ColumnsSteve Nwosu

Miracles are everywhere, By Steve Nwosu

 This week, I will endeavour to avoid political commentary. It would be a miracle, but I will try. So help me God!

And, talking of miracles, Gospel singer Yinka Ayefele is not a stranger to miracles. In fact, that he is alive today is, in itself, a miracle. So, I guess, he would not be taken aback by the miracle that saw bulldozers emerge from nowhere, in the ungodly hours of last Sunday, to pull down his Music House complex in Ibadan, a building at the Ring Road area of the Oyo State capital which housed the studios of his popular (and, maybe, pesky) Fresh FM radio station.

The demolition was a miracle, because, as the state government counsel would unabashedly tell the court a few hours later, it was not done by the same Oyo State government that had served Ayefele notice of the demolition on the property. So who dunnit? Well, since we’re not in a military regime, we cannot honestly blame the ‘unknown soldier’. Or, maybe, they were ‘unknown bulldozers? Luckily, it turned out that the lawyer was representing himself on this one score. For his clients, the OYSG, soon issued a statement to rubbish the lawyer’s claim, and accept full responsibility for the impunity of the the small hours of that black Sunday.

Yes, even though the bulldozers’ actions may have presented the very worst form of un-’Constituted Authority’, they had the fullest backing of the ‘constituted authority’ in Ibadan. Yes! The same authority which had been collecting all due taxes and rates and levies on the said, but which suddenly realized that the property was in violation of subsisting Building Laws. The same constituted authority which had praised the enterprise and sheer doggedness of Yinka Ayefele, and had (about five years ago) tried to make political capital of how it had to resist insider pressures to pull down the building – opting, instead, to adjust the road plan in the area to accommodate the now vexatious property.

Yinka Ayefele, at his demolished structure

Of course, I believe both the lawyer and the governor. We live in an age where Attorneys-General function independent of their presidents and governors. We live in an age where Inspectors General of Police, Secretaries to the Government of the Federation, Security advisers, NNPC bosses, Customs bosses, EFCC bosses, ministers and all manner of presidential aides (without fear of repercussions) allegedly take one brief from their principal, and go on to do the exact opposite of what the principal directed. If we’ve believed these tales all along, then we must also believe this newest tale.

So, in keeping with the strange times we live in, it is actually not impossible that the bulldozers either had a mind of their own, or misinterpreted the governors body language – body language which had left nobody in doubt that the authority would not be too unhappy if something untoward happened to the pesky radio station – or even its wheelchair-confined owner.

Yes, some overzealous aide probably wanted to please Oga with a not-too-surprise gift  – just like King Herod presented John the Baptist’s head on a platter to the beautiful daughter of his concubine, Herodias. Of course, it appeared to the drunk and overfed crowd that the ‘present’ was for the dancing daughter, and not her scheming mother. But those who were in the know had no doubt about who wanted the preacher-man beheaded. It is the same way many men would swear by their manhood that the demolition had more to do with perceived adversarial political stance than any Building Laws. Unless, of course, those laws were from the infamous Malawian constitution of Kamuzu Banda’s.

However, something tells me that the Oyo State Government (OYSG) had actually thought that the initial idea of denying responsibility would fly. But when it didn’t, the government had to own-up to the show of shame – albeit in discordant utterances. While it was on one hand denying that the impunity and resort to self-help had nothing to do with the subsisting court case that seemed set to give the Music House some relief on the planned demolition, the state governor, on the other hand, justified the action by rhetorically asking if being physically challenged was a licence for lawlessness. Gov. Ajimobi even likened Ayefele to an armed robber, when he, in trying to puncture the argument that many jobs had been demolished with the demolition of the radio house, further asked: “Do we now allow an armed robber to continue robbing, simply because he employs some people to work for him?’

But, before we conclude wrongly, let’s wait for the ‘high-power’ investigation committee that would be set up to uncover ‘the immediate and remote causes’ of the demolition of Yinka Ayefele’s property by unknown persons. Story for the gods!


… The real miracle

I had a rather sobering experience, last weekend, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, at the presentation of Prince Emeka Obasi’s latest book, Saved For His Praise.

The book, of miracles, chronicled, the Hallmark Publisher’s literal and figurative journey to the grave and back, as he battled a strange ailment which the best doctors in UK, US, South Africa and Nigeria have still not been able to put a name to. It talks about how the author is still living today, in near defiance of all medical predictions. It could only be a miracle.

But Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, medical doctor and immediate past governor of Ondo State, who wrote the foreword to the book, took the narrative a notch higher – talking about how we can really make our own miracles as a nation, if we could get our politics right. How we could make medical miracle, infrastructural miracle, economic miracle etc.

There, Mimiko also reminded us that the fact that Nigeria has continued to exist as a country, despite all our violations of it, is in itself a miracle.

It was August 18th, the eve of the anniversary of the death of Dr. Stella Adadevoh, who physically put herself on the line to restrain the Liberian envoy, who brought Ebola into Nigeria, from leaving the Obalende, Lagos, hospital and heading to the Synagogue Church (for miracle cure), where he could have probably infected some 20,000 more people with the deadly virus. The thought of what could have happened continues to send cold shivers down my spine. And it further underscores the miracle that was the life, death and sacrifice of Dr. Adadevoh. that, to me, is the real miracle.


…And the other miracles

By some miracle I have attended church service for three Sundays in a row now – which, in itself is a big miracle. But God has refused to stop embarrassing me with favours. Which is why I still believe in miracles!

However, I saw – live and direct, a big miracle in church penultimate Sunday. I sat behind this wonderful family and couldn’t stop wondering how God works.

Every member of the family of six – man, wife and four children, was as black as your average South Sudanese, except the mother, who was fairer than any mulatto out of Brazil.

How come all this yellowness of the woman could not rub off, even a little, on any of her four children? I thought fairness was a strong trait – like height – in genes?

How come more and more ‘yellow’ women are having children as black as leech?

Then, I remembered that it might have to do with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.Although I have never believed that theory, I’m beginning to have a second mind. I suspect women, these days, are born very black, but as the little girls grow up, and begin to know (and chop) what their mothers know, the blackness gradually begins to ‘maintain, tone, fade, and ultimately, whiten, and finally vanishes – to give way to a new mulatto woman.

The process moves faster if the ladies happen to find their way into Nollywood – moreso, in Africa Magic Yoruba.

Of course, it’s not bleaching. God forbid! Bleaching is for those local women who mix medicated soap with Neomedrole and end up with botched, burnt, and carbuncled skins – with patches of green, black, grey, brown, red, and variegated skin hues, after a few years of use. At other times, the skins look like those of embalmed corpses, pumped with formaldehyde. At best of times, they look like they just survived a thunder strike. An aborted burnt offering! Probably, to the goddess of inferiority complex.

No! Those are not the new-age mulatto. These ones are complete Oyinbo – showing none of those tell-tale black knuckles, knees and ankles of their  forerunners. Even Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of blessed memory would be wondering whatever happened to the Fanta face and Coke leg phenomenon. The man-made mulattoes of today are all Fanta. All Yellow. It’s a miracle! And miraculously, they still end up birthing very black kids. Children! They just don’t know how to keep our secret secret.




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