It feels cool to be back here again, on this platform, after a forced hiatus, occasioned by the cancerously deteriorating economy and blasphemously meager returns from online publishing. But, nevertheless, the dice must keep rolling. The ball must keep floating. The bird must keep humming. And the pen must keep dripping, bleeding pure blood; no room for stagnation. The droll continues so far that the societal cancer tumor destroying the social-cultural thread of our nation is not certified clinically healed.
Once the poor returns from online publishing temporarily forced us off online, the team started re-strategizing. Then some events, unplanned drilled in. First, my adorable mother departed to join the Saints Triumphant, then secondly, the family’s traditional issue. I then decided to use the window to attend to these issues in my country home. These traditional and the biblical from dust hath thou, and to dust you must return, ceremonies fully accomplished, the focus now swung back to the issues hemorrhaging our society to her near-death situation, the crux of my Bleeding Pen.
Retired General, Ebora Owu of Egbaland, ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo did not shock nor disappoint anyone when he blurted out that ‘anyone who wants to govern Nigeria successfully must have ‘mad passion for the country. Baba did not just come to this conclusion overnight. He sure knows a little more than the rest of us about the synergies that work in our dear country, Nigeria. His proposition of having ‘mad passion’ must have been borne out of several frustrations in putting the country right. But no less. He was right. Though he failed this golden rule both in 1976 and 1999, he was docile to some shenanigans of some sections of the country. In the year 2000, as a sitting President, some Northern states enacted the odious Sharia Acts to replace the Penal Code. While he assured the country then that the push for a Sharia judicature will die a natural death, he did not take into cognizance the inherent mischief nature of an average religious bigot, most particularly from that amorphously large section of the country. From Zamfara State, citizen Jangedi was the first to pay the price.
The Sharia Court ordered his right amputated for stealing a goat in the year 2000. After the hoopla that accompanied Jangedi’s de-limbing, the implementation of the odious enactment died down. It was not repealed, but kept in abeyance, waiting for the next errant victim. It did play out again in Sokoto and Bauchi recently. It was Kano State that first tested the water when an Islamic gospel singer was accused of blasphemy. The noise from home and abroad saves the young man. But I doubt if he will ever show his face in public again, not to talk of practicing his choice profession: singing for a living. But before, I fall into the pit of blasphemy here, I think I should make myself unambiguously clear.
This luxury of self-explanatory, Deborah David, the student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, wasn’t that fortunate to enjoy. She was not granted the opportunity to explain herself. She was brutally mauled down and set ablaze in the open glare, with the father watching helplessly. It could only happen in horror films, we thought, but the extreme religious fundamentalists in our midst have opened a new vista of religious intolerance. We have just seen the beginning. In the end, no one can forecast. The blasphemous madness quickly spread to another North Eastern state of Bauchi. Although the alleged culprit here, Sara, a Civil Servant, escaped the mob judgment, no less than five buildings and some shops allegedly belonging to Christians were razed.
The credo now is to defend the Holy Prophet and his literature. In the midst of the hoopla that followed Deborah’s summary burning, a gazetted copy of an edict duly passed by the Zamfara State House of Assembly surfaced. Another by its Kano State counterpart surfaced too. All making death as the ultimate wages of blasphemy. The edicts were dated the year 2000.
But while the hullabaloo raged, suddenly the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation pushed out a press statement. The Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris has been picked up by the anti-corruption bulldogs of the Federal Government. He is alleged to have over-dipped his filthy hands into the Federal Treasury he was supposed to be guiding. Firstly, he was said to have moved a bumpy 80 billion naira out of the Federation Treasury to his private purse, while the noise rages, another discovery of 90 billion nairas was made. , unfortunately, the acting Accountant General just named too is also said to be under the anti-corruption watchdog’s investigations for the financial heist. Please also note that Alhaji Ahmed Idris recently married a 16-year-old teenage girl.
He comes from Kano; a State that has this so-called Sharia law in staccato operation. I need to give all these explanations to evade the charge of blaspheming the name of Almighty Alhaji Idris. We all know the penalty is death. And in truth, I am too young to die now, not the least the type of Sharia-driven death we watched the video online.
After the Prophet Idris loot, the nation was jolted to a heftier loot. The Federal Accountant General case cannot happen in isolation. A heist like this moves in tandem, it seems. From Rivers State, in the Niger Delta area, also came the report that the State Accountant General also blasphemed 117 billion naira from the State’s Treasury. The figure later jumped to 435 billion, if those of others claimed to be at large now are added. Agreed, they consume too much local gin in that area, and there is no deceitful religious bigotry. Therefore, the doctrine of blasphemy may not really have any religious coloration there. But the man under the sun in Rivers is desperately looking for an executive immunity to cover this gigantic loot. He has won the governorship nomination of his party. By May next year, he becomes an untouchable His Excellency. And I guess, the Federal Accountant General on his part, may want to hide under the political cosmetic state of Abuja, being neither here nor there. Abuja is a nebulous free zone; neither here nor there, but supposedly a full secular city we thought.
The city ought to afford all an unhindered economic and social jamboree, irrespective of religious affiliation, once in a public office there. And there is a juicy budget for romance. But that was before. About two years ago, a Redeemed Christian Church of God lady evangelist was stoned to death on the instructions of an Islamic cleric. Her offense: she was constituting a nuisance to their prayer time with her songs and bells every morning. Also, about three weeks ago, a Security guard was stoned to death and set ablaze by an irate mob for blasphemy in the name of the Holy Prophet. We learn. We move. Abuja is no longer the secured secular Federal Capital Territory. It is now a satellite town under the Islamic Jihadists.
But now the likes of Deborah and the guard have been wasted. And several unknown others before them. They are nameless, unknown faces. All in the name of a religion that no one genuinely plants in his heart. I do not know, but now I need to. Seriously, I need to fill the doctrinal lacuna the literary meaning of blasphemy gives me. Religion import and the need to put someone to death over it. I need to know less and Alhaji Idris comes out and claims he is Prophet Idris and that I have blasphemed him.
By their interpretation of some nebulous Quranic injunctions, blaspheming the name of the Holy Prophet carries the death penalty. Right, no qualms. Also, profaning the literature of the Holy Prophet carries an equal fatal end. Still no rubbles. But what do the Holy books recommend for those who stole a humongous sum of money from the commonwealth? Perhaps, if the Holy books do not prescribe any, we should take a cue from the Ebora Owu’s ‘mad passion’ proposition. We can start thinking of feeding these uncommon minds without ‘mad passion for the country, to the wild beasts: lion, tiger, fox, wolves, phyton, vulture and the like are all there and most willing to help make a barbecue of them.
The blasphemy rule must be stretched far, far beyond the religious tenets. If not done, then Nigeria needs no pity. One should only pity the international monetary organisations lending monies to the country. The truth is simple. Nigeria, as a country, does not need any financial assistance from any institution, wherever they may be. The heart-rending volume of direct stealings locally from various government treasuries, if successfully plugged and blocked should be enough to sustain the nation’s economy.
Today, we are talking about the Accountant Generals at the Center and Rivers State. There are still other thirty-five other Accountant Generals cocooned in their various offices, not yet put under the radar of a microscope. I can tell you a random scanning of these men overseeing the treasuries of each state may trigger civil unrest in the country.
We all have a mad passion for Mohammed, or for Christ. We are all pretentiously religious. We all loved to be called General Overseer, Pastor, Imam, Sheikh, and all that. We carry the extreme bigotry to all places of social dwellings. We turn prayers and praise-singing into ceremonial rituals. Before we resume office, before the break, before the closing of work. So also in schools and various commercial centres, even in banking arenas. We are quick to bring out injunctions rebuking ungodly behavior and speech. Yet the serpent in us remains very active and alive. It has killed the passion for humanity in us. No one else is their brother’s keeper, not anymore.
Truly, no sane man takes the government or any of its anti-corruption agencies seriously any longer. Not the police, nor the judicial system. Not the government without a man burning with ‘mad passion’ at the helms. It seems all are in unison to further improvise the people. No one cares. The university teachers do not care; the polytechnic teachers feel less bordered, so do the colleges of education and neither do the students. No blasphemy in that. The leaders galivanting around in Choppers since the roads are bad, no one çares still. No ‘mad passion for the common good.
Deborah might have been sacrificed for nothing other than ego massaging. Sadly, she died proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. But the other adherents of Jesus Christ here are too timid to rise up and fight for her. The same applies to the generality of the masses. Alhaji Ahmed Idris has carted away 80 billion nairas. So also the Rivers State’s Accountant General. No matter what, after investigations, the government cannot recover half of what they have stolen. Head or tail, they win. They will still have enough ‘mad passion’ for their sensational exotic lifestyle. This is the greatest blasphemy we should all rise against with mad passion. The blasphemous hypocritical anti-corruption war must stop, hence we are all doomed.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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