In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, painted the character Okonkwo as a man who has the compulsion to stand by and be everything his father, Unoka was not. Unoka was poor, a drunkard, and disgraceful to Okonkwo and his family. When Unoka died, he was placed in the Evil forest leaving his family with a dreadful debt. As a young man, therefore, Okonkwo feels the need to gain a high title to prove his deference from his father. To detach himself from his father and show that he is not weak, he takes out his anger on his wives and children in the form of violence.
It is known that Reno Omokri sees former President Goodluck Jonathan as his political father. Poor Jonathan grew up without shoes; it was rumored that he was a drunkard; he was also seen as a disgrace by PDP and Reno for easily conceding the 2015 election to Buhari. Jonathan’s weakness broke Reno’s political childhood and truncated his dream of amassing wealth to build a mega church. Like Okonkwo who could not move from his past, Reno is haunted by the failure of his political father. He has ever since been thirsty for revenge and thus addicted to the politics of anger.
Reno’s dream died sorrowfully following the loss suffered by the PDP in the 2015 elections. So, even though alive, his living-dead restless spirit did not make it to the ancestral homeland. In Igbo tradition, the consequence of not being eschatologically saved through ancestor hood is the akalogoli, (wandering spirits of mischief-makers). Thus, Reno has constituted himself to an akalogoli. His erratic wandering spirit has been lashing out at almost everyone including Soyinka, El-Rufai, Lai Mohamed, Oby Ezekwesili, victims of violence, EFCC, Overnors and even FFK.
After losing the 2015 elections, Reno’s restless spirit, in anger, un-plucked his heart, held it up momentarily before eating it. For Reno, the nastier, the better. Now, his anger at Buhari and anything about APC is fierce and incurable. His restless spirit wanders about the Nigerian landscape, courting disaster and praying to his god for anarchy to befall Nigerians. He has lost hope and is living in disappointment and bitterness, no joy and no love. Below are some examples.
Goodluck Jonathan conceded his presidential powers to Dame Patience. Reno never liked that and thus saw Jonathan as a wimpy leader. Like Okonkwo, Reno associates women with weakness. In Reno’s worldview women are portrayed as being irresponsible, weak, unreliable, wicked, dangerous and generally inferior to men. So, Reno lashed out at Oby Ezekwesili for criticizing Buhari, the same thing that he eats and breathes. His beef is that sister Oby opposed his poor hero President Jonathan. By characterizing Oby’s braveness as crying, Reno intent is to demean this woman of courage. And he calls him a “pastor”.
Reno’s wild rage is a sign of incompetence. Just like Okonkwo referred to Ezima, his favorite daughter as "wicked daughter of akalogoli!", Reno has often lashed out at his partner in crime Femi Fani-Kayode and PDP members with different views on political development in Nigeria. Thus, even members of his PDP family live in fear of his temper. His family is walking on eggshells around him, in terror that he might lash out at any time for any reason possible. And he calls him a “pastor”.
There is also something incoherent and morally ugly about Reno’s anger. His bitterness is like cancer. To tell you how bad the akalogoli spirit in Reno is, he recently violently lashed out at the victims of Benue, Taraba and Plateau conflict between farmers and herdsmen simply because Buhari carried their states in the 2015 election. Like Okonkwo, who out of anger killed Ikemefuna, Reno is rejoicing in the house of his Christian brothers and sisters (mourners) in these states even when some of them may have voted for Jonathan. And he calls himself a pastor.
Reno’s anger is either fruitlessly aimed at retribution, and thus irrational, or aimed at degradation of his fellow Christians that voted for APC, and thus immoral. It is, of course, mistaken to think that the suffering of the farmers in the Middle Belt and Nigerians will undo PDP’s loss in the 2015 elections. It is thus, a mistake of morality rather than reason for Reno to rejoice at the death or suffering of Nigerians as if that will restore his ego.
Reno feels a part of his heart broken by the rejection of his father Goodluck Jonathan and PDP. So, he turned his sadness into anger. Reno’s ugliness in heart has turned him inside out. His restless spirit derives joy from bitterness. For me, what is troubling is not the misfiring of the akalogoli Reno that calls himself a pastor, but the fact that there are a sizeable Nigerians that feel the same way. Clearly, Reno cannot find fulfillment in his life even with is “acclaimed Bestseller”.
One of the features of our political reality today is the misplacement of rage for justified anger. There is, of course, a place for righteous anger. Nigerians pushing for a new political order are expressing justifiable rage, while Reno and his likes are obvious cases of venting of misplaced rage. If wimpy Jonathan could make up with Bukola Saraki that stabbed him on the back before jumping to APC, why is Reno’s anger closed to reason and wholly violent against Nigerians?
In the traditional Igbo society, when the restless spirit of the dead is attacking his people, the community will invite a renowned dibia to carryout sacrifice of exorcism. The living-dead spirit in Reno is on a rampage and I am the dibia that has been called upon to expel the angry restless evil spirit in him. My sacrifice of chasing away the evil spirit called ichupu mmuo ojo in Reno is simple; first, stop him from acting like that market woman that goes from market to market looking for who to quarrel with and then, make him emulate his political father Goodluck Jonathan.
Just like Unuka, Okonkwo’s father in Things Fall Apart died poor, Goodluck Jonathan, Reno’s political father may have retired from politics poor (excluding Patience Jonathan’s millions of dollars), but they both understand that angry people are not always wise. Jonathan understands that anger in its truest form is a vice that demeans us by dragging us into negative thoughts and perhaps even more negative actions that harm others. Jonathan’s virtues of civility and calm should be emulated by his political son Reno that is often volcanic and off the rail.
Finally, Reno Omokris’ fixation on Buhari is an addictive disorder. Nigerians have the right to voice justified anger at Buhari and APC administration. We should, however, avoid normalization of misplaced rage in the public sphere that might lead to violent degradation of political life and disclosure. Just raising our voices on our failed political leaders is hardly sufficient. The 2019 election is a few months away. So, rather than just raging blindly, we should channel our anger to constructively mobilize the electorate and take our country back at the ballot box.
Together, we can.
You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi