(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, February 10, 2023)
S-s-s-s-h-h-h! Q-u-i-e-t! I’m in the Forest of a Thousand Demons. Please, don’t fear for my safety, I’m ok. It’s dangerous, though. I can only listen, watch and text. S-s-s-s-s-h, s-i-l-e-n-c-e! It’s election season, the forest is buzzing with a frenzy; demons are on the prowl, campaigning.
I mustn’t be seen, otherwise, a quick requiem will memorialise my life, time and death. But I don’t want to die yet, so I lay hidden on a fat bough of an iroko, covered by dense foliage, peeping down the forest. Four prominent politicians are on the ballot, seeking to lead the forest and its demons in two weeks’ time.
Uhmm, the Forest of a Thousand Demons isn’t a place to hear the peal of laughter. It’s a place where eight messengers of death – genocide, suicide, homicide, infanticide, patricide, matricide, regicide and mariticide – gyrate to the dancing tongues of flame in the furnace of grief. It’s paradise in chaos. It’s hell. The Forest of a Thousand Demons is Nigeria.
The aforementioned messengers of death have since 2015 graduated from tenanting in Nigeria to gaining citizenship approved by a government in lethargy as dirge mourns and death kills across the land to the rhyme and chime of sorrow.
Up here where I lay silently, nature is at peace; the sun is up, birds are chirping, insects are humming. Down there, the whole forest is in bedlam. I see the brainless, leading the brainy. I see some people walking on their heads. I see able-bodied men and women crawling on their bellies. Some are running to nowhere. Some are laughing and crying at the same time. Many are in perpetual agony and grief. Nigeria!
There’s a huge conflagration at the Centre Bank of Nigeria and many affiliate banks because the Guv’nor of CBN, Godwyn Emefiwere, has gone totally mad. And the King of the Forest, Old Major, is baying like a cold-blooded crocodile, mouth agape, dead to emotion. Animals in human skin.
I see unending queues: Queue for fuel. Queue for money. Queue to buy money. Queue to breathe. Queue to queue. Queue to die.
I see some ants going about their business along a tree branch nearby. The ants are orderly, they work in a single file, no one is shunting nor shouting. Though tiny, they are vigilANT and brilliANT in the way they provide security. They practise democracy without voting. They live in colonies without enslaving. The ant: patriotic, selfless, hardworking and honourable; pays its dues to the anthill through service, unlike man that evades tax and responsibility.
Ants don’t have in their midst any DINOsaur, FFK or Foetus kYAMu miscreants misbehaving and futilely using blankets of lies to cover sunlight from shining on the slime and grime of their PRINCIPALities.
Silently, I watch, I listen. I can’t talk, or else, I’ll be meat for the demons. They never liked me, I know. I never liked them, either. Yes, I am Odesola, a hunter. I believe in my pen-gun, and I believe in the Bible, too. Quietly, I opened my Bible to the Book of Ezekiel 28 to read about Satan and the reason God was so annoyed with him that He cast him out.
These are the words of Ezekiel 28:17: “Your heart (Satan) became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So, I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” Baba God, the leaders of this forest are more wicked than Satan.
S-s-s-h-h-h!!! Quietly, I flip through the Bible…uhm! What sin did Esau commit? He sold his birthright. What sin did Moses commit? Momentary lack of faith in God. What did Samson do wrong? He loved Delilah, a Philistine. Ananias and Sapphira were killed because of financial corruption. The demon leaders in Nigeria are a million times worse than these personalities, Baba God.
Lord, the sins in the Forest of a Thousand Demons down below are greater than those of Sodom and Gomorrah, which you utterly destroyed. This forest was, hitherto, named the Land of Milk and Honey until greedy leaders plundered it, so I pray that the fate that befell biblical Ananias and Sapphira for defrauding the commonwealth should also befall Nigeria’s thieving leaders.
Baba God, thou art unquestionable. I’m not in doubt of thy mightiness but I’m pleading with thee, on behalf of over 200 million Nigerians, to visit with pestilence the households of all leaders who intentionally caused the fuel and new naira notes crises besetting the country.
For making Nigerians flee their fatherland for greener pastures abroad, thereby separating husbands from wives, and parents from children, may our leaders’ joy and health as well as those of their families and generations unborn be separated.
Yeh, my chest is aching from the long period of lying down. Let me adjust by sitting up, quietly. It’s so hot here. Ha! Jesu! My boot slips off, lands on Emefiwere’s head, gbaa!! I’m dead! Blood spurts. Emefiwere shouts, “Anwu na m ooo! I’m dead!” Two dead bodies.
Members of the Ass-or-Rock cabal, including Daurra and Tunde, rush to him. “What’s it, Goddy? Blood? What happened?” Daurra asks. “I don’t know o. I just hear ‘gba’ on my head. E be like say na God punch me,” Emefiwere responds.
Emefiwere: E bi like say blood don enter my brain o. I no fit see again.
Tunde: Blood? Brain? No talk like dat nah, Goddy. You no wan chop interim government life after May 29?
(Daurra brings out a bundle of $100 notes from his pocket, waves it at Emefiwere’s eyes.)
Emefiwere: Ha! That’s Benjy, my friend.
Tunde: Who’s Benjy?
Emefiwere: Benjamin Franklin; his picture is on the $100 bill.
Daurra: But you said you couldn’t see.
Emefiwere: Mark 8:25 says, “His eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
Daurra: You scared me, I thought Bat had got you. (He daubs Emefiwere’s wound with some methylated spirit.)
Emefiwere: Yeeeee! Medulla oblongata m oooo. I’m dead!
Tunde: Will you stop shouting, you dis vulture-headed man? When you dey rake millions of dollars on exchange rate, you no sabi say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown?
Emefiwere: But they have broken the head nah.
Daurra: Young man, stop the theatrics and let’s map out our next strategy, abi you wan go jail on May 30 ni?
Daurra: Yes, jail. So, you don’t know that if Bat becomes president you’re going straight to jail?
Emefiwere: But you vowed he won’t become President.
Daurra: He won’t if you keep quiet and let’s map out how to create another national crisis that would necessitate an interim national government after Old Major leaves Ass-or-Rock.
Tunde: This naira currency redesign strategy isn’t working as planned; the Highest Court has ordered that old notes remain legal tender.
Emefiwere: I’ll refuse to print new notes.
Tunde: Is this your yam-like head totally empty? What does it matter if you refuse to print new notes when the Highest Court has ordered that old notes remain legal?
Emefiwere: I told you my brain has been affected by that invisible blow, it’s now leaking. Ha, I don die…!
Daurra: I see you in chains soon.
Daurra: You’re not safe if either Artikú or OB emerges president, too.
Emefiwere: It’s finished!
Facebook: @tunde odesola