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Visions of the Alfa Talakawa, from the Proletariat...Nigeria, as I see it

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Dear All,

They said counting imaginary sheep jumping over a pen is a cure for insomnia.

But tonight, I won’t be counting sheep; I would be counting the number of Nigerian journalists murdered on a Sunday.

Should that be insufficient, I would count all murdered Nigerian journalists and add the geometrically progressive list of unresolved murders since the blasting away of Dele Giwa of Newswatch on the 19th of October 1986. It was on a Sunday.

I closed my eyes, instead of seeing sheep jumping over a pen, I saw Abayomi Ogundeji, Godwin Agbroko, Omololu Falobi, Bagauda Kaltho, Tunde Oladepo, Krees Imodibie , Tayo Awotusin….why should those who live by the Pen die by the Gun?

Is it hate, or the desire to instill terror that motivated those who killed an Assistant Editor of The Guardian newspapers, Mr. Bayo Ohu on September 20, 2009? Why did they use the caliber of bullets that will make an elephant beg to die voluntarily?

Freedom of Speech is not a myth in Nigeria; however, this ‘freedom’ has a conjoined twin: Freedom to be suicidal!

On this note, I tender my resignation, details of which I shall give later. I want to make every moment count because things will never be the same again.

The Pen is a Penitentiary. You are sentenced without the right to any hearing at all; you just get up one day and discover you are in it. The Pen has made many rich; at the expense of the prisoner everybody calls the ‘Gifted Writer’ because he is more than often the poor victim trapped within this Pen to the extent he lives in Penury!

The pen is that Pendant that hung on Frodo the Hobbit’s neck (Lord of the Rings, anyone?), the ring of Sauron that weighs heavily on the bearer and often brings him to an unwilling fate…is this a rant, or some feeble attempt at Poetry? Could this really be coming from Plumbtifex Rantimus, the Prolific Priest of the Proles?

Is there anybody that really wants to die?

My submission is that even the suicide bomber has to be ‘rightly motivated’ to make the prospect more appealing; from the promise to have wide-eyed houris at your beck-and-call in the hereafter to the promise to take care of the martyr’s family in the all too certain event of his/her demise.

So what is the motivation for the man of the pen?

Is it the take-home peanuts from the boss that knows next to diddly about journalism? Or the ‘job satisfaction’ of putting up a ‘masterpiece’ that went over the heads of the numb audience like one of those KKK hoods? Could it be the knowledge that promises that more than often go unfulfilled will be made to your widow and fatherless kids (if you had them before you got dispatched) and you will be mourned on the pages of the same papers that drank your ink while you were at it and eventually made the sand-macadam-rug-anyothersurface drink your blood? Or, the fact that even those that hired the assassins will mourn you publicly and the Police will blame it on armed robbers (an indirect way of telling the ‘numb audience’ that your case is closed long before your casket was)?

Even the Average Nigerian Coward (ANC) knows he’s going to die someday; his only problem is that he desires to hang on a little bit, sing some more Te Deum Laudamus, gripe in silence a little more about how bad things are, hoping things will change by some stroke of design. Need I also add that he doesn’t want to go violently?

For those that are wont to profile people based on their nationality (a safer way to be racist and get away with it) and tribal affiliations, Bayo Ohu throws a poser to you all.

If you followed my previous post, you will realize I admitted that more often than not, the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria fits more into the ‘ANC’ mould. Now, among the Yoruba, a man from Oyo is seen as the one who prefers to say ‘the absence of pigmentation’ instead of ‘White’. An Oyo man is perceived the king of cowards (and consequently treachery) among those that are generally perceived as cowards.

Bayo Owu was an Oyo man, and he DID NOT fit that bill. That is an aside anyway.

I recall the irony of a late Nigerian Army General who, when asked if he actually begged a subordinate (lying prostrate on the floor) for his dear life, responded “I will not deny that I begged, at least I am still useful to somebody today” he eventually died shortly afterwards as a result of a ghastly motor accident. I couldn’t help wondering if getting two to four more years is a good bargain for a perpetual reputation as a coward (oh, I forgot the man once governed Oyo State!).

In any case, plotting a coup (phantom or not) tells me that the culprit is fully aware of the risks, and the pecuniary gains of a success scenario is what we can all attest to (if in doubt, ask Babangida or Obasanjo). So, what is the pecuniary gain inherent in being a writer? You would be quick to mention J. K. Rowling (the Harry Potter dude), James Patterson or Stephen King, and I will be quick to tell you that even a vendor can be a millionaire.

That explains why pen men are taking government appointments with all their soul.

What are the viable options in a Country where a business man whose sole contribution to the Country is installing and uninstalling Governors like they are some driver software, has twenty five (25) Police Aides (and I could swear those 25 would have lobbied for the ‘lucrative’ job)! To think the Federal Executive Government had the nerve to announce the withdrawal of security detail to Nigerian judges (I don’t give a hoot if there was a change in position on that)!

In a Country of jumbled priorities, I hereby announce MY RESIGNATION.

I resign to my destiny and purpose in life and I embrace it with all of my heart. I resign to the Penitentiary that the Pen (and lately the keyboard of this HP that is fast wearing out my finger-print) has locked me in, the solitary confines of my Brain Cells with myriads of ticks in my head. I resign to the burden that this Pendant is. Should I come out of the Pen to live in a resplendent mansion, complete with a Penthouse, should my Pen become so powerful that even the entire defense resource of the Pentagon can’t withstand, I am bound to it, bound to the inspiration that moves my ink.

Why then should I continue to fight it? I RESIGN!


Veronny said...

God bless u Plumbline. I'm so emotional right now. How can we fix this country, God?

Plumbline said...

No matter how uphill it is, we will get there..with the strength of your commitment of which I am fully aware..