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Apocalyptic Saturday

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[FILE] A crowd at one of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection points listens attentively for names to be called out over a megaphone to receive their voting card in Lagos on February 8, 2019. Would be voters had until February 8 to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) but due to an out cry about not receiving their cards and logistical difficulties at collection points the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the collection date to February 11. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP


Our country of blood saw blood and swam in blood on Saturday, February, 23, 2019. It was a bad Saturday. It was a hectic Saturday. It was an apocalyptic Saturday. It was a Saturday many people felt (and feel still) that the sovereignty of the will of the Nigerian people was not affirmed as they envisioned it. These Nigerians who believed that the presidential election was the significant instrument and means they had of giving legitimacy to the power of the suffering people were (and are still) bitterly disappointed that their ballots were not allowed to do or to obey their will and wish. Even those who believed that to shed their own blood was the only instrument they had of legitimatizing the power of their will would have done so in vain. The blood they have shed to liberate their county, our country, from the oppressors amounted to naught in the end. So it seems, as some people may affirm, considering INEC’s seemingly limited limitations in an election that had turned possessors of means of coercion into guillotiners.

Clearly, many people died on the day of the presidential election. Tales from Bayelsa, Oyo, Rivers and Delta States, for instance, were, to put it softly, ones of disillusionment. In Rivers and Bayelsa States especially the presidential election was a bloody ceremony whose ordering was well programmed and thoroughly contrived to end fatally and tragically in death, the type that was akin to human sacrifice. Indeed, apocalypse descended on the creeks and on the mean streets and on several naked homes where it was useless to imagine the murderous ceremonies that went on in the name of our presidential election.

In some cases, what one witnessed were the ceremony and death of Resistance. Security personnel made that day the great day of wrath, the great day of presidential wrath, whose continuing power mowed down all those in opposition who must be “shot-on-sight” or must be “shot-at-sight” in affirmation of ruthless power, the ruthless power of ruthless power. It was a ruthless order of ruthless power that moved many to resist an army and an “enemy clad in steel,” as the radical French intellectual and writer of Resistance, Jean-Paul Sarte, would put it. The governor of Rivers State called the lion-hearted Nyesom Wike has since strongly protested what happened to his people on that apocalyptic Saturday. He has, I am told, hurried a petition of anguish to the United Nations.

Now let me say this. I enjoyed an interesting electoral dialogue on AIT Thursday, February 28. The dialoguers were Niyi Akinsiji, I think, of Buhari’s Medal Organization, Kassim Afegbua, a stout personage of the PDP and Barrister (Mrs.) Akpoti, an SDP candidate from Kogi State who contested a Senatorial seat of her State on Saturday, February 23 National Assembly election. The undertaking of the dialoguers and their two hosts owes its beauty, interest and greatness to the crushing revelations pertaining to what transpired on our apocalyptic Saturday. Even though the chairman of the Buhari Media Organization was at great pains to brush off the allegations of fraud, cheating, intimidation, underage voting, violence and unequal treatment of contestants and voters by the central party’s powerful security forces, he tacitly agreed with Afegbua and Akpoti. His attempts to evade the blunt questions put to him by the two hosts who mediated the dialogue spoke volumes. So also were the specious explanations he provided in respect of the presidential election and the manner it was conducted. Of course, Mr. Afegbua and Mrs. Akpoti did what they had to do persuasively and eloquently, and their respective positions held together. The picture of our country of blood and of the moaning of the wind of violence on Saturday, February 23 which Mr. Afegbua presented was deeply moving. All members of opposition parties on Saturday, February 23 were trapped like rats surrounded by pompous cats. And how Mrs. Akpoti outwitted the bloody cats is a story of and for the movies! But it is pure tragedy that her crushing experience, and by extension, that of our other compatriots – is like an apocalyptic bomb that represents the negation of man. This is not an exaggeration, and it cannot be said to be one.

A friend of mine, an old chum, who is a Buhari-man through and through tried to persuade me to accept without qualms what transpired on Saturday, February 23. The kernel of his argument was that Buhari was rigged out of power on the previous three occasions he contested for the presidency and it was right for him to stay put in Aso Rock by whatever means and force of incumbency. In other words, he was telling me that it is right for Buhari to have and enjoy now his pound of flesh. My simple reply to him was that with Nigerians like him our country will never be liberated, and we can never write a true essay or a true book on the liberation of Nigeria.

But my friend would not give up easily. He told me bluntly that I brought Buhari to Aso Rock. When I protested, he reminded me of my past columns and strong essays and bold interviews in a sister newspaper and this paper against Buhari’s immediate predecessor. “Have you forgotten so soon that you were Buhari’s defender-in-chief on the matter of his alleged certificatelessness? And your tough essays in support of Buhari are in the public domain and in the archives. Don’t complain that the chicken has come home to roost.”

Was I tongue-tied? I was not, certainly not. Only the deep can truly communicate with the deep. The masters of meditation and contemplation do not communicate with him. So why did I have to engage in a duel with him? But I concluded with him thus: The apocalyptic Saturday the central government had created would fetch GMB – General Muhammadu Buhari- his own apocalypse sooner or later. As a former student of mine, now a notable journalist, recently informed me, “Buhari has won the presidential election, but he has lost the country.” What a profound statement!

Meanwhile, we must wish that tomorrow, Saturday, March 9 would not give birth to any spontaneous uprising in the land. If our gubernatorial elections unleash the type of events we witnessed on Saturday, February 23, may God bless us all! Then apocalyptic apocalypse will be here, and God must really help us all!

But I must end this essay with a quotation from the indefatigable Professor Itse Sagay, SAN. In response to a question in the Tuesday, February 26 edition of this paper, pages 30 to 31, on corruption following GMB’s “reelection,” the boisterous professor said as follows: “It will be fiercer. The government will be much stronger and firmer. It will descend more heavily on corrupt people and reduce graft drastically….. People will begin to fear Buhari again…” What I glean from this plain talk is that GMB is truly back as I said last Friday. Run, run, run, all of you out there who have “committed crimes against humanity.”Professor Sagay may be right, but GMB must do what he must do in a piously, expertly and transparently judicious manner before apocalyptic retribution visits him. The rest is silence.


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INECMuhammadu Buhari‎
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