On 14th October, 2016 it was, when the immediate erstwhile spokesperson of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati dropped a rather bogus spiritual treatise which borders on the spiritual version of the Nigerian ‘power house’, Aso Villa’. The crux of his postulation, in the said treatise, was that the Nigerian ‘house on the rock’ is nothing but an abode of demons and supernatural forces, which are responsible for different forms of misfortunes, ranging from all kinds of sicknesses to diseases, demonic visitation resulting in the lack of nocturnal rest, behavioural and verbal miscalculations and errors, and even to the ‘death below the waste’ of its inhabitants as laughably put by Abati.
Little did Abati think, perhaps, that his rather epiphanous treatise on the reality, rather than the mythology, of African traditional (religion) forces, as some, like chronic agnostics, would consider it to be, would later turn to a quasi academic journal or theory, triggering reviews upon reviews, by well-meaning Nigerians on the discourse.
Well, that is in parenthesis.
Abimbola Adelakun it was, presumably, that first wrote a rejoinder on the Abati’s Spiritual Side of Aso Rock, asking, ‘Does Abati Need Help?’ Well, Abati may not need any help after all; as he only trembled at the existential reality of the forces living among men, on the one hand, and the bestial side of our supposed political leaders, on the other hand, a disposition which is ‘common to man’.
For the fact that Abimbola Adelakun is a self-confessed agnostic, a ‘doubting Thomas’, methinks she had no justifiable reason by any definition to venture into what I will term as ‘perception ego’; for everyone is at freedom to subscribe to whatsoever religion orientation or belief, and that was exactly what Abati did, a theist. Besides, faulting his claims, when he had been a resident of the said place, and having had access to to both materials and non-materials privileges there, and whereas let’s say you were a visitor there, say once, is not good.
Don’t get it ‘twisted’, please: I am not in any way engaging Adelakun in a kind of metaphysical debate, or to patronise her to accept the realness of invisible forces and power far beyond the realm of physical, human and intellectual comprehension and empiricism; rather, it is a word of advice to her to soberly hold on to her skepticism, and not headily and arrogantly lampoon a revelation of demonic infestation and manifestation. I pray that the ‘beasts among’ men will not get hold on her.
Now to Mr. Abati
Curiously, each time I read or hear a story that is on one hand unfortunate or disappointing, by virtue of the standard of the person from whom such a story comes from; and on the other hand, begs or yearns for concerns; I take time to critically and mentally inspect and dissect such a narrative.
First, this piece, “The Spiritual Side of Aso Rock”, came from an enduring intellectual of international and intimidating repute, who, like other intellectuals and academically knowledgeable brains from around the globe, have always outlived whatever and however formidable existential beliefs and superstitions of their culture (having paid their dues in the academic world), though there may still be some not-totally-purged from the stings and plagues of tradition among them. Given this fact, they need to be taken seriously when they are giving a narrative such as this given by a man whom I term as an ‘intellectual avatar’, albeit it is a barren appeal to supernatural mandamus to cover up failure and incompetence in high places. We should not be cheaply gullible by this supernatural forces story for the ‘gods’, for we must not also be ignorant of the fact that it might be for the purpose of alibi.
Whether Abati was true in the intent of his words or not, the fact remains that, Nigeria is in need of earnest and effectual prayers and raw invocation of Deus ex machina, not only for the repair of faulty foundation on which this country was built, but also for the leaders occupying the high places positions, who they themselves are real-life manifestation and adaptation of beasts and demons we see in the Hollywood movies and in the infamous Nollywood African Magic.
Now to Mr. President
I think President Mohammed Buhari in a great deal is suffering from the plagues of ‘demons’ in Aso villa. For ever since the Buhari administration came into power, it has been from one error to the other. Albeit some dyed-in-the-wool Buhari apologists would still argue that he means well for the country, he has good intention for the country, even when his actions are ostensibly evil, we should not forget the saying that all roads that lead to hell start with good intention.
The present economic condition where Nigeria is today, the fragile and threatened unity of Nigeria, from Biafra agitation to the legion of avengers’ groups in the Niger Delta, the bulk of blame will still not elude Mr. President. Imagine a situation President Buhari, who is supposed to be father of all, irrespective of ethnic or religious definitions, has always been insensitive in his words, always uttering words that Apostle Paul would describe as “unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2Cor 12:4) That can’t be ordinary!
Imagine a situation where Mr. President, perhaps sincerely, said that ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” and obviously all his actions and inactions are sharp and rude opposite of his words. We now have a situation where it is clear to every sane person in the country that ‘our’ President is more ofHausa-Fulani President.This is ‘anti-ladership”, permit my coinage. This can’t be ordianry!
Also take a look at an example. In those days where where Mr. President was proving to us that he was indeed a nomadic President, touring one country to the other; he left the shore of Nigeria, and he branded all of us, save himself, as criminals. Yes, ‘this us an unspeakable words.’ Did he expect those foreigners to come down and do business with ‘criminals’? I don’t think so, and neither should anyone. Yet, I believe, it was not ordinary! Hold Aso ‘demons’ responsible.
We must not forget the time when Buhari told us that he wouldn’t treat everybody equally; he said those that gave him 95% of the votes that brought him in would be treated specially than those that gave him 5%. Yet he once said everybody——those that voted for him, those that voted against him, and those those that didn’t even vote at all——-would be evenly treated. Again, this is ‘anti-leadership’; yet, blame the Aso Rock demons.
For President Buhari to tell the whole world that his wife, the first lady, belonged to his kitchen and his other room, tells not only about the chronic primitiveness, conservativeness and sexual predatory disposition of Buhari, but also revealing him as an advocator of sexual objectification, domestication and commodification of women. I guess it was the demons speaking through him.
Time will fail me to talk of different demonic manifestations both in the words and deeds of Mr. President. Shifting blames on previous administration for his own failure, incompetence and cluelessness is an unforgivable and inadmissible alibi. Hold Aso Rock demons responsible. Engaging in an unrelenting plagiarisms is not ordinary. Telling the poor Nigerian masses that ‘change’ began with them when they, the masses never promised any change, is nothing but a demonic manipulation of Mr. President. This is not ordinary.
I pray that Mr. President would be wise enough and put many things into checks.
Matthew Ige is a social commentator, public affairs analyst, a writer, polemicist, and Associate Member, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Bauchi State Branch, Nigeria.