It was way back as a pastime dog breeder in Osogbo, Osun State, I discovered the pit bull is the ultimate killer dog. Strong, stumpy, fearless and conscienceless, I once witnessed my pit bull, Fletcher, bring down a goat four times its size, lion-like, burying its fangs into the jugular of the luckless creature, thereby blocking off air into its larynx, stoutly pinning it down, inviting certain death. How the brindle dog, which was a little over one-year-old, and who had never been in the wild, knew this method of pitiless killing, was shocking to me. Death was definite for the poor goat as it lay helpless and motionless in the jaws of the unblinking canine bestriding it. But my wife, at great personal risk, saved the goat by grabbing a plank and threatening Fletcher who wildly refused to let go of its prey. She performed her life-saving miracle from a respectable distance, though.
This singular incident taught me a lesson or two about life. It reinforced in me the notion of the exception proving the rule. I, like many people raised in our part of the world, had held on to the age-long belief that casts goats in the fur of irredeemably stubborn creatures. On the day, I discovered that goats communicate intelligibly among themselves, and that they heed warning and advice.
Before the display of savagery by Fletcher, I was having a running battle with goats in my Dada Estate residence in Osogbo. Every day, goats jumped over my low fence into my compound, looking for greens. In the process, they littered my compound with feces. It wasn’t a funny matter as I had to chase nanny goats and their kids away from my compound ever so often. I didn’t buy the pit bull because of the troublesome goats, though. I got Fletcher to satisfy my love for ferocious dogs as I already had a Bullmastiff named Ruby, a Rottweiler named Snoop, a German shepherd named Bond, and a lovely Lhasa Apso named Gold. My secondary school senior, Chief Azuka Aghenu, a Minnesota-based bank chief, jokingly pins my love for dogs on my surname which means ‘a glorious hunter’.
Knowing its speed and ferocity, I never let Fletcher out of sight except at night. This particular morning, I let him roam free because I was cleaning its cage. As it saw a nanny goat with its kids in the compound, Fletcher suddenly went down on all fours, craned its head forward, took in the situation for a fleeting second, and z-o-o-m, it shot forward like an arrow from a bow. The panic-stricken kids bleated in scattered disarray while the confused mother broke into a run, but the demon in Fletcher was in full flight. It leaped at the goat and sank his teeth under its neck, both collapsed in a heap but Fletcher’s jaws remained in the neck of the goat. The whole drama took about five minutes before my wife could force the predator away from the prey. No, the jaws of pit bulls don’t lock, that’s a false myth held by many dog lovers. No dog has lockable jaws. I returned a maddened Fletcher to his cage while the goat got up groggily and was led out of the compound through the gate because it couldn’t jump over the fence after the attack, bleating and thanking its creator.
I didn’t know how the goat communicated what befell it to its ilk in the whole vicinity. I, however, noticed that that was the last time a goat strayed within a visible distance to my house which is the last building in the crescent, not to speak of jumping into the compound. Seriously! I then began to wonder, so goats could be obedient? So, goats could communicate?
While goats are doing the unthinkable in Osogbo, the rogues populating Nigeria’s political class are reinforcing the philosophy of the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who maintained that most Nigerian leaders are animals in human in skin. The Nigerian masses are not helping matters as they have, over the years, failed to demand good governance. Africa, especially Nigeria, has perpetually been in the backwaters because it has refused to turn on the singular, most potent source of development in the 21st Century – electricity. According to the Book of Genesis, despite God creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was still formless and empty, until the Lord said, ‘“Let there be light’, and there was light.” It was light that gave form, beauty and meaning to creation. No wonder Jesus Christ came as Light to set the world free. There are spiritual and physical lights. On both levels, light symbolizes transformation and development. Over the years, however, Nigerian leaders have deliberately refused to make electricity work in the country, holding the citizenry to perpetual bondage because they know that light will set Nigerians free.
Nigeria’s political leadership is not solely to blame for the systemic rot that has been the nation’s lot since the late 70s. Religious leaders have also played a significant part in dragging the country towards Golgotha. The way we serve God has become highly despicable with each passing day a glorification of materialism in places of worship. Today, pastors are richer than their churches while general overseers are blind to winning souls for the kingdom. The refusal of Jesus to bow down and worship Satan (materialism) was exemplified in colonial missionaries building affordable schools, hospitals and providing infrastructure for the Nigerian citizenry. But the inability of the children of poor, tithe-paying church members to attend the schools built by modern Nigerian churches is the triumph of the gates of hell over Christendom in Nigeria.
Nigerian pastors and imams instill fear into worshippers. They see witches and wizards, obstacles and upheavals, want and poverty plus penury. And the only way to be free from these demons is to empty your pockets. America isn’t a sinless country. But God blesses America because it’s a country that protects and preserves God’s creation. Unlike Nigeria, America protects animals. It’s highly illegal to kill even a snake let alone squirrels, raccoons, reindeers, grass cutters, turtles, rabbits, birds etc that roam everywhere unhindered, giving a surreal picture of paradise on earth. America also protects the flora via intensive afforestation. America respects the elderly and the indigent as seen in the innumerable government-financed care homes nationwide. Unlike Nigeria, America adores her female folk, a reason why women are adequately protected by law in times of separation or divorce. In terms of care and protection of children, no Nigerian public university has the security, infrastructure, corresponding manpower, resources and funds enjoyed by any public high (secondary) school in America.
America lives God’s injunction which urges man to take dominion over earth. USA purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for $7.2m at approximately two cents per acre. Alaska is almost twice the size of Nigeria with its 1.718m square kilometer area to Nigeria’s 927,768 square kilometer area. Today, Alaska is rich in fish, natural gas, oil, lumber, wildlife and tourism.
A desert, Arizona was formerly a Mexican territory which was sold to America for $10m after the Mexican-American War between 1846 and 1848 which Mexico lost. America wanted the land as a better route for the construction of the southern transcontinental railway, and gave a juicy offer the cash-strapped Mexican government couldn’t reject. Today, the hitherto wastelands of Alaska and Arizona have more potential than Africa.
The gale of defections among the political class reminds me of scenes from my youthful days in Mushin, Lagos State, when dogs fiercely dragged rags among themselves.
Opinion: Tunde Odesola
NB: A telephone discussion with a former Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Chief Kayode Akinmade, inspired this article.
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