginning to understand why our leaders treat us like brainless animals.
They do the dumbest things, knowing that we’re too stupid to understand, let alone react appropriately. That’s how we’ve always been ruled (and ruined), whether under PDP or APC. Even before these ones, we had been ruled by other classes of animals: Kura, Zaki, Aguiyi, Ajanaku, etc. In fact, when Chief Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987, I remember seeing an article titled “Erin wó”. Now, my Yoruba is not very good, but I’m told it was about an elephant falling.
Fast-forward to the present. One South-South governor, who was making Abuja uncomfortable in the last dispensation, was once described as the lion. So, Aso Rock deployed, to his state, a reckless police commissioner, who prided himself as a lion tamer (or was it ‘lion killer’?).
And there’re still more animal tales: Some of those, who headed the House of Representatives at that time were eulogised as ‘Tiger’.
Even President Obasanjo was described as a bull in a china shop. Now, as a bull, he must have had a few cows around him. And, knowing he’d likely be a stud of a bull, he must have sired a handful of calves. And as they herded themselves around the seat of power, controlled by their herdsmen overlords, there must also have been a school of cattle egrets to boot. Yes, birds are also among the animals. In fact, at some point, even our information minister was said to be a parrot. Yet, some others pride themselves as The Eagle (and not the kites and hawks they really are).
Only recently too, Gov. Fayose told us he could not afford to live in the same house with a snake (Modu Sheriff) – meaning, there are also snakes amongst them.
Now, add all these to the lone sharks, the great white sharks, the mad dogs, the attack dogs (including journalists, Mopol, naval ratings, airmen and non-commissioned soldiers) and what you get is a complete animal kingdom.
Yes! Animals are ruling human beings. Or, maybe, we’re all animals after all. But if that is so, then those of us on this side of the divide must either be chickens, or worms. That is why they either give us the chicken change, after sharing the national treasury among themselves, or ask us to wait and eat from the dung they defecate, after wolfing down our collective national cake alone.
About four months ago, the chief accounting officer of our neighbourhood church – we sometimes call him ‘pastor’, to reflect the fad of the times, asked us to spare a moment everyday to get on our knees and pray for our leaders, especially, our president, General Muhammadu Buhari, whom he alleged, was ill in London. Of course, I was reluctant to pray for a man whom they said was vacationing and would merely take a few hours off, to see his doctor. But now that we all know that our president is seriously ill, I have joined in the prayer for our leader. However, after nearly 70 days, my knees are all sore and blistered from cumulative hours of dedicated prayers. I’m sure the Muslims among us would have developed corns on the forehead from the same prayer routine.
Incidentally, we are not all praying because we all love Buhari. While many of those who genuinely love PMB are praying for him to recover soon, several others are praying that for a totally different result – or for the same result, but for a totally different reason.
Many of those in the South East and South South, like the Igbo, who did not vote for him, are also praying that he does not die. They fear that if Buhari were to drop dead today, not all the soldiers in Buratai’s army can guarantee anybody’s safety – especially those of Ndigbo in the North.
The PDP is also praying for Buhari. They want him to stay healthy and savour the not-too-sweet taste of electoral defeat, which they think the APC’s ‘poor showing’ so far has earned for the new ruling party. They want to see if PMB would have the grace to concede and handover power to a rival, like Goodluck Jonathan did in 2015. Wishful thinking!
Of course, there are also those who do not want the president to die, but who do not really want him to recover either. These are the hyenas and jackals Hajia Aisha spoke about.
And then, there are those who wish PMB could just take off on his journey of no return (the way of all of us mortals). They naively think that power would seamlessly pass on to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as our statutes clearly state – or as happened in the case of Jonathan and Yar’Adua.
This group is believed to be behind all the hyperbolic reports about how superlatively the VP is performing in his current acting president capacity.
Consequently, Osinbajo is eternally walking a tightrope, delicately balancing the need to keep the country moving, and the need not to appear to be overdoing it.
And some people, determined to use the pastor’s head to break coconut, are still urging him to assert himself even more. Hyenas all of them.