The Burden of Perfection, The Finality of “HO” By Pius Adesanmi

Some of the stuff coming through to my inbox today merit further reflection in the public imagedomain. I am of course offering this response because you have been so civil in your approach – even while vehemently disagreeing with me. The subject of your beef? “You guys” have not been “deep enough” in your criticism of Buhari over AIT. By “you guys” I suppose you mean the intellectual core of the new Buharism in the public sphere. And by “deep enough”, I suppose you mean that we have not been “harsh enough” in our critique of that misstep?
Reading this, I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. And this is one of the very serious problems I have with early-career Jonathanians, mid-career Jonathanians, and emeritus Jonathanians: their perverse blindness to irony serves as comic relief (when I am in a good mood) and ariwo oja (when I am in a bad mood). That a Jonathanian – in whatever stage of that interesting career – would feel sufficiently enamoured to query any Nigerian for not being “harsh enough” in criticizing anyone they support in public leadership is an assault on irony.
Just what will it take for Jonathanians to understand that they are in no position to dragoon their mouths into these sorts of social and public critique? You have no basis for querying any Nigerian for not criticizing anybody harshly enough. No moral basis, no ethical basis, no intellectual basis. You have no Archimedean position from which to proffer such a critique.
You sacrificed your right to such a critique the moment you decided to invest in the most perverse politics of perfection ever known to the African continent after May 29, 2011. That is when the journey to your destruction of Goodluck Jonathan started. You said he was God. You said his wife was Jesus Christ. For four years, you terrorized and demonized fellow Nigerians and emptied civics of meaning. You said you had found the perfect, infallible man. You had found HE WHO MUST NOT BE CRITIQUED OR CRITICIZED. You introduced a perverse economy of patriotism in which patriotism came to mean deification and worship of the person of Goodluck Jonathan at the expense of Nigeria. You set us back by at least three generations because it will take three generations of Nigerians before we can cleanse that land of the perverse and irresponsible model of followership you introduced to our country. You ruined Goodluck Jonathan and destroyed Nigeria by making him believe he is a singular perfection that must never be criticized.
After he lost the election, your arrogance quadrupled. You doubled down on your terrorism of fellow Nigerians. Anybody who said that your human perfection was no material for the Nobel Prize for Peace or the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance in Africa was hounded and insulted and abused. You come from this sort of background to ask why I haven’t been harsh enough on Buhari? E ma gba mi lowo awon people yi o.
Lookia, Jonathanian, I was swift in my condemnation of Buhari and his team over the AIT issue. And I was harsh. Oluwakayode Olumide Ogundamisi was swift and harsh in his condemnation. Omoyele Sowore was swift and harsh in his condemnation. If you say it is not deep or robust or harsh enough, that is your funeral. And who says you even have a say in the matter? What action or inaction of Goodluck Jonathan did you ever criticize in the last five years? We are all collectively paying the prize of the beni-oui-oui mode of followership with which you destroyed the man. Instead of crawling to your hole in shame to contemplate the ruins and wages of irresponsible followership, you are out in the public sphere transforming yourself to a judge of how deeply and harshly Buharists should criticize Buhari. Nonsense! I thought the NNPC “forensic” audit report would even make you acquire some shame over your investment in the Jonathan perfection. For where, every time we sever your finger of arrogance, you buy a diamond ring.
Let me spell this out clearly. Unlike you, the Buharist has no burden of perfection. He never said Buhari was Allah. He never said he was replacing your God-Jonathan with an Allah-Buhari. He never even said Buhari was an angel. He said Buhari was a fallible man born of a woman, intact with all human foibles, but by far better than your God-Jonathan in the department of integrity. That Buhari made a mistake with the AIT matter – immediately reversed – is not something the Buharist should have any anxieties over. It is you, Jonathanian, who has the burden of perfection. As for us, we did not promise a Buhari that will not make mistakes. What I can promise is that what Buhari will get right for Nigeria in the next four years will massively overwhelm whatever he is bound to humanly get wrong once in a while.
My new way of dealing with your philosophy of Jonathan God-Perfection now is the sublime Yoruba mode of acquiescence known as “ho”. The Yoruba have several ways of saying yes: “ehen”, “beeni”, etc. When the Yoruba get to “ho”, it means we are in that area of signification where resignation gets mixed up with sarcasm to produce acquiescence.
That explains the proverb: “Olopa kii mu ni leyin ho”. A police man has no basis for further harassment and arrest after “ho”. You are a policeman and you come to my house to do gragra and tell me that I am under arrest and we should go to the station. I say, “ho”, officer let’s go. E nor finish? What further grounds do you, policeman, have for gragra and harassment after your victim has uttered the ultimate acquiescence of “ho”?
Goodluck Jonathan is perfection personified.
Me: “Ho”
Goodluck Jonathan deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Me: “Ho”
Goodluck Jonathan deserves the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance in Africa.
Me: “Ho”
I have said “ho” – to your core beliefs about Jonathan and that is the finality of all arguments in Yoruba. Stop the gragra. Just do me a favour: concentrate on selling your perfection to the Nobel Committee in Stockholm and let me focus on the human imperfection of Buhari in Abuja. Can we agree on that division of labour?

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