My first dog was named Ray.
Ray was an Alsatian which I bought to keep me company the moment I moved into my first flat. That was way back in 1998 at Akute.
It was a lovely Alsatian with the usual long balck snort, fury brown coat streaked with white and a tail that wagged with joy whenever it saw me drive in or step out of the house.
I got an Alsatian because that’s all I have ever known. Growing up, my father owned 8 dogs. Yes. 8 Alsatian dogs and today, there are at least 4 towns where I will step into and have someone ‘dash’ me a lovely young puppy in minutes.
My father’s first dog was a huge Alsatian called Lulu. It was so big that as a seven year-old, I used to get on its back and ride it like a horse. No kidding.
Neighbors and friends used to come borrow Lulu so it could mate with their female dogs. That dog was so famous that some people used to call my mother Mama Lulu. Seriously.
Then one evening, Lulu rushed back in yelping and ran straight to its favourite place, under my father’s bed. We thought nothing of it even when we called on it to come and eat and it didn’t respond.
Hours later my father came home and after having his bath complained that his room was smelling as if someone had pooed in it. We checked the bathroom. It was clean but we could all smell the stink. My mum sprayed some air freshener and it wasn’t until an hour or more later that we discovered the source of the foul odour.
Under my father’s bed lay Lulu in a pool of blood. It had been struck by a car and it had run home to die under its owner’s bed and in its death throes, the beloved dog of the family had shat itself.
We dragged his lifeless body from under the bed while my mum mopped the blood off the floor. Then my father wrapped Lulu in a new shirt he had just bought then we all trooped outside to bury him.
My father cried like he had lost a child. My mum too as well as my siblings and I. We were four then and Lulu was my parents’ fifth child.
But you see, no matter how much we loved Lulu, we did not write his name across his body neither did we write it on the collar hanging around his neck.
No, we did not because that is not how you know a dog’s name. You know a dog’s name by calling it and most dogs would respond when you whistle.
Okay, by now, you all know where I am going with the story of Lulu.
Three weeks ago, no one knew who Joe Fortemose Chinakwe was. He was a Delta Igbo man eking out a living somewhere in Ogun state until he decided to emblazon the name Buhari on the body of his dog which he had named Buhari. Then not satisfied with turning his dog into a billboard, he decided to take it on a stroll around the market in an area populated by Hausa traders.
He was reported to the police, arrested, charged to court and remanded in prison pending payment of his bail and many say his dog was killed.
All because of a dog!
Well, that was what we all thought until the full story emerged. Why name a dog Buhari then deface its fur by spelling its name out. Why?
I am no fan of President Buhari and I believe we are beginning to witness a lot of religious intolerance like the knuckle head who is alleged to have blocked the Ore/Ijebu Ode highway to pray but in the case of the State VS Joe Chinakwe, I must say Chinakwe behaved foolishly and deserves what came to him.
His actions were not just idiotic, they were capable of inciting violence as the charge sheet read.
There is nothing else to it.
Except he says he did not do what he has been accused of doing.