… learning from Mark Antony and lessons Thereafter…
In 44 BC, a group of powerful men formed a disgruntled opposition to General Julius Caesar and had him killed – stabbed to death. As the body lay on the ground, the stab wounds gaping, the “honourable” conspirators composed their faces and in sombre mood started denigrating the once well loved Conqueror of the known world. They made a mistake. In exultant mood, they expansively agreed to allow Mark Antony, also a well known General, to say a few words, in honour of the dead. The only condition: “Don’t criticize us.” Deal. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (ActIII, scII). It started innocently enough:”Friends,Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears…” Thus, was born the word Rhetoric.
Wikipedia defines rhetoric: ” is a technique that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a meaning with the goal of persuading them towards considering a topic from a perspective, using language designed to encourage or provoke an emotional display of a given perspective or action.” Then adds,” but that is not their primary purpose. Rather,by doing so, they seek to make a position or argument more compelling than it would otherwise be.”
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Of course, everyone knows Atiku Abubakar deludes himself,hour by hour, by ruling Nigeria, from the cyberspace of Tweeter World(credited with over 6k). Tweet after tweet, he writes out his pains. This preoccupation on its own wouldn’t be harmful. But, they are. In the build up to the tragic turn the #EndSARS has taken/is, Atiku had with uncanny prescience, tweeted on 09/10/20,”I woke up to the peaceful#EndSARS Protests going on in Lagos and other cities in the country.” The tweet was timed at 17:21 hrs. Two strange issues,a) “woke up “at 5pm – siesta or what? b) what generated the next tweet at about the same time, ” I strongly condemn any disproportionate use of force on protesters across the nation.” Wow! Funny enough, the protests were just starting in Lagos.
**Read his tweets and see the uncanny sequence of events…uncanny? Frightening!
In my Post of 27 March,2020, Crime, Criminality And War… It’s Time to clamp Down on Fake News, I wrote: “This weekend is like no other weekend,since 1966 ; and stretching the tension years that dovetailed into the Nigerian Civil War.Then as now,the air was soaked with Fear and Tension”. The events of #EndSars Protests , in the past two weeks , have raised the spectre of disunity and war. But, surprisingly, the Protests were innocuous enough, until those who definitely engineered the Protests added tinder to the fire.
Again, as I wrote in the quoted Post,”what worries me is that the Nigerian Media, especially those controlled by people ” who were wronged by President Buhari – through his victory,through his appointments,through his war against corruption – have been on the warpath. Again, their vituperations do not worry me. It’s the thin ice of sedition, treachery and treason that they are walking, egged on by ” International elders.”
I write today about the hijacked #EndSars/End SWAT Protests. In fact, were/(are) the Protests hijacked at all or are we seeing a “protest” that has spiralled out of control or doing better than even dreamt of by the hijackers? As James Bond,007, said in the movie, Goldfinger,“Once is happenstance,Twice is coincidence, Three Times is enemy action”. There is no doubt that a well meaning protest was taken over and re-engineered. The facts speak glaringly: At the beginning of the #Endsars protest on 8th October 2020, so many actors and actresses, from the political Nollywood( those who proclaimed loudly in 2018, that they were “100% for @atiku and@PeterObi”) – suddenly took over – Falz, Davido, Don Jazzy and several celebrities, spreading to Enugu, where Yul Edochie, the politician/ movie actor, along with Phyno and Flavor, held sway. But( and it’s a big but), suddenly, these superstar leaders disappeared – leaving the movement LEADERLESS, just as the protest descended into chaos. It was orchestrated with admirable military precision. The withdrawal was too well timed: After that, CHAOS…And the torrent of FAKE NEWS. At one point, the comedienne, DJ Switch, was said to claimed to have counted 75 corpses. Now, we hear she had scaled down to a modest 15. And while she and “we” were busy counting, they couldn’t film. Tragicomic!
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Life becomes worrisome when we cannot put a handle to it. This is where rhetoric and sarcasm help us. Go back to the definition in para 1 and check these three explosive tinders added to the fire: 1) On 20 October, in the height of the lootings, burnings and killings of policemen and attacks on other security agents, Mr Atiku tweeted, not mentioning the chaos, lawlessness and the targeted jailbreaks: “The #EndSars ( with a Nigerian flag) protesters are not unreasonable and acted responsibly…the use of maximum force will aggravate rather than placate.” Please note that the jailbreak in Benin city,Edo State, happened on the 19th.
2) And this from Chief Obasanjo(who presided with glee over the total destructions of Odi(Bayelsa) and Zaki-Biam(Benue) ( between 1999- 2001):
“The shooting and murder of unarmed protesters, no matter the level of provocation, has never been effective in suppressing public anger and frustration. Instead, such actions only reinforce the anger and frustration of the populace and close the window of dialogue and peaceful resolution.
“It is clear that Mr President and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to the use of force.”
As can be seen, Chief Obasanjo chose to forget that at this point, the protesters had no “identifiable” leader!
From whatever angle viewed, Chief Obasanjo’s message was a classic rhetoric AND more. He exonerated and in fact, by the most cursory mention of the violence and mayhem, he condoned the action. He heaped all the blame on the Buhari Government. Like all precipitous actions, Chief Obasanjo’s claim that there is “overwhelming visual evidence” has not stopped shocking people. For a former military leader, former two term President and an Elder, he betrayed his bias and inner/( outer?) intentions.
“It is worse that there is a denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence. Great harm has been done but it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.
Obasanjo should not bring himself to more ridicule. Sarcasm does not sit well on him. It belittles him. When he smirked and said, “Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria”, tongue in cheek, he forgot that he was stating the incontrovertible fact. Buhari is President of Nigeria. To go on to talk about leadership and need for “robust leadership” was/ is merely academic. He didn’t lower PMB. He further lowered himself! It was a prank worthy of a subaltern in the Mess, not a general. Now that the international community is realising that they erred in their hasty comments, he, Obasanjo, is even further muddied!
Talking about muddying, I’m disappointed that Mrs Hillary Clinton, could have fallen into such an obvious trap. Maybe, her unstatesman haste has shown one of her weaknesses. With no corpses, with “eyewitness” accounts or Time’s “credible sources”, jumbled and contradictory, she should have been more circumspect. Mrs Clinton owes President Buhari, the Nigerian people and the World an apology. She should concentrate on winning the Presidency for her Party. Voting has started; unless, she is still harbouring a grudge against Biden.
For the FIRST time in Nigerian history, no family has come out to say they lost a family member in the “Lekki Massacre”. If the crocodile tears and “condolences” of both Obasanjo and Atiku are to be believed,there’s still a stream of blood running at the Lekki Toll Gate, after all, a massacre implies deaths beyond single digits!
Where are DJ Switch, Genevieve Nnaji( she really disappointed me) and that little fool, WizKid, who pretends to be eternally young ? The moment one crosses the age of 30, my friend, time begins to rush off. Grow up. With their certainty and money, I thought they would have sent Presidents Obasanjo, Trump and the British Government, videos and photos of the DEAD victims!
I heard that the actress, Omotola Jalade, has for days now, being insulted and harassed, for daring to ask that relatives come forward with names of loved ones killed in Lekki. We, who believe in the truth, stand with her!
And to add more to the blame game( it’s said that when it rains, it pours) General Babangida chipped in with a “quote” supposedly by General Abacha, that “when an insurgency exceeds 24 hours the Government has a hand in it”. In fact, nobody has been able to give the occasion General Abacha made this statement. Strange that Gen Abacha’s daughter, Gumsu, was said to have made the statement in 2014, in a tweet. And now stranger that General Babangida should pluck it out of nowhere and add to the confusion.
Oh, Mark Antony would have been furious for being bested. As he said in an aside after his speech and the reaction of the crowd,” Now let it work. Mischief, on and afoot.Take Thou what course thou wilt”.
But, in despite of all these speeches and writings, the fake can NEVER be the original. All the fake news, all the supposed “overwhelming visual evidence”, the Nigerian Youth have rallied themselves from the initial stumble :
*They refused and in fact drove Omoyele Sowore/ Sahara reporters away;
* the Youths have refused to rise to the bait, despite the apparent Mark Antony tactics.
* the response of majority of replies/ comments are that these “elders” did worse. Mention is made of Odi, of Zaki-Biam, of Obasanjo’s flagrant disregard of democratic principles, by handcuffing Governor Alameiseigha of Bayelsa and in true SWAT style, helicopting him to Abuja or wherever; and then, superintending his impeachment.
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Whether Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State , likes it or not, he has to take more DRASTIC decisions. It is his State, being governed by him, that is disintegrating. It is NOW time to call in the Armed Forces FULLY. The lootings cannot and should not be allowed to continue. The more the hoodlums are allowed to operate freely, the more they will be emboldened.
However, the good, coming out of all these destructions, is that no human community can survive without a police force. As Chief Obasanjo mischievously said, we have visual evidence of thuggery, lootings and the lawlessness of savages.
But, more importantly, there’s hunger in the land. And dirt poverty. The large crowds at each warehouse or shop, looting , cannot all be hoodlums. I hope the President will ask the State Governors why they’ve been hoarding these Palliatives. He must call an urgent meeting of the National Council of States.
Last week I drew the attention of the Minister of Labour to the hijacking ( this crazy word again!) of the 774000 jobs nationwide. The essence was that the jobs should reach as many people as possible
In a situation, where Governors have shares of over 200 per LG. For what? Even though the Programme has not taken off, there are grumbles all over.
So,with the palliatives. Look at the absolute disgrace and shame of the State Governors. Warehouses full of palliatives. Governor Fayemi of Ekiti shamelessly said they were not fit for human consumption. My God! Even those donated by CACOVID? Not possible!
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When the State-based Presidential Panels begin work, I also expect that the genuine Youth in every city, will with the help of the Police begin a house to house search , to fish out the looters AND arsonists. If you see a face- me – I face you that the owner is struggling with a 50″ HD TV, ah! Boda!
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Finally, I must pay special tribute to the officers and men of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police,other security agencies, for being Nigerian. They resolved the issues with the rampaging youths, with jokes, and the Nigerian wisecracks. I must compliment the youths of several communities, who took it to protect properties. Of note, are the youths of Mile 12, Lagos, who prevented the torching of buses of the Lagos State Transport Corporation. I compliment the President for the self restraint. So should it be. He must move into the 21st Century. And his Speech writers must hone their craft to make this shift. All Youth, from the beginning of time are restless. We were once “youth” and were once restless. I beg the President to heed the immortal advice of the American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau:
“How could youths better learn to live than by once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would educate their minds as much as mathematics.”
Many Many thanks to the Management of Spar Nigeria, who wrote to the protesters, after their Company was vandalised, looted and burnt:
“Rebuilding a supermarket is hard. Rebuilding a nation is even harder. We stand with you Nigeria.”
Did you enjoy this Post? If yes. Thank you. If No. Na you Sabi! Just Make Nigeria Safe…