A Palace Jester And A King’s Secret Code By Ogacheko Opaluwa

A famous Igala folklore tells of a palace jester that was once employed for all he was worth to appear before the King whenever His Royal Majesty was in occasional

foul mood.
The jester was so good at his trade such that the Kingdom never witnessed any rash action or decision of their beloved king arising from
his accustomed mood swings. The King enjoyed the jester’s witty jokes and on several occasions, was besides himself as he reeled on the floor with laughter. Sooner than many could realize, the palace jester became a close ally of the King and was allowed to enter the palace any time of his choosing.
He even had a rare privilege of eating occasionally at the royal table with the king. Regrettably, the palace jester abused the privilege by eavesdropping on some of the King’s private conversations with his counselors.
The gluttonous palace jester soon about spreading contents of the king’s conversations that he heard with those that disliked the king in return for morsels of food. Now, the palace jester was a known glutton in the kingdom and many believed that he could sell his parent into slavery for a pot of porridge.
He was also a lazy man and a village imbecile that did not own a plot of farm nor had any meaningful means of livelihood. The village scoundrel only relied on his gift of oratory and telling of funny jokes to eke a living and those were the qualities that recommended him to work in the King’s palace. As the kingdom of ‘amęnęnyó’ prospered under their astute and powerful king, other kings from neighbouring kingdoms became envious and so connived to kill him in order to diminish his kingdom.
The only snag however was that the powerful king of amęnęnyó kingdom had a secret code that must be broken before his rivals could achieve their aim. The opposing kings knew that they could not penetrate the powerful King’s fortress to obtain the secret code themselves neither could they use any of his wives nor his loyal counsellors to achieve their aim.
Quickly, a thought came to one of them about the palace jester and his love for food. So the envious kings invited him to a delicious and sumptuous meal and without much prompting, he agreed to help the rival kings obtain the secret code of the powerful king. Before now, the powerful King had suspected that the palace jester could do anything for a bowl of food.
Therefore, he tricked him into believing that the secret code of his power and fame was hidden in a narrow cove behind his ancestral shrine. What the imbecile palace jester did not know was that the cove was guided by a deity Boa Constrictor. And so as the palace jester went about fetching the secret code of the powerful king on behalf of the king’s envious rivals, he was swallowed by the Boa Constrictor and was neither seen nor heard of again throughout the kingdom.
I am recounting this folklore that was told to us with several others by our grandparents on moonlit evenings when we were children to serve as allegory to an online story about corruption allegation against the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Ordinarily, I would not have bothered to comment on the matter since character assassinations, blackmail as well as making of wild, mischievous and oft false allegations against political opponents are fast moving stocks in trade of politicians and their sympathizers during electioneering periods in Nigeria.
However, for such a demagoguery and patent treachery to have emanated from an Igala lad in sharp contrast to who we are as a race and a people, demands a quick, unabashed and unapologetic unveiling of the person of this low character among us.
This lad that goes by the name Prince Mike Achimugu is not a stranger to many Igala people except those that lead private lives and as such have aversion towards the public. Unlike many Igala royalties, this self-confessed blue blooded young man is known to many as a shameless pretender of dubious personage, a serial blackmailer and a treacherous character that grovels at the feet of influential individuals and hibernates at corridors of power.
One person that knows him closely once described him to me as a ‘gluttonous fool that lives for his stomach only.’ I was scandalized at such an unsavoury description of a young man with whom I supposedly share the same genealogy.
One therefore wonders how the ubiquitous hollow characters that masquerade themselves all over our public spaces either as media consultants or spokespersons of some politicians in Nigeria got so close in the first place to our ‘Knights in shimmering Armours’ that are currently jostling to become our leaders. It goes to show any discerning mind the personal constitution of our former, current and potential leaders in this country.
After all, is it not commonly said that ‘birds of a feather flock together?’ From all indications, the DNAs of these lie mongers and blackmail merchants that are generally referred to as spokespersons in Nigeria are sufficiently infused with treachery, blackmail and double-speak genes.
However, this is not my drift in this piece. Rather, it is the attempt by one scavenging yokel to tar a race and a people whose reputation for honour, honesty, humility, resilience, hardwork, cooperation and trust and doggedness are legendary with an inglorious hue of treachery and blackmail. What a Prince Mike Achimugu so-called did not know is that, those that paid him to tread the putrid road of blackmail and treachery had already discovered who he really is despite the amount of money that they may have given him or whatever promises they may have made to him. They will soon discard him disdainfully like a woman’s sanitary stuff when they achieve their aim ultimately.
Conversely and this is the part that rankles me most, the buffoon may have inadvertently clamped an iron gate rudely in the faces of many resourceful young Nigerians; especially Igala lads whose services may be required by top politicians and other notable public figures in the future.
I refer to him simply as an impressionable character because of how vain he sounded in the online video that he circulated over an issue that regulatory and judicial experts could not find former Vice President Atiku Abubakar culpable till date. By the way, donations by individuals, groups and even governmental agencies through surreptitious means or SPVs that have now assumed a sinister meaning in Nigeria are universal practices.
Now, let my younger brother tell me which administration in Nigeria; including that of incumbent President Muhammad Buhari and his APC party, did not use public funds to sponsor elections in our dear country? Again, let this lowly self-acclaimed Prince of Igala land that thinks he knows too much about people in power show me one Nigerian President or a State Governor or a Local Government Chairman in Nigeria that did not divert public funds to sponsor their respective political parties in Nigeria?
I wish to remind Prince Achimugu that it has become the norm rather than the exception in Nigeria as it is in the USA, the UK, France, Israel, Peru, Venezuela, South Africa etc.
For example why, in Mike’s opinion, did APC officials including our incumbent Vice President painstakingly trudge Wuse, Nyanya, Ajengule, Ochanja, Kaduna etc. markets on foot to distribute their administration’s so called ‘trader moni’ during previous electioneering periods in Nigeria?
Did our gullible brother try to find out the category of people that benefitted mostly from the scheme or how much of the monies have been repaid into coffers of government by beneficiaries that were mainly party members if truly the scheme was a thrift loan?
Or is it the leaked strategy document of the ruling party wherein the government intended to use the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to fund the 2023 general elections in favour of the ruling party? Similarly, If truly a Prince Achimugu was a member of PDP by virtue of his acclaimed close association with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as he wants us to believe, he should tell Nigerians how the party funded its activities all those years that it was in power; including the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom Atiku Abubakar deputized.
Is Mike not aware how some of his sponsors had colonized a certain State over the last 23 years with intent to use slush State funds stacked in Bullion Vans to buy Nigeria’s presidency? How about the current champion of the acclaimed new mass movement in Nigeria whose successors in office have serially refuted his claim of financial prudence and dubious investments on behalf of his State Government and people while he served as Governor?
Look, let whoever is close to our brother tell him that there are no Saints in Nigeria’s democratic spaces despite the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some senior citizens and self-appointed ‘kingmakers’ that believe that they own our Nigeria and therefore must decide our collective fate all the time.
What most of us are doing currently in the interest of our dear country is to ‘use sand to cover faeces to enable us eat termites’, as an Igala adage goes.
Therefore, those that sponsored our undiscerning younger brother may have discovered how ignorant and gullible he is before hoodwinking him with peanuts and perhaps, promises of future political appointment to do the dirty job of not only blackmailing an opponent, but by extension his own people.
For avoidance of doubt, Igala people are loyal and trustworthy lot that hardly break covenants; no matter the treatment that are meted out to them by other parties. That is why as a race and tribe in Nigeria, we have endured all forms of injustices, marginalization, denials and disappointments by successive administrations in Nigeria from independence till date. For the records, no administration has marginalized and ill treated Igala people like the current governments of President Muhammad Buhari and Alhaji Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Yet, we have remained calm and resolute while awaiting better days when another administration that values equity, justice and fairness emerges. No scoundrel from Igala race chose to blackmail or become treacherous to any Nigerian leader or powerful men and women with whom he or she has associated previously.
It is not for want of facts or evidences but we were not brought up that way. Therefore, those who sought to tarnish our image through the thoughtless blackmail of this barefaced glutton have failed woefully.
Also, if they sought to use what has become a common practice in the world to bring down an opponent, they have also failed abysmally. If a N100 million donation by a State Governor to his party through an SPV (so named) amidst mind boggling corruption cases that we have witnessed under current APC government is all that poor Mike Achimugu saw to talk about, he has failed to deliver on his assignment as he did not succeed in surprising Nigerians as it were.
Let his sponsors demand the refund of their money. As Shakespeare once wrote in one of his plays, his blackmail attempt is merely like ‘…a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.’ For now, the child-hunter has found a dead forest gnome or bush baby as is commonly called in this part of the world from the bush.
However, it remains to be seen on which adult fire he will roast his meat? There is also a vital lesson for Nigeria’s powerful or rich men and women in my brother’s story. As many young, self-acclaimed computer or internet savvy and smooth talking Nigerians swarm around you, be careful of their nimble feet and slippery characters otherwise they can harm you guys irredeemably. A word they say, is enough for the wise.
OGACHEKO OPALUWA is a Freelance Journalist and a Public Affairs Commenrator. He contributed this piece from Addis Ababa.

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