OPINION: The Foodlums They Call Hoodlums

OPINION: The Foodlums They Call Hoodlums

By Yinka Odumakin

I will never forget Mrs Sutton at Oduduwa College, Ile -Ife where she dropped that unforgettable one in a literature class: no one is born inherently bad, but the society produces its own characters. The Singaporean lady was a delight to listen to.

That is the message the Nigerian largely intellectually-challenged ruling elites cannot get that they call the people they have reduced to the base “hoodlums“ whenever they show any fight back. It was what inspired Yinka Ayefele to sing that what the people of this world turn you to would become abusive songs in their mouths down the line. The real hoodlums of this disorganised society who throw chairs and other dangerous weapons when they are fighting for the spoils of office now want the masses to behave like gentlemen when there is a festival of the oppressed.

It was my friend and brother, Bayo Fabiyi, who threw the challenge of what authority this society had to call its citizens hoodlums during the recent #ENDSARS protest. I was ruminating on Bayo’s deep take when my great brother from the creeks, Mr Otoks Princewill, supplied the answer when he called the hungry folks we have produced as the poverty headquarters of the world “foodlums” within the hour.

And I must acknowledge my brother in-law, the progressive pastor, Dele Akindoyo, who reminded me that there is hardly anything new under the sun when the poor started wealth redistribution. He recalled the story of the day Prophet Elisha predicted cheap food in Israel. The officer who was close to the king wondered aloud if Elisha was not talking nonsense as demand and supply would not allow that even if the windows of heaven were to be flung open. The prophet told him he would see the miracle but would not partake of it. By the following morning, some lepers that we would call hoodlums entered the tents of the Arameans who, at the sound of strange noise, had abandoned their tents and there was free food and drinks everywhere. They ate to their hearts’ content and then brought the good news to town. The officer was marched to death by people rushing for food.

READ ALSO: OPINION: #EndSARS: How Far Can A Leaderless Protest Go?

And so it happened here that our “foodlums’ located where the Nigerian rulers have kept all the COVID palliatives they have been hoarding and liberated them. It was some funny spectacle seeing the military in some state begging the foodlums to be orderly in their activities of “looting”. The governors became so funny at a point giving ultimatum to those who made away with items to return them within hours as if the hoodlums in government return our inheritance they seize such easily.

Now that tempers are relatively calming down is the time to speak the truth to ourselves that we have constructed a very bad society that is not sustainable. We are today the poorest country on earth with all the wealth opportunities we have but which we have mismanaged due to the greed of the elite and an unproductive structure. The social gap is widening on a daily basis and we think the rich would sleep soundly when the poor are keeping hunger-vigil. I have always told my wife that I pity this society the day the-have-nots that we see daily on the streets would have their season. What we saw during #EndSARS was just a dress rehearsal of the main day if we failed to reset.

It doesn’t matter the name we call them, there would be a harvest time for the seeds we have sown .


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