GUEST Column by Mohammed Adamu
Maybe I was being sarcastic recently when, in my Face book comments about the Igbo Army Private who reportedly shot and killed his Hausa-Fulani Commanding Officer I wrote: “Thank God it was the ‘brave’, ‘patriotic’ Igbo rank-and-file, Azunna Maduabuchi, just back from a ‘meritorious’ six-month Absence Without Official Leave, that shot and killed his ‘cowardly’, on-duty, newly-wedded Hausa Commanding officer, Lieutenant Babakaka Shehu Ngorgi, in remonstration of his ‘duly earned unwarrantedly withheld’ cumulative salary”. And maybe I was being satiric when I said “At least we have been having some geo-ethnic peace and quiet since that ‘inevitably’ murderous patriotic soldiering happened on the Boko Haram war front”.
But I was neither sarcastic nor satiric when I said: “Thank God it was not the other way round; and oh Lord, may it never be the other way round –that a Hausa rank-and-file, just back from a six-month Absence Without Official Leave, would return to duty, and with a murderous sense of remunerative entitlement, shoot and kill an on-duty, honeymoon-denied newly wedded Igbo officer six malevolent times in the back, as he would be talking to lovely, war-estranged brand new wife on the phone”
Plus I was neither sarcastic nor satiric when I prayed: “Lord, you know that we (Nigerians) cannot stand the geo-ethnic HEAT that will radiate from such murderous patriotic soldiering –had it been the other way round”; adding, as I put it: “And so Lord, may You never allow that it should ever happen the other way round”. And yes, I did ask also if I could have “an amen” to that; which too, was neither asked in mocking disposition nor, in any way, requested tongue-in-cheek. Make no mistake about it, it was a genuine prayer.
And yes I did get many an ‘amen’, but I also got many a rebuke –especially from my IPOB ‘friends’ or their usually bat-blind supporters and sympathizer! They said that I was geo-ethnically uncharitable to the Igbos with my sarcastic narrative. And in fact, one particularly accused me of ‘reinforcing the seed of hate’ even as he self-righteously insisted that “Bad people cut across tribes just like the good”. Why should the North usurp the traditional station of the Igbos by playing the ‘victim’ of geo-ethnic treatment. We should not confuse the ‘thunder’ that the heavens have been at it all these years, preparing for the wicked. Lest, when it is unleashed, it should mistake the Igbos for the Hausa-Fulanis.
But the sickening part was not even accusing us the Hausa-Fulanis of playing the ‘victim’ role. Rather it was this grotesquely-asserted narrative that the killer-Igbo-soldier was not compos mentis. That he was in fact ‘mentally unbalanced’. Else no Igbo man could ever do that malevolently to any one! Almost immediately they had started entering a plea of insanity for the murderer. But Lord knows if it had been the other way round, the same people would’ve insisted that all Northerners, and especially the Hausa-Fulanis, are vicariously guilty -if not by tribe or religion then by geography or by association. We would all have been guilty not only of homicide but of genocide, war crime, crime against humanity, aggression and –need I add- persecution of an ethnic minority. A ‘divinely chosen one’ for that matter!
But just as we were marveling at this geo-ethnic defense of a murderous kindred then came the story of Nigeria’s former Defense Minister, Lt. Gen. T Y Danjuma -on the offensive. Again. And although in fairness to those whose ethnic jugular the retired General has bow grabbed, sometimes even I do get the feeling that this uniquely esprit-de-riche called TY often amazes as much as he disgusts. He comes across as one whose mind occasionally gets sequestrated by the demons of our post Civil war history; and that in fact given the regularity of these demonic war-tingling attacks, it appears you can now hardly tell when this political lord of the ‘Taraba manor’ is lucidly compos mentis from when he has gone completely kolomental.
With a cavalierly self-righteous disposition, TY Danjuma tends to forget, always, that the Civil War or the geo-ethnic bad belly that it had been tragically heir to, had since ended. In fact a sense of still being in the trenches dodging ogbunigwes and needing sometimes to preemptively strike at phantom objects of his wanton imagination, has perhaps terminally gotten the better of TY’s twilight days. His nostalgia for the opportunistic cavalry charges of the sixties when vulnerable hors de combats must’ve laid at the mercy of his jackboots, is becoming nauseatingly legendary, as the man now appears to enjoy casting himself as casus belli (namely the reason for war), rather than the veritable source for the much needed peace-time healing that the nation craves.
And maybe you ask: ‘what has Danjuma’s mis-primed sakabula hit at, this time?’ Like a murderous John Wayne ‘riding again’, TY has now hit at a rather harmless target with no obvious potentials for present or future threat either to his ‘vindictive’ military reputation or even to the enjoinment of the remainder of his blissfully oily last days which –candidly it must be said- has been the delirium that fires his occasional rabble-rousing against his benefactor society. This recent TY-blast, coming especially from a rusty bullet some seventy years old, had opportunistically chosen a target no more edifying for a General than the scraggy, age-weary jaws of a bereaved octogenarian woman, Mrs Ironsi, that himself had had the ‘unedifying’ privilege of making a life-long widow of.
They said that in a recent interview Danjuma had granted the Guardian, he had still vengefully described the late husband of this harmlessly-grieving widow, Major-General. Aguyi Ironsi, as a “useless”, “Desk-Clerk” Head Of State. And, as you should expect, the entire Igbo ‘nation’ –or to be more charitable maybe we should say IPOB’s ragtag Online brigade- was outraged: how dared this murderously treacherous ‘Awusa Northerner’ -now he is both ‘Hausa’ and ‘Northern’- describe our Aguyi Ironsi ‘useless’? Or how dared he, an ungrateful upstart ‘aboki’ crow beautified by the oily feathers of the ‘Greater Biafras’, call our own heroic Ironsi, the Niletus crocodilus of the East and Beyond, a ‘desk-clerk’?
And all that the poor grieving widow could do was to invoke the wrath of amadioha on the killer and tormenter of her husband, Johnny. What else could she do? Yet there is no worse curse than the curse of a grieving widow. And worse even when it is called forth for the one who is the sadistic cause of her widowhood: “For calling my husband who you killed “Useless” and a “Desk-clerk” she said to Danjuma, “vulture will eat your corpse”.
Yet even as Ironsi’s widow was conjuring futuristic wrath for the killer and tormenter of her husband, her IPOB kindred and their sympathizers ironically would offer a face-saving geo-ethnic defense for the aggressor by entering a plea of ‘insanity’ for TY. They’ll have to raise a flag of insanity to take the discourse away from the narrative of a do-nothing, cheaply opportunistic-some happy-go-lucky- Ironsi as Head of State whose only achievement moving around excitedly with the mojo of a crocodile-toy fetished around his name ‘Aguyi’ as he acknowledged cheers whilst unbeknownst to him the clouds of vengeance were getting dewy and heavy! This was the “useless, desk-clerk” Ironsi of TY’s description that only a plea of insanity for the bloody butcher of Ibadan, can excuse.
Otherwise when TY Danjuma, in 2018 made allegations about Buhari’s ‘Hausa-Fulani army’ ethnically cleansing his minority Christian tribes of Taraba, did they not believe him hook, line and sinker? And when we said that the man was either mischievous or insane did they not insist that he spoke with Einstein authority? And did they not insist that TY was so reverently iconic that he was incapable of falsehood? And so why is he suddenly insane –because he described Ironsi as a do-nothing Head of State?