The Fool of The Week should have been the man who loved one of his own tribesmen so much he determined that the best way to show it was to advertize his hate for the totality of members of another tribe.
It should have been the man who received the homage of men of goodwill and their King Live Forever salutation but who had such twisted sense of hospitality he entertained his visitors with a notice of genocide.
It should have been Rilwan Akiolu, the man miscast for the part of the Oba of the Lagos. But there are people who are more qualified.
Those who have risen in defense of the Oba’s hate speech have outdone him. And that’s easy to explain: The child dispatched to rob by his father is so audacious he kicks the door open!
The Oba injected (or more precisely, ejaculated) a shot of venom into the bloodstream of public discourse. His children are heating the poisoned bloodstream to boiling point!
The Oba shot out his tongue in a fit of indiscretion. His children are proving to be more calculating and sophisticated. They are devoting time and ink to intellectualizing the Oba’s verbal license. They are romanticizing his power to defy decency and decorum as a distinguishing privilege that comes with the Obaship paraphernalia.
The royalists are declaiming the exceptionalism of the Oba. His kingship exonerates him from any act of impudence that is traceable to him. He cannot be taken to task or held accountable for any offensive deed.
They say the Oba is a higher mortal. He cannot be trivialized. He cannot condescend to apologize. He cannot retract his hate speech. The Oba’s right to say whatever he likes supersedes the right of other humans to life.
They charge that Akiolu has diminished responsibility. In this case, the reason for exculpating him from his hate speech is not mental incompetence; it is the Stool he occupies. He is Kabioyosi. He is unquestionable. The say the fanciful crown on the head gives him the right to call for the heads of any group of people he happens to detest.
The irony is that the worshipful royalists thoroughly insulted the Oba while purporting to uphold the sanctity of his honor. They wound up placing the Oba on the same pedestal with some fire spitting mad man.
But they are largely nimble hypocrites. They hated hate speech until the Oba ventilated his.
They contributed the loudest decibels of outrage when Ibrahim Shema, the Governor of Katsina, asked his followers to crush members of the opposition like Rwandan Cockroaches.
They derided First Lady Patience Jonathan for urging her party people to stone to death anybody who uttered the forbidden mantra of CHANGE.
When the Oba made a quotation of similar proportion, they reacted differently. They glamorized his novel idea of genocide by drowning. They insisted that the Oba was infallible.
They had spared no hyperbole in magnifying the implications of instigating crime against humanity when someone distant in consanguinity and ethnicity was the perpetrator. Their rage gushed as blood from a torn vein.
However, the Oba and his brood of genocide mongers criminals are not the winners.
The winners are the immediate audience of red cap wearing Igbos who applauded when Akiolu condemned them and their children to death. That’s an incredibly counterintuitive act. It is a bigger scandal than the Oba’s fatwa.
Even a criminal found guilty of a capital offence is sobered by the pronouncement of his punishment. He trembles as the judge mentions the rope and gallows; though he knows he has earned the full measure of justice he is served.
Here was a group of innocents. They were not standing trial on any count. They were not burdened by any guilt that should have made them feel deserving of a death sentence.
But they cheered heartily when Akiolu swore to feed them to the fishes of the Lagoon. They chuckled as if they were self-hating. As if they were so cowardly and suicidal that they were gratified to land a chance to be killed.
That’s the antithesis of what a thoroughbred Igbo is socialized to do when he witnesses an existential threat.
They so abased themselves that it could be suggested that if the Oba had begun his Lagoon Show with that sample of humans, the tribe would not have incurred a loss worthy of proper mourning.
Those men who celebrated the threat of genocide are the winners of the Fool of The Week award.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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