By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Dogs don’t eat bones hung on their necks. Niger Delta Maritime University wasn’t lucky. They say when local dogs start lapping milk they let human feces be. Perhaps not political dogs. Well, lecturers scratch . So they force students to buy handouts. That’s pardonable extortion. Politicians munch crunchy security votes. And yet pad budgets, inflate contracts, and seize communal lands. Thieves , sensible thieves, steal from strangers. Mature pickpockets don’t work at home. And if home is miserable with great affliction then such looking inwards for local content is inhumanity. Niger delta thieves don’t get it.
They steal from their poor mother’s shriveled bags. That is why they have to be bribed before schools and hospitals can be built in riverine communities. That is why the communities are desolate while the chiefs and the militants swim in mad money. Freedom fighting entails self sacrifice. Mercenaries may fight for freedom but they care more about their pockets. Because for them it’s business, opportunism. Not morality. But mercenaries are better than wolves-in–sheep-clothing. Let’s leave those wolves of Biafra alone for now. Mercenaries are better than pawns. But naïve mercenaries can be raw pawns. Pawns are sheepishly servile. Red Water Lions.
Dogs don’t eat dogs. Not in Nigeria. Politicians grow fat on their idolatrous supporters. They eat constituency projects. Poor policemen have poor okada riders as their daily bread. That’s cannibalism. Pastors live large off poor congregations who trust in them. Smacks of incest. And freedom fighters scam communities they came to set free. Dogs are decent enough not to return to their vomit. Here, such repugnance is outdated. Politicians hop around more than prostitutes. They claim they have no permanent enemies. Those who baptized the APC – ‘Boko Haram party’ are now sidling towards it, shamelessly. We see the handshakes. And some who sold ‘change’ and now feel shortchanged, have been flirting in dark corners with the opposition.
But it doesn’t end with switching parties. Leaders and politicians shift positions with the wind. The north once had massive sympathy for Boko Haram. Yes, same Boko Haram. Then Gen Ihejirika was condemned as a vengeful Biafran bigot. The army ,they said, was high-handed. Gen Buhari once wondered where the human face of the war against the insurgents was. The Sultan lectured Jonathan on the need for Niger-delta-amnesty-largesse for the insurgents. The southern goose and the northern gander. Emir Sanusi attributed the insurgency to poverty in the northeast, in oblique reference to the obnoxiousness of resource control.
Ihejirika was hounded by the north. Dasuki and Badeh took over. Badeh talked about ending the war quickly. To avert a constitutional crisis. His army subsequently lapsed into impotence. Tactical withdrawals became the norm and court marshals littered everywhere. Soldiers’ wives started locking barracks’ gates. And frustrated soldiers learnt to shoot their Generals. Those who berated Ihejirika for hyperactivity turned around to wonder how the army wilted overnight. Boko haram took territories and ravaged the north east while elders waffled. Dasuki and Badeh.
Gluttony is a sin. One once hid his booty in many holes around the world, in places he had never been to. And whilst at it, he was catching thieves with a stern face. And youths were, with considerable seriousness, earnestly yearning for him. Ignorance can be blissful. But arrogance can be intoxicating. It catapults its victim farther than the bounds of propriety, beyond the reach of common sense. A possessed leader will treat public opinion with condescension. When his conceitedness is fanned by sycophancy, he will surrender to the delusions of deity. And Nigeria is a society of gods. Inflation has gripped the economy but the inflation tearing the soul of the nation apart is that which leads to distortion of self importance.
From the lowly to the mighty, there are hot air balloons everywhere. Floating haughtily to nowhere. Every hustler is a chief, every pastor a bishop, every muslim an alhaji, and every tout in the Niger delta a General. The humble is despised, little wonder Jonathan is not feared. But Obasanjo is dreaded. Everywhere you go , you hear – “Do you know who I am?” Anyone with a walkie- talkie and a stern face can break the law, can flog people on the streets, and stroll away.
What about Pharisees? They have been around since time immemorial. But their population appears to have exploded like gays’. Perpetually, trying to fool God and men. Pharisees. Some say our best actors are not in Nollywood. I concur. They are in churches and in politics. Amongst them are the masters of ‘higher levels of grace’. And the evangelists of mammonism. This is not the time for finger pointing. But let hypocrites show some humility. If the massive rigging of elections contributes to most electoral victories in Nigeria, why then do winners always attribute their successes to God ?
And why are sanctimonious beneficiaries of such perfidies oblivious of a compelling moral duty to engage in a thoroughgoing electoral reforms? If billions are routinely paid to INEC officials to fix elections then why do INEC officials always move around ,during elections, with crumpled faces?
Let me point a finger. The Avengers are supposedly anonymous . They have blown pipelines. And promised to shock the world. Tompolo says he hates them. But they say they love him. And many smell mischief, others sniff synonymity. The exchanges between them are comical. The Avengers want the Maritime university reopened. That university is associated with Mr Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo . An offshoot of the avengers -the Red Egbesu water lions, want judicial restrictions on Tompolo’s account lifted. They want Tompolo placed somewhere beyond the reach of the law. But Tompolo dislikes them all . Tompolo is not a fugitive of the law but he is yet to submit to a bench warrant.
Surely he must be afraid of a state that has disobeyed the orders of judges. His accounts are frozen because the government thinks he is linked with financial improprieties perpetrated against the interests of Niger Delta Maritime University.
The Avengers , self-appointed protector of the interests of Niger delta, want the government to sweep those matters under the carpet and face more serious issues. While blowing chevron oil wells recently, they called on the international community and the ICC to note the commission of crimes against humanity in the Niger delta by the Nigerian military. True Freedom fighters throw their tantrums in the direction . The Petroleum industry bill is stuck in the mud of recalcitrant northern votes .
The fate of the PIB is pathetic. But strangely, the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC)bill is racing like a formula one car through the NASS. The urgency to rebuild the Northeast is commendable. But the hesitation the north has shown towards the PIB makes that urgency laughable.
The president can make the former president Jonathan his Niger delta envoy. He hasn’t. And the former president hasn’t felt any urge to step in and stop the developing madness in his backyard. They say when a goat goes into labour tethered then elders are absent. Since everybody is around, it must mean that we don’t really have elders. Cote d’ivoire is an hour away. We are all children. Grown ups have been keeping up with the kardashians and dancing skelewu with the country’s future. They are all children.