Of Buhari, Oyedepo, Olatunji Dare And The Limits Of Satire

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The Oasis Reporters

December 6, 2018

Emeritus Professor Olatunji Dare

So many writers and commentators have taken the presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, also known as Winner’s Chapel to the cleaners over his perception of a newspaper article published in The Nation, written by Olatunji Dare on the issue of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari being a clone or a body double in Aso Rock. The President himself has denied it, insisting that he is the real Buhari.

Olatunji Dare, the writer, as Nigerians know him was once a teacher at the University of Lagos who was later named Professor of Communication, Emeritus, by Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, USA.
Professor Olatunji Dare, a communication scholar, author, satirist, famous columnist, and former Chair of The Guardian Editorial Board, has been writing currently for The Nation, a national newspaper believed to be substantially owned by the political Mr.Fix it, and strongman of South West Nigeria’s politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Many say that without his political backing of Muhammadu Buhari, he probably would not have become Nigeria’s President. Tinubu, many say, would have been compensated with the Vice presidency, were it not for the need to balance the ticket on religious grounds. So he nominated his protégé and former Attorney general when he was Lagos state Governor, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, RCCG, to take the position.

Bishop David Oyedepo.

Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel, read the newspaper article written by Olatunji Dare on the back page of The Nation in a multi-subject piece, “Matters Miscellaneous”, published in The Nation of 27 November, 2018. Dare wrote on “Buhari’s Double”, where he brought up the Jubril of Sudan controversy which was initiated by Nnamdi Kanu way back in 2017.
Kanu, head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), argued that year that Buhari that was elected in 2015 “had died during one of his medical trips to London and been replaced by a clone named Jubril from Sudan with the help of surgery.”

Olatunji Dare wrote: “Since 2017, so goes the tale reportedly originated by the fugitive leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Nigeria has been ruled by a Buhari look-alike, Jubril al Sudan, a native of Sudan — or Niger, take your pick. Buhari had died in the UK in 2017, where he was undergoing medical treatment. Notwithstanding the fact that Queen Elizabeth had sent a message of condolence to the Nigerian government, the entrenched Cabal in Aso Rock had procured a Buhari double in Sudan, and pressed him into service as Nigeria’s president. Despite occasional stumbles and apparent loss of memory, the transition had gone so smoothly that the only tell-tale sign of the infernal switch was a scar on Jubril’s left earlobe that was not a part of Buhari’s profile. Kanu, or whoever began the tale, and those who have been peddling it, should update their material.

“I can report authoritatively that representatives of the Jubril family, having discovered the gigantic swindle, suddenly showed up in Abuja the other day and demanded to be compensated with a power-sharing arrangement at the federal level in perpetuity, plus 50 percent of Nigeria’s oil revenues for ten years in the first instance. Failing this, they warned, they would tell their story to the whole world.

I can also reveal that the Nigerian authorities have entered into frantic negotiations with Jubril’s family to head off what is sure to earn a double entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s Dirtiest and Worst-kept Secret. The UK authorities are mediating. Meanwhile, dependable sources tell me that Abuja is close to unraveling the true identity of the fake Jew parading himself on faked foreign soil as Nnamdi Kanu.”

Whatever writing style Olatunji Dare is said to have adopted, the key words like ,”I CAN REPORT AUTHORITATIVELY”, “MEANWHILE, DEPENDABLE SOURCES” can not easily be ignored. A professor emeritus anywhere, must be seen to be a man of integrity, whose words can be taken to the bank any day, any time. Little wonder, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, picks only professors/ Vice Chancellors to announce election results.
An emeritus professor therefore should be circumspect in speaking “tongue-in-cheek”. Or in uttering monumental statements. He must show signs of sobriety in the deployment of weighty words. He must be serious and sensitive. There’s no short cut, no matter the circumstances.

Perhaps,not even knowing who Dare was (he actually said, “one Olatunji Dare”), Bishop Oyedepo, on Sunday, 2 December, 2018, while on his pulpit, read out the article above to his church members. In his words: “How can a nation with an Army of intelligent citizens who are imparting the nations of the world with their knowledge be held spellbound by this country? How can the largest nation in the world be heading for perpetual slavery without people knowing it?

[The video: https://youtu.be/Ea5NbPjzMuw?t=27]

“This disturbing information came from The Nation Newspaper of November 27, 2018, written by one Olatunji Dare exploded with authoritative assertions, he said, claiming among others that the president had died in the UK in 2017 where he was undergoing medical treatment. How?”

Jubril’s family, as Oyedepo quoted in the article, came to Abuja to demand compensation to keep quiet about the secret.” Oyedepo, therefore, advised Nigerians to beware of a colonisation substerfuge.
He said, “The question is, has Nigeria now suddenly become a population of fools? I believe it’s time to come away from our slumber and salvage this nation from slavery. If this evil tide is not dealt with quickly and decisively, Nigeria may be about to be recolonised a second time, and this time, by another African country. What a shame and what a misfortune that would be. God forbid! But if the president will not address the nation on a subject as sensitive as this, it must have been proved beyond any iota of doubt that maybe he’s not our president,” he said. He then led the congregation in prayer for Nigeria to be delivered from slavery.

To err on the side of caution, Bishop Oyedepo did say, “if this is true”, “ I wish it were not”. Then mentioned the vexed issue of the killings going on in the country, unchecked.

Those who know Dare from his days at The Guardian swear that Dare was poking fun in his garb as a self styled satirist, but then, who cares to know?
Must everyone be a literature guru or prose stylist ?
Or for that matter, must everyone who goes to Church be an expert on the Bible?
I recall personally that as a Christian, I could recite The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) and pray with it. Not until I was in my forties did my Bishop in Kano, Dr. Ransom Bello teach me the context and the meaning of the Psalm, line upon line, precept upon precept. That was when I even knew what “ he maketh me to lie down in green pastures,…thy rod and thy staff,…thou anointest my head with oil..etc, meant. His teaching took me on an excursion to Israel in a metaphorical sense, kind of, against the background of how the Shepherds tended their flock in biblically times.It was only then that I understood that prayer. The rod is for beating wild animals or snakes that may torment the sheep, and also used to get them into line, while the staff, with a head curve is used to pull the sheep by the neck out of rock cleavages they may fall into in the desert.

With that as a backdrop, Olatunji Dare must not see every reader of his column as a student of classical literature.

Satire indeed has been used for ages. Kings even in perhaps Yoruba land and northern Nigeria have jesters in their court. The court jesters use humor, to interject into Palace court discussions. Kings and others laugh. But a wise king listens, for most times, the court jesters pass on serious messages across as a feedback mechanism.

Writing in The Oasis Reporters recently, Deji Adesoye commented on the saga, harping on “The background information” which consists primarily of familiarity with news updates on those matters in the news and then of background familiarity with the Professor’s writing style”.

[http://www.theoasisreporters.com/oyedepo-on-jubril-emerging-issues/]

He went on to say that “A writer too, has a central role to play in this turbulent time of the war against the menace of fake news. The responsibility is not unconnected with the fact that there are different manners of readers in the internet age and their average capability and needs must be taken into cognizance by a writer, not necessarily because he owes them the duty, but because he owes society the duty not to misinform. Satire⎯and generally every form of writing based on irony⎯ are essentially dangerous”.

 

Given the acrimonious exchanges the Olatunji Dare satire generated, he, on December 5, wrote A PostScript: on ‘Buhari’s Double’, explaining what happened: “My column for this newspaper last week (Tuesday, November 27) was devoted to “Matters Miscellaneous,” a rubric under which I stated that I would, as has been my custom for more than 30 years, try to catch up “with broad strokes” and “in short takes” on some fairly recent events, “lest those who make and those who consume the news feel neglected. Again, as has been my custom when employing that label, the tone was light-hearted, and tongue-in-cheek. That was the spirit in which I engaged a tale that had been doing the rounds for several weeks that President Muhammadu Buhari had died last April while receiving medical treatment in the UK, and that since then, a Sudanese look-alike, Jubril al Sudaniya, insinuated into Aso Rock by a resident Cabal, has been the de facto president of Nigeria.

Any second writing to explain the first writing, is for lack of a better word, an abysmal under-performance. Like repeating a class. How can a communicator murmur?

If Olatunji Dare is throwing in, or flaunting his 30 year experience as a satirist, let him give the other side of readership the liberty of appropriating their own “background information” as well.

Many Nigerians know that The Nation has strong ties with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They also know that his protégé, Yemi Osinbajo is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As it happened under late President Umaru Yar’adua when on sick bed, the alleged Katsina Mafia prevented his deputy, then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan from getting into contact with the president to know his true condition, to the extent that Jonathan was prevented from acting as president until civil society groups took to the streets and the ingenious Senate devised an-out-of-the-book Doctrine of Necessity to placate the alleged cabal and allow Nigeria move forward. All that while, Jonathan chose to be politically correct by not upsetting the applecart, despite what the Constitution says.

This time again, Nigeria also has as president, Muhammadu Buhari from the same Katsina, with Katsina bigwigs perceived to be seen in prominent positions, and a president who has spent months on end on medical tourism in the United Kingdom, it would certainly be wishful thinking to banish apprehension from the minds of the citizenry.

Nigerians also know that the best way to hear the heart beat of godfather Tinubu is to read between the nuances in The Nation, his own newspaper. Thats  the Oracle that divines his mind.
Therefore an acclaimed columnist in the Paper claims certain pieces of information, authoritatively. Tell the world that the speaker is a mere court jester or a satirist!
Just say it a second time!
People will tell you in pidgin English, ‘oh, we don hear”.

And you want the leader of a large Christian denomination, or even if he were a Muslim leader, that there should be no cause for anxiety?
With our background information in tow?
Tell me another!

Simply put, the professor emeritus goofed, big time!

In conclusion, I quote Deji Adesoye again :

“It is not about the freedom of art but of what damage it can cause. If heightened satire was useful in the past, today it is a kind of liability, a small fire in the corner of a thatched house. It can burn down a whole heritage”

Written by Greg Abolo
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Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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