No one should take the Èmi Lo Kàn in the title of this article to mean I am referring to myself. I am not referring to myself but I don’t know of a better way to say it. It literally means it is my turn to punish Nigerians. I am referring to the propounder of the Èmi Lo Kàn political theory—a concept he propounded in 2022. I strongly believe that many Nigerians did not have a full idea of what the concept means prior to the 2023 Presidential Election. Those who thought it is a positive idea only realized too soon that they got it wrong. I had an idea of what it means then but I wasn’t sure too if I was right. Then, I was praying and I wished not to get it right. I regret to say that I got it right. Èmi Lo Kàn is like a plague. Until this frighteningly ugly economic trend is reversed, it will remain a plague.
When Tinubu (now President Tinubu) took the presidential fight to the streets of Ogun State under the leadership of Eleyi (This One) of the State where he choreographically proclaimed the “Èmi Lo Kàn”, what I thought he had in mind then was actually that Èmi Lo Kàn to punish Nigerians. Who can dare say Nigerians are not being punished by President Tinubu? I no “go gree” for such person. I “go gree” for anyone who says punishment is too soft a word to describe what is being meted out to Nigerians. It is as if our rulers in Nigeria had to deal with the devil to rule. It is as if they had Faustian bargain. What they consider mostly is the gain which automatically accrues to them when they win election. And what is the gain? Unchecked assess, in form of crass looting, to the country’s resources. They like to be addressed with titles like “Your Excellency”, “Distinguished”, “Right Honourable” etc. They seemingly never thought of the consequences of winning election and are not ready for governance.
Or have I been too critical? What actions have they taken to prove critics wrong? I will be happy if they prove critics wrong. What are Nigerian rulers doing about hunger in the land? What are they doing about the worthlessness of Nigerian currency under their watch? What are they doing about the purchasing powerlessness of our naira? What are they doing about miserable and, yet, unpaid salaries of workers? What are they doing about prices of food, of rice, and of grains, which are now forbidden to purchase with naira? What are they doing about merciless kidnappers who are competing in mercilessness? Or are these kidnappers not competing in mercilessness with our rulers? Why are our rulers not jealous of kidnappers who rival them in mercilessness towards the vulnerable Nigerians? Why are our markets, schools, and hospitals scaring like graveyards? I was at a national specialist hospital yesterday. To ask about basic medical paraphernalia which should always be available in hospitals sounds too stupid when even an ordinary paper to write prescription is not available. Why, why, and why?
Rather, our President left the country in a pool of blood. He left Nigerians at the mercy of kidnappers. He left Nigerians with pangs of hunger. He “handed over” the hangman’s knot to any would-be-suicider and left for a private visit to France where, according to Femi Falana, he is not even recognized. Before him, the one he installed in Lagos (or was he elected?) abandoned governance for some days to sing “happy birthday to you” in the Caribbean Island in Grenada—a far away island in a sub region of North America—while the masses who elected them into office are shouting ebi n pawa o (hunger is killing us o).
Nigerians thought they had suffered enough under Buhari. Many naively heaved a sigh of relief that the Daura taciturn man has gone and the Lagos brainy man has come. I recall writing an article titled Whether to Daura or to Niger Republic, Just Go to also celebrate the exit of the “democratized” general. We forgot that the ability to govern needs not only a brainy man but also a moral man at the helms of affairs.
Beyond intelligence, good governance requires a patriotic man and a selfless man, a competent man and a committed man. When these are lacking, we may end up with a brainy president who will regularly inundate us with his good and intelligent speeches. Some rated him the best speechmaker among Nigerian Presidents. I agree with them. But his speeches have landed Nigerians into a messy mess. Into a painful pain. Into a hardy hardship. Into a gloomy gloom. Into a melancholic melancholy. Into a torturous torture. Into the bottomless pit of poverty and hopeless hopelessness.
Yes, under President Tinubu, with the ways things are, the hopelessness of Nigerians is itself hopeless. The myriad problems confronting the country just seem too impossible to navigate through. People are committing suicide over what ordinarily should be minor debt as if they do not have family and friends to help them out. But how do you run to family and friends whose problems, burdens, and debts are way mountainous than yours? If not that the levels of resilience in individual Nigerians are different, number of suicide committed should have far surpassed what is reported and not reported.
Yes, it could be President Tinubu’s turn to punish Nigerians. I am very sure that the Nigerians of 2024 no go “gree” for anybody. They no go “gree” for hunger. They have displayed it in Minna protest in Niger State. Ondo State is not left behind. Those in Lagos are chanting ebi n pawa o. The people of Kano State could not bear the hunger anymore. Their governor promised to report their hunger to the President as if he is not aware. A nationwide protest is imminent. I don’t know how to describe it but I know it will be ugly if hunger ultimately pushes people out en masse. The organized labour—Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC)—has issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice. I am not sure Nigerians would be patient to wait for labour union leaders they do not trust—for 14 days—before taking over the streets.
The presidency of the master political strategist (President Tinubu) has shown adeptness at gaslighting Nigerian federal workers to forget about salary awards. Many now believe it is senseless to even talk of salary awards when salary itself is unthinkable. Or any idea on when government unpaid workers will be paid? This is undoubtedly Èmi Lo Kàn punishment. I know it is easy to explain why tertiary institution workers are yet to be paid. It is easy to say that it is due to migration from IPPIS to another payment platform. But the government will explain “tire” on why those workers who have nothing to do with IPPIS are also yet to be paid. It is as if every Nigerian—out of the ruling circle—must receive the Èmi Lo Kàn whip. Anyone who can help remind our Èmi Lo Kàn President in Abuja that today is 39th of January 2024 should please help.
I have come to the conclusion that advising Nigerian rulers on the way out to many of our woes— particularly this economic quagmire—is like advising the hen on how to hatch the eggs it lays and incubates. It is a waste of time. In fact, my rickety laptop is tired of typing advice. But I will still manage to advise our rulers in Abuja and elsewhere. It is only one advice: fear God; and if not, at least fear repercussions.