Re: On Soyinka versus the Abachas

In this column, the past two weeks, I wrote clearly satirical but, amusingly, misunderstood articles on the controversy stirred up by Professor Wole Soyinka’s rejection of the Centenary Awards issued by the Federal Government and the consequent reaction by Abacha’s son, Sadiq, and the anger and interests such audacity generated in Nigeria. This week, I yield this space to a sample of the reactions received. Enjoy . – Kakanda

Unfortunately, many people will miss the satire and read this write-up literally. That’s what you get when a nation’s education sector has been systematically and deliberately destroyed
Paul Christopher, [email protected]

l really believe that you have not allowed pride in your literature ‘skills’ to kill your wisdom. You shouldn’t have joked with such a sensitive matter; not everyone knows satire. Abacha is a pain that may never go away in some families and in Nigeria at large.
Isaac Oludayo, [email protected]

Sarcasm but loaded with truths!
Hakeem Abdulsalam, [email protected]

D-E-C-O-N-S-T-R-U-C-T. That’s what Nigerians cannot do. We lack the critical masses capable of engaging the history of political and military involvements and also the hypocrisy of our activists who are now in power. Unless we take a step back, we may never fairly judge the heroes and villains past. Simple truth a lot of the so called “activists” willfully choose to forget.
Good one bro.
Austin Nwachukwu, [email protected]

This looks like a piece Gimba Kakanda was compelled to write in defence of a northern brother – cant place my finger on what you were trying to achieve with this. But then everything about the Abachas is irksome.
Chalya Miri-Gazhi, [email protected]

Dear Gimba, you don’t get it… Nigerians, as someone once highlighted, don’t understand what satire is – they expect it to be some funny piece of comedy. You’ve actually delivered some undeniable truths through with doses of sarcasms. Sarcasm is not a direct comic piece, but our people won’t understand. It’s a way of exposing truths with puns and sarcasms. That our people don’t get it is a confirmation of our lack of ability to think (out of the box).
Garba Aliyu, [email protected]

It has become a North vs South issue. Like I said, it is the Nigeria factor…. Nothing of substance as the argument:
1. Is it the Dysfunctional class structure and the over-hyped elitism in the satirical garb of Ajebota vs Ajepako?
2. Is it the rude qualification of WS that will be considered satire? The Nigeria mentality still think Professorship must be mounted on PhD. If it is not, then it is shameful.
3. Is it the rationalization of criminality that opined dead criminals must be spared, after all, many living have looted more than him?
What do we figure out?
But, one thing is certain. WS calls for this. When you sit with a section of the ruling class to demonize another section, you have clearly invited insults. But yoruba will always say: “Ti agbadoyiobalewo, kis’enuadiyenikatigbo”.
Semiu Ayobami Akanmu, [email protected]

Well! I guess you’re compelled by bigger forces to write this very sad satire. Your discrediting of WS for expressing his opinion on a supposed national honour tells how much respect you have for individual opinions too. Taking sides and expressing opinions that brings to the fore a north-south dichotomy will only erode the impression of a learned and well read individual you’re trying to build.
Raji Saheed Ademola, [email protected]

SenIhenyen I’d responded to your piece because I’m genuinely concerned about you being misunderstood (as you already are being misunderstood) by many Nigerians. I’ve not forgotten your selfless sacrifices and how you with other great Nigerians in the north risked their lives to protect churches at the time Boko Haram was taking the lives of Christians in some parts of the North. I respected this, and still do.

The more reason you must be morally concerned about the way the same Nigerians could now misunderstand you over such a sensitive issue as that of Abacha and what he truly represents. It is from this angle I express my views.

I believe I can safely conclude that your piece was meant to be a satire. I thought so too, but the title, content and the treatment did not help matters at all. I did not miss the closing lines at the bottom: “If you think I was not an ajebota in Abacha years because you knew when Ya-Kulu was sending me to go get chaff at Dogo Mai-Injin’s place, God is watching you. May God save us from us!” But a good satirist would have woven these words into the lines of your satire, subtly and skillfully, without anyone having to miss the message.

From the title of the piece to the content, paragraph by paragraph, your lines were misleading. I did try to locate some satiric irony and sarcasms in the lines of your piece and not in the unwritten intentions of the writer, Gimba Kakanda. It is those who know your pedigree who could safely choose to see your piece as a wonderful satire because they know what you stand for, but in the written piece, Gimba had no voice. The voice we heard was that of an Ajebota deriding Nigerians for their perceived hypocrisy. What we heard was another Sadiq Abacha, not Gimba Kakanda.

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