By Dele Sobowale
â€˜You mentioned that people are being used, dumped and killed, have you been used before?
Of course everyone knows I worked for the PDP in the first and second coming of the party in Rivers State. There is no one who does not know that I was used to get votes for the party.
At what point were you invited by the government to assist in the elections?
When the election was tough for the party and the areas which I conquered for them were many. I conquered many Kalabari towns, Ogu-bolo, Okrika, Nkoro, Opobo and all those places. They know, the government knows.’ â€”Sunday Vanguard interview with Ateke Tom, June 21, 2009, page 10.
IN a three part series published on this page earlier in the year entitled stalwart, criminal or militant, I had written authoritatively that the political class, especially the ruling party in each state creates its own class of criminals by first granting them the status of party stalwarts. Ateke Tomâ€™s confessions during this interview came as neither surprise nor shock to me. In fact many of the militants have called me to support my position and to offer more insight into how they became whatever officials now call them. And, surprisingly, the most guilty political party is the PDP now headed by President Yarâ€™Adua.
That also explains why the list of supporters of the militants said to have been discovered by the Joint Task Force may never see the light of day despite Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s initial promise. Here, at any rate is a president who believes that â€œPromises, like pie-crusts, are made to be brokenâ€. (Vanguard Book of Quotations, p. 203)
He will certainly break this one again because if he does not, every top politician member of the PDP, past and present, will certainly be arrested and convicted of being an accomplice to anything ranging from kidnapping, assault, electoral malpractices and also murder. Virtually no elected official will escape arrest for their roles in creating the monster they now want to slay.
No wonder, those who rode around Port Harcourt like colossus from 1999 to 2007 are now afraid to go home; except in the dead of night and when accompanied by battalions of security guards. One benefit of this disclosure, for the rest of us in Nigeria, is the knowledge that criminals rule us by creating other criminals to terrorise us during election time. And once elected they dump their errandÂ boys and call them criminals for the police and military to chase and kill until the next election when they recruit new â€œstalwartsâ€; arm them and the whole process repeats itself.
However, before we leave this matter, let us return to the statement by Ateke Tom, which was revealing of the hypocrisy of the top politicians, both at the Federal and state levels. First, when he claimed that â€œI conquered many towns:, he was using the language of the PDP because one of the other synonyms of that word is capture. Secondly, out of the 30 or more political groups operating in the area, he specifically mentioned the PDP and no other party.
Furthermore, he admitted that his operations started from 1999 when Obasanjo was the candidate of the PDP and Peter Odili was the gubernatorial candidate.
General Abdulsalami was of course the military head of state whose police and security agencies looked aside as those towns were being overrun by Ateke Tom and his gang in order to prevent the people from exercising their free will to choose their leaders. Thus, the president, governor, senators, members of the House of Representatives, members of the State House of Assembly and local government officials purported to have been elected were beneficiaries of the violence unleashed on the innocent citizens in those towns. They also probably contributed to the funds to maintain Ateke Tomâ€™s army.
To be continuedâ€¦.
Honour thy father? Obviously not in Nigeria
0704-175-6521: â€¦Please help ask FG why retired civil servants have been subjected to such silent and painful trauma right from October 2008 in respect of their monthly pension pays! Market women and landlords donâ€™t listen to stories in the markets and at the end of the month respectively! On our behalf, beg FG to pay all arrears!…Let lawmakers watch us and earn theirs as and when due!
PAPA, unfortunately, Â Â Â we have been gov erned since 1999 by people who have lost our African values. Among â€œmy friendsâ€ are people over 80 years old. I share their pains of disappointment over the unpaid arrears. I also share what I can of what is available to me.
Still I hope the Presidentâ€™s battalion of advisers read this and draw his attention to it. Granted, he will not need the money when he retires. But there is no rich man who does not have a poor person among his relatives. For that reason alone, Yarâ€™Adua should find urgent solution to the plight of pensioners. Indeed, the uncertainty of pension pay might be the reason civil servants steal so much. Incidentally, we not only punish the elderly, we devastate the youth (ASUU again is on strike); kill the infants and mothers while those to whom we give national honours steal us blind.
EFCC: Please check out National Gallery of Arts
â€˜THE EFCC probesÂ Veterinary CouncilÂ Â over 50 ghost workersâ€ said a news report l recently. Granted 50 ghost workers could constitute a drain on the pockets of the council. But from information available to me what is happening at the National Gallery of Arts would make the Veterinary Council appear as if a saint is in charge.
When can we expect a probe of the Gallery?
Donâ€™t bother Omar !!
Weâ€™ll ground Nigeria, said Comrade Omar of the NLC in Kano.
THERE is no worseÂ Â Â waste of time thanÂ Â doing what had already been done by someone else. The Nigerian Labour Congress and Omar need not bother; Nigeria has already been grounded by Yarâ€™Adua and his rubber stamps. What we need is someone to clean the joint and repair the damage.
Last line: Vanguard Book of Quotations is available at Aba (0803-776-9820) and Uyo (0802-335-0067).