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Published On: Thu, Jan 9th, 2020

2019: Diary of a Columnist (II)

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THURSDAY Column with Mohammed Adamu

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And that is just the way that the democratic ‘cookie’ crumbles. It is not in vain that the other name for democracy is ‘majority rule’; nor is it for nothing that they say ‘the majority’ is always right’. It has never meant being ‘right’ in the sense of being truthful -it is merely in the sense of being numerically correct. The ‘minority’ being a ‘tail’ in the democratic enterprise, should not ‘wag’ the ‘dog’. Rather it should be wagged by the ‘dog’. And maybe it is the reason that Lord Acton, the British historian said “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority”. Call it dictatorship of the majority. Or the despotism of the ‘many’ over the incapacity of the ‘few’. It is not necessarily in the merit of its choice or in the morality of its position that the majority is entitled to ride roughshod over the minority. It is merely in the greatness of its number… Fact is, no matter how the democratic minority dislikes the way the democratic majority governs, it only has recourse to the courts to challenge obvious breaches of the Constitution, or to wait till the next election -or just to wail. It is only in Nigeria that any Tom, Dick or Harry can wake up on the wrong side of their political slumber to proclaim ‘Nigerians are tired of this Government’; and then to arrogate also a most ludicrous entitlement to demand the resignation of the President. Sowore who had 33,000 votes and whose party did not even win a council seat- said 85% of Nigerians (about 160million people) supported his call for a revolution! And he wanted a President to vacate office who won 16million votes… And you wonder, who the American writer, Wyndham Lewis could be referring to when he said “The revolutionary simpleton is everywhere”. –‘Random Musings On ‘Revolution’ (II), –08/14/19

When Ibrahim Babangida’s ‘Fulani’ Education Minister, Jibril Aminu, in 1989 proposed compulsory ‘nomadic education’ for the children mostly of nomadic herdsmen, a large section of the Media vehemently kicked. Not because we did not think that it was a good idea –i.e. to ingest, in good time, the anti-venom necessary to counteract the potential danger of pastoralism in a future when the herdsman’s anachronistic way of life predictably could come in the way of agrarian and communal living. Nor was the Media’s opposition to Jubril Aminu’s ‘nomadic education’ informed by the fact that the nation could ill-afford such novelty. In truth nomadic education was not what many people thought it was, namely a ‘sop’ to the Saberus of geo-political or ethno-religious patronage intended to benefit a particular people. No, the particular people were targeted because they were inseparably involved in the running of a vital sector with the potential to impact positively or negatively not only on the nation’s food security, but now as we are seeing, also on the whole gamut of national security. Nomadic education was the proverbial ‘stitch in the womb of time’ that we needed and which, by now, would’ve helped us ‘save nine’. Alas, here we are today all raggedy and patched-up because we are clad in a jaded, manifoldly-torn garment of inter-ethnic crisis occasioned by our refusal to ‘stitch in time’. Had the potential nuisance of nomadic herding been timeously preempted with educating the nomadic child, by now at least a first generation army of nomadic-shy, easily ranch-embracing, sedentary successor-herders would’ve come of age to rest the drudgery of pastoral herding by accepting a sedentary life of herding through modern ranching; and especially with its trebled potentials for improving quality and quantity of meat and milk production. But no! We allowed to get the better of us, our usual trade-mark penchant for shooting down virtually every noble intention of Government on the altar of self-harming ethno-religious and geo-political grudge. -‘Ranch, Ruga Or Ramble’, 01/05/19)

There is no virtue they say like ‘necessity’. Necessity leaves us with no choice but to do that which we have to do. Reason it is said that ‘necessity does the work of courage’. It leaves us with a ‘have-to’ imperative; or a Hobson’s choice if you will. But only if what we truly want is result. Necessity although a lonesome window, is risk-free. Its return on investment is always guaranteed. We are vain by nature but honest by ‘necessity’. Doing the ‘necessary’ proves our ‘honesty’. And it is the reason they say that ‘necessity’ relieves us of decision making. We do not have to decide ourselves, because a decision is already waiting in the wings, to be taken. Necessity is Shakespeare’s ‘To be or not to be’; it is Nicolo Machiavelli’s prescription for The Prince –to ‘do or to die’!… Necessity is not your legalistic ‘what’ll be will be’ (ce cera, cera) that waits lamely on chance. Necessity invents remedies to existential problems. Reason they say it is the mother of invention’. The law may sometimes be wrong pre-fixing presumptive rules of conduct; but ‘necessity’ is always right dealing only with the ‘here-and-now’. It is –as the Hausas would say- ‘sha yanzu magani yanzu’. The mojo of ‘necessity’ is the instantaneity of its result. Socrates neglected it to die in reverence of an unjust Athenian law. Necessity is the ‘ought to’ dimension of law. It is what the law should’ve been but regrettably ‘is’ not. Whereas ‘necessity’ knows always what the law should be, from what it actually ‘is’, it is not always that the ‘law’ knows what is ‘necessary’ from what is not. And although ‘equity’ may be right to always ‘follow the law’, it is meet that those who govern the affairs of men should be guided only by laws that respect ‘necessity’. The law in statute may provide that a chasm be crossed in only two jumps, but ‘necessity’ waits to get to the bridge to figure whether to cross in one or three jumps. In truth therefore the relationship between ‘necessity’ and the ‘law’ is as that between the Supreme Court and infallibility: the apex Court is said to be ‘final not because it is infallible’, but that ‘it is infallible only because it is final’. Necessity knows what ought to be done not because it knows the ‘law’, but that it knows the ‘law’ only because it knows what ought to be done. Meaning that it is what is ‘necessary’ that should be law, and not that whatever is law should be ‘necessary’… Barry Goldwater, author of ‘The Conscience Of A Conservative’ was the one who said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice (even as) moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”. A president should be out in spite of everything, including the law, and in spite of everyone, including the people, to secure the nation and to preserve its endowments. – ‘Zakky: Of ‘Necessity’ And ‘Law’, 07/25/19

Ekweremadu’s experience presented to us those two poignant options, either to lament the tragedy of a former Deputy Senate President suddenly reduced to a common ‘criminal’ by a murderous kindred rabble, the like of Mussolini’s mob of Italy, or to laugh at the cowardly angst of a supposedly Israeli-blooded potentate who rather than be steadfast like Caesar in the face of danger, desperately scampered instead for dear life at a yam festival where, ironically, he should’ve been the living motif proverbially to bring ‘life’ to the occasion. It was such brutal irony of a spiritual kind that the one who was to dip the first ancestral yam into the salted red palm oil was now at Nuremberg the one whose red blood was sought after as the soluble solvent to go with alligator pepper for the yam festival. Nothing can be more tragic, and nothing more comically-relieving all at once than the Hausa adage ‘dan akuya ya je barbara, ya dawo da chiki’ –as in the randy he-goat returning from a wild orgy, itself pregnant. Ekweremadu went for an invite to eat a tuber crop only to realize that his barbequed tubular body was the menu on the dining table. It is both tragic and comic. In literature a tragedy with a comic relief is called ‘tragicomedy’. In Ekwe’s case the mere irony of the situation was comic enough. His dramatic, undignified escape provided the ultimate relief”. -‘Ekwerem’s Pax Germanica’, 08/22/19


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