By Erasmus Ikhide
THE above titled articles, serialized in The Nigeria Punch Newspaper recently, authored by one Mr Tunde Odesola, comes with the imprint of genocidal slur. The trend has dominated the chant of ethnic cleansing in the South West and several other parts of the country towards the run up to February 25th and March 18th, 2023 general elections that has substantially widened ethnic gap between Nigerian citizens’ of different folks.
The issues in the said articles, penned down by Tunde Odesola, in solidarity with Professor Wole Soyinka’s jaded point of view on the Datti-Soyinka fascism debacle, and the terrible crime scenes, signposted as the 2023 general elections, accentuates what the global community is already acquainted with – except the naysayers like the writer of the piece, who thrives in ethnic tirades remained what it is – unforced error of the head and heart.
Obidient Movement welcomes the likes of Tunde Odesola into APC/Tinubu’s caves and cervan, as long as they are at home with distortions of facts and history, solely in their favour. Nigerians are not moved and it doesn’t removed the fact that those of us who refused to be cowed or conscripted into that contraction are obligated to buy into their hogwash. Nigerians and the international community knew that the elections were ‘war’ in every sense of the word.
Now this: Tunde Odesola’s two main accusations against Mr Peter Obi are that he avoided discussing Datti Baba Ahmed interview, where Senator Datti said ‘Nigeria will be ending democracy if the litigations hanging around the neck of Bola Amhed Tinubu in the law courts are not fully exhausted to the logical conclusion’. The second accusation is that Peter Obi did not tell the world the totality of his conversation with Bishop David Oyedipo in the doctored telephone interaction of “yes daddy” fame, where he allegedly said the election was a religious war.
Mr Odesola and his teaming ethnic propagandists have been speaking from both sides of their mouths since Senator Datti Baba Amhed live interview was aired. While a section of the APC/Tinubu’s media team are accusing the Labour Party and Peter Obi of heating up the political space over Datti Baba Amhed’s interview with the Channels Television, the rest are asking Mr Peter Obi to seek political asylum in foreign land to avoid political tension. In the United Kingdom where they have been advocating he seeks asylum, they went ahead to embarrass Mr Peter Obi with the compromised UK airport security agencies. So much for political reprobates for exposing their kidagattern style of media management.
While this was going on, Nigerians were expecting the likes Tunde Odesola, Festus Keyamo, Femi Fani-Kayode and the rest of the APC/Tinubu’s ethnic champions to explain to the world what Bola Amhed Tinubu meant when he said in a leaked video that “you fight for power, grab power, and run with it”?. If Tinubu could stick with Muslim-Muslulim ticket in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria and boastfully echoed, “it is my turn and the Yoruba’s turn”; even in his incoherent gaffing garbage, a man who cannot write his name twice without making mistakes, I wonder what else will suffocate hack writers like Odesola?
We’re all living witnesses to how town criers were deployed to the streets of Lagos, warning foreigners to remain indoors on the days of elections, to avoid the raw wrath of Eyo festival and all the other dreaded masquerades in Lagos State. In totality, conservative analyses gave the figures on how 109 hapless citizens paid the ultimate price with their lives; their souls grounded to the dust with no known offenses committed, apart from the vested hope for a new Nigeria and the outright rejection of the cynicism that a new Nigeria is not possible.
Prof. Wole Soyinka’s offensive outburst and the abuse of language labelled “fascism and fascists” attributions to the Obidient Movement is truly tragic and unfortunate. Firstly, Prof. Soyinka did violence to the use of language for deliberately addressing the Obidient adherents as nitwits and fascists. Prof. Soyinka’s wrongful allocation of such debasing, demeaning and worst of all, dehumanizing appellations to the mass of Nigerian youths, who are angry and hungry for a new Nigeria in a democracy; who are rooting for the extrication from the given asphyxiation, the muffling of citizens’ voices, reduces his status as the ‘Conscience of the Nation’.
Fascism – in its actuality which was started by Benito Musolini in Italy – means hate and hatred at its extremity against other ethnic groups by tyrants in power from another ethnic background. Fascism is a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator who controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government in power. In Nigeria, Labour Party or Obidient Movement is not a government and are not in possession of instrument of coercion. This is Prof. Soyinka’s error and terror of the usage of the word ‘fascists’.
Prof. Wole Soyinka should have covertly rein in his ethnic intuitive radar; allowed the charades, lacerations of people’s bodies, and the actual killings of Igbo in Lagos and elsewhere in the South West to slide for refusing to vote APC/Tinubu in the elections. Striving to make abhorrent, incoherent defense; slopping and narrow appeasement in order to isolate ethnic colouration from the outcome of the elections, to sullen the rapists of democracy, smacks of revisionism, knowing that citizens were bathed and soaked in blood in the presence of international elections observers.
What is hard and strange to believe is Prof. Wole Soyinka’s arrival into that ‘Hall of Shame’ of choreographed ethnic crime scenes, and for taking a position in favour of APC/Tinubu barbarity, and his decided failure to condemn and call them by their proper name, ‘fascists’. It is not lost on Nigerians that Prof. Wole Soyinka lost his voice throughout President Muhammandu Buhari/APC 8 years of the locust; yet he was one of the revolting stormy petrels who stood against President Goodluck Jonathan’s atrocious administration.
If Prof. Wole Soyinka could not denounce and condemn the procursors and enablers of fascists non-state actors like the Lagos chief-thug, Olu Omo, Mr Bayo Onaguga with menacing genocidal instincts; who released threatening videos that they will kill the Igbos and non-natives on the cyber space for being Obidient adherents in ‘foreign land’ (Lagos), then the old Professor has come to the end of civilization! Since the security agencies blandly pick and choose what fugitive offenders should be arrested, prosecuted and punished for constitutional violations, then we’re at the tipping point of ending democracy. That is the point Senator Datti Baba Amhed, the Labour Party’s Vice Presidential candidate was making.
As the axiom in my part of the world goes, history is useless if it is not usable yesterday, today and tomorrow. This is where Prof Soyinka’s history of his perceived injustice in elections heist in the past comes to the front burner. In 1956, Prof Soyinka invaded Radio House in Ibadan at gun point. He removed and replaced a running broadcasting tape with his own, denouncing the election results and announcing his own different election results for another political party he thought had won the election of that year.
The tragedy of Prof Soyinka’s banal destroy of history, and Mr Tunde Odesola’s adventure into APC/Tinubu’s Nazism, is the activation of the unwritten policy of the ruling elites consensus notoriety, and the dennounciation that we must forgot our history. It is the criminal tactics of waving around the cotton wools on the citizens’ faces, which suggests that, if we shut our eyes – like the kids, the tactile evidences of manipulation, deprivation, votes suppression – outright fraud, pure impunity and killings, that took place during and after the 2023 general elections would simply go away!
What Prof. Wole Soyinka dubbed fascism on the part of Obidient adherents by protesting the rape of their sovereign rights to participate in the governing process of their country, and the right to vote and to have the votes counted on the internet and social space, is nothing compared to that terrorizing episode of hijacking of a radio station, in Ibadan in 1956, except that we have become victims of our own collective misdeeds.
The likes of Prof. Wole Soyinka and his ethnic backers, namely; Tunde Odesola, Bayo Onaguga, Dele Alake and their kinds, for the indescribable orchestrated tyranny; and the scorched earth pogrom against a section of the country, can still be remonstrated for in the interest of posterity and humanity. The old Professor can’t simply afford to squander his legacy of rights protection – the taming of authoritarianism; rejection of pocket tyrants and barefaced terrorism, as witnessed in Lagos State in the last general elections – for a mere ethnic bowl of porridge! Is it not really sad that Prof. Wole Soyinka has descended into the lake of ethnic jingoists?
Erasmus Ikhide can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.