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.