The road to February 16 and Flashpoints of Violence in Igala land

Protests over election

By HME Ojochogu

Since the last time we were here drinking obiolo and chewing okpulu together in blissful delight, I and indeed Nigeria have been through the roller coaster ride such that hanging onto the rubicon on this side of eternity for dear life is the survival rule.

Indeed God has kept us through it all and that’s why we are where we were still holding on and hanging out.

In the last couple of months, we have been through a whole lot, from the presidential assent to the Not too Young to Run bill, to the interesting primaries in Port Harcourt and Abuja by both the major political parties in Nigeria to the all breath-pausing and emotionally charging breaking news, we have been taken through the mills at frenetic speed.

Let us highlights some of these interesting political events that shaped the history of Nigeria:

  • Hoodlums steal mace from Senate chambers: The drama of the MACE had started from the suspension of Senator Omo Agege and the Courts declaring it null and void. The moment the senator representing Delta Central entered the chambers ACTION started. Unconfirmed report has it that one of us and another brother from the other side were involved in the drama. Infact someone swore that the voice that said “carry am dey go” is more Igala than any other tribe in Naija. (How about that)
  • Senator Dino Melaye arrested, jumped out of a moving police van: Our own SDM seems to have become the proverbial cat with nine lives. His issues with “you know who” seems to still be unresolved as he just survived another house siege, arrest, hospital detention and finally home for his reelection campaigns.
  • The Nigeria Police put the Senate President & Deputy Senate President under siege: Our infamous former IGP left us some incidences to mull over and learn about the exigency and abuse of power to the laugh out loud transmission speech. We woke up one day to hear the IGP Idris ordered the total lock down of the residencies of the SP and DSP to prevent them from leaving their homes that morning. While we were still busy debating the appropriateness of that move, we were jolted to see the Oloye himself presiding over plenary and pronto carpeting and cross carpeting letters and names were read and announced and we finally knew why the siege happened. Trust Nigerians with our superlative imaginations, we were regaled with how Wazirin of Ilorin scaled the fence at midnight, sneaked into the chambers in jeans and tee-shirt, one particular narrative that stretched the imagination was how he climbed down a tree in his backyard and took a keke ride to the NASS building to foil the siege. (LOL)
  • 14 Senators and 37 lawmakers dumped APC for PDP
  • NASS came under DSS siege: Remember the DSS siege of NASS while PMB was away sick and his deputy was in charge? A heroine emerged and somebody lost his job and the Senate President decamped.
  • Nnamdi KANU of IPOB reappeared in Israel: Nnamdi KANU IPOB leader had disappeared following the military invasion of his father’s house. Some said he’s with the military, others said he has been murdered. But suddenly one day, his pictures flooded the internet wearing the Jewish prayer shawl and praying in the land of Israel. Awuwu will never end in Nigeria.
  • Hundreds of our gallant Soldiers murdered by BH/ISWAP: The loss of lives of our gallant soldiers at Metele will go down as the saddest day in Nigeria. We were regaled with viral videos of the attack and the brutal murder of our armourless soldiers who had no option but to retreat in the face of superior fire power from the terrorists. I wept while watching how one was killed in the drainage where he was hiding for dear life and proudly wearing the Nigerian army camouflage. I am not going to ask questions as to what happened before, during and after this senseless massacre that had our greatest Nigerian Army soldiers running away like a chicken before the hawk but I earnestly pray that God Almighty will console and comfort the widows, parents, siblings and children of our gallant fallen heroes. Their labour and sacrifice shall NEVER BE IN VAIN.

Hmmmm remembrance brings sadness and heavy heart but then life must go on. Which of these interesting events do I highlight for our anuku gist today – a difficult choice as there are so many. However suffice it to say we will run through the most interesting stories, relive the moments and laugh out loud on the memes and comedy central Nigerians turned them into.

In the settling down of the euphoria that greeted the winners from the major political primaries, we were told one of them cannot go to America, it became a dare, then a protest not to be given visa and suddenly he was there. Unbelievable, they told us he entered as an aide to another, he only went to Washington not America, he sneaked in because America is on shutdown to finally having a meeting with Lebanese and Chinese not US politicians. The guy went and came back and Nigerians shrugged it off and moved on as usual.

The hype on who will and will not attend the great DEBATE was sustained until the very night, I had bought extra subscription as option 2 should AEDC act up but alas, it was in vain. The “battle of wits” as I dubbed the debate didn’t happen and 9Mobile was made richer with my extra data subscription.

Obi Ezekwesili up one morning and said “having consulted both home and diaspora supporters she has come to the painful decision to withdraw from the presidential race”. As the shock reverberated round the country, it was confirmation for those who see her as a “paid distraction” and a “serial betrayer” for those with whom she had helped midwifed the PACT kangaroo election that produced Fela Durotoye which was rejected by K. Moghalu and O. Sowore, from CUPP and SOTA and finally to her party ACPN who denied her and promptly endorsed another and even to INEC who said “Madam you ain’t going nowhere, we remain here till February 16th

When the whistle went off for campaigns to begin, I was inundated with different campaign tunes and was enjoying the various hilarious promises and innuendos to hoodwink the voter. Amongst my favourites includes #udomisworking, no follow anybody wey dey promise I go I go, follow talknado person and the tune for the workaholic governor. Nigerian youths are indeed very talented and not lazy at all.

Then the groundbreaking and mesmerizing CCB/CCT/CJN imbroglio was unleashed on the polity. Everybody had his/her opinion and I was forced to listen to all on radio, print and television. The question is/was Onnoghen guilty as charged? Was the proper procedure for removal followed? Are we allowing emotions and ethnicity blind us to what’s right or wrong? Is there indeed a political hand driving the narratives. For my own peace of mind I concluded that whether guilty or not, processes must be followed and things must not only be done right but be seen to be done right.

Did we all watch the Kadaria Ahmed show Meet The Candidate (tagged NG CANDIDATES)? The unraveling, the disappointment, the China and India anecdotes, the biased moderator (depends from which angle you stand) the smart play on words like VAR, referee and replay, the non comprehension of what livestock is, the direct, indirect, lost thoughts and mono answers. It was indeed 2 nights of high and low for everyone whose candidates were on the hot seat.

As we inch closer to that significant day in Nigeria’s chequered political history, what will it be? Will democracy triumph? Will Igalaland and Nigeria as a country survive and be standing strong? Nigerians have been known for their resilience and desperate hope for the impossible.

My dear Igalaland has become battlefield for this coming election and Anyigba, Idah and Ejule have been flagged as flashpoints of violence. Why oh why have we decided to turn against ourselves. I know the Bible said that in the last days  brothers will turn against brothers, fathers against children and so on but why should we allow politics bring this to pass in our land.

Like Tuface said, election will come and go but we will remain. What happened to our values and respect for human life, what will happen to the friendship and filial bond cultivated before APC and PDP happened to us.

I enjoined everyone of us to keep this resilience and hope alive as we plough through what’s going down in history as Nigeria’s greatest battle for survival after the Biafran war.

 May DEMOCRACY and NIGERIA win!

Amo’oma attah kpai Amo’oma ‘iye mi! Let the bond of love, friendship, filial responsibility and abhorrence to bloodshed and taking of human life be brought to the fore and practiced in this turbulent times as this.

See you on the other side of February 16th!

Ojo Ki’bene!

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