A Season Of Carry Talk

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IF you are from the old Bendel State now Edo and the Delta States, you may not require any tutorials to decode the headline above. For others, I shall attempt to explain. When a man or woman just says things without due consideration or thinking through what he or she is saying, we from Bendel, would say, the person dey carry talk! That is, s/he will just carry anything that runs smooth in his or her mouth and talk gbragada!

Let me use a more restrictive parlance to further drive home the transliteration. When such happens in Urhobo land for instance, it is called omuta, which is a dual notation from the combination of muo (carry) and ota (talk). Its synonym is ogbeta another dual lexical package deriving from ogb (bad) and ota (talk). And so among the Urhobo, omuta (carry talk) and ogbeta(bad talk) mean the same thing and either could be applied to call derailed speakers to order in a discourse.

Today, we are in a season of omuta, ogbeta or carry talk in Nigeria. Quite unfortunately, the national discourse on war against corruption and good governance has slipped into a free-for-all. Many of the speakers are not speaking. They are talking and most painfully, talking anyhow too. No decorum, no governing rules.The talkers just open their mouths and talk. It is a regime of flippancy, utopia of demagoguism where sophistry and baseless proclamations have been lifted to state craft.

Yet, in this new national affliction (of verbal diarrhea), there is no physician to turn to. President Muhammadu Buhari who should inject therapies is himself down with the same ailment and badly needs a cure. His is even a more chronic condition because it manifests both at home and abroad almost at equal intensity. And since becoming democratically elected president some nine months ago, President Buhari has visited more than a dozen countries where he has not missed too many opportunities to display this strange affliction.

In South Africa, United States, France, India, Iran, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom and elsewhere he has visited, the President has been consistent in underscoring the hopelessness of the Nigerian situation. He talks as if a prize exists for running down Nigeria.

Recently outside the country, Buhari got so close to cursing God for making him president of Nigeria at a time when every dime has been stolen from the national treasury. What is more, he lamented that all the good efforts he is making to recover what has been stolen from the thieves are being frustrated by the country’s judiciary and some stupid concepts called ‘rule of law’ and ‘due process.’ He, more or less, told his foreign audience that corruption will stop and democracy shall flourish in Nigeria once the judiciary is put out of the way.

Everybody understands that Buhari is only trying to paint a picture of how bad the Nigerian situation is. But in doing so, he often forgets he is the president who should speak to the issues with the poise and optimism of a statesman. He so gladly descends from his privileged height onto the streets and talks angrily like any other aggrieved citizen of Nigeria.

Buhari probably thinks it is virtue to turn 360 degrees and become the chief prosecutor of one’s country in a global court where everyone is protective of his or her own deeds and misdeeds. And so, anytime it is announced Buhari is going outside Nigeria, we all wait with bathed breath in anticipation of the next big carry talk. But instead of just talking everywhere he goes, Buhari should speak more with his team on how to come around the current mounting challenges and deliver on his electoral promises.

BUHARI---CopyUnfortunately, the affliction is festering and the APC national Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is exhibiting outstanding capacity to do far greater damages. Maybe the APC needs another publicity secretary in the garb of Alhaji Lai Mohammed (by the way who is the new APC’s publicity secretary?) so that Oyegun can talk less as party chairman. For now, Chief Oyegun who retired in 1985 as federal permanent secretary and will be 77 years on August 12 is also carry-talking like others. He said the other day that the Supreme Court should be probed because the apex court confirmed the victories of the PDP candidates in the governorship elections in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States and denied the APC a golden opportunity to own some oil states. . Days later, he struggled to say he was quoted out of context by the press.

Whichever, my only happiness is that Chief Oyegun’s mother is from Agbarha Ame(water),which has its origin in Agbarha-Otor (land) where I come from. And so, Uncle Oyegun should understand that being pushed by partisan considerations to denigrate the highest court of the land with speech is omuta and ogbeta put together. Surprisingly, he is not relenting. Last week, following the sack of about 26 heads of federal parastatals by President Buhari, Chairman Oyegun was on call once more. He said all the sacked workers were PDP members working to sabotage the administration of President Buhari and he and the APC had no apologies for the sack. In an apparent hurry to carry talk, he forgot that one of the persons sacked, the Director-general of Budget Yahaya Gusau got on board with the APC Federal Government.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed should not strike any strange note in the emerging culture. He has been a constant factor in the carry talk affliction and will only attract extra attention if he changes from and begins to sound other than himself. That is, if he begins to present situations as they are without the colourations of a propagandist. For instance, we will be worried if Lai Mohammed says weapons bought for the military by the previous government have proved helpful in the war against the insurgents. Or to hear him say the December 2015 deadline set by President Buhari for the defeat of the Boko Haram terror could not be met by the military for reasons other than Jonathan and the PDP.

The other man that has come close to earning a constant coefficient as Alhaji Lai Mohammed in the carry talk affliction is Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. If some American officials are not telling him that only one minister stole $6billion from the national treasury, he is on his own discovering the billions that former governor Lucky Igbinedion and his family took from Edo State. Other times it would be to remind Nigerians about his personal attributes that got him a 30-year old virgin for a wife. I should think by now, Dr. NgoziOkonjo-Iweala must have come to accept that the comrade governor talks more than he speaks.

But there is a new rave in the spread of the affliction. He is Ibrahim Magu, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). He talks as if he and the EFCC constitute the entire gamut of criminal justice in Nigeria. He wants to create an orchestra that will orchestrate the refrain: thief, thief, thief!Catch am, catch am! Kill am, kill am! Rogue, rogue! Kill am, kill am, once he pronounces a man or woman thief!

The man has even identified those who do not want the orchestra to function smoothly. They are lawyers, journalists, yes, journalists, and that should include me I guess, and then judges. He is actually working hard to jail one big lawyer for injecting discordant tunes into the orchestra. He wants to use him to send unmistakable signals that whoever, no matter how tall, that stands on the way henceforth shall be uprooted and sent to jail.

And so, lawyers, judges and journalists beware! This is a bad season of carry talk and those talking want whatever they talk to remain stuck with the people like a piece of law!

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