Nigeria: once again plunge into tragedy

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A TRAGEDY of a very unusual but not unprecedented kind occurred this week in the town of Dutse Gogo in Kwara State. A seemingly ill-mannered and thoughtless youth fired hot bullets into his younger brother’s chest. The two brothers, sons of a hunter, had apparently been excited about a newly made amulet with a touted ability to block gunfire from penetrating its users. And the culprit, Abubakar Abubakar, wanted to test his effectiveness, lacking even the street smarts that would have led him to test his magic bulletproof on an animal, say his mother’s goat, first. No, he didn’t have time for frills; he was sure the “spell” would work, and Yusuf Abubakar, his 12-year-old brother, fell!

Before discussing what I believe to be the symbolism of this tragic incident, let us recall the Maji Maji rebellion in Tanzania, an episode in which at least 75,000 people lost their lives. The causes of the conflict were largely economic: the German colonizers forced the native population to grow cotton for export, and the mutineers used magic to drive them out. A medium, Kinjikitile Ngwale, who claimed to be possessed by a snake spirit called hongo and called himself Bokero, told the people that the gods had decreed the elimination of Europeans and that their salvation lay in his medicine, which he relied on. boasted of turning German bullets into water. This antidote was actually water (maji) mixed with castor oil and millet seeds. Entirely fortified with this new charm, and rid of any form of methodological skepticism, the people marched against the Germans, confident in victory.

In his article, “The Organization of the Maji Maji Rebellion”, British historian John Iliffe writes of the false messiah: “Hongo ordered that every man should anoint himself with his medicine [i.e. the maji]; anyone who refused was to be caught and killed. We will leave the story of the sad ending to the Tanzanian poet Kassam Kassam, who adopts the voice of an old man remorsefully recalling the pestilential past: “They fired bullets, no water, no, no water../ Dead, we all lay dead.

Why did we take the Maji Maji road? Well, it is election season once again and large populations of Nigerians are, like Master Yusuf Abubakar (may his soul rest in peace), presenting their chests to the killers. Known thieves and crooks are invading the political space with their misleading messages. They are hungry lions in search of prey: hyperbole, defamation and denunciation have become popular tools in the hands of their publicists, including columnists. They know the golden rule: always commit your murder through a third party. The market for ambitions is full of dross.

Times have changed but those who remain mentally in the past insist on leading a traumatized population to El-Dorado. These are the days of the jets hidden in the clouds, but the knights of yesteryear wielding swords insist their game is the glory of the people. Theater giant Moses Adejumo (Baba Sala) has invested and lost a fortune in celluloid but if he were here today he’d wonder what the point of it all was really: movies can now be watched on Cellphones. Oduduwa did not use a camera.

Nigerians have a duty not to repeat the 2015 mistake of the cult of personality: it will only lead to hell. In 2015, evangelists claimed that a NEPA bill was enough for the top job; that with a soldier providing military tactics and a pastor providing spiritual arsenal, the country was on its way to Canaan. They frolicked in wild ecstasy, their brains eaten away by lies. But the lies quickly dissolved in a sea of ​​regret: they went from Sai Baba (Hail Baba) to Ah Baba (What! Baba!), then to Kai Baba (Don’t, Baba) and finally to Bye Baba. Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world. Entering a digitized world with typewriters is a simple comedy. We have to ask the excited monkeys who are now jumping from one social media tree to another: if you’re not recommending your candidate for CEO of your company, why recommend them for public office?

What this earth needs is a tinkering with the very question of its existence, and unless and until that is done, a million (un)popular candidates won’t make a difference. In a recent article, I wrote: “Today, with the ravages of decades of military rule that have transformed federalists into greedy unificationists, Nigeria has a giant center that arrogates exclusive right to the repressive apparatuses of the state, denigrating the supposed federating units, and requisitioning the national purse. The results, to take only the latest verdicts from statistical agencies for example, have been horrific: the research/analysis group on global and international terrorism, Jihad Analytics, has just ranked Nigeria, unitary police, as the second most terrorized country in the world, behind Iraq which occupies the first place with 337 terrorist attacks recorded between January and June of this year, against 305 in Nigeria. , for good measure, is the world capital of poverty, open defecation, poor access to electricity and -school children. nt any logic to a unitary Nigeria. I see no reason to alter this conclusion.

Nigerians at all levels must beware, to return to Kasam Yusuf’s Maji Maji, “of men who spoke of deliverance and freedom/And warriors who pledged to fight”. They must regard the political jamborees that currently rule the airwaves as mere artifice. “For several days” the Maji Maji rebels led by Ngwale/Bokero “resounded with drumbeats and frenzied cries/Then with the spirits of extraterrestrial ancestors”, but they ended in certain doom. Our midshipmen hold Danish rifles, determined to wage war in the 21st century. They sound dangerously like Elvis Mbonye, ​​the so-called Ugandan prophet who claims to have been in the celestial realms to give Satan complete hiding. Addressing his flock at a hotel in Kampala, Mbonye said he first met Satan’s bodyguard, smashed him to a pulp, then walked over to the “big bad boss”, leaving him “seriously injured”.

Make way for the Nigerians…

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