BY MAIWADA DAMMALLAM – Nigeria is so ‘serious’ a nation that satire is as bad a ‘crime’ as treason. Counting the torrents of condemnation against Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s harmless satirical comment to the satirical post of Senator Shehu Sani, one could see why there’s always little energy left to deal with serious issues.
The Senator wrote about a satirical Animal Kingdom where the King; traditionally the lion, was away and the Hyenas and Jackals of the kingdom were having a ball hoping the King will be away forever. Mrs. Buhari picked it from there and commented that, though the ‘king’ – the lion – is away, he’s soon to be back and the party is going to be short lived. That’s all of it and all hell was let loose.
Nothing could be cheaper than Nigeria’s negative emotions, which could be provoked to boiling point by mere satire expressed in a clear metaphorical background. One is left mesmerised that, with all the different kinds of prefixes attached to names of our leaders, big men, practicing and dormant wannabes, who are constantly and consistently trying to outdo themselves in the art of pretentious claim to intellectual sophistication, the literature value of the combined metaphorical and satirical expressions as contained in Mrs. Buhari’s comment was either mischievously ignored or entirely lost.
Whereas ‘metaphor’ is a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used for one thing are applied to another while ‘satire’ is a way of using humour to depicts a situation or describe a person using words. So, what’s Mrs. Buhari’s crime for using literature to respond to literature? Are people in position of authority exempted from such privileges?
In case it’s a crime, why is Mrs. Buhari, a non-statutory factor in Nigeria’s power equation, isolated for punishment even it’s obvious she only participated in solving the equation while the Senator Shehu Sani, a statutory factor and author of the satire was left off the hook? Was it because the name ‘Buhari’ was part of the equation? I think that’s the most sensible explanation. President Buhari was himself a victim of antsy opposition. His metaphorical expression of “dogs and baboon” is still being held, even by the smartest dudes on the other side, with the seriousness of hanging to a life raft in a raging sea on moonless night.
So, let’s do it the elementary way. Is Nigeria an ‘Animal kingdom’? To you, may be, but certainly Mrs. Buhari is the last person to assume so for the simple reason that she went round the country with her husband and interfaced with Nigerians to know it’s a nation of good albeit, shortchanged people who she feels for to the point of supporting her retiree husband to jump back into the ring to slug it out for them.
Is President Buhari a ‘lion’? Yes, he is a metaphorical lion that kept metaphorical jackals and hyenas away from the waterholes of a metaphorical Animal Kingdom called Nigeria for the survival of the weak metaphorical animals of the kingdom.
The irony of it, all the debate on Mrs. Buhari’s metaphorical expression went on while few people care to partake in the debate to save a critical sector of the Nigerian economy, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). While some people where debating the ‘Animal Kingdom’, some good minded Nigerians were debating why Professor Usman Yusuf, the Executive Secretary of the scheme was suspended on trumped up allegations just after he exposed a Ponzi scheme in the NHIS through which over N300bn meant for the healthcare of the weaker ‘animals’ of the kingdom was stolen from the scheme without questions asked. Give your brain a sense of value and join the NHIS debate rather than burn brain fat debating literature.
– Maiwada Dammallam, writes from Abuja