By CHIDI OBINECHE
In life, there is no hedging on what could catapult one to a roaring limelight. Some embrace it through ingenuity, sports, business, politics or social acclaim. Others hit the star lines by acts of stupidity, indiscretions, victimizations or victimized or even plain banality. Kumapayi has struck stardom in his sinecure post as the Rivers State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, not for excellence in the performance of his duties in reducing road accidents, not for platitudes or accolades from a grateful public or high official of state, but for perfunctory overzealousness and crass inanity, same reason most members of the public are at daggers drawn with FRSC on and off the roads.
Kumapayi may have come to terms that life is too short to have boring hair, and pronto set off a hair cutting parade where female officers with long hairs beyond the collar had them cut in the most humiliating style and without recourse to their dignity, save for the corps’ Code of Conduct. He tended to demonstrate by his action that life isn’t perfect, but your hair can be; that in the words of Coco Chanel, a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. It was a great hair day, which resonated with the feeling that everything goes with short hair, that natural hair means knowing the true definition of beauty. And this brazen singular act brings to the fore the dreary conducts of officers in uniforms, even with nondescript status who always go over the moon in incendiary braggadocios with people.
Kumapayi has cut the edge of the nation’s psyche, the deeper consciousness of brawling dirt. He may have learnt the wrong ropes from Alfred Diette Spiff, a former military governor of Rivers State who scored the bull’s eye in 1971 by shaving the hair of a journalist. The magnum opus is the poise, the élan with which the officer organized the infamous hair day. He swooped on the unsuspecting ladies in grand swiftness never allowing a muffled cry or alibi. A query or suspension from duty for flouting work place regulations was not in his calculation. Kumapayi, has shown that not all champions are serious all the time. He may have been reading some jungle books and the anatomy of discipline in jungle land. It’s not just all stuff that gets into the history scrolls. Not even if it is a hero story of a kind.
In trying to apply his own arcane kind of discipline sans engaging laid down corporate procedures, Kumapayi apparently tried to put into practice George Washington’s eternal words on discipline “as the soul of an army, which makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” But he went overboard forgetting that discipline must come through liberty and that nobody can be disciplined only when he or she has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. The victim becomes annihilated, not disciplined. In all his efforts, the disciplinarian only churned out an elemental odour, raw and crude, an offensive, almost rancid, sensual and strong infringement of rights, a vague disturbance, and a trouble.
The Sector Commander assumed office in Rivers state on July 29, 2015. Until his posting to the state, he was the deputy provost officer in the Corps Provosts Office, FRSC National Headquarters, Abuja. He had before now served as Sector Commander, Imo State Sector Command, Sector and Zonal head of operations, Sokoto Sector Command and Lagos zone, which comprises Lagos and Ogun sector commands. He had also served as Head of Section, Administration and Human Resources, National Headquarters, Abuja. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and is married with children. On assumption of duty, he read the riot act to the management and staff of the command and the motoring public in Rivers State, stating his major goals, which include working with relevant stakeholders in road transport management in decongesting the chaotic traffic situation in Port Harcourt and its environs.