The refusal of the foolish dogs, to normalize the putrid abominations that bestride the Nigerian space, is all that stands against the fascist intentions of these evil rulers. The same foolish dogs that are being daily killed, imprisoned, dehumanized, and victimized, because they are barking and have refused to be silent, are of great pain and discomfort to the birds in flight.
I do a mean mimic of the barking dog. The years of adolescence, spent amongst rambunctious young boys, and then precocious young men, in hostels from Fiditi to Oyo, Ife to Okokomaiko, gave me years of practice. I would startle the old men with whom I shared my morning exercise rounds, when I would creep up behind them and let rip with the deep throated, guttural barks of the larger dog breeds. You would laugh at the sight of the gentrified scampering that I have often provoked, and marvel at the chain reactions set off amongst the neighborhood mutts. Damn! I am good at barking, even if I say so myself.
When I have discerned that I am being drawn into an unwanted argument, I would remind myself of the lines from the Bob Marley song: Jah Live! It might be that I believe the instigator or antagonist, an agent provocateur, or I might believe the timing inauspicious. But amongst the several metaphors of the good hunting dog, this Caribbean metaphor, always comes to mind. It is the filter for my social media engagements: Its a foolish dog, that barks at a flying bird.
I have lived a life where I have been the foolish dog. I live in an aviary, surrounded by birds of all hues, flapping their wings and squawking. And I barked. Oh, I barked. I barked myself hoarse, and then I barked some more. I simply couldn’t stop myself from barking. The more I barked, the more everyone carried on like everything was fine and dandy. It is insane to be sane, when you live in an insane place, with lunatics all around you.
I barked for years about the corrosive evil that is Bola Tinubu. I wailed as he changed the political landscape in Yorubaland. I began wailing in the wind as he consolidated his evil reign in Lagos, and began to extend his franchise across the west. I warned friends and family members as they fell for his deceitful charms. I wailed as Obasanjo abandoned the Nigerian hall of legends and heroes that history had contrived to build for his habitation, and as he by his hubris, set in motion the tragic chains of events that has culminated in the Buhari regime. I barked unceasingly.
I once wrote a piece when I began to understand my need to bark. I titled it; Play Dog Or Play God. The kernel of the truth that I sought to communicate in the essay, is that if you lack the capacity to positively intervene to affect a situation, which has you, playing god as an agent of God in the situation, then make sure that you play the role of the humble dog, by barking to draw the attention of others to the situation. This essay came after I started querying my own sanity, and the utility of my endless, and seemingly indiscriminate barking. At around the same time, I had come to the knowledge of another truth, that is ancillary to this.
I had sat under the ministrations of a pastor that taught purpose for almost two decades, and I have been blessed to have an understanding of the place of God’s mercies and grace in a man’s life. I reasoned in this understanding, that the only reason why I am seeing abominations where others have found normalcies and sanity, is because it has pleased God, not to grant me His peace in relation to those things. I reasoned that there are several insanities that I have as a person embraced and normalized in my Nigerian experience, and which other people wouldn’t tolerate, because they lack the grace, and I had been given that grace.
I embraced the knowledge that if I am blessed to see a problem, it is because it has pleased God to grant me the grace to see it, because He could just have easily granted me the grace to bear it. If I can see the problem, I am either the solution, the one who has been assigned the task of calling attention to the problem, or a part of the solution to the problem. I am not so conceited as not to realize that my entire role might be to draw attention to the problem, and the Nigerian landscape having become a place where telling the truth has become an act of courage, dogs have become an endangered specie in this country, and the few that remains, are required to find their barks. Even if we are unwilling, or unable, to bite, it is in the nature of man to either be a dog, or a god. What would you be?
The dog is foolish because the bird is in flight. Not unlike how those wailing against this evil regime, might be regarded, but the unfoolish bird should know, that there are always hunters on the prowl, who are happy for the foolish dog. The refusal of the foolish dogs, to normalize the putrid abominations that bestride the Nigerian space, is all that stands against the fascist intentions of these evil rulers. The same foolish dogs that are being daily killed, imprisoned, dehumanized, and victimized, because they are barking and have refused to be silent, are of great pain and discomfort to the birds in flight.
If you cannot play God: play dog.