By Louis Odion, FNGE
The moment is here again that we pause from the routine to address the raft of words or phrases that have crept treacherously into national conversation lately.
By furnishing the content and context, the idea is to strip such terms of all ambiguities to the clearest meaning possible, thereby helping the general public – particularly the casual readers or the uninitiated – to better understand.
What better take-off point could there be than the latest tumult in the homestead of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“Reformed” as new con: To fully unravel the often dark recesses of human mind, Sigmund Freud, the immortal patriarch of psychoanalysis, enjoins us to look out not for the cues from quick expressions, but clues from the slips in-between. And what a bounty of Freudian Slips we are able to harvest from the song of lamentations rendered by the renegades who revolted last week in APC and are now parading themselves as “reformed”.
One, to be reformed presupposes graduation from a course of redemption. It suggests a corps fresh from the validating crucible and, in this context, possessing already tested skills. It would, therefore, border on the abuse of language, if not delusion, for those who, by own admission, were shut out from the outset to now seek to insert themselves into the same proceedings almost at the twilight and yet betray a desperation to hijack ownership.
In what then clearly suggests premeditated deceit, no sooner had a long membership list been unveiled than a good number of those so named came out with strong disclaimers. What now remains is more like a procession of double agents, career traitors, moral lepers, name-droppers and political rats hustling for the next morsel.
To allow this pass is to dignify duplicity.
While it will be patently dishonest to claim Buhari has fully delivered on the promise of 2015, it is however debatable if many Nigerians are truly bought by the false narrative now being retailed by the new renegades within APC. Naturally, the discerning are now beginning to take a closer look at the unfolding circus. That we cry does not also mean losing the power to see.
By harping on being “marginalized” all the while, the “reformed” have only succeeded in giving themselves away as self-seekers. So, it is all about the stomachs and the pockets of the “reformed”, not the welfare of the people.
Of course, it is understandable why they would rather keep a creative silence on the issue of the anti-corruption war given that some of them and their known patrons are still busy answering questions from anti-graft agencies. While it is the popular wish that more of the big thieves be caught, Nigerians will certainly not listen to anyone suggesting that those who stole were not made to vomit what they had swallowed. The “reformed” are aware that they would be lynched if they as much as dare to rail against efforts to curtail the looting of the public till.
Indeed, the mantra APC chanted at its founding was to fix the economy as well as wrestle insecurity and graft. We would have expected that a truly altruistic inquiry by any self-anointed redeemer would begin with a point-by-point audit of the referenced benchmarks. But nowhere did any of such feature in the lamentations by the “reformed”, other than the whining about being denied patronage or being locked out of the feasting going on.
But many saw this coming. What truly sustains associations is shared commitment. Part of APC’s enduring failing in the past four years is the inability to rally the disparate tendencies that had coalesced into a movement together behind a common value, beyond the utility of wresting power from PDP in 2015. Indeed, peace only prevails in a home until the illegitimate kids come of age.
Rickety as it might appear, the “reformed” spectre is, therefore, only a manifestation of that organic crisis. If Buhari’s ethical reengineering exertions thus far were to be classified as an asylum, what we are witnessing could then be likened correctly to an audacious bid by some of the glaze-eyed inmates to topple the presiding therapist and take over the psychiatric ward entirely.
Land or death: Patrick Henry’s statement, “Give me liberty or give me death”, had always been one of the most easily recalled invocations in defiance. Now, almost two and a half centuries after that stirring verbiage by the American orator at the Virginia Convention, our own Femi Adesina would appear to have enriched us with what was undoubtedly intended naively as a plea for national understanding and accommodation, but now designated more as the metaphor of power contempt, even the unthinkable.
In his own wisdom, the presidential spokesman last week argued it would not be too much of a sacrifice for families or communities to give up their ancestral land if that would guarantee the ravenous cows graze and the genocidal herders were pacified to return their bloodied swords to the scabbards.
Only the living, he argued, are in a position to keep sentimental attachment to ancestral land.
Obviously, Adesina’s counsel, uttered in a voice that is child-like if not entirely effeminate, could not be said to be cognizant of history. Dating back to antiquity, most wars have always been waged over land. Looking into foreseeable future, nothing suggests yet that the story will ever change.
So, on account of its non-feasibility, Adesina’s proposition would now appear a new synonym in strictly Nigerian speak for the proverbial “Catch 22 situation” or Hobson’s choice.
Therefore, being asked to give up land or reap death is to be faced with no choice at all.
Video monopoly: Those assuming they had heard the most bizarre with the recent viral audio tape in which a female student, Ms. Monica Osagie, spurned demand of bouts of sex by her tutor, Richard Akindele, to upgrade her poor score to a pass mark must have been shocked further with the leaking of the defence the latter reportedly tendered before the varsity board of inquiry.
While not denying that the illicit phone transaction held, the now dismissed Professor of Management Accounting hinted darkly at being outsmarted. More like being checkmated in the game of monopoly. Rather than being branded the aggressor, he saw himself as the victim. His own account is perhaps too lurid to restate fully here: from the claim of being tempted by the lady raising her skimpy skirt without underwear in his lonely office to being assailed with electronically delivered nude pictures in the dead of the night.
As the steaming baits rained down, the old professor claims his own strategy was to gather as much evidence as possible before reporting; only for the lady to blow the whistle ahead of him.
Given that it is now a case of his words against hers, we really may never know the whole truth. But what remains a big puzzle is how Akindele, a supposed senior ordained preacher in the local church, was able to continue to live with the abominable knowledge of his phone handset dripping with a trove of nude pictures for so long. Perhaps he should have saved himself the misery of the long defence by simply pleading Oscar Wilde: he “overcame the temptation by yielding to it!”
Tears for justice: From the age-old custom of being ascribed to human emotions of joy or pain, the chemistry of tears was stretched into an entirely new harbor last week – adjudicatory application. Credit for this novelty goes to no other than Nkem Ekweozor, an Anambra-based lawyer-cum-
What became news was not the fact that he chose to enter an appearance for himself as the candidate of the Mega Progressive Peoples Party in the January 13, 2018 Anambra senatorial rerun election.
Rather, it was the torrent of tears he shed half-way in his cross-examination of the winner, Senator Victor Umeh of APGA. Having struggled real hard to conceal his sniveling under his breath during that difficult moment, the cat was let out of the bag when Ekweozor eventually fished out a white handkerchief to mop hot tears streaming down his cheeks, to the consternation of the presiding chairman of the Election Tribunal, Justice H. A. Olusiyi.
The visibly stunned judge then exclaimed: “What’s happening here? You’re crying. What for? Oh my God, a lawyer crying in court?… How’ll all these people in court see you? Do you think they will hire you tomorrow to defend them?… We (lawyers) are trained not to be emotional. This is not the final court; if you don’t get what you want here, you can go upstairs. Lawyers don’t cry.”
After regaining composure, Ekweozor apologized and offered an explanation: “My Lord, I’m sorry for this. I was crying for justice. My opponents here want to intimidate me. My Lord, I’m weeping for justice.”
In the event that Ekweozor wins the case, that will likely signal the age of tears as part of evidence. More and more attorneys will henceforth likely begin to round off their own submission by contriving some tears “for justice” as well.