Last week Thursday, I gently pressed two peanut cookies soaked in warm milk on my cheeks. They unglued me from the television, where, like many of you, I had been watching the River Nile of Egypt turn into blood. It was an exhilarating experience to finally be free of the moral hazards of witnessing a modern day reenactment of the seven plagues.
I put on my favorite red jacket in preparation for a visit to China town. I wanted to join the future rulers of this world in celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. The Year of the Tiger did some good to me. So did the Year of the Goat. So I hope the rabbit will do better with its whiskers and ever moving mouth. It was imperative to be in the Chinese good books before cables to Beijing became the most important Christmas gift someone could give to Julian Assange.
Unlike other summons of the past, this one was extra urgent. In the Situation Room were other “experts” - a panel of ten men and two women, all dressed in street attires, their eyes covered with dark Abacha-type goggles. I could hear their heart beats. I could feel the warning in their pulses. It was like Gibreel’s inner warning in Satanic Verses. “Something is about to happen. It’s going to happen, and you don’t know what it is, and you can’t do a damn thing about it. Oh, yes: it’s something bad.”
“How many entrances are there to the Eagle Square?” they asked me. “What is the population of disenfranchised youth in and around Abuja? What were the possible supply routes to Eagle square? Are there enough stones available in and around the square area? Based on your experience as a student demonstrator in Nigeria, do you think Nigerians can sustain a ten-day protest? How many casualties will demonstrators sustain before they all disperse? Will Nigerian doctors come out to heal the wounded? Will the wounded return to the square after being patched up? Can the masses overwhelm the police? How many people can sit on top of a Nigerian army tank? How can we restrain the Nigerian army from shooting its people?” That one made me smile.
These were warm up questions. Those analysts did not really need an answer from me. After this barrage of questions, they turned on an elaborate smart board and presented a comprehensive animation of several scenarios of what could happen should the wind of revolution get to Nigeria. With pictures, maps, flow charts, and live google earth feeds from various parts of Nigeria, they exhausted all possible combinations and permutations. I didn’t know there were underground rail roads to transport Lagos area boys to Abuja. I kept snapping my fingers. These guys are good.
I’m not allowed to reveal things that were discussed in there. But one expression that kept on recurring was “black Africa.” Those strategists were sure that there were some things inherent in black Africans that make it unlikely that they will behave the way North African Arabs do. The purpose of the whole exercise was not to be taken by surprise. They really care about safeguarding our oil operations for us, so that we don’t start eating from the dustbin. I’m sure Umaru Dikko will disagree with that.
From what I understood, the real theories of world affairs in the next twenty-five to fifty years have been narrowed down to two. The experts are looking at the Road not Taken and the Road not Seen. In the context of Nigeria, they mentioned the Road to Kigali, the Road to Tunis, the Road to Cairo and the Road to Juba. They think the Road to Tunis is not possible for us because of all the encumbrances on our landscape. They believe that we missed the Road to Juba. The only way to return to Juba will necessitate our making a trip on the Road to Yugoslavia.
In more ways than one, the Road to Kigali reminded me of Bola Ige. Naturally, remembering Bola Ige made me remember Olusegun Obasanjo.
Whenever I meet Olusegun Obasanjo, I want to ask him how the search for the real killers of Bola Ige is getting on. I do hope I meet him soon because the way he attracts mad men can only mean that his knighthood is around the corner. I cannot stop wondering how Obasanjo sleeps at night while the men who killed his friend are roaming the streets of Nigeria, as free as wifi. If a president, with all the national security apparatus under his control, could not find the killers of his minister, what hope do ordinary Nigerians have in their search for justice? I used to allow myself to think that maybe the people who manned those security agencies had ulterior motives different from those of Olusegun Obasanjo. I was sure that Obasanjo would find the real killers as soon as he was no longer constrained by the office of the president. In fact, I believed he would write a book about it that will be called, If I ordered It. But that did not happen. Instead, Obasanjo spent his time and resources personally building a church for God. Why is that? Why did he mix all the sand and the cement, carry all the blocks, and hammer in all the nails? Was he apologizing to God for something? Was he using the Church to buy indulgence? Was playing golf instead of building a Church the mistake O.J. Simpson made? Was that why O.J is cooling off in a Nevada prison while OBJ is roaming the streets of Nigeria?
Anyway, those analysts I met in that undisclosed location agreed that Bola Iges’s theories, as articulated in his Sunday Tribune newspaper columns, were old fashioned in the light of what is happening in Egypt. Ige’s fear that the people he called the ‘Tutsis of Nigeria’ would put Nigeria on the Road to Kigali seemed plausible after the 1999 clash between Hausa and Yoruba communities in Sagamu. “The outside enemy is fading away, as the inside enemy comes into focus” said one strategist. “The only way for Nigeria to get on the Road to Cairo is by bus,” another strategist argued. They think that Boko Haram has shown that the youths of the North are now rejecting the old alibi that their problems are the southerners who pollute the air in the North with ogiri okpi. They believe that Northern youths now know that the Schnapps in those plastic kettles helps to moisten the skin of their camels. There is still disagreement amongst the Boko Haram elite as to whether the fart of southerners causes the eclipse of the moon. In spite of that, these seasoned analysts think that the northern youths have gone beyond blaming the Southerners in their midst. In the analysts’ estimate, Northern youths will rise up against their elite because they cannot stand the humiliation the elite subject them to.
I must tell you right away that I abhor this emerging death of victimhood. We got to have somebody to blame. If we don’t, we will be forced to look at ourselves as the primary architects of our own fate. God forbid! What an uncomfortable position to be in. I don’t want to be responsible for the choice I make. Why should I want to reject my condition when it will entail doing something about it? I love my daily portion of conspiracy. It shades me from the rays of reality. I like the luxury of accepting my humiliation, covering myself in ashes, gnashing my teeth and praying for God’s interference.
I know that eventually, God will come down from heaven. He will flood Eagle square with a multitude of angels. He will give his angels heavenly crafted placards to display. The angels will stay at the square as long as it may take to make those ex-governors in the senate, who ride around town in tinted armored Hummers, to notice. The angels will not need to be feed. They will not need to sleep. And the logistics of erecting toilets where they will pee-pee and poo-poo, will not be necessary. And should the police and army open fire on the angels, their heavenly bodies will deflect the bullets.
Now, that will be a revolution worth watching on TV. And not this Anderson Cooper-moderated reality show from Cairo. Correct me if I’m right.