Executive Vigilante & Other Apparitions by Louis Odion FNGE

President Muhammad Buhari

In line with the
tradition of this column, today, we look back with a view to compiling
words/phrases which have crept treacherously into public conversation lately.
As we shall soon find, nothing best dramatises, with searing intensity, the
national condition presently than the frequency of the use and abuse of such
terms in the ensuing public chatter.

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In Christendom, particularly the Pentecostal community, adverbial phrases like
“I decree”, “I declare”, “I reject” and “I
bind” are no ordinary terms. They describe the never-ending fierce
contestation between the pious on the one hand and “powers and
principalities” and “spiritual wickedness in high places” on the
The reason it is
therefore becoming a matter of grave national concern that when people get
nominated for otherwise plum (“juicy”, if you like) appointments
lately, more and more of the supposed beneficiaries expected to be full of joy
and rejoicing would rather casually intone “I reject”. At the last
count, out of the forty-something ambassadorial nominees unveiled last weekend,
two had responded with “I reject” within two days (Paulen Tallen and
Usman Bugaje).
Just when the nation
was still striving to absorb the thunderous shock came another stunner:
chairman-designate for the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC),
Professor Akintunde Akinwande, rejected his own nomination. The senate
screening committee waited all day on Tuesday; the nominee chose not to dignify
either the appointing authority or the screening board with his presence, not
even a word.
Now, there is growing
apprehension as to what all of these portend. Does the much touted change
mantra actually imply conscription (in the fashion of the military in a war
situation) or people just getting listed for a national assignment without
prior consultation?
Or, much more
disturbing, is someone beginning to see what the rest of us, mere mortals, seem
yet incapable of deciphering – the newly unmasked but no less fearsome
“demons of Aso Rock” – thus necessitating the affirmative “I
Mr Louis Odion…The Author
‘Oga is
When and where next
you hear this phrase, you are well advised to take another disapproving look at
the speaker or better still, flee from them as swiftly as your feet will allow,
particularly if uttered near court-room or home of top judicial officer.
Moreso, if a high profile case is being heard. Lest you stand the risk of being
subpoenaed as accessory in a premeditated bid to pervert the cause of justice
either at an election tribunal or Appeal Court or, in the extreme circumstance,
the Supreme Court.
So, to be on a safer
side, it is highly recommended that you mind what text messages you send via
your cell-phone or who you call or allow the line registered in your name,
backed indisputably with your biometrics, be used to make a transactional call
to serving judge or court registrar.
Additionally, it may
not even be out of place if you add the wearing of hand-gloves to your personal
safety routines, in case fingerprints are to be tracked.
As has now been
sensationally revealed in the past few weeks by erstwhile judicial hunters
stealthily hunted down in the dead of the night by hooded gnomes from DSS, the
phrase “Oga is unhappy” is usually the prelude to being co-opted into
probable treasonable felony.
Of course, it is not
without a monetary offer conceived deliberately to out-bid other interested
parties in influencing the judicial outcome. Someone, obviously a ranking
member of the sitting government, would have begun to recount, unsolicited, how
the proceedings thus far had generated jitters in the innermost sanctum of
Lexically unbundled,
the statement is therefore half threat, half plea by the meddlesome executive
interloper that the law be interpreted and the judgement worded in a manner
that would make “Oga at the top” happy.
However, what remains
undisclosed is in which currency would the other promise of “welfare”
be redeemed – naira or dollars.
New-improved State
Vigilante Service: Once, vigilante job was thought reserved only for low-life
courtesans whose sole credentials were not more than heavy biceps and
roughnecks bedecked with amulets and charms. For instance, in parts of
South-east a decade or so ago, you would see the “Bakassi Boys”
patrolling the street corners and the highways in open-roof vans, hunting for
“criminals” and just any “undesirable element”.
Governor Nyesom Nwike….The Rescue Governor
But as things appear
to be getting more and more sophisticated in today’s Nigeria, much glamour
would appear to have been injected into vigilante service such that even some
state governors themselves no longer seem to mind being re-designated as
provider of vigilante solutions on demand. Anyone in doubt only needs to make
enquiries at the Government House in Port Harcourt or Ado-Ekiti.
A mere phone call was
all required recently to rouse Governor Nyesom Wike from presumed executive
slumber in the swanky comfort of the Rivers White House to “mobilize”
and rush to the aid of a Justice whose residence had been surrounded by columns
of DSS snipers looking for a princely $2m allegedly warehoused by his lordship
suspected to be his lordship’s own share from the bazaar of
cash-for-favourable-judgements against which a national crackdown is presently
being enforced.
(By the way, the embattled
Justice had over the last couple of months entered judgments favourable to the
Rivers governor.)
And so was the Rivers
Executive Vigilante Service ably led by the muscular Wike able to successfully
thwart the agents of federal authorities from performing what ordinarily was a
legitimate duty, clearly underscoring the dysfunctionality of Nigeria’s
Governor Ayodele Fayose….Rescue Governor 2
But ask the
hyperactive Wike if he would similarly react to an SOS from a nameless citizen
surrounded by marauders in, say, the street next to the Government House at
such ungodly hours, he is likely to response by first seeking to establish if
the questioner belongs to the opposition party…
Elsewhere in
Ado-Ekiti, Governor Ayo Fayose rendered similar vigilante services to Precious,
spouse of Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, when encircled at a local branch of Access Bank
by EFCC following an alleged attempt by her to withdraw cash from a tainted
account against which a lien had been placed.
What’s more, the
bespoke Ekiti Executive Vigilante Service is also available to be deployed, at
short notice, against straying cows with a view to literally giving bite to a
new law seeking to regulate the conduct of herdsmen in the state. So enamored
of the twin virtues of transparency and accountability is Fayose that he has
since declared that any cow found wanting would instantly be put to the service
of “stomach infrastructure”.
Now, the latest is
that the herders union has rushed to Aso Rock for a closed door meeting, the
communique of which is yet to be made public.
Late Muhammed Ali….The Sting Man
Sting: Other than bees, the
only man known to have ever openly confessed to stinging since the dawn of time
is boxing legend Muhammad Ali who “floated like butterfly and sting like
bee.” But not anymore. Certainly not in Nigeria following the recent
coordinated night raids by agents of the Department of State Security (DSS) on
the homes of seven top judges across the country.
So, to
“sting” now means to “shock and awe” anyone suspected of
illicit transactions and hiding the proceeds – preferably dollars – at home.
And now associated
with this chilling word are a few annotations by way of drama sketch.
Determined to cart
home his own loot at once, one of the judges “stung” was said to
have, upon being handed $80,000 cash behind closed door, temporarily shed all
magisterial pretenses, resorting to an improvisation thought too extreme given
his status.
Pronto, his lordship
reportedly removed his shoes and meticulously stacked the eight bundles of the
greenbacks inside the pair in the fashion of a seasoned tomato vendor arranging
their wares delicately.
With nothing left to
hide, the said judge then clutched the “padded” shoes in his hands
and, obviously drunken with joy at a mission clinically accomplished, did not
mind walking barefoot thereafter to his vehicle in the car-park, under the
cover of darkness.
In another instance, a
judge simply chose to roll on the floor before the DSS boss upon reading
halfway a detailed report of a clandestine surveillance of how he had been
merchandising court judgments over the years.
President Muhammadu Buhari….Received a Padded Report and got a Padded Biography
Paden: Months ago, the word
“pad” in political terms only described the incidence of lawmakers
injecting budget proposal brought by the executive branch with their own
pecuniary provisions. Refreshingly, the frontier has been extended. Add the
suffix “en”, it now means to lie willfully, worse, at old age. So, to
“paden” a story or report or biography is to sugarcoat or exaggerate
accounts given by sources without fear of being controverted.
We must thank
American-born scholar, Professor John Paden, for this addition to our growing
vocabulary by way of personal example. In the 80s, he was similarly
commissioned to write a biography of the north’s political folk hero, Sir
Ahamdu Bello. Carried away by his commission, he ended up attracting more opprobrium
than accolades to himself and his sponsors on account of the negative lights he
chose to present the masses’ own hero, Mallam Aminu Kano.
Like the proverbial
leopard, the character of intellectual mercenary rarely changes.
Now paid to put together
the narrative of President Buhari’s political evolution three decades later,
the old man again took liberty to falsify facts, worse, of recent history.
Without research, he enters a mere hear-say as gospel truth in his biography of
PMB presented recently that Professor Yemi Osinbajo emerged Vice President
against the wishes and desire of the man widely known to be his political
benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. 
No sooner had the book
been presented than all hell literally broke loose. Key actors in the political
drama that culminated first in Buhari’s victory at APC’s primaries in December
2014 and eventually his triumph in the March 28, 2015 presidential polls have
since punctured Paden’s account as revisionism, if not pure fiction. The coup
de grace was delivered by no other than VP Osinbajo himself who has
unambiguously stated that “somebody somewhere nominated me” as VP.
First Lady Aisha Buhari….Angry with Husband over running of Government
Aisha: Tired of sermonising
about innovation and improvisation in this dry season of recession without any
tangible result, President Buhari seems resolved to inspire all henceforth with
the force of personal example. And what better forum could there be than
Germany, the acclaimed industrial headquarters of Europe, to formally unveil
his futuristic invention certain to alter completely man’s age-hold conception
of the kitchen as mere storeroom of utensils like cutlery and raw materials for
“stomach infrastructure”.
Buhari’s creation has
simply been named Aisha. So far, the clearest reading anyone could make of the
construct is that of a robot, a far cry from the familiar stove or gas burner,
frying pan, spoons, plates and ladle (turning stick).
That, at least, is the
literal meaning widely read to PMB’s declaration in Germany a fortnight ago
that “My wife belongs to my kitchen, the living room and the other
room” in response to the First Lady’s blistering attack on BBC that her
husband was running a government that is all but inclusive.
Now, with PMB’s second
daughter from his first marriage scheduled to be given out in marriage tomorrow
in his native Daura town, it remains to be seen if the father-of-the-bride
would himself agree that his beautiful girl be treated merely as a decorative
article in another man’s “kitchen, living-room and the other room”.
Cabal: These words beginning
with letter “c” evoke dark imageries – cabal, clique and cartel. Of the three
synonyms, cabal has however gained more currency today relative to the rise of
two or three power-brokers in Abuja said to determine who gets what in the
Buhari presidency.
True, the spectre of a
cabal is not entirely new phenomenon within the Abuja power calculus. Just like
the effervescence of power, it surely has its own expiry date. For instance,
how much of Turai, Ruma, Tanimu Yakubu et al do we hear today? Yet, they
constituted the all-powerful cabal in the Umar Yar’Adua presidency.
Under Goodluck
Jonathan, power was obviously shared between four cabals led, curiously, by
women: Patience, Dieziani, Stella Oduah and Okonjo-Iweala. So much that, for
example, not on a few occasions did Patience (a.k.a Mama Peace) physically lead
her husband out of the presidential jet on foreign soil during what was
supposed to be state visits.
What however makes its
latest mutation under Buhari a bit spectacular is that the new cabalists are
either PMB’s uncle or nephew and collectively make little or no pretense at
finesse in person or show care for national sensibilities in public conduct.
Though inconsequential
and invisible during the titanic battle to wrestle down a sitting president,
these men have suddenly transformed to the ultimate beneficiaries of APC
victory who, according to Aisha Buhari, now virtually dictate the terms of all
the transactions in Abuja and dominate even little matters like NTA spotlight.
While her husband appears to be more fixated on who occupies the kitchen,
living room and the “other room”.
Donald ‘Dumb’ Trump….
Being Dumb:
For those still stupefied at the phenomenon of Donald Trump in the US 2016
elections and its dire implications for the peaceful co-existence of the human
races across the universe, a simple lexical formula has been provided by a US
talk-show host to explain the absurdity.
According to him, when
Donald is merged with Trump (d+ump), the hybrid sounds like “dumb”.
This is said to be why no tactic seems too vile, nor weapon considered
unthinkable or word too vulgar for Trump to utter in his obsession to be US’
next president.
The latest to disavow
the Trump candidacy are British tycoon Richard Branson and the influential
Harvard Republican Club. Whereas the Virgin Atlantic boss on Wednesday recalled
Trump struck him during lunch together earlier as “someone who likes
listening only to himself”, HRC is breaking its tradition of endorsing the
Republican nominee on election eve for the first time in its 128-yr history.
Its reason: “In Trump’s eyes, disagreement with his actions or his
policies warrants incessant name-calling and derision: stupid, lying, fat,
ugly, weak, falling, idiot – and that’s just his ‘fellow’ Republicans. He isn’t
eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.”
Indeed, when not found
groping vulnerable women, Trump is either busy threatening to build massive
wall instead of bridge between US and neighbours or making incendiary comments
against the black race.
Well, never mind. It
is all part of being plain dumb, they say