By Yinka Odumakin
I will never forget Mrs Sutton at Oduduwa College, Ile -Ife where she dropped that unforgettable one in a literature class: no one is born inherently bad but the society produces its own characters. The Singaporean lady was a delight to listen to.
That is the message the Nigerian, largely intellectually- challenged ruling elites cannot get that they call the people they have reduced to the base “hoodlums “ whenever they fight back. When the military opened the warehouses in 1984 to sell stored up goods at cheap prices they were called messiah and not hoodlums.
It was what inspired Yinka Ayefele to sing that what the people of this world turn you to would become abusive songs in their mouths down the line.The boys who invaded warehouses were only responding to the best incentives the maladjusted society had given. A graduate of 10 years who has not worked for a day reached out to me a few days ago and I could only tell him I would have him in mind if I came across any opportunity.
The real hoodlums of this disorganised society, who throw chairs and other dangerous weapons when they are fighting for the spoils of office, now want the masses to behave like gentlemen when there is a festival of the oppressed.
It was my friend and brother ,Bayo Fabiyi, who threw the challenge of what authority this society had to call its citizens hoodlums during the recent #EndSARS protests. I was ruminating on Bayo’s deep take when my great brother from the creeks ,Mr Otoks Princewill, supplied the answer, when he called the hungry folks we have produced as the poverty headquarters of the world “foodlums” within the hour .
And I must acknowledge my brother-in-law, the progressive Pastor Dele Akindoyo, who reminded me that there is hardly anything new under the sun when the poor started wealth redistribution.
The story of the day Prophet Elisha predicted cheap food in Israel is one that shows the way humanity has always responded to what we have in Nigeria. A Harvard economist who was at the king’s palace wondered aloud if Elisha was not talking nonsense as demand and supply would not allow that even if the windows of heaven were to be flung open. The prophet told him he would see the miracle, but would not partake of it.
By the following morning some lepers, that we would call hoodlums, entered the tents of the Arameans who fled at the sound of strange noise and abandoned their tents; there was free food and drinks everywhere. They ate to their hearts content and then brought the good news to town. The economist was trampled to death by people rushing for food.
And so it happened here that our foodlums located where the Nigerian rulers have kept all the COVID-19 palliatives they have been hoarding and liberated them. It was a funny spectacle seeing the military in some states begging the foodlums to be orderly in their activities of “looting” as it was a treasonable offence to wear police uniform.
The governors became so funny at a point, giving ultimatum to those who made away with items to return them within hours as if the hoodlums in government return our inheritance they seize such easily.
Now that tempers are relatively calming down, it is the time to speak the truth to ourselves that we have constructed a very bad society that is not sustainable. We are today the poorest country on earth with all the wealth and opportunities we have, but which we have mismanaged due to the greed of the elites and an unproductive structure.
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The social gap is widening on daily basis and we think the rich would sleep soundly when the poor are keeping hunger-vigil. I have always told my wife that I pity this society the day the have-nots that we see daily on the streets would have their season. What we saw during #EndSARS was just a dress rehearsal of the main day if we failed to reset.
It doesn’t matter the name we call them,there would be a harvest time for the seeds we have sown .
…….Iku speaks truth to power
The Alaafin of Oyo,Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, did not disappoint again when he spoke at the Parliament Building in Ibadan recently, after the #EndSARS protests.Baba spoke truth like he has always done as a respected monarch. He could not understand the madness that would make security agents to be shooting live bullets at protesters who were armed only with the National Flag and singing our Anthem.
Now the soldiers cannot open their morgue to check the content. And this society thinks that is the closure of the matter?
He wondered why the President did not address the protesters on time and was ready to behave like the apartheid government in South Africa which killed 250 people in Sharpville in 1960.
He warned on the implications of government not listening to people and urged the Governor of Oyo State to put his thoughts on paper. It would be a historical document to have in a season when absolute power corrupts absolutely in Nigeria
It was not an accident that the governance structure of Oyo empire was the themes of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) when he addressed a joint retreat of the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly recently. What looks like an impossible task to the fellows misruling our lives were things we did effortlessly in our traditional societies, which is the imperative of our demand for federalism.
It is our prayer that our land would never lack such moral icons who would not be afraid to speak truth to unconscionable power.
Re: Black Tuesday and this impossible country
Sadly, Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia is dead and buried.
Your write-up on Black Tuesday fitted into two of the statements of Second World War hero, General Douglas MacArthur :
“We have had our last chance; if we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door”.
– “I shall return,” he uttered this statement on his recall. And when he did return, he was capturing land after land.
Government and other misguided politicians should not see the demands of the youths as hard pull, failing to meet them would surely make youths to resort to that Tuesday and this impossible country will always mishandle it.
As for those who lost their lives to the #Endsars protest in order to make Nigeria a better country to live in, may their blood turn to tulip .-Olatunbosun Oldoye.
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