By Godwin Etakibuebu
George Orwell, born Eric Author Blair in Motihari Bengal, India in 1930, wrote that powerful satire novel, Animal Farm, which was published in 1945. This book that has remained one of the best books ever written by any author in recent history spoke of that kingdom founded by a group of animals that needed freedom from the oppressive system of government of human beings. The kingdom created by the animals was based on equality and equity. However, with passage of time some animals became more equal than others.
It was an interesting narration about the metaphor of the Animal Kingdom as pigs and dogs later emerged as those animals that became more equal than others. Yes, pigs and dogs turned the table against all other animals in that kingdom. Come to think of it, George Orwell animals kingdom would have included predators like Lion, Tiger, Hyena, Leopard, Wolf and other killer-animals, yet it was pigs and dogs [all domestic animals] that planned a successful coup which turned the table against their equals.
Today’s exercise is not really about reviewing George Orwell’s book [Animal Farm]. It is to use this book as a mirror to view and re-identify those animals that became more equal. I was not too sure any more the names of those animals that took over the kingdom hence l had to go through the book again. I needed to convince myself that rat was included among the animals that became more equal than others. Alas, rats were never mentioned by the author in the book.
If rats were not given a place of honour in that book, how come Mallam Garba Shehu; President Muhammadu Buhari most senior Media Assistant – his image maker – would tell the whole world that “rodents and rats” overthrew the president from his office just after 104 days of absence from the office? Could it be true that the might of the rats’ kingdom in Nigeria is powerful to “overthrow” retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari from office?
Surely, I was scared on hearing the news about rodents and rats carrying out a successful “coup” against such a tough military officer with in-depth knowledge about coup plotting and execution. If anyone is in doubt, all such person need to do is to wind the hand of the clock back to the night of December 31, 1983, when the same Muhammadu Buhari overthrew the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, thereby putting an end to the Second Republic.
There must not be any argument about the perfection of General Buhari in coup making or not. Suffice to know and accept the fact of his emerging as the Military Head of State of that costly venture in 1983 as enough evidence of his versatility in the coup business. Still looking at the man’s background in evaluating the claim of Garba Shehu on this “overthrow” issue, let us cross-check one more fact.
Our own Maradona; the “evil genius” himself, former President Ibrahim Babangida, the man who pronounced himself “as a perpetual coupist” once admitted that he was involved in all coups, starting from 1966, “except the one of Dimka”. Given this admission, Babangida stands tall as first among equals when it comes to coup-de-tat matters. Yet, it took this knowledgeable coup plotter 20 months of planning and analyzing before he could overthrow General Muhammadu Buhari. The need of drawing this analogy is to re-evaluate the veracity and the sanity of Garba Shehu’s claim that a man General Ibrahim Babangida found most difficult to overthtrow until after 20 months of hard labour could now be “overthrown” by “rodents and rats” just after 104 days of absenteeism from office.
My fellow countrymen [whao! Does it remind you of some broadcasts in the past during the military era?], this is one lie taken too far into the realm of absurdity. Let us come to the real issue. President Buhari was joyfully welcomed back to Nigeria from medical holiday in the United Kingdom. He was away for exactly 102 days. For the whole 102 days, Garba Shehu did not tell Nigerians what the ailment of their president was as if they [Nigerians] that are paying the bill of the “holiday” never existed. There were too many things that Garba Shehu ought to have done for the image of his boss that he did not do.
While Nigerians were thanking God for preserving their President’s life, all that Garba Shehu could do was to tell Nigerians that the only reason the President adopted working from home, as against his office, was because “rodents and rats” invaded his office while he was away and, maybe, carted away every vital files that had to do with State’s secrets in addition to serious damage done to electrical gadgets.
Was it compulsory for Garba Shehu to talk? Wouldn’t it have been a path of wisdom and honour for this man to keep his mouth shut up? Would that not have been better than what he now faces as uncultured fool? Whatever name Shehu is called as a result of that terrible blunder, l may want to come to the conclusion that he brought it upon himself. He deserves the punishment of bashing he “enjoys” worldwide for now, including Mario Puzo [the celebrated author of The Godfather plus many other books]’ verdict of “Fools Die”.
However, l will like to draw the curtain by saying that when image makers become image destroyers, then there is urgent need for the Principal to re-evaluate the sagacity of his correct judgement in the issue of appointments. There are too many wolves and hyenas in this Lion’s kingdom, as attested and affirmed by the beautiful wife of the “Lion King” himself; Mrs Aisha Buhari, to allow “rodents and rats” capture the kingdom. Or is the Lion still sleeping? I pray the Lion does not sleep for too long because of the damage being done to his Kingdom by Garba Shehu’s rodents and rats.
Godwin Etakibuebu, a veteran journalist, wrote from Lagos.