Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jangebe’s Blues

(circa 2000, six years down the line, everything remains the same)
I cannot say for sure, if Buba Bello Kare Garke Jangebe has heard the Mississippi blues, but I’m almost certain he owns a short wave radio. It is also almost a forgone conclusion that he listens to the BBC, particularly the Hausa service. I can hazard a guess, he may have tuned into the station once and fortuitously found the blues playing. Maybe he liked it, and had wondered how he could replicate the sounds of the rhythm guitar on his Goje strings. To do this successfully, as a matter of course, he definitely needs his two hands and the fingers on those hands. Now, he will never be able to play the Goje again.

Denis Chatelier, the Frenchman that had his hands restored, on the other hand (yes, that is right, are we not talking of hands?), will be able to play the blues if he desires to play. The nails of his newly acquired limbs, I heard have started growing. The limbs from another (though departed), giving him a new zest for life. Denis lost his two arms in a firework accident in 1996, now he has a new set of limbs, if he likes, he shall play the blues all he wants. But being French, he may just be content with being able to pour himself a glass of red wine.

A tale of two cities you’ll say, and of two men, Jangebe of Gusau and Denis of Lyon. One city, enceinte with primordial norms, the other pushing at the frontiers of cutting edge science. And, yet, there is connection between these two cities, the one having to do with limbs. One cannot help, but be cynical. They say Zamfara state hardly generates enough revenue internally to service the running of government. Then, here lies a unique opportunity for earning more revenue for the state. Arms, legs and other body parts harvested from the theocratic state should be exported to countries requiring such, thus earning the much needed foreign exchange. If substantial quantities of such body parts are harvested, Zamfara may just be on its way to an economic ‘el-dorado’ , and consequently helping Nigeria to move away from the mono-product economy that has been her lot. The Zamafara state slogan becoming “Body-spares for sustainable development”.

There is this curious twist in the fate of these two men. They both had their limbs operated upon by doctors in hospitals. Doctors that swore to uphold the Hippocratic oath, to preserve the sanctity of life. For the doctors in France, I can certainly see that by restoring a person’s limbs, they were living up to their creed, not do for the doctor in Gasua. Anyway, at the end of the operations at the two sites, separated by space and time, but connected by limbs and history, both patients, raised both their hands, or in Jangebe’s case what was left of it, giving “thanks”. Denis with his arms raised appeared genuinely blissful and marveled at the feat of science that the doctors were able to accomplish. He was full of praises for the doctors that restored his arms. In Jangebe’s case, he thought himself a martyr, a man ‘Allah’ chose to proclaim his name and propagate his cause. He accepted his fate with religious resignation without any hatred for the doctor that perpetrated the crime of tearing of his right arm.

Denis, with the spirit of a fighter, will not resign to the caprices of fate. No. He would not be deterred by the freak of an accident, he believed he would make use of his hands again, and science gave him a set of new limbs. Jangebe, I suppose, has an unquestionable believe in an Imam’s version of religious ethics and the philosophy of the hereafter, even when such versions are warped, and the main thesis is fatalism. The plot in places like Zamfara, is for people like Jangebe’s to surrender their ability to think and to remain in a perpetual state of ignorance and servitude. Such people find ready use as soldiers in an ‘army of god’ whose sole purpose is to maintain the status quo and destroy progressive elements from other climes. That is, being used as weapon of internal colonialism. It is in the light, that what happened in Kaduna can be understood. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_663000/663631.stm

In Zamfara, between Sani and Jangebe, there exits a desire to predominate and control, a perpetuation of the oligarchic class, which makes religion its cloak. What is being exhibited in places like Zamfara, is the propensity for mundane perversion. It is such predilection that allows a man to seek pleasure in the suffering of another, while preaching we are all equal before God. Yes, Sani we’ll say to us “we are all animals and we are also equal”, but whisper to himself “but I Sani am more equal than Jangebe”. This is the tragedy of the feudal system in the Northern Nigeria, whose pinnacle is the Sultanate in Sokoto. I’m waiting for the day the hands of those that have stolen the PTF funds, the South-South Oil revenue, the ECOMOG funds, shall be amputated. And if these Master thieves are so committed to having their variant of Sharia, let anyone of them bring out their children, who continuously pilfer from their stolen wealth, for their arms to be chopped off.

This nation has been kept in a state of arrested development, because we all choose to be eunuchs, whilst the nation is being repeatedly gang raped by group modelled by irrationality and fatalism. With acquiesce we sat down, watching with glee. Some of us groped at the limbs, while to others, a touch of the Nigerian flesh led to the quenching of the lust. The man has died in us all. No wonder we gravitate towards newly found ‘pseudo-religious cum spiritual’ empires of divination, searching for sanity for our soul. The irrationality of the Mai-guadi that lashes out with his dagger at a six year old for pilfering Tom-Tom from his displayed wares, still largely latches us onto the abyss of backwardness.

As long as we remain fearful of the irrationality and arrogance of Mai-guadis masquerading as leaders, whilst we are quick to admonish people calling for confederation, or true federalism, or national conference, or the provision’s of the consensual constitution of 1963, and other rational people’s call, so shall we remain in the state of unfulfilled potential. What the Nigerian situation requires is tough love, and not fear. People need to be told the truth, even if it is a bitter pill to swallow. Noble intentions and things (ideas and inventions) are born of love. Love, which forms the basis for justice that guarantees peace, that brings forth progress, which gives birth to prosperity that delivers collective happiness.

Jangebe has lost his limb because of political sharia , if possible, like Denis, as a matter bordering on decency and the dignity of our common humanity, he must be given the right to use his right ‘hand’ again. The responsibility for the limb restoration his Obasanjos', and this in the only proper thing to do, it is never too late, else…


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