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We’re SARS from our mother’s womb *Speak to your children now!

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Have you ever had a heart to heart conversation with your children? I mean, sitting down to laugh and play and allow them to open up to you. I had that experience on Friday, October 23, 2020.

Should I say, this was the good side the current lockdown that started since Wednesday, October 21 offered me and my family – opportunity to unravel – to discover each other in a uniquely profound way?

In many ways, yes! For the first time we really had the type of conversation we never had before since they were born – two of my daughters – one 17 and the other, 14. My God, what these two lasses bottled up in their young and tender hearts and had been carrying for years without their mother and me knowing – for all the care and interest we thought we’d taken. I discovered that to try to get everything might be as difficult of going into a deep ocean to try and identify all you could find beneath it. Impossible you might say!

But that’s probably what those little children have ensconced in the cavity of their tender hearts. Loads and loads of secrets you may never know, even as they smile up and pretend that they know nothing.

I had a little glean into that ocean and what I discovered, has kept me very uncomfortable. But it also tells me a lot about the society and why we are probably why we are what we are and where we are as a people. After that, I began to have the full idea of where our SARS began and why we may never truly eradicate the SARS in us. For, we are, in essence, SARS unto ourselves.

How did it all begin, we were all together in my room laughing and chatting over many things, watching some of the videos emanating from the various dimension of the #EndSARS protests that have now turned into riots.

Apparently inebriated on the spirit of the moment, we delved into their days in the boarding schools. My first daughter, now 17, who is awaiting to write her post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), was pulled out of Queens College while she was at in her Senior Secondary School (SSS). The second one was also pulled out from Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ojo. I’m naming these schools because they are still standing and might therefore wish to take interest into the revelation of what might be happening under their noses, assuming they are not aware.

For starters, my first daughter got admission into Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Shagamu, but was moved unilaterally for inexplicable reason to Federal Government Girls College Effon Alaiye, in Ekiti State. In protest, after a futile effort, I contacted my friend, the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije, then Chairman Senate Committee on Education, who ask me to make a choice of any Unity school within Lagos. The choice was between Federal Government College Ijanikin and Queens College Lagos. I chose Queens College for obvious reason(s).

Did I ever know that I was practically putting her in hell? Those hellish experiences came out pouring out like a broken water pipe on Friday. Did you know that your daughter could be going through such hell now without telling you? Did you know what those children go through and are not telling you? I got to hear and know and nearly wept.

Are you aware that your child, yes, that your tender child that you pamper and shield from doing some menial jobs at home, lest she broke into pieces like a chinaware is in fact doing some prison work in school? Do you know that they could be woken up as early as 5am to go and start fetching water for her seniors? Yes! That your 10-year-old daughter? Do you know that she could stand there for hours on end with about five different buckets that must be delivered to her seniors before she could fetch her own? And there were injunctions. If the water dropped on the floor while she was delivering it, they would ask her to return back to the tap and refill the bucket? Did you know all these about your child?

Okay, don’t take anybody’s words for it. When next you visit, ask to use any of their toilet facilities in the schools. That might give you an inkling into the larger picture, especially in the hostels.

I could understand it during our time because I was already 13 when I went into secondary school and at that age, could withstand some of the tough tasks. Besides, I was also a toughie myself, coming from Ajegunle. But even at that I never saw it, because my school was all day and punishment by seniors was near non-existent.

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In the case of my daughter, she was just nine years. We withdrew her at 13 in SS2, because we were disappointed with her academic output and returned her to the private school where she did her nursery and primary schools, having gotten wiser about the illusion of Unity Schools.

Until now, my daughter never told me that they actually did the job of nightsoiling – onyeburu nsi, agbaekpo – evacuation of faeces. She told me how they were forced to pound the faeces in the toilet basins to make them soft enough to be flushed. This job they did with mopsticks. That is after scooping the ones on the floor, with all the maggots, shitty water and dirt. I wept inside, even though I was smiling. Then I began to understand more about SARS.

What about feeding? My daughter narrated to me how she could go for days without food, real food that is, because she couldn’t eat what she was served, how on her first day in school, she could not eat her beans and yam porridge because she saw broomsticks inside.

But hear this! They once had a very good meal, even better than what she used to eat at home including sizable chicken in their food. Why, a top government official had announced that he was visiting the school. They even had ice cream to boot! You see! But the said official eventually did not come. That was the only time my daughter had good food throughout her stay.

Now, if you didn’t know, during our time QC, as was popularly known, was way out of our class. It was unarguably the most prestigious female secondary school in Lagos, if not the entire country. That was why I didn’t hesitate when Chukwumerije mentioned it to me. I was chasing reputation. And I was not alone. Even in the middle of admission term, long after the process had ended, many were still bringing their children, because everyone wanted their children in the school.

I was lucky that I acceded to the mother’s decision to withdraw at the time we did, a year before the outbreak of the outbreak that nearly devastated the school and left some of the students dead.

The story of my second daughter at the Navy School, was no different from what her elder sister told. In fact, I was always wondering why she always looked sickly each time. In her own account, she told me that her first shock, was when one of the senior students on her first day in the hostel, asked her to colour her (senior’s) cup. She was asked to colour the cup brown. She didn’t understand until she was told to bring her provisions. You know what, the senior students don’t ask, they take. So, we were now buying provisions each time until we now learnt to keep them with one of the school teachers to secure for her.

Like her elder sister, she was subjected to the torture of being woken up at odd hours and made to fetch water, pound faeces and other odd jobs for the senior students at the pain of intense beating at the slightest resistance.

My daughter told me of how some of the senior students became so emboldened and practically went overboard to lock one of their juniors in a metal box.

These are apart from the lesser problems of having her beddings – mattresses, bedspreads, uniforms, pants and bra either stolen or forcefully taken away.

Daddy! Do you know that sometimes I had to hold going to toilet for two weeks and even more? That most times I don’t eat? Do you know that’s why I was always crying whenever I wanted to go back to school?

Now, why didn’t you report all these to your teachers, I continued to ask them. If you report and they are punished, are you not going to come back to the hostel? They will beat you the more.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I interjected constantly? But it’s the same thing. They will still beat me. They can beat you with anything. So we had to bear it. It’s not easy to report.

But don’t get it twisted. It is generally not the fault of the school administrators, at least not in everything. The blame for poor feeding and lack of regular checks on the environment like the toilet facilities could be heaped on the school authority, but that of intimidation and punishment, are entirely the by-product of fear.

Though I mentioned two schools, I’m told that it is a general phenomenon in boarding schools, especially those schools we struggle to put our children, because of old reputation. Even my wife confirmed this much, because, unlike me who ate palm kernel, she grew up with butter and attended boarding school. I’m also aware that the situation is not different in our universities. But while you are dealing with adults in the universities, what do you say about children, most of whom still carry the damp patches of the birth fluids on their heads?

I write this today because not was I so shocked that I never got to know this truth even after priding myself with some clairvoyance prowess, but because there are so many out there who think they know their children, but are, like me, swimming in an ocean of ignorance.

I have also been specific mentioning the names of the schools and circumstances so that people don’t take this as fiction. Perhaps, the management of these institutions, government officials and other strategic stakeholders, may begin to change strategies – pay unscheduled visits to these schools at auspicious times. That may help.

To parents: Are you still wondering where the SARS starts? Talk to that your child today. Find a way of taking a peek in that locked closet of her heart. You will be surprised how much SARS you might find.

 

Posted by  Editor |  25 October 2020, 12:53pm

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Soludo: Dangers of Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa

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By Sunny Igboanugo

 

Two things! Have you heard the stories around the mythology of Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa. Both are two well-pronounced Igbo concepts, which find expressions in some sort of elevated societal structures. You have to be a man of certain level of means before you could take the title or assume the toga of ezeonyeagwanam successfully. You couldn’t be a commoner and be ezeonyeagwanam. It is either you are feared or respected.

In the same vain, you cannot be a dunce and answer amachamiheuwa. So, ordinarily, where both derive their origin – knowledge and power ought to be good enough to earn respect for their inherent positive nature. Who wouldn’t want to be respected and who doesn’t want to have knowledge? It is the excess the ideas connote that become the problem.

Yes! Ezeonyeagwanam, the king who forbade people from speaking to or correcting him, went to toilet where his robe was smeared, but because of his injunction, attracted public ridicules as flies followed him into the public square without his subjects alerting him. On the other hand,  amachamiheuwa, claimed so much wisdom that he tied his yam on his beard, only for a slight fire to claim both the beard and the yam. Both tragic stories, you might say! But the connote quite instructive lessons.

If you become too arrogant with your authority that nobody could approach you outside court jesters and sycophants or too wise as to become uncontrollable, impenetrable and impervious to advice, then power, authority and knowledge become problems to you and you in turn become a problem to your surrounding and ultimately, the society at large.

Many leaders, who turned out monsters in power in history, were ordinarily good men, who lost it simply because they allowed themselves to degenerate to the level of ezeonyeagwanam and amachamiheuwa. I’ve told this story a thousand times probably, but I’ll tell it again for obvious reason.

Back then, as a journalist in this state, I used to have this governor friend of mine. We were friends and ran things together before he became governor, so there was really no gap between us. In the early days, there was a standing instruction to his security that I must have unrestricted access to him at any point. Of course his securitymen were aware of our relationship. So, most evenings, I ended up at the governor’s lodge before heading home, most times into the late nights, because on many occasions, we rarely had the opportunity of private talks till very late because of the traffic.

So, it was one of such occasions as we were chatting privately that I brought up the issue of the demonstration that took place in the state earlier in the afternoon. What demonstration? he asked. He obviously was not aware. Then I took time to fill him in on the issue. He practically dropped the glass in his hand when I told him that we had actually filed the story. Then, he said something that amused me – “I’ll be here one day and they’ll come and carry me o without anyone telling me.”

That moment, he summonsed a cabinet meeting, calling everyone himself. But the intriguing thing was when the next morning, one of his commissioners, a friend of mine equally came to my office and we reviewed the activities of the previous night. “Don’t you know your friend again. You could lose your job outright, if he was in a bad mood and you became the harbinger of such bad news,” was how he put it.

Of course, he didn’t have to tell me. I knew “my friend” enough to acknowledge what the commissioner was talking about. Of course, before the end of his first tenure and into the second and final lap,  the destructive effect of  Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa had taken so much root he practically became a monster such that the main character in the epic – Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, could easily be taken as a learner.

I don’t want to recount the atrocities associated to him to the extent that even murders committed in other states, were attributed to him. Yet, this was one of the kindest and tenderest persons I’d met in authority. At the ordinary level Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa, could be controlled. But they could conduce such terrible outcomes when combined with raw power, especially the type we have in Nigeria. I saw it with my korokoro eyes destroy my friend, who ordinarily, ought to be one of the reference points in Nigeria today for his ideas about governance. At first, the negative instincts seep in gradually. In fact, before the bubble burst, I heard my friend remind me countless times, during argument, because we argued a lot then  that he was the governor with power of life and death and was going to deal with me. We usually laughed it off or waved it aside as part of jokes, but when things started going awry, I couldn’t help but make the connection. They soon became real, because he actually carried out the threat. He did not attack me physically, but he threatened my job at least – trying to use state money and power to reach my employers. Even though he met a stonewall, but he at least tried. My very good friend o! That’s how bad it could get!

Of course it couldn’t be him that ordered the atrocities surrounding him, at least not all. But on the other hand, he didn’t have to. How could a prisoner know what is happening outside the walls? They simply act in his name. The major and immediate prompt in this case is fear. The effect of him suddenly losing popularity at that level, naturally drives him to seek help and protection against enemies, real and imagined. Then the collateral damages. I witnessed all these with my friend.

That is the danger today in Anambra. What I really fear the most about Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State, my governor, amid the hullaballoo, the kankan-gwogwo, in recent days, is that the snake, which bit my friend several years ago, may whip him with its tail. May it never come to a point when he would feel that the love of Anambra people have left him that like it did in Saul, and begin to hear strange voices that would urge him to seek power and protection outside the normal realms. Yes! Leaders, who lose popularity and natural love, try to force them willy-nilly.

Or, do you think for one second that the din from the cataclysmic eruption and groundswell of condemnation you hear across Nigeria, since his rather unnecessary, if not infantile diatribe against Peter Obi, would resonate in Agu Awka, his office or Amawbia, his lodge in the same manner? Certainly no! If anything, he would have been receiving high-fives since then from the multitude of sycophantic that populate government houses across Nigeria.

I know enough of such environments to confirm that there might not be a single close ally from hence that would be courageous enough to look him in the face and try to leash him for the simple obvious reasons. Not when power , money and the fear of losing privileges are the major elements that drive the relationship between people and the governor, most times. At best, they’ll keep silent. But you could be sure that even his domestic servants would be cursing him in their private meetings in the kitchen or living quarters, away from prying eyes and ears.

You actually heard him say that many people indeed prevailed on him to refrain from reacting initially, but that he defied them. If you thought for one moment that those advisers would do an encour, then you underrate power and influence. What it means is the courageous ones who could have spoken out, but now feel sufficiently appalled would simply walk away, leaving him further in the depth of loneliness. Guess who fills the gap?

What have I been saying? Let me emphasise! When you lose popularity, love and influence, as a governor, you not only try to force it through brute force or coercion, you also try to protect yourself. Naturally, those around you might no longer be people with genuine love, but those in it for profit. The immediate effect is loss of focus. Truth takes flight. Everyone tells you what you want to hear. Yet, these people don’t come cheap. Because they don’t, that’s when you’ll start nibbling at the common till. After all, is it not a common saying that if fire falls on you and your child at the same time, you first put off yours before your child? Is than not what is called self-preservation?

But the clock continues to tick. Soon, the second term demand comes knocking. This time, it becomes a matter of ego and desperation and not a natural course of events. The fear of your enemies prevailing, takes a more choking grip. Or do you think our governor is deaf to the vow of many hitherto friends and supporters, who have become enemies overnight to avenge his childish act? No? What then are the options? They are either or. Either he throws his hands up or he fights back. Should he fight back, what are the weapons? Buy the votes or buy the structure. What if the resources of the state are not enough – then borrow! Deeper and deeper the mess – down and down Anambra goes.

Wasn’t this what happened in the same Anambra when Willy Obiano, practically emptied the purse of the state to sponsor his elections rather than be defeated after eating the capital and gains of the state in wild, wanton revelry, merrymaking and picking unnecessary fights, such that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission couldn’t even wait for a day to pick him up immediately he lost immunity for the obvious crime?

I hope a miracle happens to change the course of events. I truly hope that Peter Obi wins the 2023 presidential election, because that is the only way to mitigate the anger of Anambra people against Soludo at this time. Otherwise there is no telling that like Obiano, the only option would be for him to do anything to avoid the obvious doom.

Yes! There is no way Anambra people will not blame him in the event of Obi’s failure and there is no way they will forgive him. Indeed, the devil works in such a terrible way. Someone told me that if Joe Anatune, his erstwhile media manager, who died few days into his government were alive, he wouldn’t run into the present mess, because he had the capacity to leash him. I don’t know how far this is true.

In my mental estate, I couldn’t stop calculating what a Soludo governorship could do to my Anambra, if he kept his eyes on the ball. Picture this! Flyovers at Nkpo junction, Nnobi, Agulu, Ekwulobia, Umunze, Uga. If you’ve ever been at these areas during Christmas period and undergone the experience, you’ll understand the danger ahead. Just imagine that for starters. Till date, he’s still driving Innoson as his official car. Picture the outcome of the lofty ideas he has in the offing. Now, the devil seems to have set in to destroy everything. why did the devil put those question into the mouth of Seun Okinbaloye of Channels Television that started all this?

Yes! The enemy must have done this! Perhaps, prayer might help. Just like Obi said he won’t stop praying, Ndi-Anambra must take it as a duty to do the same. Father Ebubemuonso and other clerics like him must lead the way to pray Soludo out of this mess, even self-inflicted. Otherwise!

Anambra must never experienced another Obiano catastrophe, when after frittering away the privileges he got freely, he got the state sunk into the morass of bad behaviour. Presently, millions of Nigerians are praying God to send Obi to clear the present mess in Abuja and across the land. Ndi-Anambra, though, leading in this regard, must never in their well-deserved anger forsake their son back home at this time. May God exorcise and cure Soludo of the dangerous spirit of  Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa and ultimately save my state!

Igboanugo, a journalist, lives in Lagos

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Soludo: Passing six no be passing sense

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By Sunny Igboanugo

 

Last month or so, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, was on Politics Today, the popular current affairs programme on Channels Television. There, his host, had asked him a direct question about his choice between Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peter Obi, of the Labour Party (LP), both contesting for presidency in 2023. It could have been an attempt to corner or bait him, in some way, for maximum effect, as journalists are trained to do.

But beating the former Governor of Anambra State, two-time Senator and now Minister in the game of politics is akin to carrying coal to New Castle, or selling snow to the Eskimos. Trust the old political horse, to see through the obvious trap. Adept and well pruned, he cleverly did the needful – jump and pass – as the local people would say.

I have my PVC, I have only one vote. On election day, I’ll go and cast it for a candidate of my choice.”

Now, Ngige, is a serving Minister on the platform of the ruling APC. But he is from Anambra State. Not only that he’s one of the most prominent Igbo men alive today. Given that the generation before him, which tried and failed, is fast receding and thinning out, he shares in the burden of producing an Igbo man as President of Nigeria. So, between party loyalty and that onerous duty, lies the imperative of emotional intelligence. How far critics faulted him for being reticence, during that outing, would therefore be hinged on how such individual appreciated his peculiar circumstances, or politics in general.

Don’t forget the story of Obi and Ngige,  which is supposed to make them the bitterest political enemies there is. Indeed they are, actually. They don’t see eye to eye, politically speaking. But there is a limit when it comes to the larger picture. That’s what the Minister, seems to underscore and for which history would record him at the appropriate time, for recognising the dictum – all politics are local.

Even Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, Emeka Ihedioha, former Governor of Imo, seem to be at home with this reality also. Regrettably, Chukwuma Soludo, the current Governor of Anambra State doesn’t. His outing on Channels Television on Thursday, October 10, 2022, exactly a month after Ngige underscore that much. It was the direct opposite of Ngige. Such tactlessness, naivety and total lack of emotional intelligence! For a man who is supposed to be the current father of Anambra State and the bastion upon which the Obi campaign ought to rest on! Terrible.

Hear him on the programme, few hours after presenting a N258.97bn 2023 budget proposal to the Anambra State House of Assembly in Awka, Soludo told his host on the programme: “I think there was something I read about somebody speculating about whatever investment. With what I’ve seen today, the value of those investments is worth next to nothing. So, let’s leave that aside.”

See the background. Obi arrived office in 2006 with a clear economic template. He decided to keep a fraction of the yearly state revenue as savings as part of its template for long-term economic programme. This was to be followed with investments in businesses with potentials for yielding high dividends that would add to the financial pool.

His thinking was actually tailored at recreating the magical economic feats of countries like China and other Asian Tigers – a strong financial husbandry – a pool of funds the state would rely on in future as a bulwark for massive investments and expansion of the industrial base to the extent that it wouldn’t have to rely anymore on the federal allocations that comes at the end of the month, but transform Anambra into a model of a distinct, self-sustaining entity of an economic hub, not only in Nigeria, but even Africa.

In other words, the investments and savings were never meant for his own government, but his successors, giving that he had just eight years, maximum to be in office. By the time he was exiting office, he had a huge reservoir of N75billion, captured in local and foreign currencies at various banks.

Outside other investments totalling N27billion, in such entities as Nigerian Independent Power Project (NIPP), of N9billion and Orient Petroleum of N4billion, among others, he made a huge input into the SabMiller company, a local offshoot of the International Breweries Limited, totalling $12.5million as one of the landmark achievements in this regard.

Now, this is what Soludo, completely rubbished. In fact, the controversy, had started when months ago, the governor had to come out openly to debunk a story credited to Obi that the SabMiller investment, had grown to $100million. It has not been confirmed that the former governor actually made the claim. Nonetheless, the vehemence with which Soludo, who practically came out smoking, went about the rebuttal, raised not a few eyebrows about his intentions.

It is against this background that the Thursday outing is being situated. What was the governor up and about with those snide comments and scornful body language for? What purpose were those sneering, contemptuous and disdainful dismissal of Obi’s efforts meant to achieve?

Now, you don’t need to look further for the answer. It lies in one element – politics. How? Well, this was the selfsame Soludo, who in September 2021, acknowledged the sterling performance of Obi in the state. During the governorship debate prior to his election, when the issue of the former governor’s achievements came up, the same Soludo, rather than dismiss, actually hugged them with pride, only that he argued that the feats were achieved as governor of the All Progressives Congress (APGA).

JUST IN: Peter Obi visits Soludo

 

He couldn’t bring himself to cricise Obi then, knowing the consequences, but rather retorted – yes, those achievements were made because he was implementing APGA programmes. What has changed between then and now that the mention of Obi’s name, would conduce such obvious disdain?

As he had always argued, if he were any other Nigerian governor, he would have pocketed the money he lodged in those investments and savings and heavens wouldn’t fall. After all, Nigerians were witnesses to how Willie Obiano, his immediate successor sweated it out in the confines of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the exact day he handed over and tried to sneak out of Nigeria.

Has anyone heard about the case again? With the frenzy created initially, anyone would have thought that Obiano would be in and out of the courts trying to extricate himself from the allegations of monumental pillaging of the commonwealth of Anambra, he was accused of. Obi never suffered such indignity, either as governor or any other public office he has held, including as Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

So, where did he go wrong? That he decided to invest money and not steal it or that he saved for posterity and not steal same? Intriguingly, Soludo, a supposed world-class economist, who ought to be at home with figures, should have told his audience, what the investments were worth, even if just one kobo. But did he?

By implication, he appears to be telling the world that Chief Obafemi Awolowo is to be blamed for the collapse of the O’odua Investment Group (OIG), and the companies under it that saw the rapid growth of Western Region at his time, including the effortless prosecution of free education or that Saduana of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, should similarly be blamed for the collapse of the Kaduna Textile established by then Northern Nigerian Development Company (NNDC) or that Michael Okpara should be assailed for the the parlous situation of Golden Guinea Brewery, Nigercem or Hotel Presidential Enugu.

Anyway, the governor should be told by those close to him that hiding under one finger is impossible. He should quit being clever by half, because no one can eat a crab in secret. The walls have ears and what is hidden in the dark is usually exposed by light. Many know where he’s coming and that road has been trod in the past.

We hear that he has been promised that he would be the next President if only he could scuttle Obi’s chances. It was said that immediately he showed early signs of supporting Obi, including offering him the Anambra Government House to launch his campaign, the hounds moved in to sow the evil seed of ambition in his heart. Don’t you know you’re the one we’re preparing for the job? That was it. Like Macbeth, whose vaulting ambition led astray, our governor has not relented in providing his own bit to the massive plot to stop Obi, ever since.

How sad that in his obvious blindness, he couldn’t hear that the same promise is being made to his compatriots next door by the same people. Sadder still is that he couldn’t even recollect the fate of others before him. But ambition is a deadly phenomenon sometimes.

Our governor, my governor, must however not forget that though envy and jealousy made the brothers of Joseph throw him into a well and later sold him as slave, God gave him authority with which he saved Israel. That Soludo, doesn’t see the hand of God in Obi’s present journey, even with his education, is what beats me. But, passing six no be passing sense!

Igboanugo, a Publisher of Whirlwindnews, wrote from Lagos

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Caveat Emptor: Before they scapgoate the Igbo again

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Don’t be surprised if they spin the narrative to indicate that those who pelted the convoy of my friend, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State with stones and other dangerous objects in the heat of the #EndSARS protest are Igbo. I can see you opening your mouth to say that is nonsense talk.

You would also say the same if you are told that the daring youths in the neighbouring Osun, who actually succeeded in sticking an axe in the car of Gboyega Oyetola, the governor of the state are Igbo. You would probably take the narrator as insane and the story as childish. I’m sure you will also dismiss the story about the jailbreak in Benin and the other violent actions thereof if you were told that the onslaughts were led by the Igbo to achieve their aim. You would describe it as pure bunkum for its sheer incredulity.

But, then, you would be among the reasonable ones around. You may also not be given to baying for blood or possessed by the evil spirit of scapegoatism. Of course, you will also not be an Igbo hater. Else, you will not only accept the narrative, however infantile, obtuse and asinine, but join in spreading it, using whatever platform available to you – telephone conversations, village meetings, underground channels, social media and even the traditional media.

That is exactly what they are doing now. Go to your social media platform and read what some people are saying. If you have not seen one, then you are not just in the right place at the moment or you have been busy doing other things. There is already a surfeit of it spreading around that the Igbo are at it again.

When Chinua Achebe, in his treatise – The Trouble With Nigeria, wrote that the only project where all Nigerians would put their differences aside and agree to pursue in unison and then return to resume their bickering thereafter, is the Igbo project, many people would see him as promoting the conspiracy theory narrative. The Igbo are their own problems, they will say. But you see it manifesting everyday.

Yes! The story now is that the entire #EndSARS protest is an Igbo-engineered project. Or better still, the destruction going on in Lagos, are done by the Igbo, or have their imprimateur. Don’t laugh it off. They have their narrative. The people that invaded the Iga Idugaran, Lagos Island palace of the Oba of Lagos, spoke Igbo. Don’t even ask what an Igbo man would be doing with the staff of office of a Yoruba monarch. If you did, you would be reasonable. And here, being reasonable is not needed. What is, is sentiments and emotions. That’s what the purveyors want for the project ahead. And you know what that project is all about.

If you’re still in doubt, there is one of such that is being circulated right now. Read with me: “Sir, for those who cannot divorce politics from hatred and envy, I have questions for them. They would say “Tinubu is a thief. Tinubu owns Lagos. Tinubu is Fulani slave. Are Yoruba Land and Yoruba heritage Tinubu’s property?

“They are hiding under protest and hatred for Tinubu to execute coordinated attacks on Yoruba interests and Yoruba are hailing them. BRT Buses and stations, media houses (People’s Vioce and means of livelihood, County Hospital, Lekki Toll Gate, Oriental Hotel, NPA Headquarters, Ajeromi/Ifelodun LGA Headquarters, Akiolu’s Palace.

“They were heading for the railway workshop at Ebute-Meta before police repelled them. But Trade Fair is intact, Ladipo is intact, Mazamaza is intact, Jibowu and Iddo parks are intact, Alaba is intact.

“Yet Tinubu is their target! Where are Afenifere, OPC, YEF, AGBEKOYA? LAGOS indigenes? ẸNI TI TIẸ TI JONỌN KO KỌ KI TI ELOMIRAN DI EERU O!” The one who consented to using his father’s house as battle ground has lost the battle before the battle begins.” This is just a sample of the many now circulating. You know what it means. If you don’t get it yet, it is a battle cry to start targeting the Igbo properties in the already identified areas and perhaps their persons as well. If it extends more, it will also means reclaiming the land and their patrimony “stolen” not “bought” by the Igbo, a project that many have been hatching for years!

What’s more? They now have “evidence.” Nnamdi Kanu has claimed ownership of the mayhem through the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the selfsame Kanu, who escaped to London in 2017 after boasting that he would vanquish the entire Nigerian Army if they dared come to the South East during the Operation Python Dance. Of course the rest of the story is clear. Many of his footsoldiers collected bullets with their chests, not only in Umuahia but in many other parts of Igbo land – many are still collecting even now. You saw how the lucky ones were being asked to swim in mud water and gutters by the same army he was going to wipe out, when they eventually came calling. Yet, all powerful Kanu did it! The all-powerful IPOB who have not been able to do anything in the South East, apart from sending out press statements, now came to Lagos, marched to the palace of the Oba, the symbol of traditional institution in Lagos and took away his staff of office. No! Stop laughing. Some people are already using it.

Now, if you have lived in Lagos long enough, you’ll not be lost about its demographic structure – you’ll know who lives where and who is in control and where. Much as the Igbo populate virtually all parts of Lagos, as indeed Nigeria, there are areas they don’t have the strength or capacity to do anything. If you say that these violence happened in Ajegunle, Amuwo-Odofin, Festac, Alaba or Okokomaiko, your story might have a veneer of credibility.

But from where would an Igbo man derive the capacity to cause mayhem in Ikorodu, Isale-Eko, Mushin,Ketu, Ojota, Ebute-Meta, Egbeda, Iju-Ishaga or even Lekki of Ikeja? But then, you’ll be reasonable if you began to think this way – a fatal error, because thinking – good thinking – is not needed here. What is needed is emotions and sentiments.

Now, in the last fortnight or so, when the #EndSARS protest was on high steam, Nigerians clearly knew who the motivators were. The celebrities – musicians, actors and actresses, the activists, the social media gurus were all known. Amongst them, I couldn’t recall any that bore Igbo name, at least, none that was prominent enough to be celebrated. All the ones that basked in the sun and had the accolades, granted interviews here and there, grew the cloud base, which in turn would attract them some fortunes as well, were none Igbo. The Igbo contributors on the social media, at best, walked under their shadows.

Yet, while they take the accolades for all its worth and probably smile to the bank, the backlash will now go to the Igbo. They’ll pick up the trash. Presently, Flavour nwa mama, the ukwu sala mbala exponent and Phyno, the fada fada singer, are licking their wound for trying to also play the same role. You may have heard how they got their fingers burnt by being told that they’re not Enugu enough and they should go back to their state, Anambra. Are you “sorrying” for them? But that’s the lot of the Igbo man. Always left with the trash can!

So, don’t be surprised when you see Alaba, ASPAMDA, Ladipo, Mazamaza, Jibowu and Iddo parks go up in flames tomorrow, because we know that there are many who are trying. And if God allows it, for He is the only one that could say otherwise now, don’t hold the hoodlums you’ll see in the streets liable. They’re mere instruments. The real culprits are already out there. They’re highly educated and discerning – gifted men and women – powerful in many ways – but who decide to use every good things God has given them to harm their neighbours for no other reason than evil.

They know that Igbo man had no hand in the Wild Wild West and Operation Wetie. They know that the Igbo did not lead the repeat in 1983 that claimed the heads of Chief Olaiya Fagbamigbe of Fagbemigbe publishers and Kunle Agunbiade, whose head, it was claimed, in some quarters was severed from the neck and served on a platter to some leaders. But mind you, if and anytime it’s convenient to introduce the Igbo element in it, that will surely come. They know that no Igbo man led the attack on Tinubu’s property or indeed any of the attacks in Lagos. But, for as long as a single property or business that has the imprint of an Igbo man is still standing in Lagos, some people will not rest until it comes down. And there is an opportunity to do that right now! Only God can prevent it. – The Tiny Voice!

 

Posted by  Sunny Igboanugo |  22 October 2020, 04:26am

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