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LAST week’s bike accident suffered by Yusuf Buhari, the only son of President Muhammadu Buhari, brings to the fore once more the belief in many quarters that not only is the Presidential Villa spiritually jinxed but also that it “collects blood,” to put it poignantly and in the local parlance that many of our people will easily understand. It is said that there is, or there are, blood-sucking demons in Aso Rock. The foundations and pillars of the place are said to have been erected on the blood of innocent Nigerians used as sacrifice. So, we have been told, there are covenants that demand and extract blood from occupants of the Villa. We have heard so many chilling and blood-cuddling stories of how people were buried alive in the place as human sacrifice and how leaders have used human blood to bathe. Those practices were said to have been prevalent in the time of vile dictator Sani Abacha without necessarily excluding previous and later occupants of the place.
The wife of a military administrator told me how the very popular and well-received interventionist programme of a very flamboyant First Lady, now late, was meant also to interface with “powerful” spiritual powers all over the country to “collect power” on behalf of her husband to keep them in power for as long as they wished. All these stories and many more point in the direction that the Presidential Villa is not an ordinary place; it is not your mill-of-the-run residential abode. Apart from being Nigeria’s seat of power, it is also the Synagogue of Satan where all manner of occult practices are said to be prevalent.
And should that surprise anyone? Many will give anything to get into that seat of power and will give much more to retain their hold there. Only few will do this through prayer while the majority are likely to result to the occult. That, again, should surprise only the Marines because we have seen that occult practices are not unknown even in the midst of so-called men and women of God. Cases of “powerful” men and women of God exposed as having “collected” their “power” from the occult are public knowledge. Only God knows how many legions of demons are daily called into operation, are wheeled into, cried unto, sent on errands into and from Aso Villa, and what is sacrificed unto them by those seeking one favour or another and by those seeking to retain what they have got at all costs.
When popular columnist, Reuben Abati, wrote about the spiritual content of Aso Villa and his belief that the place is jinxed, presidential spin doctors jumped in his throat. But Abati is not just an outsider writing about what he knew nothing about; he himself had worked and lived there; so, as we say, he spoke as a well-informed insider and gave an eye-witness account. Sometimes when people have a job to do, they are caught between the rock and the hard place; otherwise, presidential aides who railed at Abati for his exposé on the negative spirituality of Aso Villa had also been victims of what Abati said operates there. There is the saying that except you are very strong spiritually, Aso Villa demons will get you or “collect” something you value from you sooner or later. The demons are even said to trail persons long after they have quit the place.
Now x-ray those who have lived in the place: Babangida escaped but soon after lost his wife, Maryam. Abacha died there. Abubakar Abdulsalami, the one whose health status was the butt of cruel jokes, survived and is still waxing strong. Such is the unsearchable ways of God! Olusegun Obasanjo lost his wife, Stella, there. Umaru Yar’Adua died there. The Jonathans survived but Patience told us she died for many days but God brought her back. Nevertheless, the Jonathans’ stay in Aso Villa witnessed the death of a couple of close relations. These are just the top men and women; and not of their innumerable lieutenants. Abati named names and gave graphic descriptions of deaths in Aso Villa that made him think there must be something to the place than meets the eye and to the deaths than is ordinary. And now President Muhammadu Buhari: That the man is still alive today is by the grace of God. We pray that he leaves the Villa in one piece with his entire family.
But Aso Villa needs deliverance and spiritual cleansing. How to start is first to organise a Truth Commission that will unravel how that facility became sold out to Satan. People must speak out; they must confess. Thank God, Abati started the process. God says we must acknowledge our sins, repent, forsake them, and ask for mercy. Then and only then will He hear from heaven, hearken unto our pleas for mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing and heal our land. Not just for the sake of the present occupants of Aso Villa but also for those who will come after them, the place needs deliverance and cleansing. As for Yusuf, may all the prayers being said for him avail and may the Balm in Gilead recover his health. When he is up on his feet, however, I have questions to ask him here.
…And that arms sale from the United States
Finally, the United States of America has agreed to sell fighter jets to Nigeria to aid the fight against Boko Haram. Whether this is cheery news or cause for anguish, you will soon discover. Involved in this deal, worth close to 600 million US dollars, are 12 Super Tucano A 29 planes, weapons, and ammunition. Immediate past US President Barak Obama balked on the deal in the dying minutes of his administration in protest over the NAF “accidental” bombings of an Internally-Displaced Persons’ camp in the North-East. Till date, no satisfactory explanations have been given for those bombings that left hundreds dead, except to say that they were accidental, thus leaving tongues to still wag that the IDPs were bombed because the inmates were mostly Christians and also to cover up humongous corruption that has hallmarked the Presidential Initiative on the North-East and armament funds.
Businessman Donald Trump, mindful of the business interests of the US over other considerations that do not put food on the Yankees’ table, has now decided to pull the deal from the freezer, not minding his predecessor’s concerns about human rights violations by the Buhari administration. According to reports, the sales will be completed by February 2018. The propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance, surveillance, and attack capabilities is made by Brazil’s Embraer, which boasts a second production line in Florida, USA in a partnership between Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corps of Sparks, Nevada, USA. The Super Tucano costs more than 10 million US dollars each but can go higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6 engine.
What we must note is that this plane is produced by Brazil, a fellow Third World country. Empresia Brasiliera de Aeroneutica (Embraer), makers of the planes, was founded in 1969. The military junta that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985 under Gen. Emilio Medici wanted Brazil to become self-sufficient in the production of its own arms and ammunitions. Therefore, the state had 51% control in the company. Today, the arms industry in Brazil has blossomed, becoming a major foreign-exchange earner and important employers of labour. Over 500 Brazilian arms manufacturing companies annually export over 500 million US dollars worth of weapons to as many as 33 countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and the oil-rich Gulf states. Countries include Syria, Qatar, Libya, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, and Lebanon; not to talk of its catchment area of the Americas. Today, Brazil produces a wide range of weapons, including drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), patrol boats; intercontinental ballistic missiles, to mention but a few. It has developed fruitful partnerships with companies in Italy and the US. In 2014, for instance, the US reportedly bought 20 Super Tucanos from Brazil to be used in military action in Afghanistan. Why we did not buy directly from source (won’t it be cheaper that way?) can be explained by the buyers but what grieves is the fact that our own Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), founded with the same lofty objectives as its Brazilian counterpart, is older but miserably abject in its achievements. DICON was created by an Act of Parliament in 1964, five clear years before the Brazilians gave the same idea a thought. DICON’s vision was: “To meet the materiel requirement of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security policy needs through improved production, collaboration, and commitment to international best practices” Long in words but short in deliverables. The same way the Malaysians came here in the 1960s to collect palm seedlings from us, when we were one of the leading producers of palm produce, but today we import palm-oil from the same Malaysia.
It is instructive to note that in Brazil, Malaysia, and the Asian Tigers generally, they, like us, had rule of dictators; they also had elements of state control of the commanding heights of their economy. What failed here succeeded in those places. What succeeded there, failed woefully here. Here, it is failure of leadership, be it military or civilian. Checks on DICON’s website said we are still “rebranding” and “repositioning” the Corporation for “turn-around” and this was credited “to the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari who has directed the Ministry of Defence to urgently articulate a proposal for the establishment of a Military Industrial Complex to produce weapons and other equipment for the country’s armed forces and reduce reliance on reluctant foreign suppliers” Still “articulating” and waiting for “proposal” while their “younger brother” is already up there in the air flying and making waves!
LAST WORDS: Wishing my teeming readers the very best of what remains of 2017 and life more abundant in 2018. I also congratulate George Weah for winning Liberia’s presidential poll because he has come a long way. My fear, though, is that the honeymoon doesn’t last long on these shores. The Liberians shouting “Hosanna” today sure will be the same screaming “Crucify him” tomorrow. But while the euphoria lasts, we enjoy it!