150 MILLION FOOLS
150 million fools
By Ikenna Emewu
There are 150 million of us in this nation. So says Chief Samaila Makama, the National Population Commission chairman. That is his postulation - either by voodoo or empirical derivation.
It is also interesting to know that all of us, myself inclusive, and in fact number one, are fools. However, I leave you the option to opt out before you sue me for libel. But if you would agree with me, the incidents of the past 100 days or so have proved us as that, almost that or worse than that.
We hear of a cabal that tutors us on what human feeling for an ill ruler should be and how ethically we should comment on the hijack they have foisted on us. All they do is well and cute. It is just the rest of us the watchers and the fall guys at the receiving end that cause confusion by our observation that we need to know the whereabouts of a certain citizen made number one by another detachment of cabals with operational base at a farm in Ogun State.
All of us have been fooled these few months more than before by the very few people. As you listen to them tackle each other in the media today, you wonder if they are not of the same fold.
After the foolery has reached some alarming dimension, one of the actors beat a retreat and started singing a different tune. Today, Prof. Dora Akunyili, the Information Minister is on the other side of the Yar'Adua divide. On Monday, she was on TV lamenting and bemoaning the problem the few who surround Yar'Adua have subjected the nation to. Akunyili was not agitated, or did not show it if she was as she dazed watchers with her fatal punches targeted at the so-called cabal. You can imagine what it means for a minister to say: 'I am the Minister for Information, but as I speak to you, I have no information on what is happening to the nation and Yar'Adua. She did not balk to say that she, other ministers and many in power grope in the dark and have been dumped in the lurch on what goes on with the president. She was bitter and blasted that you cannot tell people lies forever because even the listeners are tired and have come to understand that these tales have no substance. The info minister challenged the cabal to undo their lies, and called that they can still amend their past lies because they can't just tell lies forever especially when the target has realised these things are baseless. It was truth told in a very dispassionate manner. She did not hold back anything and was frank to a fault hitting the people where it hurts most. That was unlike Nigeria where those who hold the reigns of power never admit doing any wrong. She said all these amid a cluster of media reporters, and indicted the cabal for being unpatriotic and insincere in their style.
As she spoke, I knew she had pierced their souls with hot dagger and they were waiting eagerly to shoot her down. That they did without wasting any time. The sign that Akunyili spoke the truth many of them shy away from in order to hold to public office is the alacrity with which they replied her in hundreds. All the faceless interest groups have been issuing thousands of press statements to tear the woman in shreds. They have been unsparing as she was in her first assault. Everybody has been latching unto the Akunyili bashing even the governors who had some weeks ago issued a statement endorsing Jonathan and urging all of us to back him.
Some say Yar'Adua may soon creep out of his hiding hole and see some of the henchmen he left in the dark for over 100 days. The power mongers heard that and have started repainting their supports for him to remain where they should be. House of Reps members from the north call for Akunyili's head, many others need her cautioned, while others want her thrown out of office for being pessimistic. In this regard, telling the hard truth is pessimism and actionable.
While watching all these, you start to ask yourself what these people actually think we are other than fools. They take us here, take us there, take us here and there and finally take us neither here nor there. We only follow because we are their fools. In societies where the people stand up to their rights and are not fools as we are, this would not happen. Nobody would have the guts to take 150 million people for a bunch of incurable fools who must be manipulated like mere robots everyday of their lives. Do we resist them? No. Do we have a response to their ways? Never. We only slavishly follow and make them look like super humans who would never have an end to their sickening ways. The Reps, Senate, governors, pressure groups formed to project the interest of the ones that distribute the booty change their opinions like the face of the sky. They wobble and buckle and bend over to make themselves heard and we keep listening like the fools we are without lifting a finger in dissent.
Come to think of it, between Akunyili who once formed a strong bond of official lie peddling with Aondoakaa to terrorize us everyday that Yar'Adua was okay, speaks with them everyday, ship of state on course and sails fine on still waters and the governors and other Akunyili bashers, who is fooling Nigerians most?
I may align with those who posit that Akunyili is bellyaching because she lost in her bid to register with the cabal school. Because the principal of the school refused her admission, she now hates the school with passion. That is why the woman, an erstwhile agent of state to deceive Nigerians on Yar'Adua now turned to sing a different song. That may be true. But I still ask, between Akunyili who they say, and with facts that she is playing to the gallery and the other divide that plays steadily on the gallery and unrepentant who would you prefer to fool you? The fact is that both - Akunyili and her attackers fool Nigerians. Their interest is their prime consideration. But whom would you root for? Is it the penitent or the recalcitrant deceiver?
I listened to Senator Ibrahim Mantu on Tuesday in an NTA talkshow pontificate to Nigerians. He sounded repentant, sounded like a different human being. He made me know beyond any doubt that these men who operate Nigeria like a TV with their remote access control mechanism are die-hard agents of questionable bearing. They know the right thing to do. They know that most of us who complain about their acts are right, and they hate us with passion. Mantu of all persons admitted before Nigerians and all watchers of the programme that parties since 1999 (including his PDP) entrenched the tradition of selecting and imposing candidates on members. Mantu admitted that party congresses and primaries mean nothing and that the parties know and practice not internal democracy and cannot give it to the society. He called for the need to turn things around.
He is saying all these after benefiting from the same system he knew from time was faulty probably because he would no longer contest elections. It was so horrifying that one of the three anchors asked him if it is the same Mantu we have always known or another Mantu talking. Do you know what he answered? 'I am now a born again Mantu.' Wonders never have limits. Yes, Mantu who saw nothing wrong in what PDP did in Jos 1999 Convention that imposed Obasanjo and repeated it in 2003, the same Mantu fingers pointed at in the anarchy PDP staged in Jos in the days of Dariye, the same Mantu alongside others who Nigerians felt needed to be questioned in the crises Jos has come to be known for. The same Mantu who was involved in announcement and counter announcement of who won his senatorial election is today our teacher on morals. He has repented. He is born again.
What an irony. So, with Mantu's position, that of AkunyiIi, the governors, national legislators, northern interest groups, Yar'Adua's cabal etc, do you still have any doubt that there are 150 million of us incurable fools who live subject to the whims and mood swings and capricious interests of the cabals that dot our landscape? We are a bunch of fools because it is only fools that take the much we do from a very few manipulators without snapping and deciding to end it all or have a change.
Yes, we are the fools of very few others who are not more than 1000 and that we shall remain in the years to come as they continually celebrate their imperialistic exploits and conquests over the 150 million fools who only watch as they are dragged here and everywhere.