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2015: Shall we ever get there?

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By Josef Omorotionmwan
GOING by the lessons of history, it is clear that the cane reserved for Iyale (the first wife) shall someday be used on Iyawo (the new wife). At the very height of the reign of terror in the Second Republic, the Umaru Dikkos of this world employed the police and other security agencies to hound perceived political opponents.

In a quick twist of fate, the same security agencies were on hand, in due season, to also pull down the maximum rulers from their exalted positions, to the extent that the hands of the same security agencies were bold enough on the wooden crate in which the same Umaru Dikko was later to be consigned as cargo from England to Nigeria.

By 1581, the people of Dutch Netherlands had become totally fed up with the high-handedness of King Philip II of Spain. That was why they foreswore their allegiance to him and established the Dutch Republic. They justified their revolt on the ground that Philip had destroyed their liberties and treated them as slaves. The moral lesson here is that, the moment an administration becomes tyrannical, its subjects have a right to depose it. Indeed, nothing lasts forever, not even a jungle administration!

The visible signs of the 2015 war already provide a most frightening glimpse. We must be worried that the presidency is gradually descending into despotism as it has become an army of occupation everywhere, with open assault on our freedom of expression and the press.

Eight full months to the war, they have deployed their major arsenals to the various war fronts. In recent times, they have embarked on steps that are purely reminiscent of the dirty politics of yester-years.

For them, Edo State must be captured by all means and at all costs! The push has started. Being deaf to history, they have retreated to their 1987 position, where their forebears, the NPN, had planned to capture the entire country.

As we speak, Edo State is under siege. With the instrumentality of the so-called federal might, a microscopic minority in the House of Assembly has ousted an overwhelming majority and today, they speak with impunity about the PDP Speaker and the APC Speaker; the PDP Assembly and APC Assembly.

At the weekend, the army of occupation moved into the House of Assembly premises and sacked everyone in sight – both workers of the Assembly and contractors who were engaged in some renovation work – after giving them the beating of a life time.

The other day, we watched helplessly while Governors Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State were constructively prevented from travelling to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State Capital to attend a political rally organised by their party, the APC, two days to the election in the State. Amaechi’s plane was allowed to land in Akure but his convoy was intercepted at the boundary between Ekiti and Ondo states by soldiers “who were acting on orders from above”. His aircraft was also later prevented from flying out of Akure.

Oshiomhole’s chopper was prevented from flying out of Benin Airport by soldiers who claimed they were acting on instructions from above. For similar reasons, the aircraft that took the national leader of the APC, Asiwayi Tinubu, to Akure was equally grounded at the Akure airport, thus preventing him from flying back to Lagos in the aircraft.

It is only a fool that would argue with a mad man with a gun. A few days to the Ekiti election, a police officer threatened to shoot Governor Kayode Fayemi. It was even worse in Benin City where we saw a rookie with his fingers on the trigger, reigning abuses on the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Uyigue Igbe, and threatening to shoot him. And this was at the premises of Edo State House of Assembly – property of Edo State Government, not the Federal Government’s.

A few weeks ago, the army of occupation took over the print media and armed soldiers detained delivery vehicles and confiscated bundles of newspapers across the country on the pretext of searching for bombs or materials for making bombs. Soldiers invaded the vendors’ distribution centres in Abuja and stopped the circulation of newspapers in the Federal Capital Territory, in utter defiance of the constitutional guarantees for free speech, free press and free movement.

Everything meets at a point: the greatest foolery comes from doing, even with the greatest dexterity, that which ought not to be done. This shows up in various aspects of our lives. Any wonder that the entire country has been totally consumed by insecurity? By the time we dispatch our police and military personnel to the Houses of Assembly, street corners of state capitals and other innocuous places where they are least required, we would have virtually nothing to send to the Sambisa forest. So, Boko Haram would continue to have a field day.

Elsewhere, it is possible to strip the word despot of all ugly connotations. In the age of enlightened despotism, the true despot was the servant of his people, exercising his power solely for their good; and recognising their welfare as his own.

There were two methods by which society was regenerated – one, a slow and laborious method that depended upon the gradual spread of enlightenment until it reached all classes and individuals in society. The second, promising swifter results were set in motion when a wise ruler suddenly embarked on necessary laws for social harmony.

An enlightened ruler, provided his powers were adequate, could reorganise and reinvigorate the life of a nation by a few well-reasoned programmes and thus earn the gratitude of his people.

The same sun beats the tortoise and its seller. If we must get to 2015, shall we not be interested in having people to rule over when we get there? It cannot be by the oppression, suppression or repression of the citizens. Force may only succeed for a while, not forever. And the tree of liberty shall be watered by the blood of tyrants!

 

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