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Jun 13, 2020

June 12: Many ghosts still wandering

June 12: Many ghosts still wandering

Buhari has buried one or two. But there are yet many June 12 ghosts, wandering the land unappeased. Africans believe that it’s more prudent to appease the dead and contain ghosts than allow them roam, get frustrated, and seek revenge.
Kudirat was chased about on the streets of Lagos and squashed with bullets. She was shot in broad daylight by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. She wasn’t killed by a strange letter bomb. Innocent woman, mother and wife, she wasn’t hunted down and executed. She wasn’t killed by an armed robber. Those who killed her were agents of the state.
At the Oputa panel, all the bloodied linens were washed in public. But Oputa panel wasn’t a court of law. The real courts have looked at a few people and freed them. That matter of proving beyond all reasonable doubts. The legal processes lingered and lingered in court, witnesses grew weary and changed their tales, from season to season. So everyone no matter how badly fingered remained innocent.
Yes, murders sometimes go unresolved. So murderers prowl every society. But Kudirat was shot in broad daylight. And the killers by their own stories, their confessions, are fairly well known. Assuming the errand boys convince themselves that they were obeying superior orders, what then would their commanders and commander in chief say?
The society has a moral burden it must live with. Those who killed Kudirat are possibly roaming around with shoulders held high. Their commander in chief has died a national hero. How then can the ghost of Kudirat be happy? That ghost would roam Lagos, Abuja and Kano and run into some of these folks and their pomposity, and restrain itself. Then one day it might just decide to walk into and sit idly in the Abacha Stadium in Kano and weep under the sun.
If evils could be ranked, then the murder of that woman would be a chief evil amongst the most egregious of evils. The ghost of Kudirat will be angry but not lonely. It must be flocking around with the ghosts of many others slaughtered during that regime: Alfred Rewane. Onagoruwa’s son. Bagauda Kalto. They must have menace on their faces.
How then can we have the peace we seek?
And the ghost of Yaradua. Yaradua’s ghost must be particularly miffed. After all if the tales told about his killing are true, who else has been killed so coldly in Nigeria? Obasanjo has confirmed the suspicions. It is cruel to shoot people, but going into a prison to treat a sick inmate only to inject him with a poison is the kind of science we hear about in Russian and Israeli secret service adventures.
There is nothing Buhari can do about these ghosts. The cases have congealed. Witnesses have wearied, died or disappeared. Pieces of evidence have been disfigured, trampled upon.
But mere confessions can be enough. Confessions bring closure. Confessions can heal. Why cant those who carried out these murders confess openly? So that the families can heal and perhaps get compensation from the state.
There could be this other kind of ghost. And associate June 12 ghost. It might not have blood on its fangs like the scary angry scowling others. It could be a little clownish. This ghost could dance and mock whenever it hears that some Abacha assets have been repatriated. This ghost could exist because our ancestors are perplexed. Despite being spirits they haven’t been able to fathom our sometimes utterly confounding moral confusion.
Is Abacha a hero or a thief? He cant be both. The money Abacha stole are being brought back. Switzerland had the conscience to take 10% before returning the balance to a poor African country. Yet Abacha’s name hangs on streets and stadiums. And Abacha in death clings to the rank of General and the title of GCFR. This other ghosts must have sneered and sneered. We cant be very sure Abacha committed any murder now. But we can’t be in doubt he stole our money. We have told the world he did. So why do we punish small thieves and robbers and leave the biggest of them all decorated?
President Buhari can not close his eyes to this moral confusion. Our children are watching him.
There could be yet some other ghosts. The ghost of Unity. National unity was in the womb. It was aborted when the June 12 elections were annulled. This ghost has been marginally appeased by the GCFR awarded to Abiola posthumously. More direct recognition of that election could make it smile. But it is an aggressive pursuit of national unity that would give it rest. On that President Buhari has more work to do before 2023.

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