ALTHOUGH everything that has to be said about last weekend’s rerun election in Rivers State has already been said, I still can’t resist the temptation to add a few words.
Yes, we’ve heard it all – both those that make sense and those that make absolutely no sense. We have seen otherwise ‘respectable’ people – former and present public officer holders, talking and acting like motor park touts. We have seen ISIS-style executions – characterised by beheading of rivals and either going away with the heads as trophies, or parading the bodyless heads before awe-stricken members of the public. In broad daylight!
The only thing I have yet to see in this Rivers’ debacle is the situation whereby the killers go the extra mile of wearing the skulls of their victims on their necks – like warlords of the ancient times used to do.
Of course, it was not as if we did not expect what played out in Rivers. We did. In fact, my friends in Port Harcourt prepared for the election like they were preparing for an impending war. Some even stockpiled foodstuffs, in anticipation of a long-drawn war. Many swore they would not step out from their bedrooms to go and vote, even if the polling boot was brought right into their sitting rooms. They were that scared.
And who would not be? Listening to Gov. Nyesom Wike – with that scary grouchy voice of his, you wouldn’t need anyone telling you that this was one man who would not run away from a fight. And his rival and predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, though deceptively more soft-spoken, has the kind of eyeballs that would make even the lion-hearted pee in his pants. He might have that he-cannot-hurt-a-fly mien, but even former president Goodluck Jonathan, and his wife, Dame Patience, can testify that Amaechi is made of steel.
And given that neither of Wike nor Amaechi had any Plan B – outside of outright victory, everyone knew last Saturday was going to be war all the way. A day for men of blood and iron. Not even all the soldiers in Nigeria’s armed forces could change that. It was a war foretold.
While, I’m yet to identify Wike and Amaechi with a cult group, a politician-friend of mine from Rivers State once told me that every politician of repute in Rivers State has his own cult group. Cultism and violence are now part and parcel of Rivers politics. Don’t believe anyone accusing any opponent of sponsoring violence; they’re all in it together. You either maintain a cult group to intimidate your political opponents or to help protect your votes, in the event that your opponent wants to rig you out, or help you snatch ballot boxes in areas where you’re weak, or simply to frighten genuine voters, so that they don’t come out to vote.
It is a trend that appears to have not only come to stay in Rivers, but is now spreading to Bayelsa, Delta and other neighbouring states.
My only happiness in all this is that many of those who have been handed the short end of the stick in this latest round of electoral malfeasance are the same people who refused to do anything when the same injustice was visited on Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu during the last senatorial rerun election in Abia North, Abia State.
Those who acquiesced to the theory that there can never be a rerun in a rerun election have now made a complete U-turn, as a re-rerun stares us all in the face in Rivers State.
Now, can anybody honestly look Amaechi and APC in the face and tell them to accept what happened as a confirmation that Amaechi is not popular? That the people of Rivers State have unanimously rejected him?
The lesson in all this is that the injustice to which we turn a blind eye today, because we’re not at the receiving end, will come to haunt us in one form or another sooner than later. For, as the sages say, ‘Nobody is free, until everybody is free’.
Corruption: Human sacrifice to the rescue?
IN RESPONSE to a short piece I did, last week, on the report of the Auditor General of the Federation on NNPC, where I argued that Nigeria has, over the years, been run by “psychiatric outpatients” and kleptomaniacs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, equally frustrated by the looting in the land, sent this reaction:
“Yes, Steve, my brother. Real ‘Psychiatric Outpatients’ who steal what they don’t need. They don’t ‘earn’ their livings but ‘receive’ same, without sweating. A bunch of social illiterates. In frustration, let’s suspend rule of law for now and sacrifice them to the gods. We can afford to waste them. After all, they are less than 1% of the population of Nigeria. God bless you.”
Alarmed, but in agreement with the senior lawyer, I sent back a response: “But that’s too harsh o! We won’t even have enough junctions to place the sacrifice items.”
And he followed up with this:
“No, sir. In fact, we need to do the ‘Etutu’ (sacrifice) fast. After all, our Lord God had to do “Etutu” with His only begotten son for the remission of your sins and mine. Thirteen leaders were used for ‘Etutu” in nearby Ghana to cleanse their land of past iniquities. About five public officers were used as (sacrifice) ‘Etutu’ to cleanse the land in Singapore under the famous former Prime Minister and the land was purified indeed. ‘Etutu’ is an ongoing ritual in China and that makes everyone to want to earn a living rather than receiving it.
“Under Jonathan, corruption was decentralised and federalised. No one was marginalised. The clergymen, imams, pastors, marabouts, dibias, babalawos, thieves among Nigerians (sorry), TAN, traditional rulers, so-called activists, lawyers, journalists, broadcasters, columnists, actors, comedians – all were included. You need the “Etutu” treatment fast in this country because corruption has now been centralised… Governors are becoming sole administrators in their states without cabinets. At the federal level, it is the kitchen cabinet that calls the shots and disburses largesse. The signs are there for all to see and darkness is visible. Something has to give, my brother.”