By Yinka Olujimi
“Perhaps Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over. In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis.’’ – Garba Shehu
I saw it coming!
That Professor of Literature who is too filled with exaggerated sense of self-importance was destined to receive his comeuppance and be cut to size sooner than later.
What is a professor, anyway? A small issue will crop up and he will pick his pen to write big, big grammar. Dongo Turanci!
Small issue o! Nonsense!
Somebody must face him frontally, and match him in his turf – devious writing – and, voila! – the eminent writer, journalism teacher, editor, editor-in-chief, and one-time President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Garba Shehu, stepped up!
Kudos, Garba. The verbal punch was deftly and expertly delivered. That Professor will henceforth know that if he wants trouble with our government, he will get it double! If Wole Soyinka can write dongo turanci, big grammar, Garba is eminently positioned to bring him down from Mount Olympus!
That Professor’s sins are too many. We have always treated him with kid gloves, out of deference for his age and accomplishments in the field of literature. But that’s it – literature and no more. He should park well, and leave politics and governance to us, the professionals.
What was that nonsense he wrote about our imperial president breaching the constitution while dishing sit-at-home orders in Lagos and Ogun, as well as Abuja, after our dear Baba had read out such a world-acclaimed national address?
While the whole world was applauding the speech in which baba scored heavy political plusses, making no gaffe, mastering the pronunciation of Coronavirus and COVID 1-9, the only message that that professor of wailing picked was that the President, a whole General for that matter!, had no power to run Nigeria – his captured territory – the way he likes?
Who cares about the constitution and its nuances? Baba was enjoying his sleep, and sometimes Cartoon Networks, picking his teeth, jejely, when members of Soyinka’s activist constituency started making noise about him not rising to the occasion demanded by the coronavirus pandemic. They shouted themselves hoarse that Baba was fiddling while the Rome of Nigeria was burning because the virus was spreading furiously.
Femi Adesina, that other brilliant chap who also speaks on behalf of the General, told the people to let Baba enjoy his sleep; since it is not the style of our own imperial leader to talk with his captives regularly. But they would not listen. Their wailing continued to rise to high heavens.
Who cares if the United States President has been addressing his people on a daily basis about efforts to combat the disease, sometimes twice in a day? Or that other leaders across the globe are doing the same thing? Our Baba is not their mate. Most of the current world leaders were still in their diapers when Baba seized power in Africa’s largest and most prosperous black nation. So, if those so-called world leaders would not learn the art of governance from him, that is their problem, but asking Baba to adopt their style in governance is most unacceptable.
Yet, out of his graciousness, Baba General looked at the Nigerian people – his captives – with pity and decided to talk to them – in a recorded broadcast o, he had no time for any nonsensical live address which would expose him to lethal questions from those bad press boys.
To Soyinka, the only take-away from the address is that the President overstepped his constitutional bounds be ordering the people of the states and Abuja to stay at home!
Bad man. Very bad, nit-picking Professor of drama!
So, Soyinka wants lawyers and those our boys at the National Assembly to start speaking dongo turanci, big big grammar, to Baba about sections of the constitution which prescribe that such powers can only be exercised by state governors upon express approval of their state assemblies, or after the proclamation of a state of emergency by the president either with prior approval of the National Assembly, or with ratification by the legislators within a specified timeline?
Where would Baba have the time, or energy, to do all that? You want somebody to go disturb his sleep or distract him from the cartoon networks that he has gone back to enjoy in the villa? You want someone to go wake the lion who is agonizing over his inability to jet off to London to treat ear infections, or ferry foreign doctors here if need be, no thanks to coronavirus which has forced most countries to shut their borders?
Remember, the Aso Rock clinic is in such tatters that the President’s daughter, Zahra, in 2017 informed the world that it had ‘no single syringe’?
The honest lady, in an Instagram post, raised several posers with the hashtag #StateHousePerSecPlsAnswer. She wrote:
“More than N3billion budgeted for the State House clinic and workers there don’t have the equipment to work with? Why?”
Zahra posted further: “Where is the money going to? Medication only stocked once since the beginning of the year? Why? State House Permanent Secretary please answer.”
“Why isn’t there simple Paracetamol, gloves, syringes… Why do patients/staff have to buy what they need in the State House clinic?”
Her mother, Aisha, rubbed it in 10 days after, throwing verbal punches at the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Husain Munir. The Wife of the President said:
“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent… I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it out. As the Chief Medical Director, there are lots of construction works going on in this hospital but there is no single syringe there, what does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning. You are building new structures but there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on.”
But Aisha was not done. She said:
“If somebody like Mr. President can spend several months outside Nigeria, then you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street?
“Few weeks ago I was sick as well, they advised me to take the first flight out to London, I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.
“I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the X-ray machine was working, they said it was not working. They didn’t know I was the one who was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time.
“I had to go to an hospital that was established by foreigners, in and out 100 percent. What does that mean? If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states.”
That Doomsday is here for the First Family, and the villa is in panic: The President is stuck at home, praying for miracles that his ear infection – which is the only ailment troubling Baba that his media minders have openly disclosed – any other ailment is top secret even when the bill for it is being picked by the public – you would expect empathy from that Professor of drama.
But like all bad people, his only concern is with constitutionalism and the rule of law!
Garba Shehu, may your ink never run dry. Fire him, fire all the bad, bad people.