By Hassan Gimba
I once had cause to quote Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s 1980 hit song, “Authority Stealing”, where the Afrobeat maestro sang “You be thief” while the chorus chanted “I no be thief”, “You be rogue”, “I no be rogue”, etc.
The song readily comes to mind because Nnamdi Kanu denied being an Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) member.
Like Judas Iscariot, who gave Jesus Christ “the kiss of death” and betrayed him, two weeks ago in the court, Nnamdi Kanu, who Igbo separatists see as their infallible and courageous leader, denied them vehemently. The “lion” of Isiama Afara, who calls on his diehard followers to kill and burn, could not roar because now that he is caged, his true cowardly self shows clearly. Still, many of those led by the nose cannot see through the scam that this man is.
Ditto for those blindly applauding Nnamdi Kanu’s soul mate, that gadfly that goes by the name Sunday Igboho. While in Nigeria, the pestilence was everywhere in the South West, destroying communities of residents who had settled there before his grandparents were born in the name of fighting “Fulani invaders.”
Since his migration to Benin, a land that believes in the rule of law, his gullible followers, like those of Nnamdi Kanu, have been waiting for Godot. No more roaming the bushes, killing and burning cows and settlements of innocent Fulani. And we have not heard of any make-believe Fulani invasions.
But slowly we are coming to terms with the truth that those who are “fighting” for the so-called freedom of their people are in reality hoodwinking those same people and squeezing them out of their hard-earned sweat.
Because crimes are not being punished and criminals go scot-free, Nigerians do anything to make money at the expense of others. We are witnesses to the upsurge in ritual killings in which Godforsaken people take the lives of others, hoping to make it big, as it is called in local parlance.
In all its devilish ramifications, human blood does not give money. Satan, fishing for those to take to hell, tells his recruits these tales of making money through blood.
However, these agents of darkness, who the lives of even their parents are not safe with, do not differ from so-called freedom fighters that goad their foolish tribesmen to kill and burn. That’s their own blood money rituals because what they seek in reality is worldly gain. They are not Mahatma Gandhi, and they can never be. Neither are they martyrs like Malcolm X, and they fear replicating the life of Nelson Mandela. They are more like their modern-day hero, Donald Trump; they use their gullible followers as cannon fodder towards acquiring a life of comfort for themselves and their families at the expense of their victims.
Nigerians have a way of identifying those who set out to make money through killing, maiming, obtaining by deceit, etc. They call them Yahoo boys. Everyone does what they are equipped to do. Those who instigate their tribesmen to kill others are Yahoo boys drenched in hatred; they are just plying their trade. Those who kill and make use of human parts are Yahoo boys that are servants of ignorance and greed. Those who swindle others based on various false claims are Yahoo boys steeped in deceit and greed.
These Yahoo practitioners have, unfortunately, impacted our young. Many would-be insurgents and separatists are waxing strong, those lusting for human blood and parts for money-making rituals are increasing. Nigeria is hurtling towards a free fall. The rule of law has been jettisoned and people are living like prehistoric Neanderthals. But even them, it has come to light, had rules they abided by, anyway.
Because we live in denial, refusing to respect the norms and values that make a sane society, everyone does what they like, and it is becoming a normal affair.
Killings in whatever name are now threatening to be an everyday occurrence. Something that started as droplets is daring to become a deluge. And because we forgot the meaning of “a stitch in time saves nine”, we failed to act and now we are being overwhelmed.
The get-rich-quick-at-whatever-cost syndrome is becoming a macabre pledge. Yahooism, that art that makes people kill or instigate killings to become rich, has taken over our once safe nation. They have violated our nation’s innocence; we can no longer travel through the night as we used to, or sleep outside during the hot season. The days when we accommodated strangers or stopped on the road to assist those whose vehicles broke down are gone, I am afraid, never to return in our lifetime.
We cry over the northern out-of-school kids and the almajiri kids. Some believe the current menace in the north results from our age-old inability to make life meaningful for these time bombs that are now exploding.
Unfortunately, there are a growing number of such in the south. They are almajiri but theirs is not to study the Bible as the northern almajiri are supposed to study the Qur’an. The southern mirrors of the northern almajiri move out of their homes to learn ‘Yahoo business’. Methinks we have cause to fear. I recently saw a screenshot of a Facebook page that teaches Yahooism which has over 700,000 followers!
The love for lucre has so permeated every fabric of our society. Agreed that it is because culprits are not punished, but that our society values people based on their worldly accumulations, too, does not help. And so, while some look for other humans or their parts to use for money rituals, others sell their parts for the same purpose.
Unfortunately, our clerics also do not help matters. Some no longer talk of good and bad, hellfire and paradise. It is now all about riches. Some tell their congregations that their “God is not a poor God” and so they must be rich. They make it look like the reward of serving God is wealth – those God does not love will remain poor. And so they have years, months, or days in which they must make it – and make it they must through whatever means! Again, our religious leaders compete for wealth and followership with one another. The more you have either of these, the closer you are to God. This is the impression they give their sheepish followers.
The government must come down heavily on all practitioners of money-making through unconventional means. Unconventional here also refers to those the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) are supposed to deal with. Letting them go scot-free is also one reason those with no access to the government’s “free funds” devise devilish ways to make it as well.
Our problems are all tied to the death of the Rule of Law because once we are lucky to have a leadership that will govern based on it, then our despair will turn into hope. Hope for a better and safe society. Our mission must be to identify such potential leadership and support it as we approach the baton changing point.
Gimba, the publisher of Neptune Prime online and magazine writes from Abuja.