Hyenas giggling at dog and baboon
Life and death maintain a curve in human beings – eastward, the extreme of life; westward the extreme of death. It is like water and land struggling to give life or death to the Earth. However swinging, or negatively skewing, to one side could be undesirable; curiously, it is admitted that swinging eastward makes for a gain; and it happens with a very great cost… -Kaydara, Amadou Hampâté Bâ
Every election in Nigeria for over the years is like igniting a fight for the dog and the baboon; and 2015 that brought APC to power showed that very well. To some Nigerians, it is a depressing moment as the hues and hypes of elections and “winner-takes-all” outcome, create fears and further enslavement period for the depressed.
Elections should not be occasion to create “banniyas” and “waades/horso” (slaves and captives) in Nigeria like it has been seen throughout the years of APC where the Executive has made winner-takes-all as occasion to either enslave or banish anyone who the “dogari”, the warrior/hunter sees as a threat in his way – the then Senate President felt it in 2016, the then Chief Justice felt it in 2019 and the academics and the youths are facing it now. The hunter and the dog are friends, not the baboon that is protecting its youths. All through members of the business community are feeling it with closure of borders and hard business operating environment.
Again, the baboon protecting its young ones is at stake, hence hyenas giggling. When leaders divide themselves as collective dogs or collective baboons and expect their followers to act as hyenas, it behoves the followers to know that hyenas in their collective attitude are the fear of any predator, and in their persistent giggling and prodding of the dog and the baboon in their fight, it is ever pregnant of uncertainties.
The north of Nigeria is populated by over 200 ethnic groups who relate very well with the Sahel and Savannah cultures as well as divided among those who see pets or meats in either baboon, dog or hyena. So, when you hear dog and baboon fight, it is another depressing fight which rarely favours any of them unless the hunter/dagari decides who to shoot and make a meat out of it.
Divide them thus: hunters and delicacy seekers and you know who makes meat or pet out of any of the animals.
For example, from north-west axis you have over 50 ethnic groups with the main ones being Fulani, Hausa, Zarma, Gourounchi, Mooré, etc. They are part, dog meat eaters group; and part, hyena pet lovers. At the north-east axis with over 150 groups, with the main as Kanuri, Badé, Shuwa, Mandara, Jukun, etc. They are not dog eaters but partially hyena and baboon pets’ lovers.
So when 2015 made it an election of “do or die”, and El-Rufai warned of possible development of the language of body-bags and Shetima sent more of the Borno people on exile starting with his insistence of holding exam in Chibok zone – one of the “nyamiri”, inspired zone that is not favourable to making any of those animals as pet – the barking dog was helped by the hunter, a human being to eliminate the baboon while the hyenas went on giggling in either Cameroun, Chad or Niger Republic.
The hyenas are assembling again while the baboons are now getting knitted in what Shetima terms the tripod heritage: Fulani – Hausa – Kanuri heritage.
However, it seems a better tripod to herd the north for a win in the 2023 election, if only over 200 other groups in the north admit that it is an inclusive heritage. As long as those groups remain led by a hunter who does not see a hyena as a delicacy, the question remains: are the hyena friendly group going to be allowed to eclipse again or are they going to giggle and disturb the hunter out of his dining table like you see horde of hyenas disturbing hunter-lion (Djata/Jeliba/Zaki) out of his dinning table?
Hunting hyena could be out of place for a dignified hunter and the hyena itself has all it takes to scare the hunter away – is it its dung or its erectable organs – penis and clit alike, same size for male and female, that could prick the hunter like a spear.
APC and PDP were the initiators of dog and baboon fight in 2015. However, in 2023, the hyenas in their giggling mood will become the main spectacle, and both the youths and returnees from exile are getting ready for the giggling. This time, for sure, it could really be a true “dog and baboon” fight in which castling is expected and the giggling hyenas as pawns could take the center stage.
Like Shetima’s tripod heritage like political tripod enactment – APC – PDP – Labour.
Nigerians should know that the Savannah and Sahel culture is just part or sub-set of a Nigerian culture like exhibited by the main three animals, and that another sub-culture is that of rain forest and creek habits with their wild animals and sea creatures, hence a clearly jungle, both land and sea, contest ground. So, even if hyenas, dogs and baboons are quite present in Nigeria, they are mere sub-set culture that ought to transcend for Hyena – Elephant – Lion mediated culture. These three create better checks and balances. No human hunter could claim to help hyenas to do their giggling or distractive act when faced by a lion, or elephant – a non hurting animal until provoked.
Somehow, it is not a digression transmuting animal culture or habits to the political arena. Humans, unconsciously, exhibit, in dire cases, animal instincts. That is why in a Malinké setting, a Keita or Kamara having Leopard or Crocodile respectively as totem could kill any hyena in their midst; not necessarily as a delicacy but to avoid investing their noble manners or attitude with carcass eating habits of the hyenas.
Nigeria politicians must endeavour to distance Nigeria from carcass eating animal culture or habits. Hence, avoid making the Nigerian youths, who show great prospects outside Nigeria, the hyenas of Africa. As, already, pronounced unfortunately at the beginning of this regime as roguish youths. In this election they are picking that habit, and even as undeserving of them it seems, they are going to scare away the lions that devour the great forestry riches of Nigeria; its great heritage for a greater African rebound. And as Amadou Hampâté Bâ puts it, a journey eastward could be daunting but that is where the salvation lies – eastward journey is an enduring enterprise required of the youths for the progress of Nigeria. Give them education and allow them explore Africa. Educating them and never obstructing their capacity for greater learning and usefulness is the salvation politicians must aim at towards greater future for Africa.
Ariole, is Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Lagos.