By Rev. Fr. John Odey
Part 8 (final part)
In my book, *Living in the Shadow of Death: Why Nigerians Fear 2007,* I wrote: “Policemen in Nigeria may not necessarily be the most corrupt group of Nigerians. But they seem to be more unfortunate. And their misfortune arises from the fact that most of the things they do, which give them so bad name, take place in the glare of the public. Consequently, even though their corrupt practices serve as a mirror through which all of us can see the way we are, they have unfortunately been so badly stigmatized as killers and the most corrupt segment of the Nigerian people that the word “police” has virtually become synonymous with all that is bad and undesirable. Nevertheless, in spite of the bad name the police have acquired in this country, there are many people in the police force who have proved to us that every policeman in the country is not and cannot be bad. Certainly, the Nigeria police cannot be excluded from the truism that there is something bad in the best of us as there is something good in the worst of us.” I dedicated that book to somebody, a policeman, I only know by his good reputation with the following words: *To Alozie Ogughuaja, The People’s Police Man.*
Here we are, 16 years after making this statement a patriotic Nigerian, an amazing lawyer, in the person of Dele Farotimi has come out publicly to tell us that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the mirror through which we can see ourselves and the decadence in our society. The interview he granted on Tinubu during which he made that statement has gone more viral than we can ever imagine. We have been watching and listening to him with spellbinding attention. Here is the much I can put together from what he said:
“I thank God for Tinubu. Without Tinubu I would not have known that we can have fake bishops. Without Tinubu I would not have known that some men we think are honourable men are not honourable. Tinubu has been very good at unveiling the true nature of people. Tinubu has made us understand better all the horrible people who have been protesting, claiming to be men of God. If Tinubu had been a man whose evil is not very clear, whose evil is ambiguous, these men would have continued to pontificate and sound like men of God. But since Tinubu has been exposed and they are the ones accommodating him and explaining him to people and protecting his evil they have no place to hide. Without Tinubu I would have not known the things I know today. How could we have known how useless our judiciary is if not for Tinubu? Tinubu has thought us that honesty means nothing to men who use to pontificate about honesty. Now we know that what we call electoral rights do not matter to these men. Some people would have gone to their graves with honour if not for Tinubu. Tinubu, a filthy felon, has turned many people naked in Nigeria. Without Tinubu we would not have known how depraved our society has become. It does not matter that a man’s name is unknown. It does not matter that his parentage is unknown. It does not matter that he probably went to school being a female..Tinubu has shown the decadence of the society. Tinubu is the mirror that has been put in the face of our society.”
From the day that the founding fathers of this country fought and eventually secured political independence for Nigeria till date, nobody whoever aspired to become the president of Nigeria, except Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has ever told Nigerians that he wanted to become the president simply because it was his turn; every other person who wanted to rule Nigeria worked hard to impress it upon Nigerians that he deserved their votes; nobody has had a very bad reputation like Tinubu; nobody’s character has been as dubious as that of Tinubu; nobody has been associated with fraudulent dealings like Tinubu; nobody has had bad records like Tinubu; nobody has had dubious and undisclosed identity like Tinubu; nobody has shied away from public debates like Tinubu; nobody has been a shame to Nigeria like Tinubu; nobody has caused so much stress for Nigeria like Tinubu; nobody has reduced Nigeria to a laughing stock like Tinubu; nobody has been alleged of forfeiting drug money in the United States of America to the sum of 450,000 dollars to avoid going to jail like Tinubu; nobody has had an extra baggage of criminal allegations against him like Tinubu; nobody has had his life from childhood to old age shrouded in secrecy like Tinubu; nobody has manufactured bishops, priests, pastors and nuns in order to get his Muslim-Muslim ticket sell through like Tinubu; nobody has been bereft of coherent thoughts like Tinubu; nobody has been as bad an ethnic bigot like Tinubu; nobody has made Nigeria’s younger generation to lose hope in their country like Tinubu; nobody has used money to buy the conscience of diverse people, such as clergymen, academicians, bankers, politicians, criminals, hooligans, street urchins, the police, the army, the DSS and so on, like Tinubu; nobody had destroyed the honour and the good reputation of hitherto celebrated Nigerians like Tinubu; nobody had been caught instructing his thugs to snatch ballots boxes and run with them like Tinubu. Finally, nobody’s vaulting ambition has destroyed the judiciary as that of Tinubu.
The cat has been let out of the bag. But while it is glaring to the world that it is nothing but a cat, those who have decided that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will initiate a process that may be the beginning of the end of the geographical and political entity called Nigeria are telling us that it is not a cat and that the rats should not panic. We must panic. I have repeatedly said it, that there is fire on the mountain. This fire has been ignited by Tinubu’s treacherous ambition. It is only in black Africa that a person who is the embodiment of all that is degrading and loathsome like Tinubu will insist on ruling his nation or alternatively setting that nation on fire. We have fought the Nigerian/Biafran war and seen that war is an all-round disaster. There is nothing good about war. Yet, it is sad that Wole Soyinka who played a major role to stop that war is watching Tinubu doing everything in his power to plunge Nigeria into an incalculable disaster.
Whatever happens, many Nigerians have thanked God that Tinubu did not claim that he read in a Nigerian university and had his certificate of good performance issued by any Nigerian University. If he had done that, by now he should have been parading a certificate credited with First Class Honours. He is dealing with the United States of America, a country where the law respects no person, a country where the law follows its laid down rules without bending to accommodate the unsolicited interference of the rich and the powerful. It is a place where respect between the people and the law is reciprocal. If you obey and respect the law, the law will respect you. If you disobey and flout the law, the law will pull you down and break you. We have seen that happen. American legal system did not allow Tinubu to happen to it. Hence, if Tinubu and his supporters succeed in plunging Nigeria into a disaster history will know whom to blame.
Wole Soyinka, the legendary enemy of injustice and bad governance, is famed for making election riggers to shiver. It confounds my imagination that this great man is not only dumb about Tinubu’s atrocities but that he is trying to prove to the world that there is nothing wrong with Tinubu. Look at this: According to the TELL magazine of May 17, 1999, in a recent paper which he delivered to mark the 8th anniversary of the same magazine, Professor Wole Soyinka recalled and frowned at what happened during the embattled presidential election of 1983 with the following words:
“Not too many people who lived in Nigeria or simply passed through even for a few days during 1983 will disagree that the presidential election of that year ranks easily as the most brutal, the most unconscionable and murderous in the history of the nation. This was the year when the entire nation was placed under siege by a thoroughly animalized police. The incumbent government had resolved to return itself to power and had sworn that nothing, no thought of humane conduct or sense of honour would stand in its way. The nation was submerged under a bout of power drunkenness at its most arrogant, most self-flaunting. That was the season when thugs became indistinguishable from our uniformed policemen and both became synonymous with alien, outlaw invaders. It was that period when a veritable contest in innovative gangsterism was launched.”
This is the quintessential language of the revered Soyinka we know, the man who does not care to know whoever pulls the string; as long as injustice is committed in the land the person guilty of that crime must be told to his face. This is the man whose voice relentlessly crying for justice without mincing words has remained the terror of those who think that nobody has the right to challenge them in their bid to destroy Nigeria. The anticlimax is what has happened to this great man that compelled him to look the other way when Tinubu and his group were committing atrocities far worse than what infuriated him about the presidential election of 1983?
Is there any Nigerian who does not know that the 2023 presidential election was more brutal, more unconscionable and more murderous than that of 1983? Were Nigeria not placed under siege and the police more thoroughly animalized during the 2023 presidential election than what happened in 1983? With his *Emilokan* as his campaign slogan and strategy, had Bola Ahmed Tinubu not resolved that nothing, no thought of humane conduct or sense of honour would stand in his way to become the president? Did Tinubu not submerge the nation under a bout of power drunkenness at its most arrogant, most self-flaunting? Did his thugs not become indistinguishable from our uniformed policemen and did both not become synonymous with alien, outlaw invaders? Did Tinubu and his group not launch a veritable contest in innovative gangsterism when they publicly and in the broad daylight performed the Oro Rite throughout Lagos State to disenfranchise non natives and women? What about the burning of the Igbo motor spare parts market in Lagos by Tinubu’s hoodlums because the Igbo presence threatened his political ambition? That a great man of Soyinka’s standing could overlook how Bola Tinubu became an ethnic war lord during the elections and incited his numerous thugs in Lagos to burn Igbo markets and commit other atrocities against the Igbo in order to become Nigeria’s president should be a source of worry for anybody who truly believes in Nigeria and truly detests injustice.
In another instance, while speaking with the TELL magazine of July 28, 2003, Soyinka declared that the 2003 election was the worst in the history of Nigeria. In his own words, all that passed for the 2003 election “left the opposition reeling and international observers in awe at the sheer effrontery of it all. In terms of violence, it takes its place among the most bloody since independence. The scale and manner of ballot robbery, as revealed day after day, reveals a tightly centralized operation, not a sporadic series of electoral violations.”
Being that Otunba Iyiola Omisore, who was in detention at the time of the election as the prime suspect over the murder of James Ajibola Ige, the nation’s former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, was declared the winner, granted bail on May 30, 2003 by one Justice Olagoke John Ige and subsequently sworn in as a senator of the Federal Republic Nigeria in spite of a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder against him, Soyinka was virtually in a rage about the election.
In his article, *Dancing on Ige’s Grave,* which was published in the TELL magazine of July 28, 2003, he said: “I am convinced, beyond any further doubt, that there exists within the ruling party, a nest of murderers. Their purpose is power, and to attain and retain this at all costs is a mission that harbours a deep contempt for moral scruples. This nest is prepared to subjugate the rest of the nation to a reign of terror backed by a display of contempt. This cabal of killers not only eliminates opposition, it proclaims the authorship of the act by a subsequent pattern of conduct that revolts all but the coarsest sensibilities”
Once again, what happened during the 2023 elections was worse than what happened during the 2003 elections. The report of the international observers made it clear that what we had was an electoral heist and not election. And the man who was primarily responsible for that is Bola Ahmed Tinubu. No Nigerian has ever been as desperate as Tinubu in his passion to attain power by foul means and to retain it at all costs. But instead of calling his attention to that, Soyinka decided that Dr. Datti Ahmed of the Labour Party and his supporters were guilty of fascist tendencies while he *categorically* claimed that Peter Obi lost the presidential election.
The next were the 2007 elections. On December 25, 2006, long before the elections, during an interview with TheNEWS magazine, Soyinka warned that the level of brutality that took place during the primary elections was an eye-opener to what the 2007 elections would look like. His grouse was first of all that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was not ready for credible elections. The elections were as bad as he predicted. Hence, he bereted President Obasanjo as follows: “Obasanjo in the last few years completely blocked the possibility of Nigeria moving forward. This is what his legacy will be. People will not remember Obasanjo for other things; he will be remembered because of this crime, this political crime that he committed against the Nigerian people. Political corruption affects national cohesion than even material corruption. Obasanjo’s regime is the most politically corrupt regime in Nigeria. He will be remembered as a person who literally desecrated the electoral integrity of the Nigerian nation.”
Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not only be remembered because of his political crimes against Nigerians. He will be remembered because of many other crimes, including certificate forgery. This brings this series to an end. Now that Tinubu has been exposed for what he is in faraway America and every Nigerian is compelled to wear a badge of shame all over the world because of Tinubu, who has turned Nigeria into a mad world, the world is waiting to hear from Prof Wole Soyinka to know what he *can say categorically about the Tinubu Certificate Forgery saga. In my opinion, Tinubu should resign honourably to forestall the chaos and the anarchy which he earlier threatened and let Nigeria move forward. Enough is enough. Nigeria cannot and must not be destroyed just to accommodate the evil ways of one evil man.