JOE is our dude. He is one of the few great men of our epoch, who we may risk meeting without wearing sanitary gloves and other protective gears. And if you asked the reason is simple. Nigerian greatness is like saints as created by the English hack, George Orwell. They are all guilty, indexed toxic and contaminative, until proven otherwise. So our precautionary measure is to serve the world better by never letting this genus of Nigerians infest us with their other-species, or zoonotic diseases, greatness, and what not. Let them go, let them go with their greatness. Their greatness only comes into being by diminishing their nation, by tarring the human kind.
But good ole Joe is a good dude, a man of some elemental parts. Despite his fiery and sometimes pained mien, ole Joe is actually a clubbable type. And to his credit and quite unlike others, he has never been seen, or sinned, drunken, at least not with power. He is one of the rare kind you can share not just froths but smiles with, and not get poisoned with ego, diseased egos. So last time we met we didn’t only share handshakes, we traded embraces, yes embraces, if we remember well. With age alone assaulting, one must be forgiven for his weakening or lapses of memory.
And Joe writes well and passionately and prolifically. But like Lenin once said of G.B. Shaw, Joe sometimes reminds one of the good man who is fallen amongst the Fabians. Well we are not Lenin and Joe is not a Shaw, so we will adapt things. Joe a great man in his own right has his Fabianism in the concept of confounding photography with history, evidence with logic. And nothing revealed this more than his recent essay: Can the Igbo People Play Opposition Politics in Nigeria for 10 Years?
Well as is traditional to the tenets we hold dear, it is proper we don’t hit a man, a Joe, when he is down. It is a known fact that we are all afflicted, sometimes with malaria, sometimes with loss of memory, sometimes with too much passion and errors of analysis. So we kept our peace when we read the troubled piece by good ole Joe. Our hope was that before eternity closes in on us, we are likely to run into him and talk up the matter, sharing smiles and draught. We had planned to ask if that piece was a matter of deliberate spin or just inadvertent error of analysis, a slip of concentration.
But before the passage of time could mount or our enemies fired the assassins’ shot, Punch newspapers carried and amplified the piece in a report – Igbo should play opposition for 10 years —Igbokwe, by Toluwani Eniola, August 5, 2015.
That is technically the matter has left Joe and taken on a life of its own. So we owed our readers and Nigerians a duty to clarify things. The details are as follows: Joe’s first and foundational error is in his confounding photographic verification with historical compositions. So he equates the ability of the camera to record, with the genius of the eyes to discern and composite with the brains for interpretation. That is while the human eye is in system’s collaboration with a brain box – your brain – the camera is only eyes and has no such graces. Thus its photographic veracity is not and does not confer interpretative integrity. To have photographed is like to have unclothed the proud virgin. You must not then leave the rest to your imagination. As Friedrich Schiller, the German dramatist, called out, you must set forth at the dawn of chance and things, humiliate the proud virgin or data, and give her a child. Ole Joe that is the lore even if not the law of the land. Ahiazuwa.
This is important and the fact of its failure, has afflicted compositional thesis making in Nigeria. And here Joe and the Punch amplifier are charged and pronounced guilty, but with suspended sentences, each according to his acts, scenes or sins. To repeat, photographic evidence is not historical conclusion. Like we say in Zen Buddhism, I once traded in Taipei, photographic evidence is like the finger pointing to the moon. The finger is not the moon, is not Buddha.
The other details: Now Joe claims the Yoruba has been in opposition since 1966. Nothing could be furtherer from the truth. Even if we adjusted for the democratic spell of pre-1967 years, the facts, the eye-brain composite facts as they are, are that the Yoruba are with the north the founders, designers, shakers, creators, finishers, makers, veto wielders… of present day Nigeria and its structures. It is the two who turned Nigeria, a republic, into a dynastic hole. And they created, perhaps not mentally thinking it out, the G2 Security Council power architecture. They made Nigeria an empire not a nation state.
But to understand the so called Yoruba opposition we need to go to Saudi Arabia first but not on hajj. Currently the King of the Saudi kingdom, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is consolidating all power into his branch of the family tree. He is thus marginalizing [and or putting into opposition]the rest of the ruling house or the iwarefas, as the Yoruba will call the princes of the house. The iwarefas alone, not the ogbonis, are on the line of succession. The ogbonis are actually a guild of viziers, a technocracy, trading knowledge for power. The ogbonis are not part of the princes of the house, the successors to the throne, the iwarefas. The ogbonis are brilliant commoners, just like the religious police in Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabis. They don’t rise, and or are not raised to be kings, they are raised to be in perpetual, albeit official opposition. These things are important. If you may recall ole Joe, please do about what happened on the invasion of the holy site at Mecca  and the iwarefa-ogboni consequences that followed… ISIS, Boko Haram, et al.
Now in the Saudi kingdom, the non-Salman iwarefas are up in arms, in what may be termed official opposition. But their opposition is not that the kingdom which is anachronistic be democratized. Their opposition is that they are out, temporarily, but want in eternally. So they will and prefer the G2-like dictatorship of family and religious police, of iwarefas and ogbonis, to go on rather than have a democracy, rather than have Saudi Arabia develop or modernize. That is it is purely the internal affairs of power and powerful princes and their branches of the ruling houses, of the princes of the house, the iwarefas, and not even the ogbonis. The non-ruling iwarefas and the ogbonis can only go into official opposition. They can’t afford to risk their unearned and sumptuous retainer-ships, their vast sinecures, to propagate genuine opposition. They are already promoters and part of the lot, even if the best of the rot.
They know that in any root and branch reform the people will gain and recover their country, which is the loot of the iwarefas and the ogbonis. So things in their essences are more complicated than the eye of the camera or APC can capture.
So the Yoruba, [actually a wing, the dominant wing, as it can’t be the whole of them]are like the non-ruling houses, the prince electors, who believe and in fact insist on kingdom powers however retrogressive and or oppressive it is. They have a stake and have profiteered in the tyranny, in the present structure, after all they set it up on purpose. That it latter failed in purpose is another matter. But one historical, even camera certainty, is that it is this conservative and dominant ruling wing of the Yoruba and the northern counterparts that set up modern Nigeria as is. In that sense it is wrong to claim that the Yoruba have given up on their creation, the modern monstrous Nigeria, to go into opposition save fanciful or specious opposition. Till they confess it is an error, they can’t reconstruct it.
This could be similar to what happens in the Sokoto caliphate if we are to believe historians. The Dasuki family are a marginalized sub-imperial branch, but are dedicated and ardent royalists all the same. (In the 100 odd reign of the caliphate they have only produced one sultan in ‘highly structured’ circumstances). Their opposition is not to the structure, but to their share of the exclusive power loot. If you made a Dasuki a sultan, he rise to the occasion and throne.
This is in part what explains the fraud that is June 12. It was an intra-dynastic power struggle amongst the G2 and more importantly, to determine who is iwarefa and who is ogboni. While in the power configuration of the ancient Oyo Empire, the iwarefa-ogboni duopoly was succinctly spelt out, the Gowon-Awolowo G2 protocol, left so much in doubt, in draft, inchoate and unratified draft. That is to say that June 12 had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Nigeria and the rest of us. Our damages and or benefits are collateral not looped in. We and or the rest of us are the intended game, the very quarry. We survive because they failed. Thus it is really some glory to God that June 12 happened. Otherwise the purpose was to consolidate the political, complete political disenfranchisement of others. MKO Abiola as opportunist, hinted on this dark mission as he dismissed Arthur Nzeribe, that the Igbo are not required in matters of the nation’s higher destinies; that Nigeria as their loot and fallen elephant, is for the winners of the civil war.
It is the same logic that Awolowo and Gowon concluded on, the political minoritization of the Igbo and the rest of them. They actually turned Nigeria, a republic into an empire state. But not known to them empires, are by their logic, inherent logic, founded to be destroyed. That is the very logic of an empire demand its unravelling, Buddha warned and Nietzsche affirmed. So, all the troubles and bloodshed, not excluding Boko Haram, going on is actually, how to unravel the empire state Gowon and Awolowo built.
And we almost forgot, ole Joe, our dude has a surname, and a forwarding address: Joe Igbokwe, the spin doctor to the APC in Lagos. Ahiazuwa.