Harmattan of chronic signals

It has been severe weather. It has been weather of severe severity. It has been, it has been a harmattan time and season of agony that has agonized many of our compatriots. And since December up to now, it has really been a time and a season I would happily describe with the authority of the author and creator of this weather that isn’t a pleasant company as weather of torture and torment for our country-men and country-women. But why would I happily describe the weather as such? The reason is simple.

The Christmas and New Year celebrations we just had were bleak and stony ones and were as bare as the bareness and nudity of the wretched. And many of our people and members of the masses were haters of themselves and of their country, their country, our country, our country in this time of times which explicitly lays bare the wretched state of our central government whose leading officials lack devotion to their conviction. In any explicit reference to them, we truly and authoritatively cannot define them as lovers of our country. Love of country is not anywhere in any of their hearts. They are opportunists who happily relish licking, milking and eating our country to death, our country they definitely love not, but which they pretend they love with their noisy proclamation of change that we cannot see or feel or touch in the daylight of expected positive change.

Everywhere about us is dusty and misty and milky and dim and we can feel the cold of the severe harmattan whose teeth and claws sink into our bodies and tighten our necks and throats, and the several chronic signals relating to our chronically sick country peek into being and reality as we grimace on our backs reading the dailies. Some of the things and information they relay are chronic signals for rebellion. And the mornings of my holiday reading of the dailies have been particularly and explicitly hazy, rimy and clammy. Yet the quality of my thinking or of my thought is that of a true poet who must possess a “continuous curiosity” – as Ezra Pound well put it. But I must go beyond Ezra Pound and say that I must possess persistent bravery, like several of our journalists and columnists, and say here what needs to be said to those who believe that they are the doers and dons of whatever they like in our land, our land of lands.

Now one harmattan news circulating everywhere and which keeps moving the minds and frames of our politicians concerns 2023 presidential election. 2023 is still some good distance from 2020, but some doers and dons of contemporary Nigerian politics are already making contacts to throw up General Muhammadu Buhari, our GMB, to challenge our constitution and sensibilities. Of course, the retired soldier and general, who is on the verge of being made to see himself not only as our civilian president but also, in his twilight years, as our Alexander the Great, will plot to conquer all challengers of his and his cabal’s pet ambition at the appointed time. Strategically, they can deny their superfluous and over-reaching ambition as they are presently denying it but Alhaji Bola Tinibu and company will realize to their chagrin that General Muhammadu Buhari will toss their great expectations of him into the trash can custom-made for myopic politicians. General Buhari possesses the brave heart not to refuse or reject the temptation or ambition not to hang on to beyond 2023. The cabal will get rid of the acclaimed APC leader in nomenclature only when the time comes for him and his clique to be got rid of. Lies and lies will be planted on every part of his frame, for Alexander the Great must conquer and plunder Southern Nigeria! Professor Itse Sagay, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the other minorities and minorities, beware!

Or can you not see that this harmattan is giving us a chronic signal of 2023 that is not one, that is, a year of our great expectation and cherished promise? Perhaps some of us are too misty-eyed to figure out or to understand the working formula of the ruling central cabal. But I am not too misty-eyed not to see clearly.

On Friday, January 3, 2020, that is, last Friday, this paper had, as a leading front-page news item, a story relating to the new boss of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). His name? Ahmad Salijo, “Buhari’s ally,” as the reporter Kingsley Jeremiah, put it. He is a northerner who the retired soldier and general, who shall be what and who he shall be in 2023, as already intimated, planted in the agency to replace a southerner, specifically a south-westerner in the person of Damilola Ogunbiyi. His replacement, we are also told, was “a one-time mid-level civil servant.” He may be academically fit for the post, but the politics and intrigue of his appointment cannot but be intriguing. The same claim can be made with respect to the fate of Babatunde Fowler, erstwhile Executive Chairman, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), a south-westerner, who the lion-hearted Daura denizen replaced unceremoniously with his fellow northerner in the person of his young namesake Muhammad Nami. Maybe Muhammadu and Muhammad are different and don’t mean exactly the serve thing in Arabic or Hausa, but we know what we know: A northerner must strategically take over a southerner’s job. In this foggy and misty weather, we still find it possible to see through his schism en route to 2023 and beyond. May the chronic misty gloom I am seeing not be read as a chronic hate characteristic meant to contaminate our misty political atmosphere of dire and chronic ill-health and troubling jargons of jargons!

But difficult and misty realms we are going to wander off into are chronic ones that are this columnist’s duty to harp on and proclaim against.

On Sunday, January 5, 2020, The Nation on page 4 published two stories that interestingly engraved themselves in my mind. The first story concerns the pressure of lobbyists to return Daura to the seat of power: “Fresh pressure on [the] Presidency to bring back Daura,” “the immediate past Director-General of State Security Services (DSS),” who was removed from his post more than one year ago after security operatives of the DSS unlawfully invaded the National Assembly. When I read the story I remembered tiny fishes I saw in River Ethiope in Sapele long ago dancing over meadows until some hawks swooped upon them on a misty morning. I couldn’t help experiencing melancholy on the misty River Ethiope. Interpret this allusion how you will or may.

The second story pertains to the plot to increase electricity costs as of April. The central government just consented to a new minimum wage that is not really an ideal minimum wage and it is even yet to be implemented in many states and federal ministries and their affiliated establishments. Now the central government wants to take back through the back door what it had grudgingly given. My lips are bitten; my face contorts chronically as I attempt to contain overwhelming sorrow and frustration.

The man is daring us in this harmattan of chronic signals of coming pain whose aroma we must send back to its sender. We must dare the cabal and the figure head denying us our paradise. No to further fragments of pain that we must not experience any longer in our country! We must cry out loud and make them twirl and twirl around in pain until they give us our paradise which is our paradise.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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