Wednesday, April 17, 2013

KARE JINI BIRI JINI: The Buhari Apocalypse

The words of Buhari were misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately, to entertain the Nigerian public with a sensational story that will keep the presently near-static mill of public opinion running A fight between the dog and the baboon must be one of those very rare encounters in the Animal Kingdom. Animals fight over territory, food, mates, and in defence of their lives, or of their young. It is very hard to foresee the two animals fighting over any of the above because on most of items, the paths of the two animals hardly cross.

In Africa and particularly in Hausaland where this near impossible idea was contrived as a proverb, such a fight can only happen under the influence of man when in hunting he sets the dog to catch the baboon or its baby. In that case, that fight would surely be one to witness. The dog uses its power of speed and strong canine teeth, the baboon his powerful shoulders, limbs, claws, hands, and under extreme conditions, his teeth. And this condition is extreme – a fight for his life or that of his baby. So we better assume that the baboon will deploy his entire arsenal.

The camera of kare jini biri jini Hausa proverb often pictures a very fierce and inconclusive fight between two contenders. We can picture the dog first barking incessantly, with its jaws wide open hoping to scare the baboon into submission. The well-built baboon, on the other hand, is not a coward. He would not jump up the trees to escape the attacking dog; he would not fly. He turns wild too, flexing his muscles, beating his wide chest and destroying the surrounding shrubs to intimidate the dog. He jumps at a branch, breaks it and hurls it at the dog, but the carnivore remains recalcitrant under the command of his master, barking,  … and now ready to charge. And the fight ensues and continues for several minutes and, perhaps, hours…

The Future of News in my Community

 I live and work on the Lagos Island, a community that is webbed in on all sides by an overflowing lagoon and a raging Atlantic ocean, all in Lagos state, the former capital of Nigeria and the country’s commercial nerve centre. From my daily interface with the community and my professional experience as a Journalist, it is deducible that the future of news in my community is telephony.

Lagos is, by most estimates, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world as it is currently experiencing a population increase of about 275,000 persons per annum. In 1999 the United Nations predicted that the city's metropolitan area, which had only about 290,000 inhabitants in 1950, would exceed 20 million by 2010 and thus become one of the ten most populated cities in the world. 

Further statistics reveal that with 3, in size and a population figure of 19, 292,522 (as at 2009) in Lagos, there is a huge spectrum of wealth distribution among the people that reside in Lagos. It ranges from the very wealthy to the very poor. Lagos has attracted and continues to attract many young people and families seeking a better life from all parts of Nigeria and beyond. In this cosmopolitan milieu, the imperatives of communication cannot be oversimplified hence information dissemination remains a huge and thriving aspect of daily existence in the state.

Unforgettable Ameh-Oboni

Attah Ameh-Oboni‘s memory is still very alive in Idah, more than five decades after his passing.
The recent installation of Idakwo Michael Ameh-Oboni as the new Attah-Igala naturally makes many     to recall his father who reigned as Attah Igala between 1946 and 1956.It is really hard to think of one and not remember the other, because, quite naturally, they bear the same surname, and the mind has a remarkable way of linking both. Again, at his recent installation in Idah, the excited townspeople referred to a statement uttered by the Attah’s late father that Igalaland won’t see development until Michael Ameh-Oboni, the son of Ameh-Oboni, sits on the throne as Attah-Igala.

Today, some 57 years later and in partial fulfillment of those words, this has come to pass. Thus the ascension to the throne of a son of Ameh Oboni at the present time is an event of great significance to many in Igalaland. People speak of a fresh burst of development which would soon ripple across the land. Ameh-Oboni was an Attah gifted in many ways, and some say that he was a powerful clairvoyant, and had a connection with the forces of nature. Events in the life and reign of Ameh-Oboni seem to confirm this impression of his being a gifted One. Witness: On one occasion an Eagle swooped and picked a chick from the ground. Ameh-Oboni who was present spoke out and ordered the Eagle to return the Chick, which it immediately did to the surprise of many. Such tales are very popular in Idah today. Another popular account holds that he made a tree to wither within a day when he spoke to it. Other  traditions  speak of him banishing barreness  and witchcraft from Igalaland, which he did with a powerful volition as well as the  sheer strength of the spoken word. At the heart of all these feats was a desire by the Attah to use his gifts to help his people, whether it be by  the means of banishing witchcraft, or helping women out of barreness,or  tackling some other looming problem. In sum, he put his gifts at the service of his people.