#LekkiMassacre : BUHARI AND SANWO-OLU, THOSE YOUTHS CALLED YOU FATHER!
The story of Ikemefuna is unarguably one of the most memorable and pathetic episodes of Achebe’s classic novel, Things Fall Apart. Before Ikemefuna’s ‘gone-too-soon’ death, Ogbuefi Ezeudu directed Okonkwo thus: “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death. .. I want you to have nothing to do with it. He calls you his father.” Ezeudu, a reverred elder of Umuofia, advised Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel, the same way several opinion leaders in Nigeria and the world advised the Nigerian government in relation to the peaceful protesters.
Like Okonkwo, Buhari is a national leader, the Nigerian president, and for the second time. Again, like Okonkwo who fought in several intertribal wars, Buhari is (was? No!) a soldier turned politician, who fought in the Nigerian Civil War. Moreover, Buhari, like Okonkwo is “not a man of many words.” The boy in question is Ikemefuna, Okonkwo’s surrogate son, condemned to death by the Oracle of Hills and Caves, for the sins of his clan. Did Okonkwo listen to Ezeudu’s counsel? How can he? Like Buhari, he has no ears. When he could have stayed at home, Okonkwo joined the soldiers assigned to execute his son Ikemefuna. As they marched to the execution ground, the poor boy read the body language of the armed men in mufti, like many in government read Buhari’s and officers of SARS operate without uniforms. Ikemefuna suspected a foul play and ran towards his father shouting “my father they have killed me. … Okonkwo drew his matchet and cut him down. He was afraid of being called weak.” Is this not similar to what is happening in Nigeria at present?
The youths of Nigeria felt uncomfortable with the police assigned by the government to protect them. Why? Because instead of protecting them they are slaughtering them like chickens. They ran to their fathers, Buhari and Sanwo-Olu, shouting “father, they have killed us.” And what did they get? Soldiers’ bullets! Not rubber bullets! Not water cannons! Live bullets! Are live bullets not usually reserved for enemies of the state and external aggressors? On Tuesday, 20/10/20, fathers sent soldiers to shoot their children point blank at night at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
The natural judgement for such unforgivable heinous crime is delivered through Okonkwo’s closest friend, Obierika. It reads: “… What you have done will not please the Earth. It is the kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families.” As Obierika prophesied, Okonkwo ended disastrously. First, he committed a “female ochu” by inadvertently killing a clansman. Guess who and where? Ezeudu’s son at Ezeudu’s funeral! It could be Ikemefuna’s blood speaking out the Earth’s displeasure. Okonkwo’s punishment? Exile. Seven years! He, thus, lost his lofty position in Umuofia. After the seven years, he came home but the Earth goddess has not been appeased and Ikemefuna’s blood has not been silenced. Okonkwo killed a white man’s kotma; not inadvertently this time. Not ready to dance to the drumbeats of the white man, the ‘big man’ hung himself on a tree in a small bush behind his house. Obierika, who earlier delivered the judgement on behalf of the Earth goddess, again summarized Okonkwo’s life thus: “That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia … he will be buried like a dog …” Okonkwo’s body was thrown into the evil forest, as a repulsive object of an abomination.
How can the response of Buhari and Sanwo-Olu to the Tuesday peaceful protest please the Earth? Have they not attracted profound condemnation to their families, who by the way, are living in obscene opulence, thanks to stupendous wealth stolen from our common purse? The Earth has been violated by the blood of the protesting youths gunned down by soldiers. The land is polluted all over again. Can’t you hear the heart-breaking wailings of Mother Earth? She will surely rise in anger. She that paid Okonkwo his just wages is still around. The blood and sweat of these young men and women are smelling strongly all over Nigeria. The blood of the murdered peaceful protesters will not cry for mercy but for vengeance because they died angry, disappointed, ignored, abused and in agony. This government has murdered sleep and will sleep no more. He who lives by sword shall definitely die by sword.