The legend of Comrade ‘Chu’
By Mohammed Adamu
Before he was made Minister –or ‘Secretary’ as the novelty then was-, in the post-June Twelve contraption that had also in it Shonekan answering to HOG or Head of Government, Comrade Uche Chukwumerije, the now bellicose, warmongering, two-time Senator from Abia, was a ‘comrade’ in the frugal sense of the word: famished-looking, austerely-dressed and definitely seeming unable to wait for the littlest nourishment to recant old, non-provident ideologies.
Chukwumerije came into office clad in an all-purpose, virtually all-time ideological safari sewn evidently from a material that looked like a cross between tough Army khaki and a base imitation of Police trampoline. In fact many argued that at the time he came into Government, Uche did not actually wear his own beard; he was, on the contrary, worn by his own ideological goatee.
His task as ‘Secretary’ for Information was to bear the ‘gong’ and to sing the nunc dimities of June 12 while drumming up support for a diarchical contraption that was itself self-reprobating if not by the fact of its inherent contradiction, at least by the unconscionable presence in it of conscienceless renegades and ideological ‘repents’ like Chuhwumerije who, for a measly potage, were ready to throw a lifetime of progressive radicalism in aid of the subversion of the peoples will.
And you know what Government here has always been: a ‘fattening house’ especially for new arrivals; or some sort of osmo-regulatory supper machine that moves nourishment from areas of high concentration to anemic zones of low acidity. And so it did not take long before our ‘Comrade’ become the proud bearer of his own ‘beards’ and not the veritable malnourished ‘yoyo’ hitherto wagged by it!
And now too he could sew some more pairs of his safari-styled suits, -from less-tackier materials; plus he was now turgid enough to make appreciable gaping wounds on the defiant effigy of the phantom of June 12 that was the object of his ministerial appointment.
I remember the late maverick musician, Fela, although not averse to his daily fill of weeds, still had the requisite equanimity of mind not to miss Chukwumerije’s sudden transformation from a ‘peoples comrade’ to a fattened ‘come-raid’-he-goat of the military establishment.
In his uniquely ingenious play on words Fela, remarked that Chukwumerije’s ideological summersault was a fait accompli predestined by the horology of his own multi-syllabic name ‘C-h-u-k-w-u-m-e-r-i-j-e’: that the ‘comrade’, before he came into government was, ‘Chukwu mi o ri je’ or ‘I no see chop’; and that by the time he got settled in government, he had transformed into ‘Chukwu mo ri je’ meaning ‘now I don see chop’.
And so from mere fascination with the idea of turning the coat against a lifetime of ideological celibacy to a convoluted conviction in the rump and orgy of sexing up the fats of the land, Chukwumerije found new passion. And for the irresistible oomph and aphrodisiac of this libidous land of plenty, he was more than ready to play the Principal antagonist of the freest and fairest election and to thrust himself as the Persecutor-in-Chief of June 12vers.
In fact the ‘comrade’, who had spiritedly defended his despicable anti-democratic role as purely the proprietary calling of Information Management- which licenses even advocacy for the ‘devil’, insisted his professional diligence should not constitute a blot on his ideological escutcheon -that he remained not only a ‘comrade’ but one in arms with the people!
And which he was to prove soon with the procurement of a Military Decree ‘outlawing’ the mere ‘mention’ –remember?- of ‘June Twelve’ anywhere in Nigeria! The same ‘Senator’ Chukwumerije who now sits at the very parliament that the blood of the martyrs of the very ‘democracy’ he had helped to sex up, had fountained!
“More pity”, Shakespeare said “that the eagle should be mewed while kites and buzzards prey at liberty.” I remember in an unpublished satiric Anniversary piece I wrote titled ‘To hell with June 12’, I said “Now it is taking us two solid years to appreciate the good ferment in the wisdom of Chu… As a matter of fact patriots like us who saw beyond the stunted beards of the ‘comrade’ had advised that those idle diviners and marabous on our national pay roll be poured onto the streets to do what Caesar, for all his vaunted might, could not do, namely ‘find the mind’s construction on the face’ -weed Nigeria of June-twelvers!
This was the Chukwumerije we are talking about; then touted a priced and paid piper of the ‘Northern oligarchy’ and who was then only too happy to play the old syllabic tunes of war to give hard times to an old foe, the colluding, anti-Biafran Wild Wild West that helped in chocking the jugular of the secessionist East.
And maybe it is not only his multi-syllabic name that is pre-fated to shift with the changing flow of the ‘nourishing times’ like the late Fela had joked; if you have been observing this sadistic, stone-faced, bigoted, ethnic jingoist, Chukwumerije, you can tell the shameless fawning coquetry of a covetous coward who seeks opportune moments to give war-mongering oratory that caste him in the mold of the reverent Dim Ojukwu, but who, in the scramble for political office, would cringe before the toe-nails of toddler-upstarts like Orji Uzor Kalu.
You saw him at the Oputa Panel dressed in his most anti-Northern war-attires; you heard him spew verbal ‘canons’ in anti-Northern tirade; and in the end it took an unassuming, no attention-seeking Barrister Mustapha Wali to expose the nimble wit in the balding head of this ethnic hate-monger and perverter of truth!
Why do you think Barrister Wali said to him while in the dock “I put it to you Comrade that you are a hemoglobal contrapter”, -meaning one in whom ‘lying’ sits right in the hemoglobin of his blood? The North does not have to waste any time proving ‘Chukwu-mo ri je’ a liar even on his recent attention-seeking verbiage on Boko Haram.