Saint Kperogi’s 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 Professor Farook Kperogi on many issues bedevilling our country. I also have to borrow the Iranian author’s book’s title: The Satanic Verses—as my title for this critique. One wonders what Kperogi’s preoccupations always are with character assassination and deployment of incendiary adjectives on people. He plays hubristic tunes always as if he remains the only de facto repository of knowledge on all matters of national importance. The obsequious 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 warped to suit his own narratives and 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 individuals?


The truth is that, Kperogi’s diatribes emanate from a terrain of his own negative inflections. Many of his teeming followers on the 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 capable of instigating monumental conflagration. Our pleonastic warring warrior, on any issues concerning his adversarial targets, is relentless in fabricating apocryphal, unsubstantiated and damning critiques as if he’s immune from 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 unfortunate insignia of coarseness and vulgarism. His stock-in-trade is to pervasively vilify every imaginary enemy while he himself sails in the tide of self-abnegation.


Having hogged the limelight, he seems unstoppable in his attempts to rubbish every individual with so much sadistic ferocity that diminish his stranding 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 to use against them. The declarations of many individuals for the office of president of Nigeria had Kperogi going for their jugular. 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 GEJ and many others, his repertoire of acidic adjectives on these individuals at every twist and turn smacked of an ideologue with an unbridled tongue who lacked reciprocal respect. His indecorous, uncivil and boorish tirades against their persons were outrightly repugnant. Why is Kperogi playing God by condemning everybody but himself who is known to be ensconced in narcissistic and brutish repetitiveness of gutter languages?



No one is advocating that all write-ups have to be flattering the bestial egos of individuals but for one who teaches in the USA and knows how people sue for anything—serious, mundane, frivolous and absurd matters—he should have had some introspection and circumspection before hurling expletives on all men of goodwill. I am not holding briefs for anybody here—I have never met any of them in my life—as they have a rich coterie of acolytes to do their public relation matters for them but, Kperogi has 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 or raped unconscionably with gruesome glee and psychotic relish on daily basis in our killing field is staggering. Solutions to stop these heinous crimes should occupy our jaded minds rather than throwing tantrums at every opportunity on individuals. Kperogi did not address 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 chose to leave a festering leprosy in pursuit of an innocuous sore!



His alliance with that extremist figure, Ishaq Akintola, in his toxic and lachrymose sermons of seeing every bright longing on the cauldron of Christianization 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 16-year old Bill Clinton dreamt of a day he would superintend over the USA when he represented his State of Arkansas as one of the students that visited then President J.F Kennedy at the White House on July 4th, 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 for any luciferous umbrage.



We are not all oblivious of terrains where any rumour of sacrilege or anti-faith rhetorics by a perceived kafir was greeted by snafus, bedlam and all forms of violence better left to our conjectures. If Christians occupy some pole positions just like others from other faiths, why the hue and cry? Academics should show objectivity and impartiality in any discourses of this type. Cases of cronyism in every facet of Nigeria, nay the whole world, are as old as time. When friends’ children, traditional rulers’ favoured lots were employed by PMB and his cabal, people cried of this perceived skewness, Kperogi maintained 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 by the nepotism mantra in his appointments as he put meritocracy before tribal appendages.



What have been Kperogi’s contributions in the popular clamour for a brand new constitution that would birth a new order after decades of injustices, nepotism, clannishness, religious intolerance, flawed admission quota system, unfair taxation etc. He maintained a facade of indifference on all of them since the status quo favoured him. What of the perennial issue of Almajiri in the North that is a blight on 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 what has always been on every lip in Nigeria: are we really a country? When I was superintending over a hospital in Birnin-magaji, Zamfara State, a nurse who was an indigene was seconded to be a health attaché for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Normal courtesy demanded that he should inform me formally. But he never did. When he came back, I feigned ignorance of his assignment to the holy land and asked 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.



Again, it is no secret that ghost workers abound everywhere in Nigeria but they are more in the North. As the head in that same hospital, only few workers were occasionally coming 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 at the board but he stonewalled all my suggestions designed to force his people to be coming to work to justify their pays. I then decided to write the banks where the supposed workers were getting their salaries to interdict the salaries. The following day, the hospital was filled with many strange faces complaining they were workers but could not get their salaries. I told them it was the board that stopped their salaries. The Medical Director invited me to Gusau and praised me profusely for boldly stopping the salaries of the absentee workers. He said the board ought to have interdicted those salaries for long but their hands were tied. He then said i should write the banks to release the salaries because many of those staffers had four wives in their harems and with many children. I was catapulted into a state of utter consternation and disappointment. I just continued doing my work with the few that 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 and 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 as 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 while citizens in the north would incur the opprobrium of the chauvinist Hisba brigade in the north if they dared sell the products? These are the kinds of issues that all individuals should critically and analytically busy themselves with rather than engage perfunctorily in character assassination and incessant glib writings that do not address our needs.




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