When the Yoruba say Oju ngba mi ti fun e (I’m ashamed for you), it is the height of shame anyone could bring unto himself. And when it is said that Oo ni itiju (you have no shame), it means that the person being spoken to does not have respect for himself or herself. Much as such a person is despised in the community of omoluabi (good-mannered people), he or she carries on either oblivious of how lowly he is rated or that he has donned the garb of a mischief-maker who does not care about the damage his crude, uncouth or destructive behaviour and utterances wreak on his society.
Dealing with such menace is as easy as it is difficult. It is easy to simply take on the person and match him or her with constant exposition of the character flaws in the person. My people are wont to say that if your opponent is mouthy, you too should have the pace to move around to neutralise the poison in his verbiage. Bi ara ile eni ba l’enu, awa na a l’ese, as the Yoruba would say.
But they are also difficult to manage because once the strategy of containing such people is faulty, they can run riot with their mouths and behave like a bull in a China (glassware) shop, who can smash whatever is in sight. In my little sojourn on earth, I haved encountered such people in politics who earned notoriety and sank into political irrelevance and obscurity. Cynically but very aptly, such people are derisively called “Maadaru-Adinni” or “Janba-foriti” or “Monafiki” in the political circles in our clime.
They profit from the confusion and the crisis they precipitate, but their joy is usually short-lived because a bad or evil deed cannot endure forever.
Flip to the next chapter. Since the passing to immortality of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a two-time head of state of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has striven more than any living Nigerian to fill the void created by Awo’s death as the conscience of the nation.
I love Obasanjo for his native intelligence, his witticisms and his humour, even if wicked. But I dislike his style of making himself out as the only citizen in whom sanity and commonsense reside. Obasanjo, the President? He presided as the Emperor who brooked no nonsense and who did not spare the smallest of infractions. He was undoubtedly intolerant of criticisms and holds the unenviable record of truncating the tenure of more Senate Presidents than all his successors put together.
The self-styled democrat instigated the impeachment of elected governors within hours, either in the wee hours of the day or in the unholy hours of the night, observing all the norms and nuances of democracy in the breach. If one wants to be fair, all that Obasanjo is writing about Buhari are products of envy, jealousy and bad faith, and it needs no gainsaying that Obasanjo is a bad teacher who has nothing edifying to teach the electorate.
Like Fela once sang, let every Nigerian, in unison, tell the radically transformed Otta chicken-farmer on the forthcoming presidential election: “Teacher don’t’ teach us nonsense.”