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Emperors as governors in Nigeria

By Tony Afejuku
15 May 2020   |   3:59 am
Many of our governors today seem to cherish the idea or thought of building their reputation on creating fear in every part of the body of the governed.

Many of our governors today seem to cherish the idea or thought of building their reputation on creating fear in every part of the body of the governed. They want us to impute their ‘successes’ to the creation of fear in the whole body of the public.

In other words, they want us to see them as emperors whose reputation is of the most deadly kind. And several of them, two or three of them in particular, seem to be afflicted by the imputation of ‘virtues,’ if ‘virtues’ we can call them, which excite the least pleasure in us. What are these ‘virtues’? The first is the malarious contempt for any disobedience, wilful or un-wilful, or lawful or unlawful, from any quarter; and the desire to get words out quickly, no matter how unpalatable or un-stimulating or intimidating they may be.

The second ‘virtue’ is the ‘virtue’ of the pestilence that is worse than the new disease called coronavirus, which is diffusing itself most significantly through the whole frame of the public. No matter how pestilential the disease, our emperors’ obsession for worldly power is worse, far more pesty than any epidemic or pandemic disease. This is not an exaggeration. Or how do we explain our emperors’ lust for wealth and power? How do we explain their desire for the disease of worldliness, the lust for ridiculous wealth and nauseating power ascribable to their bent tendencies and corrupted inclinations?

Perhaps our emperors called governors (of our respective states) are in competition with our president, our one and only GMB, who is arguably and unarguably one of a kind in our annals’ antiquarian and modern history. While several critics and historians of our democratic and military experiences may impute General Buhari’s ‘success’ in the present time essentially to nepotism, some there are who will attribute the ‘successes’ of our present governors to their love of pomp, riches and draconian force of emperors, intent on cowing the ruled they all pretend to care for. President Buhari may scorn the corrupt values of the world in the eyes of many, but our governors always wilfully plot, contrive and endeavour to vanquish truths about themselves from the eyes of the public they desire to blind in an atmosphere of un-freedom.

Now, we are familiar with what happened recently in Ebonyi State where Emperor David Nweze Umahi barred and banned from the state’s government house for life two newspapers’ correspondents from the Vanguard and Sun respectively. What sin or crime did the journalists commit? Of course, they reported, through their respective newspapers, to the people and public of Ebonyi State and beyond some ‘truth’ about the state which the almighty emperor found distasteful.

The governor’s imperial sovereignty of conscience has since been pricked and punctured to the point that our mighty press compelled him to apologise to all of us, including the two correspondents, who were wronged by his action. He has learnt his lesson that the Nigerian press cannot be put in bondage by an emperor, no matter the wealth of the people and the civil power of the state in his possession. Whether or not my pen or column has the jurisdiction over his and his fellow emperors’ consciences, I have since forgiven him his trespass. How about you? Be kind-hearted and Godly-minded like me to tell him all is over, and that he should be the good people’s governor henceforward.

There are two other emperors who cannot be outside the magistracy of this column. They are Governors Abdullahi Ganduje and Nyesom Wike of Kano State and Rivers State respectively. The former seems to love extravagance a great deal over and above his starving talakawas, including the almajirai.

The allegation was rife everywhere some time ago that he got some bounteous bounties from China or so, which he squandered on frivolities in the midst of the starving poor people of Kano to the chagrin of Emir Sanusi, whom he unceremoniously deposed through his imperial instrument of unchecked liberty which will sooner or later be at the mercy and liberty of confusion and the unstable multitude. And did the all-powerful governor (and his unsympathetic government) not demonstrate his imperial dominion when he recently fired his Information Commissioner or so for exercising his freedom of personal expression relating to the death of Abba Kyari Chima or Abba Chima Kyari, Buhari’s Chief-of-Staff who recently joined his Maker in accordance with the wish of Allah? Perhaps this is too flat an example to recall to demonstrating one incident of the governor’s absolute power. But his request of fifteen billion naira from the central government to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Kano cannot escape our magisterial lens.

What does he need the mighty amount for when there is no credible evidence on the ground that the emperor is seriously committed to advancing the medical welfare of the suffering people of Kano? Indeed, is the emperor not indifferent to the general welfare of the people who have been killed in large numbers by what the governor and his allies have allegedly called “mysterious diseases” in this deadly season of deadly coronavirus? Let him invoke all his imperial power to suppress the truth concerning the poor handling of the dead and dying people of Coronavirus Kano, we soon shall prove to him that his state is not the only state where diabetic and hypertensive patients abound in. His imperial misinformation in respect of the dead and dying people in Kano will count among his undoing in a revolutionarily unvarnished manner in an atmosphere of freedom that is freedom.

And what of the Governor called Nyesom Wike? What has become of this emperor especially of late? Why did he, for instance, demolish two choice hotels Etemeteh Hotel, Onne and Prudent Hotel Alode, Eleme? The “Executive Order 6” which he relied on for his obnoxiously imperial action, as far as I am concerned, reflects Donald Trump’s moronic impulses in several actions of the American president. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Were the management of the two hotels given the opportunity to defend their actions especially since Promise Gogorodari, the owner of Prudent Hotel has since strongly claimed that he did not violate any law to warrant the demolition? Even if they were found guilty of flouting the state’s coronavirus lockdown law, could not the governor have converted the hotels into hospitals after ‘restructuring’ them for the benefit of the masses and people of Rivers State? The demolition, is it really the right action to take by the emperor? Compassion is one good quality a leader, even an imperial one, must possess.

A Christian governor who, I think, Wike the Emperor of Rivers professes to be should not have allowed his conscience to have been seduced by false pictures and doctrines of imperial power. If President Buhari had done what Governor Wike has done, I have no doubt in my judicious detective mind that the Rivers great personage would have been in the forefront of those to chant the Power of the Holy Spirit against our president.

Besides his most unlawful action which is only lawful to his imperial mind, the daring governor who has been daring even his chi, as our Chinua Achebe would have put it, has been gallivanting in the state warning and threatening everybody, including local government chairmen and traditional rulers. What imperial charm does he possess to be carrying on as he has been carrying on? And to think that I was coming to admire the man is becoming really troubling to my critically journalistic temper.

The position that I have tried to canvass here is this: Our governors should not blind their eyes and lock the sovereignty of their consciences against our people. Even for emperors, everything passes. YES. O YES.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.