To relax the lockdown or not to relax the lockdow. That is not the question because, I am neither here nor there.
The virus of hunger is dealing me a devastating blow as much as the fear of Coronavirus. I simply don’t know which way to turn, especially now that I hear that one character up there is sponsoring a bill for all Nigerians to be sanitised by force.
Everywhere I turn I am assaulted by Hate Speech or Fake News over the Corona matter. It is as though the viruses of Corona and hunger have scrambled the brains of all Nigerians and the centre can no longer hold.
The other day at Agege, Lagos, one top politico sent five loaves of bread to feed an entire street as lockdown palliative.
It’s only in the Bible that one read that Jesus Christ miraculously used such meager loaves of bread to feed thousands and multitudes.
The Agege politician was no Christ of course. His bread could not turn into a miracle that could feed the many hungry mouths. The kids on the street had to resort to using his loaves of bread to play street football!
Why are our politicians so blest? As an escape in my lockdown mood now I feel like going back to the First Republic when it all started with Political Njakiri.
Time was when the Nigerian political space was dominated by good old banter even if couched as insults. There was no Corona then. Thank you.
Back in the days of yore, eminent Nigerian politicians such as Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SL Akintola, KO Mbadiwe, etc knew how to adeptly knock out their political opponents with astutely delivered words.
Zik’s supporters in the NCNC had this song for Awo’s supporters in the Action Group (AG), using the AG’s symbol of the palm tree as an object of derision:
“The palm tree grows in the far bush:
Nobody allows the leper to build his house in the town:
The palm tree grows in the far bush.”
The supporters of Awo’s AG replied in kind with a song that satirised the cock which was the NCNC’s symbol:
“The cock is sweet with rice,
If one could get a little oil
With a little salt
And a couple of onions –
Oh, the cock is so sweet with rice.”
Then the NCNC followers upped the ante with another song:
“You have forgotten that the election is near.
You still show your greedy red eyes
And make your tax assessment:
You have forgotten that the election is near!”
The followers of the AG countered with their own song thus:
“Never mind how many cocks there are:
Even twenty or thirty of them will be contained
In a single chicken basket
Made from the palm tree!”
The song and laughter died when the military came, and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti put it in song: “Soja don put everybody for reverse…”
With military past masters taking over the terrain of Nigerian politics addressing issues like corona or lockdown or hunger or virus can only get mixed up via military fiat and legerdemain.
Nigeria is now a fool at sixty, which reminds me of the “Fool at Seventy” Njakiri between Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida.
Babangida had launched forth the brouhaha with Obasanjo by saying at his 70th birthday that he managed to achieve success with little funds while a certain regime achieved total failure with so much petro-dollars.
Obasanjo of course knew that Babangida’s darts were directed at him, and promptly replied thusly: “A fool at seventy can only go into his grave with his foolishness.”
Babangida replied by calling Obasanjo a “witless comedian” through a proxy.
Do bear with me as it’s the corona lockdown that is playing up these pranks in my mind.
Eureka! A revelation has just come to me!
Our political jokers up there need prayers or their party may come to a tacky end in the manner Great Britain’s Oliver Cromwell sacked the Rump Parliament on April 20, 1653.
Oliver Cromwell uttered the damning words thusly: “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
“Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! “So! Take away that shining bauble (mace) there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!”