God give us men. The time demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking;
Tall men, sun-browned, who live above the fog
In public duty and in private thinking.
Josiah Gilbert Holland
By Fejiro Oliver
I do not intend to mock anyone in this piece; neither do I seek to be sarcastic to the characters that will be mentioned frequently. My only aim is to speak truth to their conscience and men who will be taking their place, as well as generations yet unborn.
First, I will start with my State Governor, Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan aka Asamaigor (a title given to him by sycophants which made his head ‘swell’ up). Hello Governor, who could have thought that the power you weighed 8 years ago will leave you so soon? In less than 30 hours from now, your appellation will change from GOVERNOR to ex, immediate past and former governor, with all the apparatus of office leaving you like a magic band worn on your wrist. Few minutes from now, you will cease to be the Alpha and Omega of Delta State but join us the commoners who gave you their votes in 2007, but rather than use it to our benefit, you used it for your sycophantic friends and allies.
Yes Mr Governor, the time will tick in seconds to come when your words will no longer be law and all immunity stripped off you. Then your eyes will be opened to the real world which you tasted back then in Sido, Warri, but somehow, you allowed the spoils of office to blindfold you. With no one telling you, you will be left alone in a world of thinking to assess all the years you spent in government from 1999 and if you are true to yourself, you will nod your head saying “I led wasted years”. Let no one deceive you Sir that you led us well; for you didn’t.
Your Excellency, exactly 12 noon on the dot, the paraphernalia of office will naturally be stripped of you, and even though you would have loved to stay for just one more day, there will be no such time. It will happen like rapture on May 29th and my boss and leader, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (SIAO) will be wearing the shoes you ones wore and luckily for him, your shoes are not big for him to fit in, like his compatriots in Lagos and Akwa Ibom states will find hard to wear their predecessor shoes. This is the gospel truth.
Power is blind only to those who chose to make it blind them, and unfortunately you fall into such category. Due to talks by close friends and political leaders I respect, I decided to stop writing about the situations of governance in the State, but I will be doing you lots of evil if I don’t tell you this before you bid Unity House FINAL farewell, for you can never occupy there again, except a military coup take place and you are mistakenly appointed as an administrator. I used the word ‘mistakenly’ knowingly because Deltans can never pray for your type to govern her again or even be a councilor of a local government chairman.
Sir, you are a very good man, and nice to a fault, but like every hero, you chose to allow the chorus decide how you acted your part in the democratic play. It will soon dawn on you that the many friends who clustered round you while you held sway are not truly friends but fair weather ones who only seek the benefits that come with your signature. All of them will not only desert you, but they will write the petitions that will send you to jail.
As I write, I can tell you authoritatively that there are 342 petitions written against you to the anti graft agencies with some in my possession, meant to be used against you in the media. If you must know Sir, the Macaulays of this world will Brutus you and when it will happen, just seven men will stand by you, which includes the current governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa whom you never wanted to succeed you. The Funkemekes of this world who sang your praise and urged you on will be the ones to sing like canary birds when the anti corruption agents that President Muhammadu Buhari will send after you and your commissioners. If you think I am lying, wait till when you will be celebrating your next birthday and see how many of them will take pages in Newspapers or slots in broadcast houses to congratulate you. I will be among the last 7 men standing to see how you can be set free in own little ways.
I can imagine how the night of May 29th will be to you. It will be to you like nightmare with you wishing the day should never break and even God coming to take all of us to heaven, so that you will not experience what will befall you. The Press Corps whom you dole out money for will be the ones to start the first fireworks, by dishing out those little secrets they know about you to their colleagues. This time, money cannot save you, as they will be dancing to the tune of another master who controls the state purse. Such is power; very vain.
You have not only stepped on toes but have unknowingly sent some Deltans to their graves through your actions and inactions. Your last days in office can only be likened to the reign of an Emperor, whose words if not obeyed amount to having the person who disobeyed placed on gallows. But now, you will realize that when you speak as soon as you hand over, your aides will scorn you and those who once trembled at your voice will challenge you. You are leaving office in the worst of time when your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not be controlling the State apparatus. I sincerely pity you, but again I will stand by you.
Your Excellency, you are one man I have always known through sources as a keeper of promise, but how you decided to ignore the promise to set the young man, Moses Akpagha who was sentenced to death free still beats my imagination, despite you telling him to withdraw his appeal which he did. Sir, you have a chance with history here by setting this boy free from the hangman. You have a date with destiny to stop the execution of this boy, especially since you promised to do so. In case you don’t know, the world media is currently focused on you, and while I can assure you that the boy will be set free even if you don’t do it, you would have lost the goodwill of the world and attention of the world media that comes with it, since Amnesty International is involved. Do not miss this destiny before your hours finish counting.
On behalf of Deltans, we welcome you to our commoners’ world, where eyes are open and friends lost while in power are regained. Though you have no second chance to undo all that you have done, we hold it in our hearts that you will set up a power tutorial class to let future leaders know that power is not only vanity but ephemeral.
As President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan begged for forgiveness from Nigerians, I closed my eyes and began to rewind back to when he took over the reins of power and how he used it. Sir, I must tell you that you are a disgrace to anything called leadership, and unworthy to bear the toga of ‘Your Excellency’, because nothing about you is ever excellent.
From where do we begin to forgive you? That you gave us a New Year package of fuel subsidy removal which sparked protest and killed Nigerians? Will those you caused to go 6 feet beyond ever forgive us if we forgive you? Sir, Nigerians may forgive you, but over 50 million of us cannot and will not forgive you.
I am so glad that I was a prominent voice that saw to you being voted out of power and if given the chance again, I will do it. How can we forgive you when the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro who conducted the worst recruitment exercise that killed Nigerians during the last Nigerians Immigration Service exercise attended the last Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC) which you chaired, when he should have been sacked the moment one Nigerian died? Those bloods will never forgive us if we forgive you.
How can we forgive you after inheriting billions of dollars in our treasury and you are leaving debts for us to pay, because of you corrupt style of governance? You finally outsmarted Gen. Sani Abacha when it comes to looting, so much that we now see Abacha as a saint compared to you. Can I even forgive you when you allowed the SSS to kidnap me on the order of one of your corrupt governors, Thief Servant, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and had me imprisoned for two weeks? Sir, even if we forgive, we can never forget but we cannot forgive you.
You will soon realize that there is difference between six and half a dozen in few hours to come, just like Gov. Uduaghan, when all your ‘friends’ will abandon you to sink to depression. We cannot forgive you when you opened our money vault to your criminal friends every Wednesday, during your FEC meetings which you turned into a contract bazaar.
From May 29th you will feel the pains we feel as a commoner and the tears we shed secretly. Then you will be welcome to the real world where the rule of law will apply and you facing charges for all your crimes against Mother Nigeria.
To all the governors that will be sworn in on Friday May 29th especially Senator Okowa, I hope you will learn to know that friends are not made when elections are won during primaries and general elections, but made before any election takes place. I hope you learn that the power you will be wielding is not yours but only kept in trust for millions of Nigerians who have a right to take it back after every 4 years. I hereby announce my humble self as the unofficial opposition person to the incoming Delta State government and other state governors.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, an Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist is also the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD) and can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or [email protected]. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86.