Tunde Odesola ([email protected])
As the lord of the deep, the whale needs no megaphone to announce its awesomeness. A lifespan of over 200 years qualifies the bowhead whale as the longest living animal on earth. Its first cousin, the blue whale, is the biggest animal ever, weighing up to 190 tons with a length spanning 30 metres. If the waters unmistakably belong to the whale, the fabled title, King of the Jungle, belongs to the lion, culturally. Because science has shown that the tiger not only has a bigger brain than the lion, it’s also physically stronger than the famed king, whose title originated more from his royal look and role within his pride, than from superior strength. A solitary hunter, the tiger has no pride. However, both the tiger and the lion are no match for the largest land animal, the elephant, who truly should be called the king of the jungle.
Because of his longevity and the ease with which he navigates the limitless depth of the spoken and written word, Professor Wole Soyinka qualifies as the literary whale of Africa. His white stringy mane also befittingly personifies him as a literary lion wizened by decades of unrelenting commitment at improving Man’s estate. Eni Ogun is even much more. He’s a literary elephant, whose footprints will endure the passage of time.
Soyinka is the ultimate artist painstakingly painting the oil of words on canvas, arranging them in shockingly amazing forms to educate, inform and entertain. Much more globally respected than any Nigerian leader, living or dead, when Soyinka speaks, the world listens. When he said, in 2003, that there was a nest of killers within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, no other story was big enough to contest newspaper headlines with the outburst of the 1986 Nobel Prize winner. Today, Soyinka is still pained by the murder of his friend and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, in cold blood, two days to the Christmas of 2001 – when the Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP reigned of impunity.
It’s a lazy and an unworthy a society that perpetually looks up to octogenarians to lead the battle against social reformation. Though his faculties are still very sharp, an observation I made during an interview with him some time ago, age has slowed down God’s greatest literary gift to Nigeria.
I’m sure the Professor of Comparative Literature will not condone the undiluted show of shame displayed last week by the All Progressives Congress in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State, during a rally. I’m sure Kongi will, at the appropriate time, paint the APC in bloody, horror colours, deserving of a highly hypocritical party which the ruling party has disappointingly turned out to be. When the daggers and stones of words cascade down from the Lion on Olumo Rock soon, the world should expect headlines such as: “Insanity! APC beatifies MC Oluomo Agbero – Soyinka,” “APC, a congress of criminals, says Soyinka,” “Soyinka: APC and the glorification of banditry,” “Lagos and the making of Mafia state,” “APC throws democracy to the dogs – Soyinka,” “APC and the death of decency – Soyinka,” etc.
Nothing asserts the acknowledgment of the criminality within the Lagos APC than the admittance of the spokesperson for the riotous party, Joe Igbokwe, who affirmed that the outlaws who openly killed and maimed people when Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was delivering a speech at the Ikeja event, were members of the party. Ghastly, Igbokwe puts the blame on the state-supported ‘agberos’ for coming to settle their internal squabbles at the APC rally. Rather than apologise to Nigerians for the tragic display of violence by their rampaging party members, Igbokwe and the APC refused to see nothing wrong in the brazen rape of democracy by the APC hoodlums.
It’s shameful to recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Governor of Lagos and National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu; his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, and a host of the APC leaders nationwide described former President Goodluck Jonathan as clueless, having failed to address the wave of insecurity in the land.
But the dizzying height the APC has taken security of lives and property to in the land, deserves a certificate from the University of Chicago. The APC has redefined political violence in Nigeria to include unbridled massive shooting, stabbing, hacking and knifing in the very presence of the highest symbol of power and authority in Lagos State, Governor Ambode, who, sadly, is now a lame duck.
As though Ambode was introducing the governorship candidate of the ruling party, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to the horde of deranged ‘agberos’, marijuana-inspired Area Boys and swarming codeine-brained, homeless youths at the rally, a hail of gunshots, clanging metals, thumping feet, broken bottles, rising dust, sorrow, tears and blood applauded the speech of the governor, whose voice unremorsefully carried on in the vain hope that security agents would arrest the shameful situation. It was as if Ambode was running a commentary on the ‘War of Touts’ unravelling before his very eyes as each word from him ostensibly attracted a gunshot, a stab and a deathly grunt. When the dust settled over the river of blood, three journalists, Emmanuel Oladesu PhD (The Nation), Temitope Ogunbanke (New Telegraph) and Abiodun Yusuf (Ibile TV cameraman), were hit by bullets from the smoking guns of the warring factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. Oladesu, Politics Editor of The Nation, was hit in the forehead and arm; Ogunbanke was hit in the mouth while Yusuf was hit in the stomach. Few minutes after the gun-wielding APC members honoured Ambode, Sanwo-Olu and other prominent party lords with the colourful march-past, the emergency ward of the ill-equipped Lagos State University Teaching Hospital brimmed with numerous casualties while the powers that be in Lagos pulled behind-the-scene strings to ensure that the delegated custodian of power and authority in the Oshodi Federal Constituency, MC Oluomo, an uneducated lamebrain, was whisked to the well-equipped EKO Hospital; the firstborn of Lagos State mustn’t die!
The 51-year-old Lagos is not known as the Centre of Excellence for nothing. The state displayed utmost neutrality in the mafia war, leaving her untouchable NURTW members to kill and maim helpless members of the society. The police also displayed neutrality by staying away from the scene despite the police headquarters being a stone’s throw from the theatre of war. Probably, Lagos police boss, Edgal Imohimi, was busy parading a husband for not finishing his wife’s rice and stew or parading a bus driver for not closing his eyes while a ‘born again’ prayed on his bus speeding down the Third Mainland Bridge. Imohimi embodies the flimsiness of the police force.
In the Centre of Excellence, the party’s thugs are getting more and more emboldened because they know Lagos is a lawless state. The other time, when one Ade Lawyer killed Ganiyu Ayinla, the personal assistant to the NURTW chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal, aka Kunle Poly, nothing happened to the principal suspect he mentioned as sending him to kill Lawal, who was mistaken for the killed Ayinla. With the unending allegations of killings trailing the NURTW in Lagos, the killers of a former Lagos PDP governorship aspirant, Funso Williams, and other politicians within the state may be residing in the new nest of killers.
The cause of the latest war among the APC members is the tussle for the state chairmanship of the NURTW which would soon be vacated by Tajudeen Agbede, having completed his term. Both Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo and Lawal are said to be eyeing the money-spinning post, hence the outbreak of anarchy at the APC event.
When Jonathan empowered militants and gave the Oodua People’s Congress a contract, the APC shouted blue murder. When Bourdillon enthroned motor park touts as lords over Lagosians, the APC is applauding.
Eko ti baje tan.
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