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Tag: General Sanni Abacha

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): The Homes in His Head

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

There are four homes in Uncle Tunde’s head. Home when Maradonna was the Military Head of State (HoS) and president at the same time. It was this home that Mr. Ajibade visited weekly because Daddy had promised to lend him some money. The government had devalued the Naira and Mr. Ajibade was unable to import the 3 printers he wanted from Germany.

His financial ruination happened in the space of three days. On Monday, he had the whole sum for three industrial printers! 50,000 Naira! On Wednesday, the money for three could only buy one! Consequently, he wasn’t able to execute the printing contract he got from a multinational!

Thereupon, the bank threatened to take his house. Mr. Ajibade died one Saturday morning. This Job’s message came to us while we breakfasted. High Blood Pressure (HBP) snatched his life! He was a man in his prime!

Uncle Tunde smiles when he remembers that home because beside the many downs of that home, they had it good a number of times. Before school, they ate good food and Milo was in granules. They could afford tin-milk. Water ran in many houses. They had light so much that they only noticed when it was taken. It was from that house and home they built and moved to our present house where I was born in 1996.

Many neighbours also moved to their houses. Life was a mélange of good and bad, a cocktail of having and not-having, but they enjoyed the excitement of riding in parks, the fun of waiting for Christmas and how they drove to school in Daddy’s car. Sometimes, they used the school bus and so did his friends.

He said: Back then, we were not rich but we were not poor. No wonder we hated so much the man that made our lives miserable and less pleasurable.

There is a second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, home when General Sani was HoS. It was in this home that everybody forgot what it meant to have a right! In fact, they forgot how to talk! They must learn to register displeasure in whispers! Political activism was noticeable only in buying Tempo or Tell Magazine or other newspapers. In them, the cruelty and idiocy of the bad government was exposed.

Visitors shrank drastically. Family members and friends had checked out. Uncle Seyi escaped to London; Uncle Kayode made it to Saudi Arabia; our neighbor, Aunty Gladys travelled to Italy. One man went as far as Azerbaijan!

In the second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, they groaned under the heavy oppression of a Monster but they could still afford something close to dignifying lifestyle, only that they lost their voices. Gani Fawehinmi, Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Chris Ubani and many others spoke louder and stronger like everybody had donated their voices to them.

There is a third home in his head; home when OBJ was president. It was in this home I began to talk and run around. From here Mummy took me to kindergarten. I know this house fairly well. People began to find their voices in this home. They began to gather again at news-stands to abuse our president. But beyond finding our lost voices, nothing much changed. In fact, things grew worse. For one, Daddy complained we used too much milk, Mummy removed Milo from our reach. So we needed permission to take a tablespoonful of Milo! It was in this home Daddy bought tyres infrequently. He could only afford to change them yearly. Before, he did that twice a year.

Even the number of foreigners on our street thinned out. Ghanaians, Togolese and Beninese began leaving for their countries. We heard their countries were now better. Genevieve told Uncle Tunde that Ghana had changed. They had light longer, she said.

The fourth home. Actually, two fourth-homes. In that home Baba Go-Slow was president. Upon whose demise Mr No-Shoes took over. Uncle Tunde said they were one and the same. You can’t say the root of a tree is not part of a tree. So I agree. We live here now. Many people have since moved to our home in Lagos. They are jobless. Neither Ibadan nor Abeokuta where their parents live, provide them with their needs. Lagos is no better place to get a job either. In short, finding jobs in Nigeria is like a wind-chase. The longer you chase, the faster it eludes you!

In this home, Uncle Tunde and friends argue every day. He is now a philosopher, he has stopped going to church. His reason: religion is our problem! Religious leaders are crooks. I don’t know for him. When my other brothers argue, he faults their argument for generalizing. But now he generalizes and blankets all religious leaders! How many does he know sef?!

Anyway apart from his problems with the religious leaders, I like Uncle Tunde because he says the truth almost all the time. For example, yesterday he said: Our country is bad because of President No-Shoes. No reasonable person pushes for the renewal of MEGALOMANIAC EPITOMIC CLUELESSNESS.

I suspect he was right. The big English confirms my suspicion 🙂

On the Death of Aare Arisekola! Shall we mourn! by Oladapo Ajayi

Mr. Oladapo Ajayi is Nigerian and Master student resident in Germany. He is the initiator of the TACTProject, a NGO practically committed to giving poor children a fair chance at education in Nigeria. He is an activist and a grassroot political and community organiser

Mr. Oladapo Ajayi is Nigerian and Master student resident in Germany. He is the initiator of the TACTProject, a NGO practically committed to giving poor children a fair chance at education in Nigeria. He is an activist and a grassroot political and community organiser

Aare Arisekola.
Indeed an elephant has fallen!
An elephant whose head I dare not lift!
Especially as a young man like me.
The head of this fallen elephant is for the elders to lift,
It is the elders who qualify to describe successfully the content of the fallen giant.
Arisekola- The Arogidigba that a child cannot covertly take care of!

Aare Arisekola.
A theme on the lips of musicians
I mean musicians of many generation.
A business mogul, father to his children,
Husband of his wives.
Friend of kings and dignitaries.

Aare Arisekola.
A renowned philanthropist for a class of people.
So if I approach the subject of Aare Arisekola with caution,
Please bear with me.

The elders say- Atari Ajanaku, ki s’eru omode!
But having acknowledged that the elephant’s head is bigger
Than what my bone that feeds on Sushi and Broccoli
On Mc donnalds burger with homemade ice cream can handle;
I will rely on the saying of the elders again-
A site of a fallen elephant becomes a confluence for all sorts of knife!

Read the rest after the cut….

God forbid that I call Aare Arisekola an animal!
God forbid he had the bitter part that contaminated the taste of any good part.
Especially when you hear the tales and testimonies of the late chief
Since he joined his ancestors few days ago.
Some wished him good rest. Some wished he never died!
So many people are telling how sweet their part of the meat was –
He got them job,
He fixed their marriage cost,
He provided resources for their first building, second or third!

The great musician called him *aso d’abora Ibadan*.

Really, the late Ibadan chief was larger than life. As a child I grew up to know that there are some rich Ibadan citizens. From Mufu Lanihun, Olowo- ti n f’owo saanu; to Adedibu and Aare Arisekola. Arisekola stood out among his peers. He cut the image of a serious personality that is only business minded. I only want to see beyond his success as a businessman and a philanthropist, to see him as a potential criminal that contributed immensely to the under-development of our society.

For few that may be confused, I will like to say that I was old enough to know that the late Aare Arisekola was almost lynched at the University of Ibadan in the 90’s due to his closeness to the late Nigerian dictator, General Sanni Abacha. He was not meant to be hated for just being a friend with the late dictator but for his betrayal of a noble cause for a selfish one. The noble cause I mean here was the June 12 mandate stolen from MKO Abiola. Aare Arisekola like Adedibu and other Nigerians sold their conscience for money and betrayed the populace, the consequence we all still live with today.

A friend wrote about the late chief’s scandalous contract with the Nigerian military during the ECOMOG war, he was the supplier of the soldiers protective kit. Rumour has it that Aare supplied inferior materials so as to maximize profit.

At least, part of the recent incidences of Aare as one of Nigeria’s problem was the revelation after the sack of Nigerian bank chiefs by the Emir of Kano HRH Sanusi. Aare Arisekola received billions of naira without collateral!

Culturally I know I am not qualified to write on Aare Arisekola and his legacies. This is clearly seen in proverb like this: Atari Ajanaku ni, won ni ki se eru omode! A child is not in the league of the bearers of an elephant’s head! It is still interesting though that my culture which excludes me on the one hand not to carry the loads of the elder on my head, will also make excuse for me if I came with a pocket knife to cut my chunk of meat, especially when the Elephant has just fallen.

It is never out of place to liken Aare Arisekola to an Elephant. He was an elephant by his height of achievements He was an elephant by the size of life he lived. He was indeed a big elephant if we check his impact on the environment he used while around.

I can only remember as far back as my imagination can reach that you only need to enter the taxi and hear the unique voice of the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister or any of his contemporaries sing praises of Aare Arisekola. If you are not a Fuji fan, there is no way King sunny Ade’s praises of Aare Arisekola won’t hit your listening faculty, not to talk of Odolaye Aremu to mention a few.

Aare Arisekola was indeed a first-class elite our society produced. I am aware that Aare has been a successful business man since the 60’s. Maybe even earlier than that.

With the many testimonies of the late businessman’s life and time, I am forced to question my opinion of who a philanthropist is. Truth be told, we cannot take away generosity from Aare’s story but can we relate his double-sided life; that side that got bank loans without collateral, and makes his son a beneficiary in the largesse of the oil subsidy the entire Nigeria still battles with.

How do we relate this dubious side to the side that is generous to young and old, friend and foes? Should we pretend not to know that Aare is not only a business man but a godfather that practically approved whoever he wished to be Governor in Oyo state. It is interestingly ironic to remember Aare as a pro-Sanni Abacha presidency.

As a matter of fact, Aare’s last spiriphilan-monument was commissioned before he died. I mean the mosque in Old-Bodija in Ibadan. The parcel of land which now house the mosque was meant to be for recreational activity in the neighbourhood. It was said that the mosque acclaimed to be built by Aare Arisekola in Iwo road was suppose to be be located in Iwo township!

Really, we need to see through the touted and medially publicised philanthropist personality in Aare Arisekola. If Aare Arisekola had chosen to live differently with the enormous political and business power he had, he definitely would not have needed to die in a foreign hospital. In fact, he would not have even needed to give so heavily to the poor because there would have been no poor to give to in the first place!

Sodiq Abacha: A Case of The Proverbial Bicycle in A Country Run by Thieves

I have overcome my shock over Nigeria a long time ago. Anyone would have learned to keep his/her shock-absorber in good condition if he/she is Nigerian who daily is bombarded with bad news and competing terrible occurrences that take place in Nigeria. One can however not be surprised once in a while when one “hears with one ear” or read about certain “open letters”. Involuntarily, one is forced to say: Wonder shall never end! After a momentary expression of surprise over the content of the particular open letter, one cannot but be filled with holy indignation at the writer’s stupid assertions and claims.

For those who might be unaware of the emphasis intended with reference to open letters, let me inform that one can safely conclude that Nigeria is presently experiencing a serious boost in this art of expression. It was notably triggered off by one former military head of state and president in the country. Since the advent of this widely acclaimed open letter to President Jonathan, there seems to be no ending to this new discovery. Open letters have since not stopped to be written in the country. One open letter trails the next!

The son of late military despot and brutal dictator General Sani Abacha is the latest among those who have chosen to employ this means of communication in passing across a message to the person intended. Sodiq Abacha addressed his open letter to the Noble Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka. It must be immediately emphasized however that it can be said as well that he invariably addressed this letter of insult to the whole country in that his open letter is not only an insult to Nigeria past and recent history, it is very clearly a revisionist attempt of national memory.

Nigerians have in the past few days of getting this open letter from him responded overwhelmingly, making it clear that Sodiq’s delusion is not in anyway national. Sodiq, like the very few in his world of spin-doctoring, is alone. Before I go too far, let us be clear on who exactly Sodiq’s father, namely the late General Sani Abacha is. This clarity is of urgent importance for posterity sake. General Sanni Abacha is, among many other worthy qualifications:

A military despot and dictator

A coup-plotter per excellence

A bastard and traitor of Nigeria project and her heritage

A national disgrace unworthy of any mention or remembrance for good in Nigeria

A killer, promoter and hirer of paid killers

A repellant of everything democracy stands for and a national killjoy

The embodiment of everything wrong with the Nigeria state

Ayo Sogunro’s counter-response to Sodiq, which is also an open letter on SaharaReporter is a perfect response anyone could wish for. Thank you Ayo Sogunro for speaking for Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole. Ayo’s response is one among many responses on various social media and platforms. Apparently, it cannot be that all these people who have nothing but bad news and memories of Sodiq’s father are wrong altogether? It must be said without mincing words, that Sodiq’s father is an evil man. I have no good memory of him either.

I dare say that General Sani Abacha is certainly unhappy right now in his grave because one of his sons attempt to clothe him with a garment he does not deserve. How would anyone who is not sick in the head claim that General Sanni Abacha was any good to Nigeria? Reading the letter, one could not but be appalled at the list of achievements reeled out by Sodiq. Come to think of it: Did Nigeria or Nigerians ever want or call on the late General Sanni Abacha to come rule them? The answer is clear: No, we did not! We did not vote for him! He came to power at a time in our history when we had clearly made our choice known. We were for democracy. We had voted and our mandate was about to be manipulated. The people were resistant to the interim government installed by the terrible Babangida regime upon stepping aside from office! Then Sanni Abacha came! He overthrew the interim government with the butt of the gun! We never wanted General Sanni Abacha! Not even for a day!

General Sanni Abacha is a proverbial bastard who turned around to bite the finger that fed him. He is best compared to such scoundrels who slept with his mother, raped his siblings, cursed and brought shame on his father. Nigeria did not deserve this from a nonentity who normally would be a nobody, were it not for Nigeria who gave him life. The country was good enough to conscript General Sanni Abacha into her military. She trained him and gave him shelter, food and every good things anybody can wish for a good life. In return the country demands of General Sanno Abacha loyalty and readiness to serve in defense of the country when situation demands. Alas! What did the country get in return? She got a monster of a man who will stop at nothing to desecrate and dehumanize the country and her citizens that did so much for him! General Sanni Abacha is a man of dishonour unworthy to be called a soldier!

Sodiq in his open letter seem to be privy to some very important inner-circle information which we the people, and particularly Professor Wole Soyinka, are not, upon which the decisions taken by his father were informed and made. Thus, he concluded that we cannot conclude, being outsider, or judge the situation and actions of his father by mere hearsays alone! I must point out at this juncture that Sodiq’s claim is strange and far from the truth. He ranted about President Obama’s criticism of the Republican Party and the choices made when he became president! Sodiq probably had drunken too much when he wrote this open letter. Really, I cannot find any other explanation other than this because only a person of unstable mind could dare find any similarity between a government with no singular trace of democratic tendencies with the world’s best flourishing democracy. What has President Obama’s decision making mechanisms got to do with the style of decision adopted by a despot and a dictator who kills and maim at will. It is best seen as a rash comparison of day and night, life and death, hell and paradise. These are two parallel lines which can never meet!

Sodiq probably can tell us more about what made his father kill and maim lives of Nigerians in their hundreds and thousands. He certainly might have a good and reasonable justification for the atrocities of his father! Really, Sodiq need be told, and that continuously, that he was trained with stolen and undeserved money. He surely is aware that he is the son of a terrible thief and national looter. Much of the money stolen is still at large and even those in possession of Sodiq Abacha are not his!

Let me reference Ayo Sogunro. Like he rightly posited in his response, if we were in a sane country with sane people at the ruder of affairs, Sodiq Abacha would not be a free man right now. He would surely be battling to free himself of loads of court cases, given that he is not already in prison. It is beyond comprehension that this rascal offspring birthed by a national thief, who lives on the people’s money now thinks himself fit to tell us that his father deserved to be honoured. He even went as far as claiming that Professor Soyinka is corrupt! He could as well have told us that Nigerians are bunch of ingrates for General Sanni Abacha’s rule! Actually, Sodiq literarily said that with his claims of achievements and other good works his father did for Nigeria.

Fortunately for Sodiq Abacha, we are in Nigeria where it does not matter if you are a political thief so long you support the government in power. One could not expect anything different. Sodiq had a word of advice for President Jonathan: He counseled President Jonathan to ignore the likes of Professor Soyinka and focus on the centenary celebration! I would not have expected a different counsel from a Sanni Abacha offspring!

On a closer look, the letter seems very much familiar. Anybody familiar with the writing style of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will find it very easy to link the tone of both men. Both men whine and talk about “what ought to be and how things are best done”, but their actions are never in tune with what they preach. They give an impression of someone to be taken seriously, but their actions confirm that they are men whose words are best taken with a pinch of salt. They are insincere in their dealings. Sodiq might seem to be defending his father, but he clearly confirms he is not different from any other crook politician in the country. Only that this time around he must be told he chose the wrong turf to display his madness.

Thanks to many Nigerians, who made it clear they shall not standby while Sodiq Abacha attempt to manipulate the course of history via his stupid open letter. Sodiq Abacha’s open letter is a is a national insult. He would have done better if he joined the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) like his brother did. The people would not have cared if Sodiq Abacha’s open letter was a declaration of his intention to join the PDP or the opposition party, namely APC. Beyond the fact that this is his civic right to do so, we all know the kind of people and the alliances of whom the leadership of those parties court, ranging from common and fraudulent tricksters to outright thieves and national armed robbers. We therefore would never have cared a bit.

By the way, the letter is a pointer to several other things which Nigerians (must) understand. One of them is this: The writer confirms invariably he would most probably have acted in like manner if he were in his father’s shoes. This deduction is the easiest to draw from the careless letter from the son of this nation plunderer, from whose reign of terror the country is yet to fully recover. In a saner atmosphere, a person like Sodiq Abacha would be placed on a watch-list of dangerous people. In fact, should there be reasons to doubt Sodiq’s sanity because of his the careless assessment of his father’s government, it would not be out of place to commit him to a forensic clinic, where he would have his sanity and other psychological abilities tested. This is given we live in a country where the government in sane!

Let us consider a legislation in Germany for instance: To deny the Holocaust and many other crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hitler and his Nazi party is punishable. Were we in a country where common-sense is a necessary tool to be part of the government, it would have long been legislated that an attempt to deny the crimes or talk irresponsibly of the evils of General Sanni Abacha against Nigeria, thereby making the devil incarnate look cosmetically good, is punishable. It will restrain careless revisionists like Sodiq Abacha from throwing caution to the wind in an attempt to cosmetically work on his father’s image.

In the letter the writer seem to take for granted that his father was never a legitimate occupier of the office in which he paraded himself for nearly four years. The writer then went on to grave for unity, wanted the past forgotten so we can move ahead! This kind of nonchalance and careless summary wish to dispose off the past in the hope of focusing on the future is a dangerous one. This mindset that one can get what he does not rightfully deserve must be denounced vehemently. Otherwise, it sends a wrong signal that perpetrators will not only get away, but all that is needed is a son like Sodiq Abacha who will stand up for the defense of a non-existent dignity of his father. Nigeria must not allow such a terrible precedence. The crimes of the past must be carefully identified and brought before a competent court. Offenders must be meted with the punishment they deserve. There can only be a coming to terms with a past when those who occupy the present ensure that particular past is not laden with the burden of uncleared crimes. Crimes, be it from the past or present, cannot and should not be swept under the carpet.

Here is yet another salient matter which the letter brings to the fore. There is no doubting the fact there exists a total disconnection between the ruler and ruled in Nigeria. This is how it has always been in the country. This disconnection was only much too obvious during General Sanni Abacha’s reign of terror, in that he threw all caution to the wind in order to perpetuate himself in power. He was far too reckless and careless beyond redemption. Sodiq’s un-cautioned response to criticism by vehemently denying the very obvious and attempts to repress the truth are in furtherance of clear characteristics of a disconnected rulership. Such government or her mouthpiece will think it normal to tell the people that an addition of two and two can give five. A disconnected government will then pass her own failings on the daunting task of leadership. She will want to make the folks see that criticism is easier done than doing the job. The observer, namely the people from every shades of life who seek to keep the government on her toes, suddenly become a threat in that they dare to talk about the ills of a failing government. Professor Wole Soyinka did just this when he clearly pointed out that the late dictator was a bad man, a liability to Nigeria in every sense of the word. Sodiq, clearly is and identifies with the ruling class. He was prompt to fill in the gap of the criticised leadership, who is unfortunately too drunk on power to see that his father’s image is beyond redemption and that no attempt at revising history will safe him.

Sodiq Abacha is the proverbial bicycle at the petrol station! The bicycle and its rider need be asked what exactly their mission is at the station. Like that bicycle and its rider, Sodiq Abacha need a real good verbal bashing. Ayo Sogunro gave a good one in his response. Nigerians need do more. They should please tell their Nigeria(n) story(ies), especially that part which brings to the forefront the terrible years of the General Sanni Abacha regime. Hardly will there be any common man in Nigeria who did not feel directly the negative impact of this tyrant ruler. This will further help (re-)state our recent history and the disgraceful and evil role played by General Sanni Abacha in it, which Sodiq Abacha wish to revise. Nigeria will this way banish Sodiq’s attempt to where it rightfully belong: In the realm of wishful thinking!

To round up, here is a piece of good news: Barely two days after Sodiq Abacha wrote his open letter, it was further confirmed in a document released in far away America that Sodiq Abacha’s father was a corrupt dictator who stacked away Nigeria’s money in foreign banks and properties. I bet that news is just a tip of the iceberg.

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