Regardless of our political leanings, we should ask questions about what is happening in Rivers State. While some of us must act on behalf of justice and rule of law others must act on behalf of peace. For in the absence of peace no justice can be guaranteed. Too many progressives harp on freedom and justice but are hardly tolerant of any slightest dissent from their domain. Let us therefore view the unfolding events in Rivers State with the right attitude
Something far more profound is happening in our political firmament. And this is more pronounced at state levels where governors have constituted themselves into emperors who cannot be challenged or corrected. They are better at home with the weak and compromisable stooges at the helm of affairs in their states. These yes men or women, be they members of the assemblies or appointees, are ready to do the biddings of their governors, fight and defend their claims.
The game is compromise. That is why they fight from time to time even using the mace of authority to smash the heads of their colleagues. It is not a fight for democracy. No! It is a moral, social, and political malaise created and sustained by emperor governors. Often a lot of attention is focused on the federal government and President Goodluck Jonathan ignoring the culture of terror raging at state level.
Let us take two examples. The local government elections last year in Edo State of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; which other political party got a seat apart from the APC? The APC won landslides and our comrade governor who supervised the elections, swore-in the chairmen 48 hours later while the complaints from other parties were being compiled. What of the one in Anambra, was it not APGA all the way? Governor Obi also within 48 hours gave the victorious APGA candidates a nod to start functioning. Does this send no signals at all? Does it mean all the candidates presented by the ruling parties in the two states are credible enough to win their elections? See the latest report in Jigawa council polls.
Let us therefore view the events in Rivers state in a broader perspective. The point is that the state governor’s actions give the impression that theirs are captured territories that require not just persuasion but crude force to relinquish. At the end it becomes a balance of terror. Jonathan should be praised for his tolerance.
I watched Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwa, lampooning Jonathan for not doing much to stem corruption. It was an audacious way of saying the federal government is corrupt. The following week I saw the young man smiling with Mr. President at a function. Now, tell me which speaker of a state assembly will look at his governor’s face and say he is corrupt? The creation of states is well intentioned but the political leaders have turned it into instruments of mischief, deceit and selfish manipulations.
It is against this background that we should evaluate the various conflicts including Rivers State. Part of the problem also arises from the structural defects within the party hierarchy which vests party ownership or leadership at the state on governors making them near dictators. Sad enough it is becoming easy, expedient and cost effective for these political juggernauts at state levels to recruit impressionable agents from professional groups to make their tasks easy and achievable.
The doctor that attended to Senator Magnus Abbe, who was allegedly shot with a rubber bullet, must have damaged his reputation. A doctor whose patient, a distinguished patient for that matter, has internal bleeding should have a serious case at hand. Such a doctor may not have the luxury of entertaining press interviews in the full glare of his patient. It is unethical.
Again flying Senator Abbe abroad for treatment raises a big question on the much talked about dividends of democracy in Rivers State. A situation where a state with huge oil revenue could not provide or boast of a good hospital to treat a victim of gunshot is suspect. Yet every day the media are awash with the success stories in the Garden City. I have lived in Port Harcourt for 25 years and I have not witnessed the kind of negative publicity the state is getting on the account of one man whose political appreciation is amateurish
Finally, it is instructive to say here that those who build political castles in vain-glorious pursuit that injure the overall interest of their own people in the name of democracy will surely appear before the court of nemesis. It has happened before.
Job wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers state