Hurricane Jonathan, Abati and Okupe: May This Cross Pass Over Us by Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
Often times I wonder how Americans became so witty to outsmart Africans in christening events and their courageous and supportive nature to outlive any disaster no matter how grievous. This is because Africa used to be the bedrock of christening events. Every situation gets a name based on people’s attitude or gratitude for such events. Particularly across ethnic groups in Nigeria, there are reflections of certain events in the names given to newborns. Sometimes, it might be festive mood names or incidents survived by sheer luck but more often than not, most names are used to glorify the awesomeness of God.
Back to the United State of America’s case. Over the years, the US has been hit by over 36 Hurricanes, starting around 1900. Between year 2000 and now, US has been victim of 13 devastating Hurricanes, with one, Hurricane Katrina, almost consuming our own most revealed Poet, Niyi Osundare, in 2005. To every Hurricane, the invincible hands of God as directed the Americans way; there is a readymade name – Keith 2000, Tropical Storm Allison 2001, Iris 2001, Isabel 2003, Charley 2004, Frances 2004, Ivan 2004, Jeanne 2004, Dennis 2005, Katrina 2005, Rita 2005, Wilma 2005, Ike 2008 – and at every point, the America Nation had always proved to be a “United State” in the ways Government respond to every disaster and the way citizens volunteer for rescue mission and to take care of displaced persons. So when another tropical storm threatens the “God’s Own State”, they have the name ISAAC ready and above all, the US has been, from experience, trained to be prepared. Evacuation and stocking of food stuffs had started in earnest, the state is prepared for any eventuality and the citizens have once again piled-up courage to weather the storm.
In Nigeria, ours is never so tragic but we are never prepared; it often looks as if the entire world’s water ways are channeled through Nigeria whenever rain falls. The resultant floods are always Hurricane-like. Even sophisticated Lagos State only make noise of imminent flood and was handicapped in its responsibilities when it arrived. And trust our government; demolition comes after disasters, not before. They are senior prefect in adding salt to injury – agony to agony. Or how do one explain a family sacked by flood and while they are still licking their wounds, the government, in its infinite mercy, pulls down their house without replacement? But the major Hurricane we often face in this part of the world is leadership ineptitude, sycophancy, and mediocrity. These ones are worse than natural Hurricane because it has devastating effect on generations aside the one specifically affected. It is more like Hurricanes that destroy the present and also kill the future.
The devastating effect of disasters, whether human or natural, is not measured in Naira or Dollars. When the Galveston Hurricane happened in 1900, US lost nothing less than 8,000 human souls. The dreadful Hurricane Katrina remains the deadliest to strike the United States in recent time since the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of September 1928. It produced catastrophic damage – estimated at $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast – and is the costliest U. S. Hurricane on record. But this figure is minute compared to what Hurricane Iwu 2007, Hurricane Niger Delta Militancy 2007-2010, Hurricane Fuel Subsidy 2011, Hurricane Boko Haram 2009 – 2012 (and still counting), Hurricane Jonathan, Abati,Okupe e.t.c had caused the Nigeria nation and is still causing us.
In recent time, Hurricane Jonathan seems more devastating and worrisome to Nigeria’s progress simply because of the circumstances surrounding its occurrence. This was one Hurricane Nigerians ignorantly fueled to ruin them. A Hurricane that came with foul smelling fresh air and Nigerians inhale it without gauging the temerity of the sender. We were cajoled by the transformation rhetorics of a packaged and propelled shoeless man, believing he can translate our suffering and get us to the promiseland. Now, we know better. Dr. Hurricane Jonathan, in less than two years, has brought us a cumulative suffering for ten years. God forbid his desire to remain there beyond 2015. Amen.
Had Hurricane Abati occurred two years back, I would have gladly dived into its current and go with it. But times had changed. Those old enough to have watched PATITO’s Gang and read Abati’s weekly column in The Guardian Newspaper would know that our once revered columnist from the Rutam House is at Crossroads! Dr. Abati was a Hurricane lost in its own current. Though, a regular occurrence amongst Nigeria’s political class, Abati’s present personality has defined what being a progressive or conservative means in the Nigerian parlance. You are only progressive if you have not tasted the presidential wine (Dr. said, “kain-kain or Alcohol” is not served during official duties – maybe during unofficial duties), once in government, you transform into an inconsiderate conservative. Sad enough, Hurricane Abati today, is trying to sell Hurricane Jonathan that Nigerians bought into, from “Neighbour to Neighbour” with the hope of Goodluck transformation and fresh air, but which turns out to be a bad product. For one, Abati has made most youths lose confidence in their critical self, me in particular don’t want to be called a critic until I find myself in government (I doubt for now) and come out unsoiled. Abati’s utterances in recent time, is more mechanical than natural – push to talk. After being ridiculed with the appointment of
Doyin Okupe, a Patito Gang Abati would have taken to resignation but he wants to wait to experience the likely end to the friction called GEJ. After all, Abati has raised expectations for his coming bestseller, “WHY JONATHAN DID NOT PERFORM AS A PRESIDENT”. What do you think Prof. Pat Utomi’s thought would be on his once ideological friend and “Gang Member” given the present circumstance?
And concluding the list of Hurricanes Nigeria vehemently wish it pass them by, is no other than the jungle-less Lion, Dr Doyin Okupe, ( please don’t mix it up, he is not a member of Leo International Club, because there can’t be service to humanity in his corruptive scheme of work), the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs. Ever since coming into office, he has been enmeshed in controversies, bribe scandal and government contractor’s attitude of non-execution of paid contracts. An intensive look at the relationship between GEJ, the Zoologist and Okupe, the Lion gives something away. Okupe was appointed just to roar! Zoologist like GEJ (even if not so much qualified), should know, a lion, is one lazy animal that feeds on the bravery of his wife – the lioness. The lioness is the one who does the hunting for the pride, since the lioness is more aggressive by nature. The male lion usually stays and watches its cubs while waiting for the lionesses to return from the hunt. So, Okupe cannot be of any significant help to the GEJ administration. And coupled with the incontrovertible evidence that he swindled the Benue State Government of a whopping sum of N886 million, an allegation he didn’t deny, Dr. Okupe is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen!
Having Three Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree holders performing so abysmally is not a good credit to the academic profession. I hope, we can endure their uselessness till 2015. These Hurricanes just need to pass us by. If it took “neighbor to neighbor” affairs to get this administration in, then we must be prepared for a door to door affair to get it out. 2015 is our only opportunity to get things right. I only hope we don’t turn into the masked man, Lagbaja’s “20 million mumus” again.
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