Saint Farooq Kperogi’s Satanic Verses, By Dele Afelumo

Socrates and Eleanor Roosevelt, at different times, said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. It is on that premise that I categorise the many treatises of Mr Farooq Kperogi, a professor of Journalism, on many issues bedevilling our country. I also have to borrow an Indian author, Salman Rushdie’s book title, Satanic Verses, as part of the title of this critique.

One wonders what Kperogi’s preoccupations always are with character assassination, deployment of incendiary adjectives in describing people, his obsessive and compulsive approach, coupled with patronising and condescending attitudes, while desperately trying to pull others down. He plays hubristic tunes always, as if he remains the only de facto repository of knowledge on all matters of national importance. The frenzy with which he dishes out outrageous diatribes about people is frighteningly appalling, when there are many issues crying for fertile minds to address.

His analyses are frighteningly and disturbingly twisted to suit his own narratives and those of his paymasters. He disparages everybody contributing their quota to the development of our country. His penchant for obfuscation and make-believe sainthood and puritanism on all issues is sickening. Why always reel out toxic and acerbic write-ups to discredit people?

The truth is that Kperogi’s diatribes emanate from a hellish terrain of his own negative inflections. Many of his teeming followers on social media have deified and venerated him disproportionately; eulogised and swallowed his barefaced mendacity and ascribed to him a larger-than-life image to ride roughshod on our national psyche like a demi-god. His contributions are not in the least altruistic but capable of instigating monumental conflagration.

Our pleonastic warring warrior, truth bender and wailing wailer on any issue concerning his adversarial targets is relentless in fabricating apocryphal, unsubstantiated and damning critiques, as if he’s immune to the putrefying decadence inflicted on our society. His incurable gusto to pull people down by deploying all the weaponry in his dangerous arsenal is petrifying. What he calls analyses are farcical and dishonest claims on many matters, which bear the unfortunate insignia of coarseness, brazenness and vulgarism.

Kperogi reminds me of a histrionic, scurrilous midget with gargantuan complexes that later graduated to a crescendo, where the gratification of his fantasies and tales by moonlight always spell the fate of bewildered innocents. His stock-in-trade is to pervasively vilify every imaginary enemy, while he himself sails in the tide of self-abnegation.

Having hugged the limelight, he seems unstoppable in his inveterate and dastardly attempts to rubbish every individual with so much bile, vile, Philistinism and sadistic ferocity that diminish his standing as a teacher who should be proffering solutions to issues confronting us as a people. He goes obscurantist and escapist on germane issues of national importance, while alarmingly chasing individuals head-on by deploying infantile adjectives against them.

The recent declarations of many individuals for the office of president of Nigeria had Kperogi going for their jugulars. From his scathing and damning remarks on Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amechi, Nyesom Wike to the previous ones against Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, Dame Patience Jonathan, ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and many others, his repertoire of acidic and acerbic adjectives against these individuals, at every twist and turn, smacked of an ideologue with an unbridled tongue who lacks reciprocal respect. His indecorous, uncivil and boorish tirades against these persons were outright repugnant. Why is Kperogi playing God by condemning everybody but himself, who is known to be ensconced in the narcissistic and brutish repetitiveness of gutter language?

No one is advocating that all write-ups have to be flattering of the bestial egos of individuals but for one who teaches in the U.S.A and knows how people sue for anything  – serious, mundane, frivolous and absurd matters – he should have had some introspection and circumspection before hurling expletives at many. I am not holding brief for anybody here, as I have never met any of them, who also have a rich coterie of acolytes to do their public relation for them. But Kperogi needs to backtrack on this path he is trudging on.

It is no news that Nigeria is on the precipice. The number of innocent people being killed, displaced, maimed and raped unconscionably, with gruesome glee and psychotic relish, on a daily basis in our killing fields, are staggering. Solutions to stop these heinous crimes should occupy our jaded minds, rather than throwing tantrums at every opportunity at individuals. Kperogi feigns ignorance of the massacres in Benue State, the near-total annihilation of the entire southern Kaduna people, attempted land annexation in the South for some clannish mongrels, and terrorism that has ravaged the entire North, among others, but choses to leave a festering leprosy in pursuit of an innocuous sore!

His unholy alliance with that extremist figure, Ishaq Akintola, in his toxic and lachrymose sermons of seeing everything within the cauldron of Christianisation of the polity, is a human antithesis of angst and banal platitude. To put the record straight, I am a Christian deeply rooted in Anglicanism. To sell a putrid summary to the people about a candidate as being a Pentecostal radical slowly enacting an ‘entrysm’ into our national consciousness, is to lie to the whole world when worse carrots had been dangled at us in this dispensation and in the past.

To attribute a General Overseer’s dream of seeing a member or a pastor of his church become the president of Nigeria at a point in our chequered history as a cunningly-choreographed edict, is to take recourse to false syllogisms and paralogisms. A sixteen-year old Bill Clinton dreamt of a day he would superintend over the U.S.A when he represented his State of Arkansas as one of the students that visited then President J.F Kennedy in the White House on July 4, 1960. The dream actually became a stark reality for Bill Clinton later. Anybody can dream of brighter future prospects and that shouldn’t form the basis of any luciferous umbrage.

We are not all oblivious of those of other faiths, in which any rumour of sacrilege or anti-faith rhetoric by a perceived kafir is greeted by snafus, bedlam and all forms of violence better left to our conjectures. If Christians occupy some pole positions, just like members of other faiths, why the hues and cries? The exactitude of what Kperogi insinuated in Osinbajo’s perceived bigotry is difficult to substantiate. Academics should rather show objectivity and impartiality in any discourse of this type.

Cases of cronysm in every facet of Nigerian life, nay that of the whole world, is as old as time. The first thing every employer who wishes to succeed in his business does is to recruit those he knows and can trust. To crucify Osinbajo for daring to employ the services of some trusted and known individuals, among many other appointees, as akin to religious bigotry, is being hypocritical by Kperogi, because when mistresses, henchmen, friends’ children, traditional rulers’ favoured lots were employed by President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and his cabal, people cried of this perceived skewness, while Kperogi maintained a deafening silence. The president stuck to his appointments in a manner of do-whatever-you-like and we are all living witnesses to this lopsidedness till today. Only President Obasanjo did not get cocooned and encumbered by the nepotism mantra in his appointments, as he put meritocracy before ethnic appendages.

What have been the contributions of Kperogi in the popular clamour for a brand new constitution that would birth a new order after decades of injustices, nepotism, clannishness, religious intolerance, a flawed admission quota system, unfair taxation etc?. He maintained a facade of indifference on all of them since the status quo favoured him and his paymasters.

What of the perennial issue of Al majir in the north that is a blight on our our nation’s development and a blemish on our sartorial and immaculate white apparel? This and many other issues are what academics, polemicists and good citizens should crack their brains on, rather than be mudslinging individuals.

Three short stories will substantiate the question that has always been on every lip in Nigeria: Are we really a country? When i was superintending over the General Hospital in Birnin-magaji, Zamfara State, a nurse who was an indigene was seconded to be a health attaché to pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Normal courtesy demanded that he should inform me of this formally. But he never did. When he came back, I feigned ignorance of his assignment to the holy land and demanded to know where he had been. He responded rudely that if I asked him such a question again, he and others would kill me because it was their land and they could do whatever they liked in it.

Again, it is no secret that ghost workers abound everywhere in Nigeria but they are astronomically more in the North. As the head in that same hospital, only a few workers occasionally came to work, which was a far-cry from the bogus list of workers given to me by the Hospital management board. I complained to the Medical Director in the board but he stonewalled all my suggestions designed to force his people to be coming to work to justify their pay. I then decided to write the banks where the supposed workers were getting their salaries to interdict these. The following day, the hospital was filled with so many strange faces complaining that they were workers but they could not get their salaries. I told them it was the board that stopped their salaries and they should go to Gusau to officially lodge their complaints. The Medical Director invited me to Gusau in a jiffy and praised me profusely for boldly stopping the salaries of the truant workers. He said the board ought to have interdicted those salaries a long time back, but that their hands were tied. He then said i should write the banks to release the salaries because many of those staff members had four wives and numerous children. I was catapulted into a state of utter consternation and disappointment. I soliloquised why I, from Ekiti, should be teaching and begging Zamfara indigenes to work for their people and justify their remunerations. I resigned myself to fate, helplessness and just continued doing my work with the few staffers who occasionally showed up for work thereafter.

What of the gory case of a Christian woman hacked to death for having the temerity to preach the gospel on the street of Abuja? What of the unfortunate case of a female teacher who was invigilating an exam in a secondary school in Gombe, while an errant student was copying some of the answers already written on the pages of the holy book? Hell was let loose when the teacher seized the Quran and placed it on the window beyond the reach of the cheat, whilst the ensuing pandemonium led to the untimely death of the teacher that same day.

What of the taxes on the sale of liquor in the South being jointly shared as a common patrimony, while Southerners resident in the North who were selling those products were incurring the opprobrium of the chauvinist Hisba brigade in those precincts, by having their products confiscated or destroyed? These are the kinds of issues that all patriotic individuals should critically and analytically busy themselves with, rather than engage routinely in character assassination and incessant glib writings that do not address our needs.

Dele Afelumo is a practising physician. Email: drdeleafelumo98@gmail.com