By Bola Bolawole
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A proverb of our people admonishes us to tread gingerly because the ground under our feet has eyes. Be careful not to march on ground’s eyes, says the collective wisdom of our people! Or else, the repercussions are usually calamitous; which, then, is the Ifa or oracle that admonishes the chameleon to tread gingerly. Asked why he should, the chameleon responded – so the ground would not cave in under his feet! Acting with impunity has consequences. Behaving as if you gathered everyone else together has repercussions. This is the wisdom of our people; it is also the lesson of history.
Oluwo of Iwo; Adams Oshiomhole; and the deposed Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi all have a few things in common. They were loud, noisome and offensive, assaulting our ear drums. They played god. They traded in impunity. They oppressed others. They subverted high office. And they thought it would last forever. Who will arrest us? The last has not been heard on the Oluwo and Oshiomhole sits on tenterhooks. The Oluwo is, however, lucky that he still perches on the throne. Were these to be climes where due diligence is done, he should by now be cooling his heels in gaol. If he escapes this one but acts the biblical King Ahab, he may before long commit another atrocity that will exhume as well as add up his previous misdemeanour and bring up the punishment in one fell swoop.
That fellow should never have been an Oba in the first place but for bribery and corruption, which has not spared the traditional institution. In a sense, then, Iwo and, by extension, the traditional institution as a whole and Yoruba land in general, deserve what they got. Iwo is not the only stool that has been so desecrated by gluttonous and rapacious kingmakers, without excusing the citizenry themselves. These days, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for us to find an Oba installed by Ifa, as was the practice in the olden days. In the days of yore, Obas were schooled and tutored in the customs and traditions of their people, which custodian they became once they ascended the throne. No more!
Obas these days are harbingers of “modernization” widely and wildly interpreted to include the bastardisation and destruction of the very institution of Obaship. These are signs of the times that there are no sacred groves where corruption and its influences do not loom large. The other side of the coin, however, is to investigate whether or not the Obas at the receiving end of the Oluwo’s pugilism were actually selling their people’s land – which they must not be allowed to appropriate as their own personal fiefdom – and, worse of all, to suspected herdsmen. If true, such insensitivity and callousness must be considered by far more dangerous than the Oluwo’s misdemeanour as it imperils us all and portrays the perpetrators – again, if any – as traitors and bastards.
“Gambari pa Fulani, ko l’ejo!” Is this what happened in Kano last Monday? Hausa man kills Fulani man, case dismissed! That might have been so in the past but – no more! Today, the myth of a monolithic North has been broken. The North is no more that indivisible entity moving together and acting together as in times past. Now, everyone feeds at his own mother’s breasts, as it were. A proverb says regardless that a farm belongs to both father and son, demarcations are still imperative. The North is already demarcating its farm into Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Middle Belt, etc., thanks to Muhammadu Buhari’s bare-faced nepotism.
Sanusi 11 was disaster waiting to happen. History supports this. It is said that a curse runs in the Sanusi family, placed by an Attah of Igala in 1963, the year Emir Mohammed Sanusi 1 was deposed after a little less than 10 years in office. In Sanusi 11’s own trajectory, he moved inexorably towards the fate the gods had ordained for him. Read “Oedipus Rex” or “The gods are not to blame” by Ola Rotimi. Did Sanusi not read history? Possessing the prowess and traits of his grandfather, why did he also pride himself in his character flaws?
Do I, then, support Sanusi’s dethronement? No, not at all! The timing is not auspicious; we have more serious issues on our plate that makes this a needless distraction. Secondly, the person dethroning someone else reportedly sits himself on a stolen stool. The one punishing another for corruption was allegedly caught pants down in the cesspool of corruption not long ago. But, these apart, does Sanusi deserve his fate? O yes! His cosmopolitanism notwithstanding – running with the hare but hunting with the hound – I remember he abused erstwhile Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso when the then Kano governor refused to jump into the Sharia bandwagon after Zamfara. Islamic fundamentalism gave birth to Boko Haram.
I remember that as CBN governor Sanusi dished out our common patrimony to causes and interests that caught his fancies. He pandered to the North and to his religion until public outcry forced him to extend tokenism to the South. I remember he demonised ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and caused his downfall. He peddled figures, shamelessly revising them each time he was challenged to provide evidence; from US$50b at first until he stopped at US$20b. Sanusi helped to enthrone the APC and Buhari. It is poetic justice that the same government has now dethroned him. In his place of banishment, he should rue this.
Oshiomhole fights tooth and nail for his political life; the truth, however, is that nemesis beckons sooner than later. Karma’s law, just like the axe of due recompense, grinds inexorably. God gave Oshiomhole a long rope to pull. Remi Oyo, that unblemished, thoroughbred professional, who was special adviser on media to Obasanjo, once told me: Bola, Comrade is taking all of you for a ride! What he is at night is not what he is in day time” Those so-called anti-fuel hike strikes were something else to those who fed fat on them. As a reporter, I covered Labour for a while and saw the backside of not a few Labour leaders. The story is told of a Labour leader who, on May Day when it was time for him to deliver his May Day address to workers, turned to Babangida who sat by his side and said: Mr. President, permission to yab you small!” And Babangida responded: Permission granted! Comrade President thereafter proceeded to give a vitriolic address and was hailed with standing ovation. He returned to his seat, leaned towards IBB and said: Mr. President, you can see they are very happy!”
By Oshiomhole’s own admission that we read on social media and which we have also personally witnessed since he became the APC national chairman, he has turned from justice to dispense favours at his whims and caprices; he has traded long-standing friendship on the altar of selfish interests; and has somersaulted again and again to gain temporary advantage. He has spoken from both sides of the mouth, murdering principle in the process. He has served the interest of cabals. After the exalted position of Labour leader and governor, becoming a hatchet man and political jobber is a fall from grace to grass. Nemesis will catch up! Those we favour when they least deserve it would be foolish to stick with us. It takes no stellar IQ to know that whosoever perverts justice to gain fair weather friends cannot be trusted with enduring legacies and worthy projects. Whenever they are done with using Adams Oshiomhole, they will dump him. And it shall be good riddance to bad rubbish! Unfortunately for him, with no home base to fall back upon, he shall be like fish out of water. He will float in Abuja and become another derision called “Abuja politician” Let Rotimi Amaechi and others of their ilk take note!