Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, was a rebel of some sort in his younger days. He remains one even today. There is a famous quote in his book, ‘The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka’. It says: “The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.” This aptly describes his philosophy of life. Soyinka is one the founders of the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity). He bequeathed a legacy of fighting injustice and bad governance to the association. They are still living up to that billing.
Last week, the Pyrates went for broke. They sang and gyrated to a song during a procession. They did not mention any name in that song. But it was generally believed that they were mocking the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. For those who may not have listened to the song, the lyrics go like this: “Emi lokan (2X), Baba wey no well, e dey shout emi lokan. Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, Baba wey no well, e dey shout emi lokan.” (It’s my turn (2X). A sick old man is shouting it’s my turn. Hand is shaking, leg is shaking. A sick old man is shouting it’s my turn.)
Uncharacteristically, Soyinka expressed disgust over this song. He described it as distasteful, saying the culture he grew up in frowns on mocking physical disabilities. To an extent, he was right. Ordinarily, many Nigerians respect old age. They sympathize with the sick and do not mock physical disabilities. But, in this instant case, one can say the Pyrates are not to blame.
Or, does Soyinka want the Seadogs to keep quiet in the face of the tyranny and bad governance inflicted on us by the APC and its leaders? Does he want the malignant tumour of insecurity, corruption and a collapsing economy bedevilling our country to remain unhealed in 2023? Is it when all Nigerians drop dead that he will realize the enormity of the existential threat facing us as a people? God forbid!
Apparently in deference to Soyinka and a few others who felt insulted by the song, the Cap’n of the Pyrates, Mr. Abiola Owoaje, issued a statement, condemning those allegedly making political gains out of the video. Ironically, he added that the Seadogs “are determined to continue to use our social programmes, intellectual platforms and our compelling songs to advocate for good governance and accountability!”
This is it! In conformity with their ideals, the Pyrates released a song to warn against a bad omen. Tinubu had fetched ant-infested faggot. Naturally, there was no way lizards would not have paid him a visit. In the run-up to the presidential primary election of the ruling party in June 2022, Tinubu met with his party stalwarts in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital. He narrated how he helped to install Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria after he failed three times to clinch the position. Looking desperate and angry, he thundered, “Emi lokan” (It’s my turn.)
This sense of entitlement and desperation to become president propelled the former Lagos state governor to Abuja where he surprised keen observers by winning the primary election against all odds. He defeated younger and more agile aspirants like former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. Even the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, had presented as the consensus candidate, lost woefully. I don’t really know the magic Tinubu deployed, but some of the enemies of the APC alleged that delegates appeared confused and dazed by the amount of dollars walking around Eagle Square, venue of the convention.
Whether one likes it or not, Tinubu is now the presidential candidate of the ruling party. He is a Muslim. He added insult to injury by selecting another Muslim and former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate. This has not gone down well with a good number of Nigerians, especially Christians.
The beauty of democracy, however, is that there is always a choice. The bad choices Nigerians made in the past are still haunting them today. Nigeria is blessed with enormous human and material resources. But poor leadership which we inflicted on ourselves has ensured that we remain on the bottom rung of the ladder of almost all indices of development. Inflation has gone to the rooftops. Unemployment, hunger, and poverty have combined to push many of our youths into banditry and sundry crimes. For six months now and still counting, our children in the nation’s public universities have been at home because academic and non-academic unions are on strike.
The majority of Nigerians are not just tired, they are gasping for breath. Those who have the means are migrating abroad in droves. Those who don’t have the means are gnashing their teeth and praying that they don’t fall victims to the array of kidnappers and terrorists who now parade every part of the country. The situation is really bad and no amount of adjectives will qualify it.
Much of the blame for this state of affairs falls on the ruling party, the APC. Tinubu is the National Leader of the party. He is part of the architect of the misfortunes Nigerians have been going through. Age and good health are not on his side. In a sane country, he can never emerge as a presidential candidate. But here we are, faced with the prospect of having another disaster on our hands. And some people want Nigerians to continue to suffer in silence!
The old man would have earned his respect if he had remained as a kingmaker; if he had retired to enjoy his old age peacefully. Contesting for president this period, considering the baggage surrounding him, will definitely subject him to scrutiny and ridicule.
The truth is that whoever wants to rule Nigeria as it is now must be sound physically, mentally and morally. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua was sick. We were cajoled into voting for him. He didn’t last in office as he died three years after assuming power. President Buhari assumed the mantle of leadership amid similar fears about his age and health. We have all seen his output. No need mentioning his trips to hospitals abroad.
Among the major candidates jostling to take over from the inept outgoing President, Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party remains the best. All sentiments aside, Obi is relatively young, physically and mentally fit and has what it takes to fix the broken parts of this country. If we miss the opportunity to have him as our President in 2023, our ‘emi lokan’ song will definitely change to a dirge. Is that what we wish for ourselves and our children? God forbid!
As for those blaming the Pyrates for their patriotic intervention, I leave them with an Igbo adage which says, “It is better we start looking for a black goat in the day time because the moment it is dark, we may never find it again.” We must respect old age, no doubt. But old age must respect itself as well.
Re: Buhari’s largesse to Niger Republic
Casmir, Mathew 7:5 says that: you hypocrite,1st take the log (gigantic problems) out of your own (Nigeria) eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck (small problems) out of your brother’s (Niger) eye. A drowning man should save himself first, before saving others! Also, when someone is in a hole, you don’t dig further, to stop sinking more into the hole. What Buhari did is a typical example of ‘misplaced priority’ that he is now known for. This is irritatingly annoying. He is practising the maxim, ‘Be your brother’s keeper’. But, he is doing the right thing at the wrong or most inauspicious time. Lastly, Buhari should be checkmated by the National Assembly. This should be the last ‘unwell president’ we vote in office to avoid an ‘unwell economy/social polity’! With PDP and APC pressing the ‘self destruct buttons’, all things are working together for good in Peter Obi’s favour.
-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572
Dear Casy, most Nigerians are outraged over the recent donation of #1.5b to Niger Republic. Just imagine the Nigerian government under Buhari donating $1m to the Afghanistan Taliban regime? For what purpose? Has Niger Republic become part of Nigeria? It does appear that Niger Republic may have benefitted more under this government than most states in Nigeria. May God see us through!
-Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri, +2348061562735
Dear Casmir, an economy that exports what it doesn’t have is a paradox. In the military era, Nigeria exported democracy to Liberia and Sierra Leone while we were still battling with unending transition. Now we have exported security while Nigerians are helpless with kidnapping, robbery and banditry. True administration is about strategic planning. We can’t wait for 2023.
– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
Dear Casy, our Aso Rock Chief, by his numerous largesse to Niger Republic, represents a man, having been carried away by concupiscence, pays too much attention to the welfare of his ‘outside woman’ while his wife and children suffer deprivation and malnutrition. The holy book has a name for such a man! How can a nation, in her right senses, be borrowing money, to such a very sorry extent that borrowing has lost its real meaning, only for the same borrower-nation to use huge part of the borrowed money to service the welfare of another nation, all because the Arrowhead of the borrower-nation claims to have his kith and kin in the receiver-nation? And most unfortunately, what have we got in return? Unbridled influx of all manner of people into our dear nation! Hence, the heightened insecurity chokingly bedeviling us today! Hence, our economy that is in tatters, among other countless woes, today! Hence, our education, especially, the university education, that is in the cemetery today! And yet, somebody is unjustly drawing salaries and enjoying other perks of office as Minister of Education instead of resigning for being a huge failure! And yet, our president is at peace with that kind of the plight of our students and parents because, as the Yorubas would say, ‘kilo kan mi’? Meaning what concerns me? In this case, nothing concerns them because their children are schooling abroad! Casy, may God almighty have mercy and help us elect a purposeful leader in 2023 who would liberate us from this present asphyxia, arising from untold misrule, and wipe our tears!
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Tribalism has continually remained as one of the major fault lines of the Nigerian nation. It is a rare exception for a Nigerian to relate or engage with a fellow Nigerian without getting entangled or even submerged in the murky waters of tribalism. That tribalism has become more popularised under President Buhari’s watch is an understatement. In the comity of Nigeria’s past leaders, history has already recorded Buhari’s unrivalled notoriety for excessive indulgence in tribal matters.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, 0803 795 2470
I believe there is hidden agenda behind President Buhari’s investments in Niger Republic. Nigerians are watching how the investment will impact lives.
-Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +234 806 288 7535
- First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, August 15, 2022.