Browsing: Festus Adedayo

By then, the most recent karate session against free speech by His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the Twitter Empire in Africa in General and Nigeria in Particular (I hope Idi Amin Dada would not be livid in his grave for piracy of his intellectual property!), had not begun.

Whenever the west cites the 64 AD example of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, Nigeria goes into historical kitty to flaunt hers. The fiddling Nero is a classical example of governmental neglect of duty and focus on frivolities. Or trivialities. Nigeria’s own Nero is the story of the first and only Prime Minister in the history of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. 

As he spoke, I placed him side by side all the presidents after him, in terms of depth and commitment to the Nigerian nationhood and I shook my head. To place him side by side President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, would be a criminal comparison. Whoever attempted it should be tied to the stakes and shot

UI, in its 73 years existence, had been dragged backward severally by issues not strictly academic. From its Crescent and Cross crisis of the 1980s, which pitted Islam adherents against Christian worshippers on its campus, to another religious war at its staff school, which shot UI’s name into records of infamy, as well as allegations of plagiarism against some academics, the succession crisis of 2020 that the university sunk into after the expiration of the tenure of Professor of Applied Geophysics, Abel Idowu Olayinka, launched the school into another signpost of religion and tribe.

Odumakin was a Yorubaman who wore his Yorubaness on his lapel without caring whose ox was gored, to the chagrin of the enemies within the race. He was an Awoist in deed and in truth who did not subscribe to the reigning fad among political octopods that you had to genuflect by the feet of cows in order to have a chunk of its meat. He was a thorn in the flesh of the Hausa/Fulani establishment and their minions who, in obeisance, gave unworthy rankadede so as to be allowed to mount the horse of power.

In what sounded like an unexampled sacrifice to nationhood taken too far, in 2003, then Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, appointed me as his Special Assistant. I remember that on a visit to President Olusegun Obasanjo in Aso Rock two or so years later, the president was excited and verbalised it while welcoming us – Enugu State delegation – to the Villa. My mother and many other friends and family members were worried for me. How could I cross several rivers to go and live with people “who eat people,” one of them retorted. Nnomeh and other colleagues offered me a shield from whatever hostilities that might come.

Last week, Nigeria’s name reverberated all over the world again, this time not for opaque-minded leadership, corruption, banditry, Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen’s violence. In far away Los Angeles, at the 63rd annual Grammy awards, Burna Boy, real name Damini Ogulu, won the Best Global Music Album category with his Twice as Tall track, while Wizkid won the Best Video for his song with Beyonce.