Before I carry the cross and bear the rode; let me quickly state here that I am not a Riverian, neither am I Ikwere nor Ijaw or any other tribe within the crafted region of Rivers State. I am just a concerned citizen, a patriot (if you choose to call me that), and above all a Nigerian, before the incorrigible irredentists begin to ask: ‘what is your own with Rivers state? Why don’t you leave that for ‘them’ to decide?’ Like many others, I just want to air my view for free, fair and credible elections devoid of violence and molestation of opponents.
The tribunal judgments and subsequent courts pronouncement have set another arena of contention for power by the political heavy-weights to test their political might in the oil-rich state.
The tension continues with the just-concluded re-run elections for Senate, House of Representatives, and state House of Assembly, which is not unconnected with the egos of two Ikwere brothers – that began from the ego of personality fight between the former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi and the incumbent, Nyesom Wike on who to rule after the former would have left office.
With the recent spade of barbaric killings in the state, creating general fear before and the elections, there has been accusation and counter accusation from the both dominant parties for killings in the state.
The All Progressives Congress, the opposition in the state, says its members were targets of the killings which it blames the ruling People’s Democratic Party for. The latter has vehemently denied the allegations, saying the assassinations were carried out by cult groups fighting for supremacy.
To douse the impending tension created by political activities, the federal government has deployed its whole weight of the federal authority, intelligence, security and military might in the state to forestall further disorder and destruction of lives and properties which might not go down well to some with ulterior motives; I mean those who can’t take the risk of winning elections through ballot but would rather seek the destruction path of bullets.
It is a pity, in the name of politics, the garden city of Port-Harcourt suddenly became the hood of political hooliganism, where those who are supposed to be useful to them families and to the society at large are used as tools to cause unlimited destruction, inflict wounds and subdue opponents with fatal and permanent injuries.
It is pertinent to note that those who evoke this violence are masters in the art of survival while those who certainly have little or nothing to gain from appointments and spoils of office are used as eru iku ( instrument of destruction) for sustenance of power, wealth and prosperity.
And at the end, you find them in places of worship offering thanks and praises to God for election victories.
Then I ask: who is fooling who? It is shame on our collective intelligence, our level of hypocrisy in this part of the world is second to none!
In 2014 gubernatorial victory of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, ‘The Rock’ of Ekiti State, during a thanksgiving service that took place at the Deeper Life Praying Camp, Ajebandele, Ado Ekiti, Fayose laid down flat on the floor as he thanked God for blessings on his life.
Speaking at the thanksgiving service, Fayose said his re-election was due to divine intervention. Which he called: “A second chance”. He was quick to remind us that his return to government house was rare miracle and declare that his opponents should repent and turn away from evil.
It was all God as we were made to believe until the Nigerian Military Captain from its Intelligence Corps, Sagir Koli tape recording exposed plans by his then commanding officer and top officials of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to rig the June 21, 2014 election in Ekiti State.
It was dawned on us that it was not God-and God will never support such- but GUN did it.
And Mr. Ayo Fayose has not found it worthy to seek the face of God publicly for his public profanation, blasphemy and desecration of sacred place.
And this trend has continue all around the country, taking place in our camps along Lagos-Ibadan express way; to places of worship; to stadia and Government secretariats, etc. Giving unacceptable thanksgiving, and the bible says, ‘You have profaned it…sacrifices unto the Lord a corrupt thing…’ Malachi 1; 12-14.
While we still hope for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in the country like all other democracies in the world, not our hypocritical pharisaical thanksgivings, desecrating the altar of God in the name of politics. The legacy of man should not leave the foot print of tears and blood and if they ever tell our stories, as a columnist admonished, you would all be remembered not how many lives you touched as governors or law makers, but how many people were butchered, maimed, beheaded and burnt beyond recognition to get you elected and keep you in office.
Let’s give peace a chance and embrace universal value for humans and humanity, killing to make way is not an option.
Remi Otuneye is a political analyst based in Lagos.