Radio Shrine! Gan! Gan!
The on-going world-wide campaign, to free Nigeria’s school girls kidnapped by the despicable Boko Haram sect is an indication that with awareness and the will necessary, we can mobilize our forces to make a change in any African society thanks to social network. Agreed that it is too early at this stage to cry victory while the kidnapped girls are still in captivity, it is very re-assuring to see that the consensus of opinion are looking beyond their liberation and asking the right question as to how to put an end to Boko Haram and the likes in our society. Of the four Western nations (USA, Britain, Israel and France) that have proposed their know-how in freeing the kidnapped school girls, the French have the policy (despite official denials) to pay terrorist in-order to liberate their citizens held hostage. Israel also is known to exchange captured prisoners in-order to secure the release of their citizens (dead or alive) held captive. The question that needs to be answered, are these countries going to propose the same in-order to free the kidnapped girls?
As a father and grand-father, I cannot subscribe to the idea of not negotiating with terrorist in our collective effort to secure the liberation of the kidnapped victims particularly when you hear ideas that put into question our unity as a nation. Hopefully, the girls will all be liberated safe and sound, but what do we do to put a stop to these dastardly acts from Boko Haram? I posed this question to Madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem - French Ministry of the Rights of Women, City, Youths and Sports at a Paris demonstration last Tuesday to “Bring Our Girls back”. According to her, the French President François Hollande is convening a meeting with President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron soon in Paris to find a permanent solution to the problem of Boko Haram.
If we pose such question today to foreign leaders, it is because the issue of the kidnapped girls and the way it is being handled by the current Nigerian government, more than ever points to the fact that it is time for us as a people to take an inventory of our so-called institutions. We have an untrained and unequipped military that aren’t their when we need them most, the PDP government in power have no possible solution – same can be said of the opposition APC or is it (Paracetamol /Alabukun powder?). Like I said in my earlier post titled DISBAND NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES: “if these institutions cannot serve the purpose of their creation, it is time to scrap them and build new institutions in their place”. The state of insecurity in the country, and the decadence of our institutions show clearly that we have to act now. All our so-called institutions are not serving the purpose for which they were created – be it government and other branch the armed forces, the judiciary, etc.
Talking about Nigeria’s justice system? In the mists of the public outcry to bring our girls home, I made a comment with regards to a post by Basil Chiji Okafor where I said: “Justice Agwu Ayan, Justice Lateef Dosumu, Justice Okoro Idogu, Justice Oputa, Justice etc., what all these men have in common is that at a point or the other in their respective careers, they headed commissions, panels, and whatever that we all know as ’Government Magic’ apology Fela Kuti’s Unknown Soldier!” In reply to my comment, Basil Okafor wrote: “Idowu, I think it is a dangerous thing to stereotype people. It is not very different from tendencies like racism, it is called discrimination. The late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa was an unimpeachable jurist and cannot be lobbed together with any ’government’ judges, as you put it. He was widely respected by all, in and out of the legal profession and the fact that you didn’t know him doesn’t mean you are free to label him.”
Before I reply to the above comment, I will like to reply first to the comments made by Majemite Jamboro that said: “Mabinuori Kayode Idowu, the corrupt Nigerian legal system saved our neck and Fela’s neck in 1993. Imagine if there was no magic. Fela would have died in jail. Let’s not forget the currency trafficking matter. The Justice no beg, can we say amen to ’magic’ for without the magic there would have been no Fela Kuti. Comments like this from someone that goes around by the name: The Spiritualism and Political Philosophy of Fela Kuti calls to question the sanity and coherence of the man. One day to Majemite Jamboro, Fela is the incarnation and re-incarnation of the Egyptian God RA, the next day Fela is a pariah that intentionally violated truth to escape the Nigerian justice system. Judging from the rotten nature of Nigeria’s judicial system, who wouldn’t lie to escape the injustice of our judicial system? Even Majemite I believe would deny his father’s name, to escape justice if we consider his tantrums.
The same spiritually demented man claimed that Fela did not die of AIDS, saying he was contaminated by his detention in the Nigerian Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDELA), despite all evidence of Fela’s physical decline after his stay in prison long before he was detained by the NDELA. Thanks to comment I made to a post by Moyo Okediji, Art History Professor at the University of Texas, Majemite Jamboro finally admitted that I was right when I said Fela was contaminated during his jail for currency traffic by the Buhari / Idiagbon regime in 1984. Reviewing his comments, one is inclined to believe that Majemite was one of those government security agents sent to Kalakuta to sabotage our struggle. Infiltration of Kalakuta by government paid agents is no new if we take into consideration the sabotage of Fela’s tour and eventual meeting with the leaders of the Italian Communist Party by African American Suzan Findley who planted 43.5 kilograms of marijuana in the luggage of members of Fela’s organization. Though we don’t have concrete proofs, we believe in the Africa 70 Organization, that she probably was working for the American CIA because she made a rushed trip to the United States before she gave the lined suitcases to some of Fela’s wives and resent revelation on American Spy Industry and how it works points to sabotage of our Italian tour in 1979.
Normally, I would have ignored Majemite’s tantrums as just comments from a spiritually demented person, who rants whatever depending on what part of the spiritual bed he wakes up. But I cannot ignore comments from someone like Basil Chiji Okafor - whom I consider as objective and intelligent who said: “Jaboro: In fact, if there was no "magic", Fela would have been jailed many times over for illegal possession of cannabis, or even arraigned for the murder of the young man who was whipped to death in his home, under his orders; or even for abduction and violation of under aged girls, so what are we talking about? That is why we must not be too quick in judging others who are nothing else but fellow humans - as our dear ancestors would say: "when you peep at someone/others, your own head also sticks out".
Despite the rotten nature of Nigeria’s justice system, there was never any proof brought forward by the Nigerian law enforcement agencies to justify their allegation that Fela abducted and violated under age girls. Remember that it was the same law enforcement agents that tried to plant marijuana in Fela’s bedroom in 1974 in the famous Expensive Shit case. Instead of looking for ways to reform all these rotten and corrupt institutions like I suggest, I hear Basil say that Justice Oputa was an unimpeachable jurist that cannot be lobbed together with any ’government’ judges. Bearing in mind that the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission (HRVIC) chaired by retired Justice Oputa, like other panels headed by all the Judges mentioned, there is nothing concrete that came-out of their deliberations. If I may ask, is this stereotyping Basil Chiji Okafor?
I don’t need to read the final report of Justice Oputa panel as Basil suggested, in-order for me to realise that it was another government magic. Thanks to the panels report after Obasanjo took office as the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule or better miss-rule, the date is now commemorated as Democracy Day and a public holiday in Nigeria. In view of the “famous” open letter to Obasanjo by actual President Goodluck Jonathan, and the insinuations and counter allegations about Dimka’s coup, who is still in doubt as to the cover-up of the Justice Oputa investigation commission? Basil you were in 1976 a young graduate from Nigeria’s School of journalism if my memories are intact, you remember that it was widely reported in the Nigerian press that General Murtala Mohammed’s second-in-command, General Obasanjo’s residence was visited by coup plotters, but he was not in his residence at that time – if we hear President Jonathan’s comments, one is inclined to ask questions that were never asked by the Justice Oputa’s panel.
Please let us refresh our memories what President Jonathan wrote to General Obasanjo: “That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup. Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known…."
Who were the Generals due for retirement by General Mohammed? Justice Oputa Panel did not answer the question that is why I guess, President Jonathan is calling Obasanjo’s attention to it in his “famous” reply to the former’s “open letter”. As I wrote in my new work titled Fela – Phenomenon & Legacy: “hopefully one day, records of all the coup trials ever held in Nigeria would be made public to clarify to what extent those accused of complicity in coup attempts were actually involved. For now; under the guise of “protection” of state secrets many Nigerian ex-leaders practically got-away with murder, it is imperative to render account for those wasted lives as most of the army personnel and civilians tried and condemned for attempted coup d’état by special military tribunals, were educated and trained with the Nigerian tax payer’s money.
Another important point to note is that Justice Oputa didn’t distance himself from the final report. He accepted to head a commission knowing fully well, that his final views and recommendations will not be taken into consideration. It is time for us to stop justifying what is not justifiable - we all know too well that all those commissions set-up by successive regimes were nothing but smoke-screens to continue the injustice and corrupt practices. There are people who refused to serve or be part of a corrupt system - it is not refusal to serve their country rather they have their conscience not to want to be soiled in the chop-and-clean-mouth system of government in Nigeria. This is not the case where it is fashionable, to stand against any policy by any government of the day (whether well-meaning or not). I am also not condemning the late Justice Oputa, for accepting to serve his country in a panel whose sole purpose was to address past human rights abuses and reconciliation like Basil commented. Since the panel’s report was made public, has the question of human rights abuses stopped?
What I am doing here is to set our mind straight on who we should look-up-to as leaders in this decadence called Federal Government of Nigeria. There are people in Nigeria, who refused to serve or be part of a corrupt system - it is not refusal to serve their country. If there are good polices any of the governments we’ve had since independence have taken, I would love to point to it and herald it loud for the world to hear. We cannot even call it government, what transpires as governance in Nigeria. A government that cannot assure the security of his innocent and ambitious school children, that has to wait until international mobilization before reacting – we cannot call that government. They are simply a bunch of Vagabond In Power – apology Fela Kuti.
Finally, it is not only the judiciary that needs a clean-up; every other aspect of our system needs to be dismantled. With the example we are seeing from the Indian elections – with good organization we can form a solid movement that will take our country back from these governments of crooks. Like Fela would say in a situation like this: “I beg second bass!”
Please pass the message