By Emeka Obasi
Nollywood best describes the situation in Nigeria, a country where anything goes. Afrobeat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, captured the contradictions early enough and was dismissed as a nonconformist by some of those in power.
The invasion of the Abuja home of Governor Dave Umahi reminds me of the Fela’s famous track, ‘Unknown Soldier’ which he did after his ‘Kalakuta Republic’ was in 1977.
No one was held responsible for the attack which led to the death of Fela’s mother, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, first Nigerian woman to drive a car and the Iron Lady of Egba land.
Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State, also serves as chairman of the South-East Governor’s Forum. The raid was carried out very early on Monday September 2, in the Katampe area of the Federal Capital Territory.
What an uncanny development that the Nigeria Police Force denied having a hand in the invasion. I am unaware that the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno, has reacted officially.
This is something that should not be swept under the carpet. We all know that forces from other countries are playing pranks with our internal security. If Abuja cannot fish out those who went after Umahi, we may conclude that they came from outer space.
I have more than a word for our young security operatives. They should learn from Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Each human has something special in him if we all were to apply wisdom.
Lt. Col Babangida was sent to blow up Radio Nigeria in 1976, after the assassination of Gen. Murtala Mohammed. IBB could have done that easily but he thought of the hundreds of innocent lives that would go.
He risked his neck, saved some lives, allowed Lt.Col Bukar Dimka to leave yet emerged as a hero after it all. Dimka was eventually arrested and all those who escaped from Radio Nigeria eventually got punished.
There is the bad side of the coin. Raphael Ige was an Assistant Inspector General of Police when cops under his command abducted Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, on July 10, 2003.
Ige did not have anything against Ngige. He simply obeyed instructions. However, the police chief forgot to play safe. It was crazy to think of adopting a governor in a democracy.
When Ige appeared before the Senate, his former boss, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, wept like a baby. The latter cried because he knew the consequences. Ige’s career was over.
Aliyu’s tears came from experience. On May 23, 1986, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was watered with the red blood of students following a demonstration against the government.
Aliyu was the Kaduna State Police Commissioner at the time and was redeployed after the killings. A panel, headed by Gen. Emmanuel Abisoye, was set up. ABU Vice Chancelleor, Ango Abdullahi, was fired.
Let us come back to Fela. On November 8, 1984, he was jailed 10 years by Justice Gregory Okoro-Idogu . Fela’s crime was illegal exportation of foreign currency. Many felt the judge was under pressure to deal with the musician.
On April 23, 1986, Fela was released by the Babangida regime. Justice Okoro-Idogu was retired. Both had met at the hospital and there were reports that the judge apologized to the convict.
Today, Fela is a hero. His shrine has become an international monument. French President Emmanuel Macron, came visiting last year. That is the same man whose house was destroyed by unknown soldiers. No one remembers Okoro-Idogu.
Nuhu Ribadu is still very much alive. By June 2006, he was an Assistant Commissioner of Police. In less than two years, Ribadu had become an AIG. The super cop became the first chairman of the EFCC.
A very brilliant officer, Ribadu followed the dictates of politicians who used him against opponents. When the tide turned, it was disaster all through. On August 5, 2008, he was demoted because his promotions did not come from the Police Service Commission.
Ribadu eventually said bye to the police and delved into politics. From Presidential candidate to governorship ambitions, the weather has remained inclement.
Some of those arrested by Ribadu came out clean and are in power today. Solomon Lalong, harassed as Speaker, Plateau House of Assembly is now a governor. Gerald Irona, Oguta LG boss, is Imo State Deputy governor.
We learn every day. When Nazis invaded Jewish homes in Nuremberg in 1939, many looked away.
Umahi took a very positive step when the South-East Governors Forum set up a Security Committee. The geo-political zone has been under attack by gunmen disguised as herdsmen.
Among other measures, rifle bearing herdsmen have been banned from the region. This is encouraging because highways and forests have become flashpoints.
Umahi said: “This banning of terrorist herdsmen with AK-47 is in agreement with traditional herdsmen. They are also not happy with what is happening.”
IPOB has called Umahi names simply because he applied tact in handling the security issue. The governor even went further to listen to Miyetti Allah all in the bid to sort things out.
“Their [IPOB] threats and condemnations are the price we have to pay as leaders,” he told journalists after a meeting in Abuja.
Umahi has scheduled meetings with service chiefs in furtherance of the security architecture. Forest Guards are being set up in the respective states.
Other geo-political zones are also meeting. The South-West is as concerned as the South-East. Three North-West states of Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto have gone beyond Nigeria to parley with the governor of Zinder region in Niger Republic.
Umahi is also tasking Abuja to work speedily on the Enugu Airport so that as Christmas approaches there will be less traffic on the lone Niger Bridge which serves the East and other parts of the country.
He is an Engineer and knows it is doable. I also know the Aviation minister can do it in good time. Runway is no big deal. I heard that from scientists Gordian Ezekwe, Willy Achukwu, Frank Mbanefo and Benjamin Nwosu.
During the war, Biafra constructed three airports in Uli, Uga and Mbawsi. Airstrip Annabelle [code name for Uli ] handled one of the world’s largest civil airlift operations.