BY DELE MOMODU
Fellow Nigerians, let me confess right away that I’m a realist. If you like, call me chicken-hearted or lily-livered. No worries. All I know is that I was taught many lessons by the wisdom of the ancients. Let me share a few of them with you. One. If we cannot move forward, we must know when to turn backwards. Two. If you have not yet grabbed the sword, you cannot risk asking what manner of death killed your Dad. Three. Even the Bible teaches us how to be meek and humble. “If your right cheek is slapped, turn the left cheek…” It may sound stupid to a lot of people but it might just save you a lot of headache.
The purpose of my sermon in this epistle to you today should be obvious by now. I wish to admit and publicly acknowledge that President Muhammadu Buhari has finally achieved what no democratically elected Nigerian President ever attempted to do. All tiers and arms of government have been virtually grabbed and cowed. Even the Fourth Estate of the Realm is about to be guillotined via a retrogressive and preposterous law stipulating death sentences for any rascally writing… The public have been shown to be timorous, timid and cowardly upon hell being let loose! No resistance from them either!
Let me summarise my thoughts thus. The ruling APC government makes no pretence to being a party of nice or decorous people. A few of their members may fall into this category, but they are the exception, an aberration. It is your business, if you think otherwise but that is the hard-nosed truth. If the President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP government succumbed to pressure and lost power in the name of decency and decorum, the Buhari-led administration is not ashamed or afraid to being labelled haughty, brutal, brutish and reckless. Indeed, they revel in and relish the appellation. They like the idea that they take no prisoners and accept surrender only if you join their ranks. The recent gale of resignations that swept Bayelsa State in the wake of the contrived victory of the Lion-tamer, David Lyon Perewonrimi epitomised this new cult of no surrender, no matter how abject and plaintive, and no prisoners! Once a State or Local Government is targeted, no Jupiter can stop its blistering annihilation.
Since 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari miraculously returned to power, things have not been at ease for his opponents or the opposition. Those who warned us Buhari will never practice true Democracy were rebuffed by us. We sold him at a premium to Nigerians and the world as a “born again Democrat…” We called him “the people’s General…” We romanticised about a leader who was coming to turn Nigeria into an Eldorado with his magic wand because we earnestly and sincerely believed in him. It would have been sad if we did not give Buhari a second chance. Pls forgive my blasphemy, Buhari’s second coming was almost tantamount to a parousia, like the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to add to his perceived saintliness, he had chosen a revered and respected man of God, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his Deputy. Needless to say, we thank God that he came, he saw and he is currently conquering. While it may be too early to judge his performance or non-performance, the signs are ominously visible. But that’s not the purpose of this missive.
My worry stems from the new electoral template being enforced by APC, an extremely dangerous and volatile one at that. Except to the willing and grateful beneficiaries, what we’ve been witnessing is a monumental charade, a farce and a travesty which is an unfortunate trend indeed. While I will never say with any degree of certainty that PDP candidates would have defeated their opponents in all those elections, I would still have expected the ruling party to conduct the elections in a more transparent and honest manner and not in the kangarooistic banana republic fashion we’ve witnessed in recent times with our arms akimbo and mouths agape and ajar.
With the armed forces, the police, the other security agencies, the judiciary, the thugs and other nebulous, unseen or unknown characters in the kitty, it is almost impossible to defeat APC in any election in the near future, unless the people resist and say no, and this I don’t see happening on account of money, ethnicity and religion. I have no apologies for my pessimism. And I believe the game is just starting. These ones aren’t kidding. Only God can remove them ultimately from power. The tell-tale signs are too pungent to ignore. Very soon, writers like me would only be writing about trips to Afghanistan, a sad reminder of the 1984-85 era, when the Sonala Olumhenses had to write about far flung places in order to avoid the wrath of Sango Olukoso, the god of thunder! What then is the solution? My answer, no easy way out. As a matter of fact, I see a long walk to Freedom, with apologies to Nelson Mandela. When a Lion has tasted blood, it would be difficult to appease it with corn meal.
All would-be troublemakers should be warned before it is too late that Nigeria does not need, and can’t afford, another civil war. My suggestion is simple and straightforward, what Nigeria desperately needs today is a one party State. It will save us at least three major things. The first is the acrimonious clashes between the mainstream parties. The battles would be limited to intraparty squabbles. The second is money. Too much resources are currently being expended on campaigns and elections proper. It is unimaginable how much is being wasted by the gladiators. Let’s even say that’s their own cup of tea, what of the billions being wasted on INEC that has failed to deliver on its high falutin and grandiloquent rigmaroles. The third is the most serious and absolutely important, safety of lives and property. Our elections have become the most dangerous in the whole world. You cannot guarantee that you will return home alive after casting your votes, or indeed that days after the election you won’t become a victim of a malevolent maelstrom of anarchical and mindless violence, arson and destruction. Are we Barbarians or what manner of human beings are we?
These are the real reasons I wish to appeal, most passionately, to the powers that be in Abuja, that we have agreed that Buhari is our Messiah, that he can do no wrong and we are willing to support him warts and all. Serving one’s fatherland should never be a matter of life and death or an invitation to suicide and perdition.
For once, we should be prepared to let Buhari and his sagacious band of chorus singers think for us. There is no point allowing some fellow Nigerians to turn us into defenceless chickens or rams to be slaughtered on the altar of an orgiastic bloodfest. When it is God’s time to liberate us, we won’t have to lift a finger or fire a single shot. Examples abound all over the world and most of us are witnesses to God’s mysterious ways.
For now, since Buhari came to save us from ourselves, we must allow him do his job unhindered. We must dance to the ‘kpalongo’ beat and wait for the madness which it heralds to manifest, take root and consume its originators.
May God’s will be done!
Tribute To Dr Ore Falomo (September 1940 – November 9 2019)
My path and that of Dr Oluwatamilore Akinlade Falomo crossed nearly three decades ago. As a personal physician to my adopted father, Chief Moshood Abiola, it was impossible not to meet and know him reasonably well.
The first thing that fascinated me about Dr Falomo was his dress sense. He was always impeccably turned out, clean and debonair. He was a successful medical practitioner who was well known beyond his industry.
What fascinated me the more about him was his love for Chief Abiola. Theirs was not a Doctor/Patient relationship. They were like brothers. Abiola was born in August 1937 and Dr Falomo was born in September 1940, but they interacted like brothers separated by only months in age, not 3 years. They lived like they were children from the same family. Interestingly, three of Chief Abiola’s children, Kolawole, Ayodeji and Agboola lived on the same road with Dr Falomo, just a stone throw away in Anthony Village.
The most unforgettable things about Dr Falomo were his uncommon courage and powers of elocution and elucidation. He was such a brave and powerful speaker and he remained one of the few Nigerians that had the audacity to rant and rail endlessly against the dreaded General Sani Abacha regime. Perhaps if there were more of him now, our nation would be a better place. I often wondered how Dr Falomo escaped Abacha’s snipers or detention. He spoke passionately and vociferously against the detention of Chief Abiola. As Abiola’s Medical Doctor, he regularly told the Dictators, Abacha and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, of that insane period, who detained Abiola about his patient’s worsening health conditions and warned that he might be damaged beyond redemption if his wrongful incarceration continued. And his prophecy came to pass within a few years. Whether Chief Abiola died of natural causes or not, the great African businessman and philanthropist died in detention on July 7, 1998.
I later met with Dr Falomo a couple of times
at the functions of Capitalfield Group Limited of which he was the indefatigable and tireless Chairman. His integrity was remarkable as attested to by many who knew him and interacted with him, hence it wasn’t difficult for his colleagues to make him Chairman of this pre-eminent financial conglomerate.
We spoke a few times about writing an authoritative book on the Abiola and June 12 saga. I was willing and ready and in his own way, so was he, but our hectic schedules meant we were unable to find a convenient time for both of us. Not too long ago, I decided to take the bull by the horns and sent the head of Ovation Books and Publishing, Mr Sola Ojewusi, to book appointments with Dr Falomo in order to kickstart the laudable and necessary project by getting background information. However our attempts bore no fruit for a variety of reasons.
As I received the news of Dr Falomo’s demise, the first thing I said was “my God, we have lost a goldmine of contemporary history…” It is always painful to me when we lose such great men and women. Documenting history is extremely important and necessary.
Like all extraordinary and sentient icons, Falomo seems to have had a premonition of his death. He went on a 2 week holiday to the UK and America with his young friend and Group Managing Director of Capitalfield Group, Raphael Lewu, and shared several stories with him. One of these was the fact that having marked his 79th birthday, the month before in September 2019, he was prepared to join his Maker because he had done at least one year better than his late father.
Dr Ore Falomo came to this world to serve humanity. It reflected in his everyday life as he was larger than life. His physical frame belied his great stature in all facets of his social, economic and political life, not to mention his medical career where he simply excelled. Dr Falomo gave hope and succour to the rich and the poor. He touched the lives of almost all those he came into contact with for the better. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Good night to an eminent, noble and revered personality…