*What a shame”—a rejoinder by Will Bozimo
Willy Bozimo is no less than of an iconic stature in the pen-pushing trade.
He does this page a cherished visit as our guest writer this week with a rejoinder that is vintage “WillyBEE”.Mr Bozimo writes from Asaba.
Mr. Bisi Lawrence of the Passing Scene column in the Vanguard newspaper is an elder statesman in the pen profession and over the years, he had endeared himself to many of his fans who read him regularly. I want to count myself lucky to be one of his great fans who had benefitted from his well of experience for his sober offerings on Saturday Vanguard.
On June 1, 2013, he wrote a column titled ‘’WHAT A SHAME” on page 16 and what attracted me to it was the picture of the Man of the moment, Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the seemingly embattled governor of Rivers State, who has been in the news.
Veteran Bisi started off innocuously with the Democracy Day dance steps of innocent 10 year old primary school pupils doing their thing and dancing to the modern tunes of music with patently sexually suggestive dance steps and the Old Man in Bisi Lawrence was miffed by their celebration of incipient moral proclivities.
And Bisi described their dance steps this way ..” And then the gyrations began among children of between five and eleven years old in the style and disgustingly prurient manner they had seen the grown -ups dance on the TV I could hardly believe my eyes ‘’.
From the dance steps of the children on Democracy Day, Uncle Bisi Lawrence had set the stage to go political commentaries. ‘ But isn’t that a description of our general attitude to so many deplorable circumstances of our life as a Nation.?’
Uncle Bisi went on to argue why May 29, was being celebrated as the Democracy Day and went on to speak on the issues of corruption everywhere, the universities, churches and took on the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy Okonji-Iweala for saying the Nigerian Economy was not as bad as commentators tended to paint it. For Bisi Lawrence, what has the Harvard School of Business got to do with the grinding poverty in the land, where unemployment and poverty had reached its peak? Bisi asked and said –‘’She is a Nigerian and She has no shame.”
Then the lead story came in a sobered style and that concerns Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, of Rivers State. For BISI LAWRENCE, he displayed considerable discretion as the better part of valour as he made a gradual entry into the avoidable debacle or puerile display by a protagonist and PDP Governor of Rivers State.
Hear him..” For what might not happen to you if you shouted too much about your civil right when every attempt was made to overwhelm a State Governor at his own doorstep for trying to claim his right as a citizen to vote and be voted in an open election? And it is all being done in the open by men of honour who no longer know shame. ”
That is a matter for the Governors to respond but for those of us who are plying our pen pushing trade to earn a living, we might be vicariously responsible for this sorry pass in our clime. We have always opened our pages to all manner of politicians who celebrate their birthdays or routine achievements and make them feel like supermen and with that toga of pride and glory they carry on as if they are in thing and should be treated like demi gods.
Uncle Bisi Lawrence rubbed it in further , still lambasting the Governors who succeeded in an election that was less than elegantly handled as it produced two Governors of the Forum. One group chose Amaechi as winner announced by the Forum’s DG in the governor’s lodge in Abuja where the election took place with 19 votes while the other group chose Governor Jonah David Jang of Plateau State as its chairman.
Many critics allege that Governor Amaechi is being hunted by the PDP because there is an undeclared ambition by him to contest a vice presidential race in 2015.
I do not think, Governor Amaechi’s trumpeted vice presidential race has anything to do with what he is currently going through. He is, perhaps, suffering from what one might call ‘’gubernatorial delinquency or rascality”. For a staunch leader of the PDP in the South South, who in 2013 delivered almost 2 million votes to ensure the presidential victory of his party and his fellow kith and kin , to emerge President of Nigeria and only to turn a black sheep as 2015 approaches, thereby selling out the the constitutional second term for a south south President and deliver the presidency to someone up the North of Nigeria is the height of betrayal of one’s own brother in Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
I do not envy Amaechi Rotimi Chibuike a brilliant young man, just 48, who had been speaker for two terms and now Governor for almost another two terms to want to toy with an idea which is the equivalent of Hirosima Bomb on the people of the Niger Delta Delta particularly, the South South Minorities.
If he is contesting the Presidency with Mr. President JONATHAN, one would not raise an eyebrow but to rent it out to our former oppressors and exploiters who had been used to ruling the land for decades—35 out of the 53 years since independence seems politically ‘’treasonable” and condemnable. And he does it with glee and ‘’without Shame” according to Bisi Lawrence’s title of his column.
Uncle Bisi Lawrence continues..” However, the people of Rivers State are challenged today to throw off the cloak of ignominy that is being cast on their shoulders as a people in standing firm by the honour of their governor, Chibuike Amaechi , who is now the target of unmerited disgrace. They have the opportunity of resisting the naked edge of implacable power and pointing the way of true democracy to the rest of us.”
After reading the piece of our great literary stylist, Uncle Bisi Lawrence, rendered in sober and an absorbing piece titled What a shame, it was written in fine poetry and cascading prose. As an elder in this thankless pen pushing trade we should not always pontificate or prevaricate on the side of the seemingly oppressed in our quasi democracy where even pushers of the pen confraternity had become part of the Shame .
After the Press had hyped some political characters, who in the main are serial scoundrels depending on the side of the divide, we tend to make heroes out of the ordinary run of the mill politicians and they behave like Draculas to come back and haunt us.
Brother Amaechi Rotimi Chibuike seems to have performed well in terms of infrastructures and development programmes to the people of Rivers State but that should not get into his head and behave as if he cannot be disciplined according to his party leadership, when he tries to veer from the norms of the party.
My main worry for any aspiring hero from the south south—Adaka Boro, Saro Wiwa, Henry Okah, late Dikibo, and a host of others who got lost in action as militants or human rights activists and now Amaechi, whose Yoruba and Igbo-Ikwerre combination of names may have complicated matters for him. He is being used by external politicians from the South South as a sacrificial lamb to appease the professional opposition groups in the polity; aided by entrenched Media interests for survival.
The virtue of party loyalty seems the most vital element to stabilise the democracy after 14 years experimentation. For me I admire his bullish courage but I poo at the idea of a brilliant young man whom God has blessed and whose every move seems programmed for doom by playing the black sheep within his PDP by his anti- establishment outpourings as an opposition within the ruling party.
The south south no longer needs heroes and after Boro, Saro wiwa, Henry Okah and nameless others, Governor Amaechi should spare us the thought of him wanting to commit, like Boko Haram bombers , suicide with his eyes open.
Agreed, militancy in the Niger Delta, has become a collective heritage of the oil-bearing people of the South South but he should not allow his head to be used for breaking a coconut for others to eat. It is a Shame for one of us to sell us out in 2015. Re-think Rotimi Amaechi.Those hyping and singing Halleluya for your seeming youthful exuberance cum stubbornness would be the ones to write an Epitaph—‘’Here lies a hard working governor for the good of his people in Rivers State but evil ones had done their worst. May this not be your portion. God bless .
By willy bozimo a veteran journalist in Asaba , Delta state.