Of Karma, Abduction, and the Reality of our Predicament – Ogunyemi Bukola @zebbook

Published:10 Dec, 2012

Of Karma, Abduction, and the Reality of our Predicament – Ogunyemi Bukola @zebbook

This would come as a surprise to those who have followed me keenly over the past twelve months and those who are familiar with the cardinal principle that underlies my commentaries. I am a strong advocate of not jumping to the press to comment, form an opinion, and/or take a position on an issue whose shell has just cracked, but the content not emptied, especially issues that have to do with political power play in a nation like Nigeria.

The conspiracy theorist in me has the there-is-more-to-this-than-meets-the-eye position set as my default whenever any rainbow appears in the forever unclear sky of politics in Nigeria. As such, I am attuned to waiting for more facts to emerge on any burning issue before getting my pen engaged, but this time I am breaking the rules.

News broke yesterday evening that the mother of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance minister, Professor Kanene Okonjo was abducted earlier in the afternoon at the gate of her husband’s palace, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo who is the traditional ruler of Ogwsashi-Uku, Delta State. The 82 year old retired Professor was sad to have been taken away in a Golf Volkswagen car by heavily armed kidnappers numbering about ten.

It didn’t take long to see opinions on the matter sharply divided on social media. While some empathized with the family of the octogenarian and prayed for her safety and release, others attributed the misadventure to the handiwork of karma, pointing to the sins of her daughter, the Finance minster, under whose watch trillions of Naira got siphoned last year under the guise of fuel subsidy payments, while the nation has been plunged into a sea of debt.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it is only proper that we, for the sake of our common good, at moments like these see beyond the morality of a victim of evil and condemn the evil itself. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s sins are many, and same holds true for most of us, even if the gravity differs, and I would be happy to have her atone for those sins sooner than later, but the abduction of her 82 year old mother, for whatever reason, is inhumane, and we all with one voice must condemn this act of criminality.

I am as dissatisfied as every well-meaning Nigerian with the state of our nation and how the government of Goodluck Jonathan, and indeed government at all levels, is heaping burdens on the common man through acts of misgovernance and corruption while living large on our sweat and resources. I am enthusiastic and passionate about the prospects of a positive and progressive change in the way Nigeria is been governed and earnestly look forward to the day these criminals in power would be made to pay for their acts of inhumanity.

However, the kidnap of Professor Kanene Okonjo has got very little or nothing to do with our clamour for change and a better Nigeria and I condemn strongly and in all its ramifications her abduction and pray sincerely for God’s protection to be upon her and for her prompt release. Kindapping is a nefarious commercial venture, not a revolutionary act, and these kidnappers are not working for the cause of a better Nigeria.

If we assume the abduction has no political undertone, then the kidnappers are likely to ask for a ransom running into tens of millions on Naira. How does 30, 40 or 50 million Naira in the hands of ten axe-wielding, gun-blazing, weed-smoking kidnappers, if their demands are met, improve the lives of the masses upon whose welfare our activism is premised? Are the kidnappers thinking of the state of the nation? Or do they seek through to better the lots of the poor man on the street through their venture? No! It is about them, it is about self, it is about money to be spent on arms, drugs, alcohol and women, and when the cash is gone they move on to their next victim. As such we must condemn them just as much as we condemn political thieves and crooks, for they are neighbours, and their continued existence spells doom for our own safety and the future of the land we care so deeply about.

And there is the possibility that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped to make her bow to some sort of pressure. Whatever it may be, we cannot afford to encourage, either by our actions, words, or even silence, these criminals and their retrogressive enterprise. We cannot afford to celebrate evil, we cannot stoop so low as to emblazon criminality. The eyes that cry should see. We should not for the sake of the rot in the nation harbor acts of evil and violence, even if such are against our perceived enemies. For when violence rages and consumes our enemies, it pounces on us and rages on.

I am against all forms of evil, be it bribery, corruption of kidnapping, no matter who the victims or beneficiaries are. We plant a seed of evil for ourselves in the future when we rejoice at the misfortunes of others.

We rejoiced when Abacha died, we thought we had seen the end of evil in our land, but fifteen years later, we are still singing the ‘Death to the Dictator’ song. It is the system, not the people. Garbage in, garbage out they say, but when you feed a system with garbage for so long, it disobeys the law of input-output and by default produces garbage irrespective of the input. Nigeria has reached a state of deterioration in which changing the input alone won’t bring about the desired change, the entire system has to be sanitized, and we must start with ourselves.

For those who see this as the appointed time for the poor to feed on the rich, remember that the ruling class can afford to have their family members shipped abroad in the twinkle of an eye. The fury of the poor would then be turned on the middle class to which most of us belong. In Nigeria, the poor wont feed on the rich, rather the rich would feed the poor with themselves. That, brethren, is why we cannot afford to celebrate.

Meanwhile, this I hope would serve as a wake-up call to President Goodluck Jonathan that the security challenges in the nation are profound and in need of urgent decisive attention. We have had enough of his blame game and fool’s paradise pictures, now is the time to man up and be the commander-in-chief. The death that removes a man’s cap sends him a signal.


 – Ogunyemi Bukola, @zebbook

  • http://www.opesays.com ope says

    If I say “great article” , that would be cliche now won’t it? However it is true. Your article has brought to light the issues we Nigerians are battling with: Morality in the face of degradation, what’s right in the face of people trampling on our rights.Thank you Bukky for this.

  • http://twitter.com/dupekilla Dupe Killa (@dupekilla)

    I am almost glad to disagree with you on one issue. I was beginning to get worried about our consistent agreement.

    I do not disagree with you that kidnapping is bad.

    I do not disagree with you that kidnapping NOI’s mum is bad.

    I am one of those that wondered if it is time for the desperate and hopeless to feed on the rich. Look, this is a fact of life. I hear your plaintive plea for us to romanticize the situation but sorry, no. As for celebrating, who is celebrating? This is the dirge!

    Finally, as per your statement of the rich feeding the poor with the poor, I am loss at the best answer to that. Sadly, my choice answer is this: Na today?

    God bless you, Bukola. You didn’t sway me this time… xx

  • http://abusidiqu.com abusidiqu

    I don’t even know what to say other than the fact that it is a piece well presented. Even those who thought it fit to celebrate would be having a change of mind now I guess.

  • M.D

    “It is the system, not the people.” I do not agree with that statement. In my opinion, I believe it’s both the system & the people. I know & agree the system is deadly, it has turned/consumed many “supposedly good people”. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that some people survived the system. The rest of the article I agree with. If we accuse our leaders of being heartless, yet, we go ahead to condone the kidnapping, then we are as heartless as our leaders. Good piece!

  • @xahido

    Great piece on a focal issue..Kidnapping is in no way going to command d change we’ve been yearning for. Cutting off d head won’t cure d headache. Kidnapping is in no way going to help us. Kudos Bukky a masterpiece as always expected.

  • @Naijamatta

    This is about Prof. Kanene, a woman in her decline. Kidnapping her, indeed has no connection to all the tears we have shed. It is not to avenge for us, ‘the collective children of anger’. It is not to be encouraged. Abduction is a vice, and if we thumbed it up, it’d devour us all!

  • Toyinfab

    I am very indifferent towards the kidnapping.A lot of mothers get kidnapped everyday so why shld I give any special attention to Okonjo’s,and I am not going to waste time either praying for her release,I have my own problems to focus on and pray about.Besides I believe it is okay for them to wear the common man’s shoes too once in a while and feel some of the pains we feel everyday.If her mom gets rescued or she pays the ransom good. Either way I don’t give a DAMN!

  • @IGONO

    It Is A Shame! Inasmuch As I Want Anuty Ngo To Atone For Her Sins Of Forcing The Bitter Pills Down Our Throat, The Taking Away Of Mama Is Wrong And Wicked…

    This Will, And Cannot Heal Us Of What Nigeria Has Bruised Us With. The Woman Is Innocent And The Act Is Criminally!

  • @lanreneville

    Hmmm! Nice one Bukky, you don’t disappoint but I got my Subliminal of “Poor feeding on the Rich” I guess cos of my tweet this afternoon. We are learning. Come to think of you tot that maybe it’s political motivated or they kidnapped the Prof so the Dr can lay low on something? Hmmm! I guess she had an argument with some group of people few weeks back who even report her to the presidency… Maybe security operatives can start from there. Bukky, respect again. God bless your brain more and may you ink never dry

  • zazi

    Honestly, I thought that was beautifully presented but u seem to be asking so much of Nigerians. Naa, Nigerians do not generally condone evil but you see, I as a Nigerian am first of all human so if I decide to blame the whole saga on karma, please excuse my ‘human first reaction’. I am afterall a member of ‘the collective children of anger’. Your piece showed u trying so hard to sound righteous. It doesn’t work that way. Pour your venom. It helps!

  • joyce

    Seriousl? Azin, seriously? The poor in Nigeria might be poor but they not stupid. They know the source of all their problems so don’t worry, your middle class is save. Please don’t go on asking me to think like those Americans who have animal lawyers. It is the most absurd. I am normal, I like to think like normal and my first reaction is, hell yeah! Its abt time our leaders felt our pains. U’re still shaking your head??? *rme*

  • certified_deviant

    So you wanna differ from popular opinion – I get it. So you wanna come off as a righteous Nigerian – I get it. So you don’t want Nigerians to have a break and blame this new episode on karma – I don’t get it. You seem to be asking too much of Nigerians. You forget, we are first of all human beings and if we hurriedly blame this kidnap of karma, please excuse our ‘normal human reaction’. Nigerians do not condone evil you know. This time, they are just happy its hitting the upper class. Where do u get off coming off as a preacher here?

  • http://wwww.zebbook.wordpress.com zebbook


  • http://wwww.zebbook.wordpress.com zebbook

    Thanks boss.

  • http://wwww.zebbook.wordpress.com zebbook

    Amen! Thanks for reading Sir.

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