AFTER me chaos”. Mobutu Sese Sekou of Zaire used to say in the years that he held on to power . The saying was not totally original to him.It was a parody of Après nous, le déluge” (“After us, the flood”) , a French expression, attributed to Madame de Pompadour, the lover of King Louis XV of France. An alternative form, attributed to Louis himself, is “Après moi, le déluge” (“After me, the flood”). The saying came after the Battle of Rossbach in 1757, which was disastrous for the French.
The expression has two possible meanings: ‘After me, the deluge will come,’ asserting that if the revolution ended his reign, the nation would be plunged into chaos; or ‘After me, let the deluge come,’ implying “that he is aware of what will come after him, but he could do little to stop it and is indignant.
The overthrow of Mobutu in 1997 was followed by chaos confirming the notion that when an African dictatorship disintegrates and is replaced by a new regime, there are a few months of euphoria in the major cities and among foreign diplomats. But before the regime can consolidate authority, the vanquished and disappointed invariably gather to fight for their share of the spoils and to redress ethnic or personal wrongs. The slaughter begins, and continues until all sides have reached exhaustion. As the Roman historian Tacitus wrote, “They make a wasteland and call it peace.”
Our country Nigeria in like manner is tottering at the moment with an approaching deluge except there are patriotic and nationalistic forces that can rise above the current frays and wedge the country together on an inclusive agenda that keeps all sections of Nigeria busy on a productive mode governed by the true tenets of federalism.
Clash of the ‘titans’
The latest reminder of the road we’re headed is the street fight in Rivers between the Governor of Rivers State,Mr. Nyensom Wilke and Transport Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi on Saturday.
The clash peaked the tempestuous relationship that has existed between the duo since the beginning of the current administration.The festering sour relationship has now enlisted our security forces in street showdown reminiscent of what we hear among factions of Road Transport Workers Union .
There have been conflicting claims from the parties in the fracas consistent with the aphorism that the truth is the first causality in every war.
A statement from the Government House, Port Harcourt said that Governor Wike escaped assassination when the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, F-SARS, and soldiers in the motorcade of the minister, who was in Port Harcourt, attacked his convoy.
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu who signed the statement said the governor was on project inspection when the incident occurred at Nwanja junction on Trans-Amadi Road, Port Harcourt, adding that Wike was not harmed despite the attack.
Nwakaudu explained that F-SARS personnel and soldiers in the minister’s convoy knocked down the governor’s escort rider and attacked the policemen in the pilot car.
Conflicting situation reports
According to Nwakaudu, the minister’s Aide-De-Camp, simply identified as Debewari, allegedly supervised the attack, which included damage of cameras held by journalists.
He also alleged that the Commander of Rivers SARS, Mr. Akin Fakorede, who received the Minister of Transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, also witnessed the incident.
“Also part of the attack, was the commander of Rivers SARS, Mr. Akin Fakorede who received the minister of transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport and accompanied him on his trip.
“After the attack, the Rivers state governor continued with his inspection of Projects. Governor Wike was not harmed, despite the attack.
“The minister of transportation had over 50 SARS personnel, soldiers and mobile policemen in his motorcade.”
A reaction from Amaechi’s media office, however, alleged that the minister narrowly escaped being shot by security men attached to Wike, but ended up vandalising his car instead.
The statement reads: “In a blatant show of naked raw power, minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, this afternoon (Saturday ) narrowly escaped being shot by security men attached to the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. His car wasn’t that lucky though. The car was vandalised with a broken side mirror.
“The incident occurred in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, along Trans-Amadi road, Nwanja axis. The minister had arrived Port Harcourt this afternoon (yesterday).
“Accompanied by cars of many of his supporters, the minister’s black jeep was intercepted and blocked at the junction by the security motorcycle outrider attached to Wike after two cars had passed through. One of the two cars had security men assigned to protect the minister in Port Harcourt. Suddenly, gun-totting security men attached to Wike’s convoy, surrounded the minister’s car, threatening to shoot him. They hit the car, tried to smash the windscreens, back and side windows and broke a side mirror. All through this attack, Amaechi remained calm, inside the fortified jeep. While the attack occurred, Wike remained inside his vehicle.
“The minister eventually passed through after the intervention of the security team on ground to protect him in Port Harcourt. However, when Governor Wike got to the point where the incident occurred after Amaechi’s vehicle had gone by, his security men blocked the road again, dragged out from a vehicle and thoroughly beat up a policeman attached to protect Amaechi in Port Harcourt. The policeman’s rifle was also taken from him.
“Wike came out of his car, and with his security team, was going from one vehicle to another of Amaechi supporters, charging at them, harassing and abusing them. Wike’s security men were heard loudly insulting Amaechi and called him all sorts of derogative names.
“This is a crass show of high handedness, arbitrary behaviour and abuse of public office by a state governor who has no care for the safety of Rivers people.”
Tragedy of a nation
It is a big tragedy for law enforcement in Nigeria that it’s operatives are now not different from thugs or area boys that can be deployed by politicians in street brawl.It is at the same time a testimony of the gradual collapse of state when security agents become tools in what appears as gang wars.
In the early morning of the Saturday this incident happened, I was traveling in the company of two elder statesmen when we saw a vehicle at a filling station buying fuel with two policemen corking their guns besides the car. One of the gentlemen said why did they have to come out to expose the VIP. I retorted that for all he cared the “VIP” could be a kidnapper or a 419 kingpin. That was how low our law enforcement agencies have sunk. We read from Evans the kidnapper how he was going about with convoys of policemen .
The minimum we deserve is the immediate redeployment of all the personnel involved in this show of shame while a thorough investigation (not partisan) is carried out to get to the bottom of this oddity.
This country deserves some rescue!
IGP Idris and moral crisis
AND the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris, a CP that became Inspector General, IG, within a year,is the man we should be calling upon now to enforce discipline among his men. But the No 1 cop is himself in monumental moral crises at the moment running from pillar to post. One of the allegations against him from Senator Misau is that he impregnated a female police officer and had to rush a wedding with her four months after she put her in the family way.
He is also said to be in amorous relationship with another female officer whom he allegedly promoted not because of her competence.
Idris has has come out to say that there is no law that says he cannot marry a police officer but denied the other alleged lover unduly promoted. True, section 124 of the Police Act that says a female police officer must obtain permission from the CP in the state where she serves before marriage has been annulled by a law court but there is still section 127 that says a female police officer who gets pregnant before marriage should be discharged.
The bottom line is that an IG impregnating his officers (if it is proved that the marriage was a cover for the pregnancy) will nit likely be an ethical man to enforce discipline .
The Nigerian Police that has just been ranked last among 127 forces in the world need an ethical and moral being to lead it.