WHEN TINUBU HAPPENED TO SOYINKA:The Parable Of Startling Ideological Somersault 5

By Rev. Fr. John Odey
Part 5

Two centuries after the abolition of slavery the condition of the blacks in America, the offspring of those who were chained like animals and ferried across the sea to the unknown where they were used and abused, had not improved much. Consequently, in his book: *Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?* Martin Luther King Junior described what it meant to be a black American as follows:

Most people are totally unaware of the darkness of the cave in which the Negro is forced to live. A few individuals can break out, but the vast majority remains its prisoners. Our cities have constructed elaborate expressways and elevated skyways, and white Americans speed from suburb to inner city through vast pockets of black deprivation without ever getting a glimpse of the suffering and misery in their midst. To be a Negro in America is often to hope against hope. Being a Negro in America is not a comfortable existence. It means being a part of the company of the bruised, the battered, the scared, and the defeated. Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry! It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having your legs cut off, and then being condemned for being a cripple. It means seeing your mother and father spiritually murdered by the slings and arrows of daily exploitation, and then being hated for being an orphan. Being a Negro in America means being harassed by day and haunted by night by a nagging sense of nobodiness and constantly fighting to be saved from the poison of bitterness. It means the ache and anguish of living in so many situations where hopes unborn have died.”

When we read and reflect on this gripping lamentation what emerges is the fact that the difference between what is currently happening in Nigeria and what happened in the America of Martin Luther King’s days is just a difference of names and locations. For instance, if you change America to Nigeria, Negro to Nigerian Youth, White American to Nigerian Politician, you will get something like this: “To be a Youth in Nigeria is often to hope against hope. Being a Youth in Nigeria is not a comfortable existence. It means being a part of the company of the bruised, the battered, the scared, and the defeated. It means the ache and anguish of living in so many situations where hopes unborn have died” and so on. More than any other politician, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s deadly ambition has slaughtered and buried the hopes of our younger generation. When will Wole Soyinka admit this bitter truth?

In July this year, the country was beset with the story of a 19-year old student, Miss Joy Mmesoma Ejikeme, of Anglican Girls’ Secondary School, Uruagu Nnewi, who forged her Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) result, giving herself a fantastic mark of 362 which she wanted to catapult her to the glare of the public. For a young girl of that age to do that made so much wave that it attracted the attention of all and sundry. The major media houses, public and private, and news papers and news magazines, all expressed shock. The social media was not left out in the fit of anger that the matter generated. The uproar about it was so much that Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State had to appoint an 8-member committee, headed by Prof. Nkemdili Nnonyelu, to wade into the matter and investigate the controversies surrounding the result which the girl claimed was given to her by the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

To get to the root of the matter, the committee invited the girl, the Principal of her school, and the officials of JAMB for collaborative investigation. Joy had claimed that she scored the following marks: English Language: 98, Physics: 89, Biology: 94, Chemistry: 81, making a total aggregate score of 362. But in the course of the investigation, JAMB officials, led by Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the Head of Public Affairs, proved beyond all doubts that she scored the following marks instead: English Language: 64, Physics: 54, Biology: 74, Chemistry 57, making a total aggregate score of 249. In other words, she added extra 113 marks to her score. Joy also admitted that she manipulated the result herself without anybody else being involved in the scam. That gave an additional shock to her Principal, to the Education Secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Nnewi and to her family. In the end, the committee recommended that the girl should tender unreserved apology to JAMB, to her School and to Anambra State Government, after which she should undergo a psychological counseling and therapy.

READ MORE:WHEN TINUBU HAPPENED TO SOYINKA:The Parable Of Startling Ideological Somersault

WHEN TINUBU HAPPENED TO SOYINKA:The Parable Of Startling Ideological Somersault 2

WHEN TINUBU HAPPENED TO SOYINKA: The Parable Of Startling Ideological Somersault 3

WHEN TINUBU HAPPENED TO SOYINKA: The Parable Of Startling Ideological Somersault 4

That was a job well done by the Anambra State Government, JAMB Officials and the School Authority. Nevertheless, I wish to suggest that the girl’s problem is more than what psychological counseling and therapy can solve. While her action is totally unacceptable, it will be good if all of us, particularly our political leaders who directly or indirectly dictate the tune of the songs we sing in this country, come to terms with the reality that unless we stop election rigging and allow people to freely and fairly choose their leaders, even children in the womb will become corrupt before their birth. Unless they are guided by the special grace of God, how can you convince the young ones in Nigeria that forging result is bad in spite of how awful it is to do so when they have a person like Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president of their country?

By rigging the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu stole the mandate that millions of Nigerians gave to another person to become their president. By adding 113 marks to her JAMB result, Joy deprived no human being of his or her mandate. She just wanted to boost her pride. As shocking, evil and loathsome her action is, no honest Nigerian can deny the fact that she learnt what she did from what she has been watching happening around her. For instance, Bola Ahmed Tinubu criminally stole the whole country by rigging the presidential election. But Prof. Wole Soyinka did not see anything wrong with that. Joy Mmesoma Ejikeme criminally added 113 marks to her JAMB result. Can anybody tell us who committed a greater crime? Is it Tinubu or Joy? That is our Nigeria!

There is an unpleasant incident which I have narrated many times and keep narrating it because of its message and relevance. It throws more light on how the terrible things that people like Tinubu do to ensure that they rule us against our will have given some of our youths the ruthless audacity to take laws into their hands and to commit whatever crime they can commit without fear and without compunction.

In May 2003, shortly after the so-called 2003 political elections, a member of my parish (St. Patrick’s Parish, Abakaliki), who was then the principal of one of the public secondary schools in the outskirts of Abakaliki town, called Nodo Secondary School, came to the parish. After we had exchanged greetings, I casually wanted to know from him whether the rate of examination malpractice in his school during the current WASC examination was high or low. In reply to this casual inquiry, he suddenly recoiled in a mood of total despair, shrugged his shoulders and said: “Father, Nigeria is finished. Examination malpractice has become the rule and no longer an exception. When you tell young boys and girls that they should not indulge in examination malpractice they think that you must be mad to say that. I do not know where we are going. The future of this country looks very bad.”

After this preliminary shocker, he told me what accounted for his apparent loss of hope in Nigeria. It is this, that when he told some of his students who were indulging in examination malpractice that they should desist from doing so, one of the boys discourteously and boldly confronted him with the following: “Excuse me sir, why are you disturbing us? You do not want us to pass the examination? In case you do not know, let me tell you that the president of this country, the state governors, the local government chairmen and councilors and most of those who are now our political leaders rigged votes during the recent elections and nobody disturbed them. In fact, they employed the army and the police that should have stopped them from rigging the elections to impose them on the people. Where were you when they were rigging the elections? What did you do to stop them from rigging the elections? What did you do to them after rigging the elections? They stole the people’s mandates through election rigging. And that is like stealing a whole nation. If you did not stop them from rigging the elections, why then have you decided to disturb us when we are only trying to practise in our own little way what they are teaching us?”

Finally, according to the principal, the boy delivered his threat. He told his principal to get out of their way and allow them to do what they were doing. He assured the principal that if he dared to disturb them again by telling them not to indulge in examination malpractice he would break his head with a stone. At that stage, the principal told me, he vacated the scene. The boy was determined to carry out his threat and he was not prepared to have his head shattered by a small boy, his own student.

Such is the tragedy of our nation, the moral crises of a lost and wicked generation and the predicaments of our youths. The boy’s logic, as morally reprehensible as it was, stood shoulder high over that of his principal and so sent the man scampering to safety. In a plain language, the boy was telling not only his principal but all of us in this country that leaders who publicly and brazenly flout the law and the constitution of the land by retaining power through the most violent form of electoral robbery as it has been happening since 2003 or who give tacit approval to such monumental fraud stand the risk of abdicating their moral authority to tell young boys and girls not to indulge in any crime. He was telling his principal that it does not make any good sense in a country like Nigeria for the adult generation to keep pointing accusing fingers on the young ones when they simply copy whatever social vices they indulge in from the same adult generation.

The principal on the other hand, could not pursue the matter further because he feared that a young boy who had the nerve to challenge him publicly when he was caught red-handed doing the wrong thing must have made all the necessary connections to quash the matter if ever he was caught doing it. That boy must have had a godfather in crime that would have protected him and would have even punished anybody who dared to disturb him like Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was sworn-in in spite of the global protests that greeted the electoral robbery from which Mahmood Yakubu declared him the president on March 1, 2023.

Can Prof. Wole Soyinka claim that he does not know the implications of either keeping silent or coming out openly to defend Tinubu in spite of the political savagery that he organized and executed during the 2023 elections? The elections are now over. What does our revered Prof think will be the fate of the thousands of young people that Tinubu turned into hoodlums under the leadership of Musiliu Akinsanya, alias MC Oluomo, to cause mayhem during the elections? They have received their trifle after the election and retired to crimes, waiting for another election because the rewarding jobs have been given to the children of their masters in thuggery.

George Galloway is a British politician and broadcaster who has served as a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom for 30 years. Many of us have seen on the social media his encounter with a Nigerian journalist, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s enthusiast, who called on TV and cautioned him about his criticism of Tinubu. The caller told him that the way he and the independent journalists go about the criticism of Tinubu could result to ethnic clash. All the same, he admitted that there were discrepancies about the election but they were not enough to say who won or who did not win. He alleged that there has been a lot of violence against the Yoruba ethnic group.

It is interesting that the same journalist did not tell MC Oluomo and his gang that the way they treated the Igbo in Lagos during the 2023 elections could lead to ethnic clash. That apart, the point now is that Galloway replied by telling him that he never knew that Tinubu is a Muslim or Yoruba. That being Muslim and Yoruba are the only things good about Tinubu. Rather, he said, his contempt for Tinubu stems from the fact that he is a crook, a thief, a bad man and a forger. INEC forged his victory in the election.

If Prof Wole Soyinka has reacted to Galloway’s blunt assessment of Tinubu and his ways, I am not aware of that. If he has not, I believe many Nigerians are waiting to see how he is going to reconcile his categorical assurance that Peter Obi lost the presidential election with Galloway’s merciless clincher. All of this boils down to saying that it is unfortunate that Prof. Wole Soyinka allowed Bola Ahmed Tinubu to happen to him. Believe it or not, those who claim they do not know, will soon know that Tinubu as the president of Nigeria is an insufferable disaster.
*To Be Continued in part 6*

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