STATE OF THE NATION .....................The return of Krest and Tuketuke
By Louis Odion, FNGE
After a rather long spell, it is time to pause our weekly diagnosis of the Nigerian condition and examine a raft of treacherous words or phrases that has since infiltrated national conversation whose ubiquity or frequency is likely to leave the casual readers or the uninitiated utterly befuddled.
The whole idea is to provide contexts and contents to such mutants.
Krest: Its onomatopoeic sibling is “crest” which denotes a crown or insignia or pedestal. The stock of this popular beverage dramatically changed in June after being implicated in a rape claim by Mrs Busola Dakolo against COZA’s pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo.
From time immemorial, folks were inclined to assume the brew was harmless, far from carcinogenic, being certified clinically as “non-alcoholic”. But not after reading Mrs. Dakolo’s jeremiad that it was improvised as the obliterating chemical applied specifically by the flamboyant preacher almost immediately after allegedly taking her virginity at age 16 that unforgettable dawn.
In her rather graphic recall of the encounter, the “Gucci Pastor” hurriedly fetched a bottle of Krest from his car, uncorked it and reportedly force-fed her with a considerable measure of its content. Bearing in mind its distinctive bitter lemon taste, folks didn’t need any further clue to conclude, with a knowing nod, on what could have been the sole aim: wipe the faintest fingerprint that might reveal the crime as well as foreclose possible foetal germination of any kind.
Since Dokolo’s story broke, market intelligence would appear to be pointing at an exponential rise in the demand for Krest. What no analyst can confirm with certainty, however, is whether any correlation exists between the rising consumption and the discovery of the other post “recreational use” the drink can be put. It is perhaps for this reason that some public-spirited individuals are already proposing whether it might not be conducive to public health at this point for relevant agencies like NAFDAC to issue an official statment modifying the existing classification of the drink and adding a clause expressly soliciting “parental discretion/supervision” in the procurement and consumption of the drink henceforth, particularly for females of pubescent age.
The urgency for such extraordinary official intervention seems, in fact, underscored by grave apprehension already being expressed in many quarters following reports that the “Gucci Pastor” had staged a triumphant return to the pulpit he was forced to evacuate a month ago by public outrage, without any evidence of undergoing any prosecution nor serving any penance over the alleged transgression.
Tekno: Techno is universally taken as the shorthand for technology. In his heyday, Fela, the inimitable Afro Beat exponent, made perhaps the most inventive attempt to track the etymology of “technology” to Yoruba roots with a syllabic breakdown to “te-ki-ina-lo-ji” (activating energy through a device/button).
But budding hip-hop singer, Augustine Kelechi, has brought a new twist with his indiscretion to embark on a street dance with half-clad vizens on Lagos highways few days ago. What prompted public outrage was a viral video of the show of shame recorded by a motorist and uploaded onto the social media.
Adopting the stage monicker “Tekno”, the twenty-something-year-old first captured public imagination four years ago with the song “Baby Kpalanga”. In a strong-worded statement at the weekend, Bolaji Sanusi, the Managing Director of Lagos open advertising agency (LASAA) announced a probe, threatening to prosecute those involved in the indecent show once a prima facie case could be established.
According to Section 136 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State (2015), any person found committing any act of gross gross indecency with another person in public shall be liable to a three-year jail term. Meanwhile, while youthful Kelechi will need more than the hypnotic lyrics of “Baba Kpalanga” in the days ahead to win back the adulation of an outraged public, it is clear the word “Techno” also now describes a sophomoric stupidity to engage in naked dance in the public.
Proclamation: It used to be a workaday term in the executive-legislature interface in the last twenty years of uninterrupted democracy until June when it assumed a new meaning in Edo State, disguised as a struggle to determine what constitutes the appropriate protocols of legislative quorum. But, in real terms, it is a facade for a seething cold war between the political mentor (shhhh, it’s shameful to be called “godfather” now!) and the mentee who seem to have been careless enough to allow busybodies infiltrate their ranks. And the feud has, sadly, snowballed into a deadly power-game, name-calling and washing of family’s sordid undergarments in the market square.
The phrase, in part, describes illicit trafficking in human commodity in the parliamentary chamber whereby a faction of a supposedly ruling party procures members-elect, and carts them off to be ware-housed in a distant safe haven with a view to easing regime change seamlessly against the presiding faction, in the likely event that push eventually comes to shove.
And it further captures when both the Gomina (Yoruba for Governor) and his estranged mentor choose to live in acute denial and rather resort to speaking in parables. Taking poetic liberty, one of them would, for instance, track the genesis of the kerfuffle to an attempt by the other to wolf down both the communal yam and the seedling, in what reminds us of the grosteque architecture of Tuketuke politics of old.
Of course, that is a coded reference to the now familiar - even hilarious - allegory of the hyperactive groom seeking to “borrow from tomorrow” popularized by my brother and friend, Segun Adeniyi. In-laws had been forced by repeated distress calls from the bride to regroup at the new couple’s matrimonial home barely two weeks after wedding, seeking to settle what was beginning to look like a big puzzle.
To their relief, as the story goes, they soon found that it was not as if the young wife was being starved of food, attention or money.
It took the deployment of sagely tact by the mediators to finally unravel the mystery. They decided to meet the wife in camera. Then, she opened up: the groom was too excessive in his conjugal demands, almost round the clock, resulting in her acute exhaustion.
When confronted, the young man admitted right away, defending that it was all borne out of obsessive love and a personal resolution never to commit adultery.
Long story short, the in-laws eventually departed before nightfall on a happy note, having heard both parties solemnly agreeing to a pact of mutually acceptable frequency of their conjugal transactions henceforth.
But by the afternoon of the following day, the still bullish groom had already drawn down the “quota” for the opening day. So, when he again cozied up to the wife at the first sign of dusk, she naturally flared up: “But you’ve taken all the allocation for today!”
Ever so forthright, the groom admitted, “Yes, I know”, and added the clincher, “May I borrow from tomorrow’s then.”
To the Gomina, those raiding the communal barn for both the yam and the seedling are like the randy groom wishing to “borrow from tomorrow”. That is, taking from what is meant for the unborn generations.
For the benefit of those unfamiliar with Edo lingo, Tuketuke is a generic phrase for a category of vehicular apparitions in a halo of smoke limping on the highways - a menace to both commuters and the community. In political terms, it refers to a proclivity to parlay power to prey on the people, “borrow from tomorrow”, in the most primitive manner that annuls all guarantees of human dignity.
So, “proclamation” is also euphemistic of “Tuketuke” politics rebranded with some of the partisans, obviously chaffing under the yoke of disrupted “stomach infrastructure” and the rupture of juice pipelines, now preferring to dance naked and barefoot at the communal square, not ashamed to flaunt necklaces made of glutton’s teeth.
AMCON: When next you hear the name mentioned, you need to pay more attention to the inflection in the second syllable. If among financial aficionados, what you might likely hear is, “I’m conned”. A jovial, even cynical, derogation of AMCON. So, hard as the activist streak Muiz Banire, SAN, the new chair of the AMCON board, might be bringing to the table, getting the “top 20” said to be owing a whopping 67 percent of the N5 trillion owed AMCON to comply, will not be easy at all.
Among the heavy debtors are two former governors and a sitting senator.
Of course, that some individuals could be audacious enough to obtain hefty loans and now refuse to pay speaks directly to the ingrained culture of impunity pervading the land.
But anyone with inside knowledge of the nation’s debt industry in the past one and a half decades will attest that there are other buccaneers yet to be captured in the much touted shame list. The patriotic intention of AMCON as a debt management agency floated at the height of the global credit crunch of 2008/2009 was virtually undermined from the outset. How? The prerogative for determining the size of debt owed was left entirely to the usurers, not the borrowers. Given the permissiveness of that season, the common belief is that figures submitted to AMCON for bailout were mostly sexed up by bank executives looking for cheap cemetery to bury liabilities incurred in unrelated transactions, without the debtors having the chance to verify.
So, while the bank honchos have since sanitized as well as deodorized the books and thereafter moved on to declare the usual super-normal profits to their shareholders, it is the debtors and AMCON sharks now locked in shouting match over the exact amount owed.
Hence, the sneer “I’m conned” whenever the N5 trillion debt is mentioned these days. Of course, the joke is at the expense of Nigerian taxpayers whose commonwealth is thus trapped.