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A VALENTINE WISH

By NBF News
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The leaders encourage them to keep busy with things of faith in order to keep them fully distracted, while the leaders go on committing iniquity, in the name of governance. The result is that by the time the masses spare a moment to look back at how the state is faring, they discover that a monstrous dictatorship has sprung up, and has grown so huge that it is now impossible to challenge, let alone, overthrow. The story is the same from Egypt to Libya, to Jordan to Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Iran, Yemen and so on. Yes, that part of the world is bursting at the seams with its own variants of Mugabe and Museveni. For every presidential villa out there is occupied by a tyrant who has not only converted government to private estate, but is determined to make succession strictly by family inheritance.

And while they are at it, they project themselves as the greatest defenders of the faith and the faithful, even as they loot the public treasury and treat their people exactly the opposite way of how the Holy Prophet charged us to do. It is a trend that has been with us here too. The people who committed the most heinous of deeds in public office are the ones who are quick to attach a mosque to their private homes, build a chapel in the private residences and libraries (even as they effortlessly shuttle between chapel and shrine). They are the ones to donate the largest to religious causes and preach tolerance - even as they fund militants and fanatics secretly. They are the same people we run to and beg to come and chair committees to investigate the latest religious crises.

So, like the Arabs have suddenly woken up from their slumber to face reality, we too would one day sooner than later, wake up from fantasy land and ask questions.

But, in the spirit of Valentine, I will not explore this any further. Love is in the air and I'd rather talk about love.

But our own politics is not getting any less interesting. Take for instance, what happened in Ibadan last week. There was pandemonium everywhere as rumours of juju-laced akara bean cakes filtered into town. That Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, in his seeming desperation for election, had performed a ritual which required his frying akara and giving same to school children. That way, his re-election would be guaranteed. Now, no right-thinking person would think there was any truth to the story, but it was strong enough to cause chaos in the whole of Ibadan.

Parents, especially mothers, dashed to the schools to physically drag their children home, to prevent them from eating any akara. Nobody has bothered to ask when Akala's government began this practice of feeding children in public school, or when akara crept into the menu.

They will never ask. We live in times when all manner of religions and faiths prescribe the religious saraka (sadaka, in some languages) as a way of getting the spirits

(both good and evil) to do the adherent's desires. Christians, especially the garment churches, do it, some Muslims do it, the traditionalists do it also. But even at that, those who do it try to be secretive about. So, how Ibadan people think akala would come to dance naked in the market place beats me. But it was a welcome comic break from the madness that had been going on in that part of the country.

Now, I know that you can be given a flag while another person is given the ticket. So, that you're the PDP flagbearer does not make you the PDP candidate. Similarly, that you have the party's ticket does not make you the party's flagbearer. Even at that, neither the PDP ticket nor the PDP flag qualifies of them to stand election on the party's platform.

In the PDP, while some people have flag, given to them at rally, others have tickets (endorsed for them by INEC for the same position). It is only after the courts have decided that we now agree on where the ticket and the flag shall meet. From Ogun to Kano, Abia to Enugu and Oyo, the story is the same.