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Infra dig, presidential comeuppance – Wole Soyinka

Once, the word featured prominently in the repertory of Nigerian shorthand diction. Indeed, I grew up thinking that it was only one word, not two, and assumed also that it was English, not Latin: infra dignitatem! I joined others in applying the shorthand to any situation where I felt that my dignity was assailed.

That a chore was beneath my status, an individual beneath notice or a statement unworthy of response. Sometimes of course, it came useful when one could not think of an adequate response. Then, carrying myself as I had seen others do, I hissed, shook my head in disdain, and walked away as I spat out the ultimate sanction: Infradig!

That, to come to the present, constituted General Buhari’s response to the National Assembly’s invitation to drop in for a chat. He did not consider it infradig at the beginning.. He responded to the polite invitation to rub minds urgently over a people’s security anxieties as one who still struggled to preserve the tattered remains of his ‘Born-Again’ democratic camouflage. However, his reversal of consent raised yet again the frightening situation report I have fervently posed: Buhari is not in charge. Whoever is, that segment of the cabalistic control obviously cornered him on the way to the lawmakers’ chambers and urged: Don’t! Their invitation is infradig! He succumbed.

Beneath the dignity of a Commander-in-Chief! Well. The opportunistic homicidal respondents – Bandits/Boko Haram or whoever – thereupon picked up the gauntlet and provided a response in their own language: abduction once again of the nation’s children. They handed him a slap across the face, on his home terrain, taunting: See if that is more suited to your dignity.

If only this latest outrage were a personal contest of slights between insurgency and power – alas, its resonance is felt far beyond! It is merely the latest in the serial stinging slaps across the face of the nation, and it draws blood from every sensing citizen. Over five years since Chibok, we have yet to anticipate, and to guard against a repeat. We continue to hand over innocent wards cheaply, en masse, to the agents of darkness and despair. A government refuses to accept that, as indicated several times over, the nation is at war. At war within itself, and that it requires drastic measures, away from spasmodic responses after the dread deed, if there is any will left over to salvage what is left of nationhood.

Source: The Guardian
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