Wednesday, 17 April 2013

So General Abacha is Still Alive

What killed Abacha? A heart attack? Duh! Late General Sanni Abacha was killed by a mixture of things. He was killed by Poisoned Apple and Indian Sex and Viagra Overdose and Death itself. Though Abacha had a humble beginning and was not even a well-educated military officer, he rose into power strategically and lived his life as though he were a brother-in-law to the devil. But when his disregard for divine grace reached its peak, he became a public puppet. His name became an object of comic the instant he died.

I did not know people would love to hear of his death that much. Of course, I am aware that he was a prayer point in many religious gatherings, but his death topped the testimony list. The day Abacha died, I was in the market place with my maternal grandmother. As usual, we had gone to the market to buy foodstuffs. We were still there when the news of the Black-goggled General’s death hit the radio waves. Without warning, all the market women grew jubilant. They noised the whole market with the news of a much-awaited death. Nursing mothers threw their babes into the air; some of them had fasted steadily for his death. The male traders started an impromptu party; many of them had struggled to survive during his existence. Little children played hide-and-seek; they had to participate in the celebrations too. The youth drew ridiculous cartoons of Abacha’s face and hung them above their parents’ stalls; they dare not do it during his lifetime. The elderly exposed their brownish teeth with beaming smiles; they had confessed his death upon empty stomachs for many years. Many prisoners were happy; they had been arrested for unfounded reasons and imprisoned without any presence in the court of law.
Just then, I realised that Abacha was a man of influence. The man Abacha had taken the state’s money and put them away in many foreign banks. He had bought a GSM license and was planning to be the one and only Mike Adenuga of the Nigerian telecom industry. He had forced all the opinionated icons in the worst prisons and shut the reckless truth-tellers up with the piercing of fast-moving bullets. He had immortalised himself beyond the judgement of men. No one could ask questions freely or raise solidarity placards in public. If you were a business tycoon and wanted to remain prosperous in Abacha’s time, you had to be on the same page with him; perhaps, worship him and pay obeisance to his idols. Abacha reminds me of the rich fool who informed his heart to merry because he had saved up treasures enough for his lifetime.

The last time I saw the General’s image, I was at the National Art Gallery in Iganmu, Lagos. Thanks to arts promotion, I had to pay just Twenty Naira to see his face again. He was waiting for me in one of the inner chambers. He looked smart and intelligent in his dignifying military uniform. His tribal marks were still sharp and intact. And I could almost tell he wanted to wink at me but couldn’t. On the other side where he really is, they don’t let you wink. They don’t let you eat apples or take Viagra capsules or import comely women. They don’t even let you drink pure (or sachet) water. They only let you have the feeling of an ever-running microwave oven set to maximum heat.
But Abacha is still alive. I see him everyday. I see his spirit in active operation. I see him in traffic where he makes life difficult for hundreds of other road users. I see him in public government offices where he demands bribe before carrying out his official duties. I see him in families where he abandons his wife and kids and chase after shallow aristobabes and dippy concubines. I see him in politics where he attends various shrines kneeling and learning incantations before standing on public podiums to utter sweet lies to the electorates. I see him in hidden places where he is sponsoring manslaughter and throwing bomb parties for selfish reasons. He goes everywhere. He might even be your next-door neighbour.
Abacha died in 1998 but he is still alive. He lives in the hearts of men and women and manifests in the dealings of several Nigerians. There is a website celebrating his lifestyle. Now, that you know what the new Abacha looks, what are you going to do about him? Are you going to let him corrupt you? Or, are you go down on your knees and do something about him?
Abacha (noun): a person that operates under a spirit or evil anointing that makes them embezzle public funds, blackmail and corrupt their subordinates, lavish treasured funds on gigolos, prostitutes and sex hawkers, orchestrates the murder of innocent people and harm anyone who questions their unquestionable authority.