By Ivan Grozny
From on high here at Cuckoo Land, Ivan Grozny saw a social media post on Tuesday January 8, 2019 by one upstart boasting of his willful avoidance of some Nigerian newspapers for their being nothing but swindle sheets.
The minion’s post on facebook interested Ivan Grozny because of late, Ivan Grozny has been floating on a similar cloud here in Cuckoo Land.
Now, Ivan Grozny needs to qualify this self-imposed ‘avoidance’ of your newspapers. The truth is only the ignoramus –yes we still have them up here in millions – avoids newspapers in the absolute sense of the word. So when Ivan Grozny says he ‘avoids’ some newspapers from Nigeria up here, read that to mean he does not go out of his way to buy them – yes we too buy and sell in Cuckoo Land – in their printed form; he only keeps an eye on them via Cuckoo Land Cybernetics, skimming through their headlines, occasionally clicking to read one or two news, articles, etc.
Primarily, Ivan Grozny ‘avoids’ The Nation newspaper in other to protect his sanity from the corruptive, corrosive fudge of Jagabanspeak. But Ivan Grozny also ‘avoids’ The Nation for another personal reason: to preserve his high opinion of some of the fine journalists who earn their meal ticket at the newspaper, especially the veterans. One of such luminaries is Dr. Olatunji Dare whose newspaper writings Ivan Grozny started reading in the 1980s.
Now, let Ivan Grozny say it straight up – and paraphrasing Zarathustra, that is – it is dangerous for the egg to show itself clever to the hen. But Ivan Grozny wishes that Dr. Dare did not write, not to talk of publishing “The war on Boko Haram comes to the newsroom” (The Nation, January 8, 2019), which Ivan Grozny had the great misfortune of reading (in print!) on same day here in Cuckoo Land.
If you had, like Ivan Grozny, read Dr. Dare for years, especially the “Cocktail Circuit” in The Guardian on Sunday in the 80s and early 90s, which Ivan Grozny got to know Dr. Dare contributed to anonymously as a satirist, you would understand why it was such a torture, even trauma, for Ivan Grozny to read the cited piece by Dr. Dare.
You see, Ivan Grozny lives – yes, Ivan Grozny lives still – by the notion that “injury to one is injury to all”. It therefore seems to Ivan Grozny that Dr. Dare’s recourse to Jagabanspeak in the face of an existential Armageddon at the Daily Trust was not quite the Dr. Tunji Dare that Ivan Grozny read in the 80s and the early 90s elsewhere and away from The Nation newspaper.
In similar circumstances in those days of yore, the vintage Olatunji Dare would have pulled no punches. But these are strange times. Despite widespread condemnation of the Boys in Green by everyone of any clout in your media ecosystem, Dr. Dare’s article, with all the power of his constructive ambiguity and loaded meaning, throws Trust under the bus over that newspaper’s recent experience of Jackboot Jagajaga from the Boys in Green. That is the sum of Ivan Grozny’s appraisal of Dr. Dare’s “The war on Boko Haram comes to the newsroom”.
Ivan Grozny wonders: Don’t you people down there say one must chase off the fox before issuing a stern reprimand to Mother Hen for exposing her brood to danger? What happened to honour being there among thieves? Politics? Did Dr. Dare actually read the Trust story which brought the heavens down on that newspaper? Ivan Grozny did and could not find the so-called “details” of operation or “classified” information, or violation of “a cardinal principle of journalism and news reporting” the Boys in Green lost their cool over in the Trust story. In fact, the joke up here in Cuckoo Land is that Trust as a newspaper had been so untrustworthy as for many, including Ivan Grozny, to ‘avoid’ reading it since 2014 when the presidential campaign of 2015 started off, and certainly since May 29, 2015.
Dr. Dare claims that “in times of war…you cannot publish information on the location or movement of troops of the national army” flies in the face of verifiable instances. Don’t armies go to great lengths to warn civilians to leave villages, towns and cities they plan to attack, specifying D-Day? Was Dr. Dare on Planet Earth when CNN was beaming live reports of U.S. troops location and movement during “Operation Desert Storm” in Iraq/Kuwait? When the U.S. planned to invade Haiti to kick out one government they didn’t like, were we not all witness to how cable networks like CNN gave us details of the planned invasion to the minutest details, including the hour the operation would start, apriori? How is it that only the plans of your own Boys in Green against the Boko Boys leak like the mouth of the quintessential Olofofo or Tatanfo? How come in 2019 your “military are waging a war of resistance against a fanatically well-equipped forces arrayed in the country’ northern fringes” when we have read here in Cuckoo Land that the Boko Boys have been “technically defeated” under Bubu’s reign, an information credited to your own honourable(?) minister of information, which catechism Bubu and his cabinet have memorized and have been repeating by rote?
With thousands dead and millions internally displaced in your country, Ivan Grozny is shocked to read Dr. Dare asserts that “no sacrifice has been demanded of the national population” of your country, Nigeria! After thousands of human sacrifice have been made by way of both killed by the Boko Boys and friendly fire from the Boys in Blue bombing refugee camps, which “sacrifice” does Dr. Dare demands from the Nigerian “national population” again?
Which “self-censorship” does Dr. Dare wants from the Nigerian Media again when they have virtually become appendages of the Boys in Green and government who publish press releases verbatim, so much so that the joke up here in Cuckoo Land now is that all what Nigerian newspapers publish is “he said, he said”?
Or: Could it be that some unscrupulous vendors have been bring Sudanese clones of Nigerian newspapers up to us here in Cuckoo Land and so we have only been reading drivels masquerading as columns, news, features, etc?
Nevertheless, in the piece under scrutiny, Ivan Grozny felt Dr. Dare’s palpable tension and trepidation as the veteran columnist reins in himself from going over the official line by inveighing against Bubu and the Boys in Green in a newspaper published on the editorial principles of Jagabanspeak.
More so could you see, smell, touch and taste the Frankenstein of self-censure in Dr, Dare’s article when the front page of same edition celebrates the holy mantle newly bestowed on Jagabanspeak to lead the charge of the Saint Broom Cathedral against the Lucifer Lair Umbrella in your country’s 2019 Presidential Elections. (As an aside, take it from Ivan Grozny: You Nigerians are wonderful people doing wonderful things down there! Only in your country can a sitting President outsource his re-election campaign 100% to Jagabanspeak and the sun would still ‘rise’ and ‘set’ in your clime as usual! Bravo to you all!)
Back to the matter at hand. As he read the piece, Ivan Grozny felt deep pity for Dr. Dare or whoever is masquerading as the respected columnist and could not help drawing a parallel between him and that Orwellian donkey exerted, exhausted, worn and derelict in the service of Napoleon of Animal Farm. You can therefore, imagine Ivan Grozny’s great relief at the coda of the gobbledygook as Dr. Dare announced his “leave of absence” or “long leave” from Jagabanspeak!
But tongues are wagging here in Cuckoo Land over Dr. Dare’s sudden hiatus from The Nation at this auspicious moment of the 2019 elections. Being only human, doing Jagabanspeak for so long as Dr. Dare has done for years now must be tiring, so tiring that such a famous columnist must take a leave of absence in the middle of the most important elections in your country since 1999.
Some mischievous ones are asking: Could Dr. Dare be dodging more Jagabanspeak doubly expected of him and everyone at The Nation in this campaign season? Has he been summoned to Babylon Street – the sacred grove of Jagabanspeak – so he could join Tantala Alamu and other devotees of Jagabanspeak putting their humongous talents in the direct, political campaign service of Jagabanspeak for the looming holy crusade by Saint Broom Basilica against Lucifer Lair Umbrella, which Jagabanspeak already declares is a war between the only and holy one of integrity amongst you all against the Atikulooters, Jagabanspeak itself being The Holy of Holies cleansing your clime of thieves and looters of 16 years since May 29, 2015?
The busybody and never-do-well that they are, Cuckoo Land observers are watching to see if Dr. Dare would turn up at Babylon Street soon for the 2019 presidential campaign, or return to The Nation after his latest furlough to take a mallet afresh to his shards of honor in the service of Jagabanspeak.
By Ivan Grozny