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Abiola and DANA
I read somewhere recently that it is the duty of critics to sign death certificates, but this duty does not in any way make them murderers. You may not find the thought contained in the statement profound, but I find it essentially and glaringly so. The critic may not be an assassin, as surely he is not, but a “literary culture deprived of vigorous criticism would soon die of niceness.” And no critic would want to sign the death certificates of niceness and praise–worthy endeavours. And a columnist worth his time and his reader’s time ought to be aware of this at all times. For he is, after all, an ardent and arduous critic of his societal happenings, whose decencies he tries to observe before every body’s eyes.
Two recent events this column must reflect today pertain to the sincere protest against the false and hypocritical renaming of UNILAG, and the loud expression of pain and lamentation caused by the Dana plane crash in Lagos. The country within the distance of three or so days witnessed two remarkable tragedies. (In fact, there was a third calamity in the form of another Boko Haram odious bombing of a church in Bauchi. That Sunday’s further display of naked violence of wickedness is being kept at abeyance for the simple reason that the powers that be in the land are mercilessly incapable of doing something positive in the area of insecurity plaguing the abodes of all of us perhaps minus Aso Rock that may not be able to resist it sooner or later. Of course, we will always resist not talking to power in this wise).
Now, what point was Dr. Jonathan (and still is) trying to serve us by renaming monumental University of Lagos Moshood Abiola University, Lagos? His “democracy day” renaming of that great institution is up to now nothing short of a process staged to revulsion and disgust in hypocrisy, hypocrisy that is twofold: totalitarian and pretentious. The former is the unrefined hypocrisy of the venal political lord who only yesterday sent his hounds to hound genuine masses of democratic protesters from Gani Fawehimin Square during the anti-fuel hike demonstration. Today he wants us to acknowledge that he is a democratic patriot and popular political leader by renaming a front-line Nigerian University of a very high reputation after a foremost Nigerian democratic protagonist. Dr. Jonathan’s “democracy day” screed cannot deceive anybody. At best, the president only succeeded in deluding himself by his act of renaming great and mighty UNILAG MAUL which may as well end up mauling his ambition. But much more refined, and thus, much more deadly and injurious is pretentious hypocrisy. To listen to Dr. Jonathan (and his think-tank and numerous hailers and defenders), one would think that their sympathy for Abiola is of the most genuine and purest kind. In reality, Dr. Jonathan’s and his thinkers’ and hailers’ contrived and premeditated declamations and bombastic references to Abiola as the “martyr of democracy” who must now be honoured almost two decades after his democratic martyrdom are false through and through, from beginning to end. For is there any thing today like Abiolaism in Nigeria’s political jargon, semiotics and rhetoric? Who is that politician or political leader in Dr. Jonathan’s political camp and Federal Executive Cabinet who believes in Abiolaism or who can give us a precise and concise definition of Abiolaism? Dr. Jonathan is merely associating with Abiola, so to say, in order to increase his decreasing political capital, in order to pose as a president and as a leader of democratically nation-wide acceptance. By the way, would Abiola have approved of the way and manner Dr. Jonathan tried to change the name of University of Lagos to bear Abiola’s name?
Those who want to hooray Dr. Jonathan on this score can go on hooraying him, but in the end we shall see what shall be seen. And to those who are going or have gone to court on this matter of renaming, I wonder and wonder: Why? Which court are they going to? Which court in the land today is not being presided over by a venal magistrate? Which judicial officer in our ship-wreaked judiciary, will give UNILAG justice on this matter? Maybe they see what I don’t see or know what I don’t know. But if they must want to hear from me, then they should take this: only the mightily powerful, forthright and genuine protest of the masses of UNILAG students and academics against this falsehood and hypocrisy can save UNILAG at the end of the day. They must play Egypt to win. Mark my words.
But I must now quote here the moving words of an eighty-two years old retired college principal from Abudu in Edo State to Dr. Jonathan: “Name Aso Rock as Moshood Abiola Rock. Abiola spent billions to win 1993 election. The result was annulled. He suffered and was later imprisoned in Aso Rock and died there, where he could have ruled as president. Notionally, he is to reside in Aso Rock. Chief Abiola worked hard to live in Aso Rock as president. He succeeded in a very fair election. His success was aborted by an unexpected force, which made him a prisoner instead of president in Aso Rock where he died as a prisoner of conscience. His spirit hovers in the place. Naming the place Moshood Abiola Rock may pacify his spirit….” These are the words of eighty-two years old Sir Z.O. Dongo who even Dr. Jonathan himself will un-hypocritically give a top grade if our president obviously means to, on account of the essentially nice feelings contained in the quoted extract. Now let me urgently but briefly dwell on the Dana plane crash. My heart is bleeding for all the dead victims. And I must partly share in the blame. Yes. If In and Out had done its patriotic duty, perhaps, yes, perhaps what has been would not have been. Our wonderful prophet, Primate Theophilus Olabayo prophesied it. He told me emphatically sometime ago that a plane crash of such mercilessly tragic magnitude would happen, and that the Nigerian Aviation people needed to be warned well before hand. He wished In and Out to help pass on the prophecy. Because I did not want to be seen as an alarmist and also did not want the Primate to be labelled a jaded prophet of doom and disaster, I deliberately held the prophecy back, among other ones. Now I know better. My heart-felt sympathy goes to the victims. And my apology to Primate Theophilus Olabayo who is of the profound thought that prophecies can help build Nigeria’s political civilisation to enviable heights. But how soon is our country going to get out of this veritable torrent of venality that it is known for universally? By the way, the root of the Dana plane crash will be too deep to be dug out of our Aviation debris, no matter how hard those in charge try to dig it out. And, in the final analysis, it rightly can be said that Nigeria’s Aviation onslaught has been more devastating than the Boko Haram onslaught. Seriously.
Last Line: Watch out for “Olabayo who must be obeyed.” Don’t miss it.Share