Babafemi Ojudu, you should never have written what you wrote about Sunday Igboho. I love reading your write-ups, and have done so since your days in active journalism. But this one coming at this time, was a faux-pas and more than you know or think, is an indictment on you and the brand of politics that you represent!!! Thank you for unmasking your own masquerade. Or is it right to assume a Jacob in the ‘Esau’?
I read it to the end, looking for a conclusion that would tally with your story but it appeared that you were more interested in demystifying Igboho, who, as at this moment, is an iconic metaphor for the collective angst of a people who, under oppression, have lost and now seem to be finding, their voice. He brings to bold relief, the odoriferous underbelly of a seething NATIONWIDE volcano that if not PROPERLY addressed by the Federal government, could result in an ill wind that blows noone any good.
If you take down or demystify an Igboho in Yorubaland, can you do same for the ones that will rise in the Middle Belt, other parts of South West, the Niger Delta, the East, several parts of the North where lives are being lost and people kidnapped on a DAILY basis as a result of unbridled brigandage? What is the sense of asking people to embrace farming when it is almost a given that they will never enjoy the proceeds because someone thinks his cows are better served by it? Yours truly has been a victim of it TWICE and those experiences took me away from farming. I wish there was a Sunday Igboho to come to our rescue when it happened. We spent thousands fueling police vehicles and feeding officers whose involvement achieved NOTHING! On one occasion when we apprehended some of these herders, they promised to pay compensation, but before we could say “Jack”, they were released by the police. Case closed! Only yesterday, I watched the video of victims of kidnapping ambush along Benin-Ore road! And we should now care about who provides protection that government cannot?
Let government address these issues and no one would need to worry about an Igboho!
As a member of the government at the centre, your write-up shows the insensitivity that characterises power at the centre. Since in Nigeria, government has become the tail that is now wagging the dog, perhaps we should be asking, “Is government about the people or the people about government?” The German bard Bertolt Brecht comes to mind here in his 1953 poem, THE SOLUTION. I quote it in its entirety:
“After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?”
Unfortunately, the catharsis you seemed to want to achieve in your concluding sentences fell very flat and threw up more contradictions than resolutions because of its limp.
Remember Jephthah in the Bible? The miscreant and bastard who became national demagogue because of a governance gap? History merely in an uncanny way, reinvents ways to repeat itself. So let it be with Sunday Igboho. I don’t know him in person, but I know what he represents.
Discretion is the better part of valour. Sometimes, it just pays to be silent unless your deposition brings a germane input to current discourse.
Femi Ojudu, that article was uncalled for!!!