Akpo ki boro
Reconcilong the choice of this title in Urhobo is guided by the reality that a foreign language, which the English language is to me, cannot always bear the burden of certain experiences. Hence, when such experiences occur, one is bound to exclaim in the indigenous language which some of us consider metaphorically dense enough to adequately depict any occurrence no matter how weird or surprising. Akpo ki boro is an Urhobo proverb which when translated literally means “life is like football”. However, its metaphoric signification inheres in life being unpredictable like the game of football. The Urhobo language is fascinating in its deployment of proverbs and wits in the people’s attempt to come to terms with the vagaries of existence. Primordial as the proverbs are, they evince a strong sensitivity and awareness of contemporary exigencies.
This fluid and sensitive feature of Urhobo proverbs is reflected in the present title. The game of football was never part of Urhobo ontology and etymology. Nevertheless, through a keen observation of the phenomenon of the game of football and its unpredictable character, the Urhobo people wove around it an apt metaphor that is given life through a proverb. The factor of unpredictability has come to define Nigeria, a country that now reads like an unfolding drama that is at once exasperating and exciting; tragic, yet comedic; at once destructive and redemptive. A drama imbued with a limitless propensity for surprise and suspense. The very recent coalition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and thirty-eight other political parties justifies the Urhobo quip of akpo ki boro.
Although, the new coalition inelegantly named Coalition of Unity Political Parties with the awkward acronym (CUPP), reads like a mere rehash of the coalition that birthed the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013, its coming at this time took Nigerians by surprise. Many had thought that since the last election was contested and won by a coalition it would take a much longer time for another of such joining of forces to coalesce. What had floated in the air before now was Olisa Agbakoba’s ill-advised and directionless Nationalist Intervention Movement (NIM) and Olusegun Obasanjo’s unpatriotically motivated Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) made up of his sidekicks.
A new plot is unfolding in Nigeria’s political drama. As the days roll by, Nigerians will be witnesses to the unfolding schemes with all their unpredictability. The ruling APC had before the present coalition saw the PDP as the only opposition to its retaining the tenancy of Aso Rock come 2019. The APC undermined the capacity of the PDP to undo it and the latter has actually not been as abrasive in criticism as it should be as an opposition. Even when Buba Galadima led a revolt that took away part of the APC and unimaginatively named it R-APC reminiscent of the n-PDP in 2013, the APC laughed him out of court. The new APC chairman Adams Oshiomole boastfully dismissed Galadima and his band of co-travelers. Now, Oshiomole must be squirming and sweating on his seat like a football coach bereft of new ideas helplessly watching as his team is trashed.
The new coalition like the one that gave life to the APC reinforces the lack of compunction and utter ideological hollowness of Nigerian politicians. Before the emergence of the APC, many could have sworn that many of those who formed it would never be found greeting one another how much more sitting together, eating, drinking and agreeing to come under one platform. There were many bitter statements and unimaginable invectives the founders of the APC hurled at one another in the years and even a few months and weeks before the party was born. This is also the case with the CUPP! In fact many of the names and faces who begat APC are among those that birthed the CUPP. Akpo ki boro!
The same day CUPP was unfolding, the PDP held a rally in Abeokuta and report has it that Obasanjo attended! The same Obasanjo who organized a public tearing of his PDP membership card not long ago! Truly, truly, akpo ki boro! The day after the CUPP event the APC held a rally in support of Kayode Fayemi in Ado-Ekiti. President Buhari was there. Probably rattled by the CUPP of the previous day, Chris Ngige an APC federal minister urged Ekiti people to return Fayose the outgoing PDP governor of the state to power! Was that a mere slip of tongue or a Freudian slip with Ngige speaking out of the abundance of his heart? Akpo ki boro!
The days, weeks and months leading to the 2019 elections will be telling with more instances of akpo ki boro. The fellows behind the CUPP claim that they are out to rescue Nigeria from Buhari come 2019. The question that follows then is “in whose interest?” Is it in the people’s and national interest or in the interest of the dramatis personae, the politicians, pulling the strings? The Nigerian people must be vigilant and form their own coalition which should speak to their aspirations in the 2019 election by voting wisely and protecting the ballot. The CUPP coalition must not mislead Nigerians the way the APC did in 2015.
Prof. Awhefeada is of the English and Literary Department, Delta State University, Abraka.