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« It's a Poor Country: Isn't it? | Main | Obasanjo and Third Termism »

December 30, 2005

Who is afraid of Solarin…eh sorry Soyinka, Fawehinmi, Achebe?

by Chibuzo Onubogu (USA) --- Dear Dr. Femi Osofisan, sorry I had to borrow the title of your book. I did it because I hold it in the very highest esteem. At least I substituted Tai with Wole Gani Chinua; yea I put them together to form a threesome. If I am not mistaken, there is a saying that reminds us that good things come in threes. The calibre of men I used to replace Solarin ought to prove my sincere intentions Dr Osofisan. I really
never read the book but I saw enough of it to believe it’s a good one.

I do believe it’s a book of virtues, the virtues of a truly great Nigerian by the name of Dr. Tai Solarin. Did Dr. Tai compromise his virtues towards the end? I have heard people say that, but only history vindicates the just. By the way Dr. Osofisan, I was introduced to your book by another Nigerian whom I believe is also aspiring to be great… Reuben Abati. Abati you said? Yes the one and the same. You see Reuben and I graduated from UNICAL the same year. Reuben was a Theater Arts student and I studied Philosophy. I used to go to the small amphitheater any night I could just to watch Reuben
perform, and perform he did. Reuben could have been the Nigerian version of Denzel Washington, but I guess he chose a higher calling. I am sorry folks I didn’t mean to deviate so much from my real purpose. I had to talk about Reuben, for he was truly a great thespian.

Today my fellow Nigerians, the threesome I mentioned above and a few others like Abubakar Umar, Muhammad Buhari, and Balarabe Musa are Nigeria’s conscience, but I will only concentrate my commentary
on the “three wise men”. While cronies and hangers on like Fani- Kayode, Afe Babalola, and Alex Akinyele are busy singing the praises about a most corrupt and downright atrocious administration, these three wise men and their compatriots are putting their lives and reputations on the line for the people. The truly amazing thing is whether the Nigerian suffering masses know who is on their side. The country has become so downright corrupt that people now choose to sing
praises and worship their tormentors rather than those trying to liberate them. Venomous attacks have been put out by Obasanjo’s hatchet men on those who dared speak the truth about the real situation in Nigeria.

Let us begin with Chinua Achebe’s refusal of the so called national award, his commentary and the subsequent reply by one of Obasanjo’s cronies’ sorry “adviser”. Chinua said, and I quote “Nigeria's
condition today under your watch is ... too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours List” What could be further from the truth? If there is any reasonable Nigerian who believes this to be an affront on the Nigerian government I would like to know. The key word here being, “reasonable”. As a student of philosophy I encountered the word reason many a time. It was considered by a vast majority of philosophers as one of the most reliable ways of acquiring knowledge. Its also is a requirement one needs in other to properly discern and comment on issues and opinions presented by others.

Wole Soyinka said “I'm not setting out to die for any abstruse concept, especially an artificial concept like Nigeria”. Is Nigeria worth dying for? “When such a representative section of the nation comes together I do not blame the government for believing there is a formidable challenge being mounted to its waywardness," Turning to the future, he said on a personal note he most feared senility, but would not be drawn on the future of Nigeria's democracy. I never
allow myself to be hopeful or pessimistic;” I take Nigeria as an on-going project.” He accused members of Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party of wanting to manipulate elections to transform Nigeria's political landscape into a "one-party democracy."

According to Gani Fawehinmi, “We are not heading anywhere. We have no destination in this respect. We are moving backwards. We are taking false and faulty steps backwards, rickety steps indeed. February 25
2005, was a very sad day in the history of Nigeria. The President acted as a dictator, and not as an elected democrat. He assembled 400 men and women, all of them nominated, but not a single one elected. In
charging them with the responsibility of finding solutions to the problems of the country, he made some heretical statements.” On the open letter Gani wrote Obasanjo he asked “Why did she go for abdominoplasty (popularly called tummy tuck)? Why should a 60-year-old woman consider that the next option? Isn’t there something conceited about it all? All these questions hung in the air, begging for answers, even as we sympathised with the President. Yes, for once,
we were all united by grief, arising from Stella’s death and the Belleview plane crash, at few hours interval of each other. And like I said in this column last Saturday, it sort of elicited a kinship feeling in all Nigerians. We shared one another’s pains, anguish, sorrow, and were like one indivisible entity. It was a good demonstration of national cohesion, which has eluded us for 45 years.

These are some of the excerpts of statements made by these three men of wisdom, honour and integrity… Wole Soyinka, Gani Fawehinmi, Chinua Achebe. Are there any lies here presented? These are the facts my people, raw unadulterated facts. Could we question Wole’s credibility? Was he unreasonable in his remarks? Would an honourable man like Chinua Achebe not have a reason to reject a national honour? How can Gani Fawehinmi Nigeria’s only true freedom fighter be off the mark?

What Femi Fani- Kayode said was nothing short of silly and ignorant about Chinua Achebe. A man of impeccable character and demeanour who had spent his entire life being more Igbo/Nigerian/African than most of his peers: a man whose works of literature has had more profound impact on the entire black race. According to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, after discussing with President Olusegun Obasanjo; the government stated that "if you feel that your country does not deserve to honour you, then we believe you certainly do not deserve your country.” Fani-Kayode in the statement stated that: "I discussed its (Achebe's letter) contents with the President yesterday (Tuesday) and our response is as follows: Our response is that his position as regards the state of affairs in his native land and his rejection of the great honour done to him by the Nigerian people is regrettable. It is not a slap in the face of the Nigerian government or Mr. President, but rather it is a slap in the face of the Nigerian people. I really felt like slapping somebody after I read the reply. What slap on the people of Nigeria? What a travesty? Fani Kayode and Obasanjo, how will history judge you? To whom much is given, much is expected. Nigeria was given to you to deliver it from its evils but you have failed and continue to fail.

In reply to Gani’s poignant and most astute questions and statement on the issue of why Stella Obasanjo did not need the procedure that led to her death, Information Minister Chief Alex Akinyele accused Gani of being wicked and inhuman, adding: “You talk with discretion. You talk with understanding. You talk with maturity. You talk with a sense of responsibility. This is a fellow human being like you. What has General Obasanjo done to deserve this at this particular time of his life? It is very, very unfair. It makes me sick… I dissociate myself very, very seriously from what Gani has done, and for once in my life, I’m ashamed of him.”

Haba Alex! Who wants to associate with you? I believe if the devil were to become Nigeria’s president today you would love to be in his cabinet. Do you have principles Alex? Have you ever in your life fought for or defended any just cause? I think that if one would write a pictorial dictionary and need the proper and exact picture for the word crony, you would fit it to the tee. Why didn’t you ask your Baba, how come we can’t have facilities and hospitals that can cater for its people? As a so called Regional power, Nigerians ought not to be dying like flies for “ailments and conditions that rarely kill people other places. Never speak ill of the dead? That to me should not apply in Nigeria, a denizen of thieves and to use the words of the great Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, “authority stealers”.

All the attacks that have been levelled on these Nigerians of good intentions have been nothing short of mind boggling and befuddling, hence my question; who is afraid of SoyinkaFahehinmiAchebe? Only in a
country like Nigeria where the truth is acid and poison will the real motives of such men of high class ever be questioned.

Chibuzo Onubogu writes from the USA

Posted by Administrator at December 30, 2005 02:21 PM


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