In praise of buffoonery and real blasphemy
Buffoonery in Nigeria covers a wide range of places and things; it is at all places, at all time. It has permeated every sector and institution in Nigeria. Nigerians consume it in dangerous dosage. Although obscure, incendiary buffoonery is the order of the day in Nigeria. One just have to sit down, think about the things happening in Nigeria and roll on the ground in laughter. Nigeria is an obscure place; a crime scene imbricated in theatre of absurd.
Last week in Sokoto, a female student, Deborah Yakubu, was savagely murdered by a mob that accused her of blasphemy. The Muslim mob beat her, stoned her to death and set her violated body ablaze. Those who killed her where fighting for their God. Every religion believes that their God is powerful and humans depend on their God because of human frailty. But this extremist mob, against the teaching of Islam, took laws into their hands and killed their fellow human in the worst barbaric way.
In a comical twist, two of the suspects were arrested and charged to court and 34 ‘human’ lawyers led by a professor appeared to defend those that murdered a soul in defence of a God. They could kill for their God, but their God could not defend them in court even when the charge was a mockery of the gravity of their offence.
The police ‘jokingly’ charged the suspects for ‘inciting public disturbance’. The reductionist approach of the Nigerian Police in prosecuting the killing of Deborah Yakubu is indicative of how the Nigerian institution is performative of buffoonery. The charge lays credence to the indulgence and endorsement of crimes that are in concert with religious and ethnic sentiments in Nigeria. The charge is humorous, like the judgment that convicted Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team for misappropriating N32 Billion. Maina was asked to pay a fine of N750,000 for stealing N32 Billion. This is indeed laughable!
These religious extremists need to be told to reconsider the meaning of blasphemy in a country where a president labelled the youths lazy. A country where politicians dismiss genuine and serious agitation of the masses with hilarious rambling as has always been done by Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina. Blasphemy for me is the comical denial of reality by the minister of information, Lai Mohammed. Blasphemy for me is Lai Mohammed’s denial of the Lekki Massacre in the face of indefatigable evidence. Nigerians should be more concerned with the series of blasphemy in the socio-political sector used to gaslight them and cover up crimes perpetrated against the ordinary Nigerian. There is no place for jungle justice against religious blasphemy in any civil society. Indulging such crime, or treating it with a kid’s glove, is an invitation of anarchy. Anyone can accuse another of blasphemy (whatever that means) and get the willing over-indulged mob to carry out one’s sinister motives. The buffoons we parade as leaders will prefer to exploit and indulge the mob, and weaponize their ignorance and poverty for political gains.
The performance of buffoonery is inexhaustible in Nigeria with Sabinus, Taooma, Mr Macaroni and other daily additions from the political and elite class. Buhari’s regime has recorded enormous success in producing hysterically funny moments more than he has provided actual dividends of democracy for Nigerians. Ahmed Idris is a new entrant in the buffoonery hall of fame. He was appointed Nigeria’s Accountant General in June 25, 2015. This was after his predecessor, Jonah Otunla, was sacked by General Buhari for allegedly misappropriating N2.5 billion. Seven years after, Ahmed Idris, is alleged to have committed fraud to the tune of N80 billion by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)!
The suspended Account General stole N80 billion at a time members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are agitating for a better condition of service. ASUU accused staff in the office of the Accountant General and Ministry of Finance of gross corruption in the payment of lecturers’ salaries. The people responsible for the teaching, training and growth of a significant population of human resources of a country, are on industrial action and the situation is being treated with levity. This can only happen in a country where councillors and political appointees are dashing out cars that university professors cannot afford. In the same vein, EFCC recently arrested ex-NDDC Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, over alleged N47bn fraud.
With these comical renditions at all places and all time, Nigeria is nearing a precipice. A country that has about 80 million children out of school, with 60% of that population in the North is creating an enabling environment for an individual to steal N80 Billion. An amount that can take the raging postcolonial Nigerian Frankenstein and ticking time bombs out of the streets into a productive population. Nasir Daniya wrote on Twitter that the N80 billion, ‘could employ 1000 unskilled jobless Nigerians’ at monthly stipend of N200,000 for 33 years and that there will N800 Million left, which can be used in building 100 primary health care centres at N8 Million each. These Frankensteins, which are the creation of a melodramatic leadership in Nigeria, are the Bokoharam, Bandits and Unknown Gun Men of today. The Nigerian elitist kleptomaniacs are engaging in collective-destructive wasting of resources in competitive potlatch, while the masses are serving as docile onlookers and spectators of their buffoonery. Some members of the masses are the cheer leaders of the mediocre politician for the crumbs that falls from their feast tables. Others are more engaged with the proliferation of comedy in the entertainment industry as escape from the human induced disaster that is characteristics of this absurd contraption called Nigeria. The few who engage in agency and activism, quickly transforms to active thieves when they find themselves in high places.
I have an apocalyptic vision for Nigeria if this culture of buffoonery is not nipped at the bud. The disillusioned youths in the South East and South West, and the irredentist mob in the North are all a Force Majeure that will unleash itself on Nigeria. This is not prophesying of doom, but a pragmatic prediction that is based on the trajectory of current imbroglio all over the country. Nigerians should not forget the days of Niger-Delta militancy, the current Boko-Haram insurgency with its strand of heinous banditry, and the growing unrest in the South East masquerading as Unknown Gun Men. These are all a taste of the pudding. The main dish has not been served yet. The greater anarchy that will consume us all is still being cooked by the Nigerian elitist buffoons who like the proverbial grasshopper, was satisfied with the oil it was producing while it was being fried; forgetting that it was being fried to death. These buffoons should know that when the predicted apocalypse comes, their mansions will be their graves.
Isiguzo writes from Aba, Abia State.