Since the dawn of time, myths represent the universal bank of human wisdom. Myths ride on stories along the superhighway of time-honoured communication. Myths affirm the supremacy of good over evil, teaching morals and preserving history, passing on traditions and knowledge; explaining the nature of man.
I believe the earliest myths came into being shortly after the dew of creation set on the first heroic deed, and the sun cast the shadow of the first villain.
The compartmentalisation of humanity into race, language, religion, technology, wealth, and power, notwithstanding, myths, like in earliest times, still beam the torch on unclear events in human existence today.
For the heads that have weathered more than 50 rainy seasons, the realities of yesteryear fast-turning into myths in the eyes of today’s youngsters are understandable.
When you say the Nigerian naira was once stronger than the American dollar, members of Generation Z will wonder whether Nigeria was the paradise that existed in the Garden of Eden. When you say Nigeria’s astronomical wealth of the early 70s blinded her leaders into confusion, Generation Alpha will think you’re on Colorado. Memories of the Biafra War and the Golden Age of Nigerian sports are gradually turning into myths as the mind dims with age.
Before the corrupt confession of the former representative, Bauchi North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, backtracks into a deafening silence and returns as a roaring, improbable myth in the future, I shall, once again, lend my voice to condemn the suspected criminal collaboration Balkachuwa engineered between the upper legislative chamber and the Nigerian judiciary.
This Sallah, as Nigerian Muslim faithful supplicate to Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, I’m sure the Bulkachuwa family and many money-for-judgment members of the Senate will be on prayer mats, begging God or Satan to let this cup pass over.
But Nigerians must keep the fire under the feet of the National Judicial Council, pour hot ash on the Senate, make Bulkachuwa and his wife, Justice Zenaib, who was the President, Court of Appeal, eat their corrupt excreta, accuse the Tinubu Presidency of complicity in the rot within the judiciary – if it continues to keep silent; insist on the cleansing of the Augean stable.
If Bulkachuwa had said he influenced his wife to favour the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, or that of Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, the police, Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would’ve printed tonnes of the Electoral Act, distributed it free and swear to defend it to the death. Bulkachuwa and his 70-year-old wife would’ve been arrested, detained and charged to court while Atiku and Obi would’ve been sufficiently ridiculed.
While Nigerians were aghast as to the sheer effrontery of Bulkachuwa and his alleged cohorts, a graveyard silence is what they got from the institutions mandated to check various forms of corruption nationwide. While a cross-section of Nigerians has risen to condemn Bulkachuwa’s speech, Nigeria’s anti-corruption institutions have not condemned Bulkachuwa, revealing a body language that suggests the incumbent government isn’t ready for a fight against the judiciary, probably because the Tinubu government is still standing on one leg.
To refresh the memory, this is what 80-year-old Bulkachuwa said on the hollow floor of the Senate’s blood-red chamber while giving his valedictory speech as the ninth Senate wound down some days ago: “At my age, I don’t think I will lobby anybody under the sun. I will do the right thing, and I always do the right thing, and sincerely and honestly too.
“So, I know, I look at faces in this chamber who have come to me and sought my help when my wife was the president of the Court of Appeal. And, I’m sure…”
President of the ninth Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the session, tried to stop the horse bolting from the barn: “Em, em, eh, Distinguished Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, I think I’ll advise that you just round up and take your seat.”
But Bulkachuwa won’t listen. He continued: “We know ourselves. I must say that ok, to roundup since that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do that, and I must thank, particularly, my wife, whose freedom and independence I encroached upon while she was in office, and she has been very tolerant and accepted my encroachment, and extended her help to my colleagues.”
Lawan surely knows when the horse has bolted, but he still closes the barn door, saying: “Ehh, Distinguished, please, I don’t think this is a good idea of going this direction, it’s not a good idea, it’s not a good idea.”
There is a universality to the didactic nature of myths, especially in relation to the proverb: “It doesn’t rain, it pours.” This was how it poured for Eris the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Eris bore Ponos (Hardship), Lethe (Forgetfulness), Limos (Starvation), Algae (Pains), Hysminai (Battles), Makhai (Wars), Phonoi (Murders), Androktasiai (Disputes), Neikea (Quarrels), Pseudea (Lies), Logoi (Stories), Amphillogiai (Disputes), Dysnomia (Anarchy), Ate (Ruin), Horkos (Oath).
Ninety-year-old former Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Wande Abimbola, in a telephone chat during the week, explained to me that in the Yoruba pantheon, there are 400 plus one gods who are benign to mankind, while 200 plus one principalities are bad. Abimbola said the 200-plus-one principalities are led by Death, Sickness, Loss, Paralysis, Woe, Curse, Jail and Poverty.
On the online kerfuffle about the ‘aboru boye’ term used by gospel singer, Tope Alabi, I think when you understand the intertwined relationship among language, religion and culture as a form of communication to God, you will not blame Alabi for praising God, using the imagery of sacrifice, more so when her self-acknowledged Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was a sacrificial Lamb, whose blood was shed on Calvary as a sacrifice.
The challenges besetting Nigeria are as terrible as the children of Eris, the Greek goddess, and the 200-plus-one principalities that cause trouble for Man in the Yoruba worldview. However, it’s demonstrably evident that patriotism, the synonym for dedication and nationalism, will cure many of Nigeria’s ailments, but patriotism is nonexistent in Nigeria’s political lexicon – a reason why the Atiku and Obi petitions might be washed away in the encroaching Bulkachuwan Sea.
There’s no better time to redeem the image of the judiciary than now. The NJC must, first of all, publicly condemn Bulkachuwa’s show of shame on the floor of the Senate, and take an official position on the issue; the Nigerian Bar Association must raise the decibel of its voice against the monetisation of judgment in the country, the police must arrest and quiz Senator Mr and Justice Mrs Balkachuwa. Lawan must be arrested and tried for attempting to stifle the truth when he should have been outraged and given room for Bulkachuwa to spill his intestines. All the senators, judges and accomplices mentioned by Mr and Mrs Bulkachuwa should be publicly tried. Above all, President Bola Tinubu should condemn the self-encroachment confession of Bulkachuwa, his fellow party member, and call for a thorough probe of the case. This is the only way to assure Nigerians that the judiciary isn’t in the pocket of the Jagaban. It’s the only way to demonstrate that the Atiku and Obi petitions will get fair hearings.
Ha! Did I hear Atiku and Obi laugh after reading my demands? I clearly heard, “De play.” I also heard, “You dey whine me?” Did I hear right? Is all hope lost? I see a wig, a gown and a gavel floating on the Bulkachuwan Sea, going, going…
Email: email@example.com; Facebook: @Tunde Odesola; Twitter: @Tunde_Odesola.
. Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, June 30, 2023.