By Mohammed Adamu
I WROTE a piece about four years ago, which was at once a eulogy, a lamentation and a prophesy. And it is for the virtual fulfillment of that prophesy last Tuesday, by the Buhari Administration that I think it auspicious to revisit and serve you my ‘ODE TO MKO: A PARODY OF SHAKESPEARE’. Enjoy it.
‘We will not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us. This day, the 12th of June, shall be our day of the ‘Feast of Saint Crispian’. Our version of the martyrdom of the Saints of abnegation. This is the day about which the supremest sacrifice was paid, by ‘one’ so that the tree of our democracy may thrive. Hopefully the day will come when any that shall witness this day will, yearly remind his neighbours and his friends; saying to them ‘this is the day that the gods of ‘democracy’ hath made. Then will he strip his sleeves and show, if he has, the scars of struggle and say with pride ‘these wounds I had in defense of June 12’. Or at least he should tell the story that he knows; or the tale that he had been told, about this historic day of June 12, the ghost of which will know no rest, till it be appeased with the validation of its mandate and the recognition of the martyrdom of its hero, MKO.
The poisoned chalice
On the 12th day of June, a mandate was given; by the ‘many’ to one worthy of the peoples’ trust. He was a ‘man of the people’. He was a ‘peoples’ man’. The great MKO. My Principal. My liege; and my mentor. The ‘freest and fairest election’, in unison everyone had said; and on account of which states to states, region to region, zone by zone, all in league of amity, were ready to chart a new dawn for people and country, where ‘though tribe and tongue may have differed, in brotherhood yet we would have stood’. But just then came the off-key note that jarred the hymn of vaunted harmony. The ‘freest’, ‘fairest’ election, soon was cowardly annulled; and the innocent winner cruelly put to jail. And on the 8th day of July after years in their gilded jail, the great MKO was felled at last. Assassinated.
For daring to win an election. But that was not even as ironic, as the fact that my Principal breathed his last right before ‘visiting’ secret diplomatic agents of the world’s pre-eminent Policeman, America. Yes, Abiola died in the shadows of the omni-hearing, eagle-eyed one, Uncle Sam. But ‘Big Brother’ Sam, for all his vaunted fame, of ‘seeing’ beyond the limits of sight, and of ‘hearing’ beyond the ken of all decibels, on this very day of infamy when my Principal was felled, Uncle Sam said he saw no evil and that he heard no evil.
Yet all discerning minds had known, that between Uncle Sam’s merchants of death and our own killer agents of State, a lot had been kept mum, and a lot left unsaid. For how could a prisoner who for years had endured the agony of incarceration, brazing the harangues of operatives of State, how could such a one suddenly die only a couple of minutes to freedom’s gate? How could a prisoner hale and hearty just a while ago, soon lay dead after a hot, steamy cup of tea? And how could his felled body after such suspicious death, from all its hair follicles soon be drenched, in profuse sweat like, a petal wet in morning dew? No! A poisoned chalice was the ‘justice’ that my boss was finally served; for daring to ask that his mandate be restored. MKO was murdered in mock-appeasement of the ghost of the jackbooted, bespectacled one, Abacha; who had just pre-deceased him by a curious administration too, of poisoned ‘apples’. And so to even the score of Abacha’s eminent death, and in mollification of contending tribes and tongues, Abiola too they decided must go.
But this was the very top, the height, the crest or crest unto the crest, of murder’s arms; this was the bloodiest shame, the wildest savagery, the vilest stroke, that ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage presented to the tears of soft remorse. All murders past, do stand excused, and this, so unmatchable, shall give a holiness, a purity, to the yet un-begotten sin of times; and this shall prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest, when exampled by this heinous spectacle. The earth had not a hole to hide this heinous deed. Great men, Shakespeare wrote “often die by vile bezonians: A Roman sworder and banditto slave” he said “murdered sweet Tully; Brutus’ bastard hand stabbed Julius Caesar; savage islanders killed Pompey the great” and “Suffolk himself by pirates died”. My Principal the great MKO was felled by the army and politicians of his fatherland. Socrates corrupted the youth they had said; and by the compromised of a shameless Grecian judicial system, the hemlock he too was fed. But my Principal without a proper charge, other than lawfully winning a election, was baited to drink a poisoned tea. A thousand daggers they had hidden in their thoughts; which they had whetted to sharpness on their stony hearts.
The bogey of ‘May 29’
Soon the army of exigency had become the army of mischief. Avoiding remembrance of ‘June 12’ or recognition of the 8th of July. And they came up with a barren May 29 which they claimed was our ‘Democracy Day’. Between the ‘fig’, the ‘olive’ and the tree of ‘vine’, they chose the accursed tree of Jesus that bore no fruits. They chose May 29 in spite of ‘June 12’. What hath this day deserved? What hath it done that it, in golden letters should be set among the high tides in the calendar? If the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, June twelve is our ‘Democracy Day’. All too soon the political anti-christ has taken over the altar of our sacrifice; undeserving beneficiaries of the struggle have become architects of the new dawn; those with scars to show are mere parenthesis in the essay of our new democracy. All too soon night owls shriek where mountain larks should sing; and “more pity” as they say “that the eagle should be mewed while kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
When is our day of the feast of Saint Crispian? That day is not the 29th day of May! For none there is that day to strip his sleeves and show his scars, and say to the multitude: these wounds I had on May 29. That Day is either the 12th of the month of June when the historic election took place, or the 8th day of July when its winner was put to the scaffold. Between these days an icon was no sooner made than he was felled. Such a mighty rise, dogged so soon by so treacherous a fall!
But we grieve not, knowing that he died so that the essay of our new dawn may be made legible. Lie still in thy muted grave my liege MKO. Thy rest is nigh; thy repose will soon come. Thy tongue-less tomb will soon be laced with a waxen epitaph; and it shall proclaim: ‘Here lies the President who, in Heaven before the angels, took his oath; and posthumously on earth, is crowned ‘Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
Amen, and amen again!