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Tinubu’s First Year of Voodoo Leadership — By SKC Ogbonnia


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In a global effort to defuse the negative perception against Islam after 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States of America, I ventured outside my core academic discipline and elected to teach the course Religions of the World for a university in an adjunct capacity. These religions include Native Beliefs, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Daoism, Shinto, Sikhism, Voodoo, among many others. In the process, I deepened my knowledge of the malevolent or evil aspects of religions. The most intriguing of all is the witchcraft, commonly known as African magic, juju, etc., but widely known around the world as voodoo.

My native town, Ugbo, an ancient community in Awgu Local Government of Enugu State, is known for many amazing indigenous mysteries but never for any witchcraft prowess. Instead, we typically defer to Oye, a town in Ezeagu Local Government in the same state. But we are wont to invoke Ijebu Ode in Ogun State for the most powerful form of the craft. We were told that, while the voodoo practice is common in Yorubaland, the Ijebu juju priests are the creme de la crème.

While growing up, we heard of the wonders of the African magic. We heard startling stories. We heard of how ‘Zik of Africa’ would turn into a snake in the heat of political battles. Now grown, I still hear of how someone can induce an evil spirit all the way from Nigeria to harm an adversary in faraway America. I hear of how someone can deploy witchcraft to become a billionaire. I also recall Olusegun Obasanjo once appealing to African leaders to explore the use of juju to end apartheid in South Africa.

I still hear these intriguing tales. I do.

But I never believed the efficacy nor the faculty of the voodoo in of itself.

After all, if the voodoo tales are real, its priests would have found ways to create as many Dangotes in their respective families. They should be able to win lotteries or engender their children to bank distinctions in exams with easy. If the juju wonder truly manifests in the form commonly peddled, Obafemi Awolowo (an Ijebu for that matter) and the most revered Yoruba that ever lived, would have easily fulfilled his lifelong ambition of ruling Nigeria.

Enter Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The wonders of Tinubu during the 2023 elections were so incredible that many had suggested that the man is a juju kingpin. It was believed that the man is cooked alive with the most brutal form of the witchcraft. This belief gained wider credence when a contingent of juju high chiefs from around Yorubaland took over some sections of Lagos in support of Bola Tinubu during the 2023 elections.

In short, if juju truly exists, none of its magical powers is more evident than the Tinubu wonder. I mean, this is a man who, despite being the worst example of everything wrong with Nigeria still emerged as the country’s president. This is that man who, despite being a beneficiary of Nigeria’s most flawed presidential election, went on to assume power with easy, while the opposition kept moping as if somehow power is suddenly “served a la carte.”

Emboldened by the magical powers that saw him become president against all odds, Tinubu began his presidency with impunity. Already deserving a place in Guinness Book of Records for being the shadiest politician ever to be nominated by a major political party, he also had the temerity to create a regime where immorality is a badge of honor. He continues to reel out recklessly bold policies in defiance of commonsense conventions. Tinubu continues to assume, and understandably so, that mere hope is a strategy.

The worst wonder is an apparent taboo: he made good his promise to build upon the policies of his predecessor. The predecessor, of course, is no other than Muhammadu Buhari—a man who at the time of his exit had no close second in the ranking of Nigeria’s worst leaders. Little did the world know that it wouldn’t take up to a year before Tinubu would surpass Buhari as nation’s worst president ever.

Today, every index of development is pointing downside. A telling example is the purported removal of the fuel subsidy by Tinubu which has resulted to a situation where the citizens of Nigeria, where the minimum wage is N30,000.00 (thirty thousand naira), are paying more for fuel than those in the United States of America, where the minimum wage about N3,000,000.00 (three million naira).

The unemployment rate is raging to 40%. Inflation is at all-time high. Insecurity is also at all-time high. The nation’s currency has depreciated by over 300% since the man assumed power. Tens of millions of more Nigerians have been pushed into abject poverty. Even as Tinubu secretly reinstated the fuel subsidy, the outlook remains hopeless. His government is as confused as it is clueless.

Yet, many Nigerians still cheer him on. Even though millions are dying from acute hunger and other forms of hardship because of Tinubu’s policies, no one seems to care or complain. Members of the Legislature, particularly those of the opposition, who are supposed to checkmate him are also cheering him on. The labour unions have become all bark and no bite. Even Wole Soyinka, who used to stand against bad governance, has been bewitched and turned into a front row cheerleader. Not even under the military regimes did Nigerians endure naked misrule as they now do under Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A reasonable guess is that the Tinubu’s powers are not ordinary. I might have been wrong after all. Yes, I still do not believe in the powers of voodoo quite alright, but this whole Tinubu mystery has the optics of the various storylines on African magic. The objective fact is that most Nigerians are inflicted and thus held in bondage.

Aisha Buhari, at a time of the gross misrule of President Muhammadu Buhari, once asked: “Where are Nigerian men.” Today, as Tinubu has become worse than Buhari, I am asking: Where are Nigerian men and women? Where are men and women who are ready to extricate themselves from the Tinubu voodoo to hold him to account? Who concocted this voodoo that has placed Nigeria on life support?

SKC Ogbonnia, a former APC Presidential Aspirant, writes from Houston, TX.

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