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Demonstration of craze

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THRILLER FROM THE VILLA By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem

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Though I have always been a long time admirer of the great, immortal and irreplaceable Afro Beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the efforts of our present leaders in displaying  reason in pursuance of their selfish political motives continues to make him relevant in one’s mind.


In fact, there is hardly any of his tracks that do not have a semblance of present day socio-economic and political realities and there is nothing silly that happens in the polity today for which one would not be tempted to remember the self- acclaimed Black President. The legend, while others sang to make money actually focused his songs on the ills of the society by then but never knew that all the anomalies he was complaining about then would assume more terrible dimensions after he had long gone.

After the 1983  electoral victory of Alhaji Shehu Shagari (the one the late Oyi of Oyi, Dr Chuba Okadigbo called a moonslide), Abami Eda had sang “Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense” where he expressed surprise at the fact that we were taught democracy (demonstration of craze) by the British, yet, they did not brazenly rig elections the way we did. According to him, the way people hardly went out to vote and yet, the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) would score ‘millions to billions’  of votes cast was tantamount to demonstration of craze.

He also questioned the moral justification in our colonial masters not calling our leaders to order since that is not the way they exhibit ‘craze’ in running their own countries. Yet, they taught us democracy!

Fela went on to sing in that same track that if it is not for the ‘craze’ demonstrated by African leaders in running the affairs of their respective countries, why is it that as time goes on, things get worse for African countries especially the poor people. It must be ‘craze’ really, I agree with him.

Decades after that hit song was released, the PDP has done something more terrible than that and one begins to miss the lyrics, wit, humour, innuendo and sarcasm of the Afro-beat genius. It is not peculiar to Nigeria, there are so many PDPs in most African countries, which of course, my dear country claims to lead.

Now to the topic of discussion for today, on Thursday came the news from Bamako that some soldiers had sacked the ‘incompetent’ administration of Amadou Toumani Toure and seized power through the barrel of the gun. Their reason; the government had not been able to solve the 2-month old rebellion of the northern part of the country.

And before you could call ‘Alex Ferguson’, condemnations started pouring in torrents from all angles. So many individuals and countries rejected the coup and described it in so many unflattering words.

Probably, if they had stopped at rejecting the coup, it may not have provoked a reaction from this column. ECOWAS, AU and in fact our own President Goodluck Jonathan went ahead to harp about the way democracy was making progress in the continent and how the coupists had committed such a serious sacrilege in trying to be a brake on the wheel of progress.

According to a statement issued by Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, Jonathan described the coup as “an apparent setback to the consolidation of democracy in Mali in particular and the African continent in general.”

“He warned the coup plotters to allow the ongoing democratic process in the country to run its full course and not to do anything that would truncate the electoral process especially the presidential election slated for next month.”

The statement continued: “Emphasising that the Nigerian government would never recognise any unconstitutional regime, the President further urged all well-meaning governments in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to roundly condemn the obvious coup d’état in Bamako and demand an immediate reinstatement of the government of President Toure and the continuation of the current electoral process.”

ECOWAS and AU followed suit and the US government too was not left behind in the mob action. I ask, who told these leaders that there is anything called democracy in most African countries? Who told them that the people are happy at the present order in most African countries? Do people really care anymore about the uniform their tyrant leaders put on. Can the authorities in Nigeria beat their chests and tell the whole world that Nigerians have enjoyed democracy since 1999? Can they look into our eyes and say in actual fact that Nigerians  are better off since the dawn of democracy? Are we going to continue to live a lie or we will address the critical issues that have made the African continent the most impoverished and backward in the world?

Is it not in Africa that octogenarians, who have mis-ruled their countries for several decades, alter the constitution after each tenure to pave way for their continuation in power? Is it not in Africa that the President of a crisis-ridden nation, who should busy himself with how to bring his country out of the woods, spend so much time and energy in his bid to impose a great grandfather on his party as national leader?

No one is in support of a coup, but who cares for the continuation of a system that consumes so much money yet there is no power to light up our houses?

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