Tuesday, 31 May 2016



"It is said that when Cosimo was about to die he recommended Donatello to the care of his son Piero, who, anxious to carry out dutifully what his father wanted, gave him a farm at Cafaggiuolo which provided an income on which he could live comfortably. This made Donatello very content, since it meant that he was at least saved from the prospect of dying of hunger. All the same he had not held it a year before he returned to Piero and publicly made the farm over to him again, insisting that he did not want to lose peace of mind by having to worry about running a household and being molested by the tenant, a peasant who was always getting in his way and complaining now because the wind had blown away the roof of his dovecot, now because his cattle had been confiscated by the Commune for taxes, or because a storm had destroyed his wine and his fruit. Donatello grew so sick and tired of all this that he said he would rather die of hunger than have to think about so many things."
                            from Lives of the artiste: Donatello by Giorgio Vasari

Like Donatello in this legend, the mould of our lives presently is a contradiction of plausibiles. Fela Anikulapo Kuti captured this satirically : '... suffering and smiling...'

That is the story of our lives . The death of a loved one calls for the celebration of ' a life well spent' -- no matter how well or otherwise that life may have been really spent.

 Our carnivals are not threatened because we cannot find (even remotely) one and a half square meals a week to sweeten the soul, rather they (our carnivals) are revved up because dance and music lighten the weight of the burden of merely existing on our weary shoulders. In fact for those of us collectively singled out by the epithet 'masses', we had long removed the 'square' from our meals. Any meal would do; any meal is --- fine.

Once in a while however, we are shocked to the bones by the somewhat certain paradoxical complexity arising from the very simpleness of way of life. Over 200 young girls are abducted and unreachable for over 2 years. Suddenly one, by happenstance is found. Found on the day the Nation's labour union commenced strike action against government for increasing the price of petrol.

Immediately the find is announced, the nation goes agog with joy. We rejoice that she was 'rescued' along with her captor 'husband' by our gallant security forces -- men who just happened to be chasing the wind at that exact time the duo were probably just taking a breath of fresh air in that undefined territory.

 It was a memorable battle, one worth celebrating for days in the media. And we celebrated. In our dreams and imaginations the security forces engaged the brutality and the harshness of the breeze in the wild, in a mortal combat. In our dreams they fought long, gallantly and finally snatched the young Amina and her 'now legitimate husband' from the gaping jaws of death -- jaws which had been yawning in the eerie quiet that had gripped that area since the security forces arrived that territory. In our dreams the gallant forces, the security men return with their protégé -- proudly and promptly announce their victory.

Immediately we legitimize the 'ex-terrorist' and accept him as the bona-fide husband. We celebrate Amina's return and celebrate the man's 'change'. We arrange a Presidential welcome for him and our saintly President immediately pronounces that the ex-terrorist will be given amnesty. Sadly this is no longer in our dreams.

Our media ran circuses, violating the privacy of the young girl and extolling the virtues of being found-- 'rescued' and indeed, subliminally congratulating the 'husband' that he did a good job raping the innocence and person of young Amina. We pat each other's back and pat government's back for doing ........ What? No one knows for sure why they deserve credit for this 'find', but -- well they are government and they deserve the credit anyway, Right? Wrong. They will take it anyway, period.

Nothing cataclysmically wrong with that though. What is cataclysmically wrong is government not seeing the wider implications and advantage of having an ex-Boko Haram member in its custody -- not realizing the importance of having such a 'gold mine' in its hands.

But more importantly government should realize that no matter what politics it plays with the resurfacing of Amina, 'that man' is not a husband and should not be treated or hailed as such. To have gotten Amina pregnant implies he must have raped her. He is a rapist. Amina is not yet an adult. So apart from being charged with rape, 'this man' should also be charged with defilement of a minor.

The man should have been taken off the media blitz and confined to a bare four-walled room and asked some hard questions in the presence of a psychologist, psychiatrist, forensic expert and with the help of the usual drugs used everywhere else for critical interrogations. The military owes this to Nigerians-- not arranging a party for that criminal. The military owes it to Nigerians to find out;

  • 1. What was this man's role in BH. Was he simply a foot soldier or someone high up in the hierarchy? Was he just a brainless messenger or someone who was privy to plans, tactics, intel and info ?  

  • 2. When was the last time he was B.H? How many months ago? What was their last location ? How did they chose their locations? Who are the visible faces in the BH hierarchy as at the last time he was a BH member? 

Many more questions to quiz this criminal with.

With over one week gone, neither the military nor government has come forth to tell Nigerians how much gold they have mined from this potential goldmine. Maybe the resurfacing of Amina has served its purpose -- provide government the image booster it really needs at this crucial time in this new government's life.

But while the politicking continues, this one question should remain on everyone's conscience: " Suppose Amina was your daughter, would you be thinking of granting amnesty to that criminal?" The world is watching us.    


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