THURSDAY Column with Mohammed Adamu
(08035892325 sms only) | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Daily Times’ great satirist, Ndaeyo Uko, once told the story of two ‘mad’ men, one of whom found his moment of lucidity stalking what he believed was a ‘suicidal customer’ at a food vending shack around which the lunatic had hung daily for leftovers; and if memory serves right, the other lunatic found his lucid moment stalking Uko’s very own father who he perceived also as being on a trendy, ‘suicidal’ tie-wearing madness. But not remembering the details of Uko’s interesting stories, I have arrogated to myself the poetic license to serve you my embellished versions of that great writer’s originals. The mad one at the eatery, over time, must’ve taken a deranged notice of this particular customer who regularly came asking to be served a combination of ‘ogbono’, ‘egusi’ and ‘ewedu’ soups to go with his favorite swallow -should we say- ‘eba’? Except that on this particular day, the ‘mad man’, it appeared, must’ve had enough hearing this gastronomically ‘self-harming’ alimentary combination. He had resolved, this fateful day, to end this ‘madness’ once and for all! And so after this customer had been served, the ‘lunatic’ angrily walked to his table, snatched the bowl of ‘soupS’, guzzled it in one mad gulp, took the malformed mound of ‘eba’, stashed it in his raggedy pocket, handed over the emptied plates to the dumbfounded customer, and now at the top of his voice warned: “Always eat one soup so that we know the one that kill you! I say eat one soup” he repeated as he walked away, “so that we know the one that kill you!!”
Uko’s other ‘lunatic’ was no less forceful in his demand, nor any less authoritative in the expression of his momentary lucidity. This one too must’ve -for some time- taken a deranged notice of Uko’s presumably civil-servant father, as the man would appear every morning to go to work wearing either a one-piece suit or a well-starched, short-sleeved shirt, but always on a perfectly knotted tie. And so, on this fateful day, the ‘mad man’, apparently having had enough watching what he must’ve thought was a daily, self-strangulating ‘madness’, had walked straight up to Uko’s father, grabbed him firmly by the tie, and at the top of his voice, was now questioning the victim of his stranglehold: “when will you allow this neck rest!? I say when will you free this neck!!?” And although it may have taken the intervention of neighbors to pull this ‘lunatic’ off the jugular of Uko’s gasping father, yet the moral of stories like these cannot be lost on the discerning; and which is that: there is just a thin line between sanity and insanity; and that often both those who lay claim to sanity and those who are truly insane may cross the threshold without knowing that they have. Ndaeyo Uko had used these stories as some kind of comic relief to caricature the weekly display of intemperance by an Admiral, Augustus Aighomu, IBB’s number two man who had a habit of turning his Weekly Press Conference with State House Correspondents into some kind of mad house for the vilest language to reply the regime’s many critics. But such malady becomes even one of a terribly infinite proportion if it has to take a tap by the existentially mad, on the shoulders of the presumably ‘clearheaded’, to warn them they are hovering right on the threshold.
And so I was wondering, what would a momentarily lucid ‘mad man’ with a keen mind on the ‘juridical’ –as against the culinary or the trendy- have said to a litigious Atiku Abubakar, especially given the Waziri’s cheaply opportunistic grounds of petition against Buhari’s victory? Because we have seen that each of the three grounds of Atiku’s petition was actually an obvious gamble reminiscent of the opportunistic casket-game in Shakespeare’s tragic-comic play, ‘The Merchant of Venice’. Permit me to digress a little. To fulfill her late father’s royal wish, wealthy heiress of Belmont, princes Portia, dutifully consents to a game of caskets by which, in the wisdom of her father, she may escape ‘gold diggers’ and gain a suitable husband from among princely suitors who must choose the casket containing her picture by un-coding both the ornamental motifs of the ‘precious’ metals by which the three caskets are represented and the confusing inscriptions that they respectively bear, namely, the ‘gold’ casket: ‘Who chooseth me shall GAIN WHAT MANY MEN DESIRE’; the ‘silver’: ‘Who chooseth me shall GET AS MUCH AS HE DESERVES’ and the ‘lead’ ‘Who chooseth me must GIVE AND HAZARD ALL HE HATH’.
But like Ndaeyo Uko’s ‘souper’ who loved his ‘ogbono’, ‘egusi’ and ‘ewedu’ all in one bowl, Atiku had acted true to his covetous and gluttonous patrician character. He wanted all three precious metals: gold, silver and lead; and he wanted all three soups: ‘ogbono’, ‘egusi’ and ‘ewedu’. The claim that Atiku won the election was merely a ploy to shroud his opportunistic reliance on two seemingly low-hanging fruits: his contrived ‘server result sheet’ which –for its non-justiciability- was dead on arrival, and the non-issue of Buhari’s ‘qualification’ which –conscionably- was weak. Thus all that Atiku had succeeded in doing at the Tribunal was to prove himself a Jack of three dubious trades –‘cert’, ‘server’ and ‘substantial non-compliance’; and in the end he had turned out a grouchy ‘master of none’! Atiku had proved himself both of two proverbial opportunistic soldiers: a ‘soldier of fortune’ and a ‘sunshine soldier’. He had also proved himself both of two proverbial seekers of idle fortune: a ‘treasure hunter’ and a ‘gold digger’. He had hoped to reap where he did not sow. And without proving any of the three grounds, Atiku still believes that he has been denied justice. Meaning that either all five justices knew no law at all, or that they have elected –against the grain of law- to pervert justice. In truth, it is Atiku who had angled desperately to pervert and to benefit from the perversion of justice: his calumnious campaign for the removal of judges on the Tribunal he did not trust, his desperate attempts to force judges to descend to the gallery, his frequent appeal to a partisan court of public opinion, his curious request to meet the Tribunal judges in camera and his public denunciation of ‘law and fact’ in favor of what he termed ‘the pulse’ of the nation, all revealed a litigant who knew that he had no case. All of Atiku’s juristic ‘armor’, his ‘sword’ and his ‘shield’ rested on one ridiculously presumptive proof, that he won the election because it was ‘obvious’ that ‘Nigerians wanted Buhari to lose’.
And that is Atiku for you. He is Nigeria’s only politician you’ll know who seems always, to exude this preeminent entitlement to be paid back –economically and politically- for some great favor you’d think he must’ve done to Nigeria in time past; very rare favors such as should equate, metaphorically, say, to giving a dying person the ‘kiss of life’ or Cardio-vascular Pulmonary (mouth-to-mouth) Resuscitation; or maybe some great deed of derring-do such as equates, say, with being Nigeria’s Dedan Kimathi who led the country’s version of Kenya’s Mau-Mau revolution to secure our independence. Atiku is about the only politician you’ll know who approaches the politics of ruling this country with this toga of subtle -even if haughty- claim to a ‘right of first refusal’. And it is probably the reason he always demands his political desert in a combination of three uncompromising soups. Its either an all ‘ogbono’, ‘egusi’ and ‘ewedu’ bowl, or a grueling court fight to the last ounce of energy! It is either his ‘gold, silver and lead’ all at once or no ‘casket game’ at all! Because to Atiku alone belongs not only the right to the ‘gold casket’ wherein to ‘GAIN WHAT MANY MEN DESIRE’ and the right to the ‘silver casket’ wherein to ‘GET AS MUCH AS HE DESERVES’, to him also belongs the right to the basest of them all, the ‘lead casket’, because Atiku is the only Nigerian politician you’ll also know who is ready to ‘GIVE AND HAZARD ALL HE HATH’ in order that he ‘GAINs WHAT MANY MEN DESIRE’ and that of it, he ‘GETs AS MUCH AS HE DESERVES’.