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One Day, Four Court Cases by Reuben Abati

I am giving you an idea of how Nigeria has failed. How a country that used to produce scientists and intellectuals is now producing a generation of celebrities and heroes who are making billions from selling sex or beer and pleasure. We have become a nation of consumers of all sorts of depravity. We are no longer a nation of producers of ideas or executors of grand schemes.

Reuben Abati 

“Ore, I looked for you yesterday? Where were you?”

“I dey for house now? Where I for dey?”

“I actually thought you had gone to a court somewhere to do amebo. You know you like to poke-nose into other people’s matters? And yesterday was a special, historic day, with four court cases that generations yet unborn will read about”

“You have started again. You are actually the real Mr. Amebo of Nigeria. Every little thing you are ever-ready like Ever Ready Battery to do chor chor chor. Don’t you ever get tired?”

“Ever Ready Battery. Ha. You don’t forget things. Do they still make such batteries? That was when Nigeria was Nigeria and the manufacturing sector produced so much locally, and people had jobs and the country was prosperous. My uncle used to go to London almost every weekend. Money was not a problem. Nigeria itself was ever ready. But now see see…the country is a shadow of its former self. That is why you have so many angry youths all over the place. They have no sense of values. They have no memory of Nigeria’s greatness. They have been brought up on a diet of Satanic negativity.”

“Ï know. I know. I still hear some people talk about Ever Ready though. But do you know when I tried to look for Ever Ready Batteries the other day, it turned out what they now call ever ready was some sort of aphrosidiac, some kind of herbal concoction that is supposed to increase your libido, result in instant enlargement and give you unimaginable joy of celestial proportions. It was actually a woman that recommended it to me.”

“Ha. A woman. Your battery failed, and they recommended Ever Ready. I know. I know. Nigeria has become a house of sin. You are talking about a multi-billion-dollar business, by the way. From Suruka to Surutu, Kolagbo, Osomo, Koboko, Techno, Monkey Tail. Pasa-Bitters, Erujeje,..”

“Ëx-cu-se me?”

 “Wafekulaleyi, Ali Baba, Wasalaye, Baby Oku, Kick and Start, Oga Nla, Jeko mo, Agbara, Dorobucchi, Opa Eyin, Dadubule, Pakurumo, Bajinotu, 301, Stone, Jabra, Japata, Jakomu….”

“Can you stop? I don’t want to talk about aphrodisiacs and the obsession of Nigerians with sin.”

“That is your problem. It is not every thing that is about big grammar. I am giving you an idea of how Nigeria has failed. How a country that used to produce scientists and intellectuals is now producing a generation of celebrities and heroes who are making billions from selling sex or beer and pleasure. We have become a nation of consumers of all sorts of depravity. We are no longer a nation of producers of ideas or executors of grand schemes. Old money in Nigeria was represented by the productive class. New money is dominated by a generation of consumers, exhibitionists and their mad, bad agents.” 

“Look, this man, leave me alone. Whoever wants to drink whatever with their mouths should go ahead and do so. Our only point of agreement is that something terrible has happened to this country, and things could get worse, morally, politically and socially if we do not exercise caution and care. We need to remind ourselves of basic normative values and have a conversation around that.  You see all this your beer parlour, street talk, won’t help.”

“Dey there. Dey there dey form. We are all human beings at the end of the day, I beg. You mean you don’t know that it is the entire world that has gone mad? Humanity has crossed the point of no return. That is why some wealthy men are already planning to relocate to outer space. Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. When the human planet fails, they will enter their space jets and escape. Na you and me and people like us go remain for this Earth. Our only problem is that we will be stuck in this place called Nigeria, in the midst of rapists, kidnappers, bandits, terrorists, corporate thieves, drug barons, yahoo masters, and vote-riggers.”

“Not even Alvin Toffler was this pessimistic in The Future Wave.”

“Toffee what? Who is that?”

“Never mind. Never mind.  You are not likely to know someone like that. You were talking about court cases before you digressed in your usual manner. You need to see a therapist. What about the courts?”

“I told you there were four major court cases yesterday that were of historic and significant interest, and I wanted to know whether you attended any one of them?”

“Why should I? I told you I was at home. Which cases are these?”

“You don’t mean it? Don’t go and say this in public please. People will think you have a problem.”

“I don’t get it”

“Okay let me help you out because you are too young to have dementia. Yesterday, in Abuja, Nnamdi Kanu’s case came up again at the court of Justice Binta Nyako. He was not produced in court. The security agents did not allow his supporters to even approach the court premises. At a point the Court was even closed. Lawyers were shut out of court. Imagine! His lawyers were not even notified according to due process. There were security men all over the place, harassing journalists and every one. People were arrested.”

“Hen Hen.”

“I thought you would have been there to observe and analyze the situation”

“To get involved in a matter before the court? How? That would be sub judice”

That is not the issue here. This is a political trial. The issue is self-determination which is recognized under Article 1 of the UN Charter.”

“I am sorry, I can’t discuss this matter with you. Whatever I say will be misinterpreted by an illiterate, rampaging, insecure mob. We have lost the culture of reason and debate in this country. Every one is in their own ethnic capsule. A country that has destroyed its intellectual class is in real danger. This is what has happened to Nigeria. You were looking at Nigeria from the perspective of human libido, I am sorry, the bigger tragedy is the apparent death of ideas and the failure of capacity to think even among the most educated.” 

“Who needs education anymore in this country? Just make money. Take aphrodisiacs. Dominate women and men and recruit idiots with all sorts of fake certificates and titles to worship you. That is the new Nigeria. What do you think of self-determination?”

“Ï have nothing against self-determination. It is a universal right recognized under Article 1 of the 1949 UN Charter. Many countries have broken up: India in 1947, Pakistan broke up in 1971 to produce Bangladesh, in 1776, the United States emerged out of the UK, in 1965, Singapore rose out of Malaysia, in 1993, the old Czechoslovakia became two countries: Czech Republic and Slovakia. Sudan and South Sudan used to be one country.”

“So what are you saying?” 

“Ï am not saying anything. Read my lips. It is in a neutral mode. The way this country is today, you won’t know what you’d say it will be misinterpreted. That is what I was telling you earlier: the bigger tragedy in Nigeria today is the triumph of intolerance and abnormality. There is a supremacy of the lunatic fringe at work, playing all kinds of games: ethnic, political, cultural and opportunistic. When you say something, they twist it. When you don’t say anything, they put words in your mouth and use that to blackmail you. They are so energetic, the only conclusion you can reach is that this is now a country in the grips of mass psychosis. We need help.”

“So, is that why you didn’t go to Abuja?”

“Ï cannot answer that question. Did you go there yourself? Too many of you want other people to act and speak on your behalf in the public space but you are all busy acting like cowards and paid hacks. Many don’t even have the courage to bear their own father’s names. I am all in support of justice, fairness and due process, but nothing beyond that.”

“But what of Cotonou? Did you follow the court trial of Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho?”

“Yes, I did, as an observer”

“You mean you were there, physically?”

“No”

“Why not?”

“Ï don’t have to be anywhere physically to know what is going on. Every revolution is on television.”

“But you know, I think it is a shame that Nigeria that used to be described as the giant of Africa is now having such domestic issues that every body is now talking about how Kenya got involved in Nigeria’s affairs, and how Republic of Benin, the same Benin that is generally regarded as the 37th State of Nigeria is now a major factor in Nigerian matters. How are the mighty fallen?”

“Kenya and Benin are sovereign states. They are independent jurisdictions.  I know there are many rich Nigerians who go about boasting that the President of some African countries are their boys and Personal Assistants but it is important to know that at critical moments those same countries will assert themselves as sovereign states.”

“You mean the Republic of Benin next door will disobey the Nigerian government?”

“The last time I checked Kenya and Benin Republic are sovereign states. Nigeria is not in a position to dictate to them. Benin even has a different justice system. Its leaders would rather listen to France, their former colonial masters, certainly not Nigeria.”

“If they misbehave in Benin, common Benin, we can shut down our borders against them.”

“The last time you did, what happened? Did Benin disappear as a country?”

“You are supporting Benin Republic against Nigeria? You are one of the hidden secessionists?”

“I am not going nowhere. I am here. Na inside Nigeria I go live and die. You push me, I push am, na inside Nigeria I go live and die.”

“The more reason you should take a stand.”

“Äre you deaf? This country is becoming very tough. We all have to be very careful”

“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.”

“You try. Too many Nigerians quoting statements they know nothing about.”

“You are professing cowardice. We must take our country back.”

“Why not? Go ahead. Just let me be.”

“With the way you are talking, I am sure you did not even bother to show interest in Baba Ijesha’s case on Monday? The rape case involving the Nollywood actor who was accused of raping an under-aged girl and who is now facing trial?”

“The case is now in court. It is before the judicial system. I don’t support rape or violence of any sort. But why should my going to court be an issue?”

“As a concerned citizen”

“Me?”

“Yes”

“No. Were you there yourself? Marketer of Surutu and Suruka? Is that not the same case where one Babalawo predicted the death of one actress and he, the Babalawo died before the trial began and the actress whose death he predicted was all over the court yesterday?”

“What has that got to do with you?”

“Everything. I am a Christian. I don’t walk near the valley of the shadow of Death. Those Nollywood people, their own matter na aye mo juba.”

“You are just a coward. But how about the fourth case? Yesterday Uduak Akpan, the killer of Iniobong Umoren was arraigned before a State High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. He pleaded guilty.”

“Am I a spirit? You want me to be in Abuja, Cotonou, Lagos, and Uyo in one day. Look at this way: Inside Buhari’s Nigeria, everything don spoil”

“I hear say him don travel sef. He don go London.”

“Can you see now that you are a bad person? With all the things you have been saying, the man that Nigerians elected as President decided to leave town the same day, and you are asking me to put my head.”

“He went to London for medical check-up and a virtual conference about how these matters can be addressed.”

“Wh-a-at nonsense is that? How can a President go to London for a virtual conference? Don’t we have internet in Nigeria?”

“He is not alone. The President of Malawi also travelled to London with a 10-person delegation for the same virtual conference because the internet in his country is bad…”

“You are not making sense. Okay, me I dey here for Nigeria.”

“Doing what?”

“Keeping safe. Chopping isi ewu. And watching the Olympics”

“Olympics? You think Nigeria can win anything?”

“The Olympics is not about winning. It is about participating and the spirit of being part of it. Team Nigeria does not need to win anything”

“Don’t write them off. It is too early to do so.”

“But the country is not in a winning mode. That is why the other thing I do these days is to watch Big Brother Nigeria Season 6.”

“I thought you used to criticize the programme.”

“Yes. But the kind of girls that are on that programme this time around, e be like say dem get special craze. I need some therapy. Watching them alone calms down my nerves.”

“You see you are also a sinner like the rest of us. You dey watch Abeg and Patricia.

“I confess, bros. Go see those girls first. Something dey there, no be small.”

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Written by Per Second News

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