Thursday, 22 February 2018

"The Snake As a JAMBite: Buhari's Animal Kingdom and Its Metaphor" by Sesan Michael Johnson

"The Snake As a JAMBite: Buhari's Animal Kingdom and Its Metaphor" by Sesan Michael Johnson

Without much ado; as Buhari-led government prepares to clock three years, one can say the government has been characterised by different exoteric, eclectic, dramatic and comical episodes. Since last weekend, the hottest news in naija is the JAMB's nurtured snake that bellied #36m. It's a paradox, that the same JAMB was reported sometimes ago by this government to have remitted an outpouring income into the coffers of the FG.


Be it from the western, African or eastern paradigm; the use of animal metaphor in historical narration is endemic. Take for instance; the Yoruba folklores are characterised with the symbolism of tortoise (ijapa) and other animals. Typically, animal stories and characterisation as well as the intersections between human agency and animal instincts are used to expose the atrocities of public office holders and to derive lessons for the public. Often among the Igbos and the Yorubas these folklores, stories and mythologies are propagated and proliferated at the public spheres under the moon light in the night. Whereas, today's public sphere is fast becoming the Internet under the ultra violet lights/rays of the social media (Facebook, Twitter etc). In another article I had elucidated on how and why the social media is now today's public sphere. Specifically, I made use of Manuel Castell's theory of mass communication as my tool of analysis.


Without mincing words, Baba Buhari has been referred to as the Lion (please, read my "The Lion King and the Band of Hyenas"). We are also aware of how the rats occupied the throne and chased away the Lion King (please, read my 'Buhari and the Mischief of Rattus Rattus'). Cow Colony is still an ongoing hot debate in our polity. Now, we have a mysterious snake that swallowed #35m at the JAMB office. What can I say? For me this shows to tell us that when man couldn't explain an issue/event particularly within the remix of its causality, they tend to romance animal symbolism/metaphor and/or animal historiography as a means of historical escapism.


Well, have you observed that the use of animal symbolism in recent times just like before is becoming a currency? What would you say of 'Operation Crocodile Smiles', 'Operation Pythons Dance' and the latest 'Operation Cat Race'. Anyway, the world is about 'Rat Race', lobatan!


By the way, the 'Eagle' (EFCC) has promised to deal with the Snake (the JAMBite). I only hope, the eagle will not be too angry, I mean too hungry to the extent of not just arresting the snake but swallowing up both the snake and the loot. Remember, when the eagle soars to the mountain top, it will go beyond the reach of the Lion King.


Sesan Johnson a historian, essayist and conversationist. He's a public intellectual available to discuss national issues on the radio, TV and the New Media, 08149382121, smbafrica@gmail.com




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