Kogi’s ta-ta-ta-ta-ta and Nigeria’s head of the Medusa | By Festus Adedayo - Mega Icon Magazine
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Kogi’s ta-ta-ta-ta-ta and Nigeria’s head of the Medusa | By Festus Adedayo

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Three things appear very tragic in last week’s Kogi governorship/senatorial elections. They are, first, the video that went viral of the young Kogi ladies chanting the panegyrics of Governor Yahaya Bello at a pre-election rally in the state; the violence that ended the lives of some people and the “anyone who is aggrieved should go to the courts” reaction of President Muhammadu Buhari to the “victory” of Bello.

Two of those tragedies are of Hiroshima and Nagazaki proportion; they are what I call the euphemization of violence, delivered in a melodious tune by those Kogi ladies and the mockery that lies behind Buhari’s almost comedic and unstatesmanly statement. Viewed as a collective, the three statements, to my mind, can be well captured by that famous letter written by Irish playwright, novelist, poet and late nineteen century London celebrity, Oscar Wilde, to his gay partner, Sir Alfred Douglas, called De Profundis or Letter to Sir Alfred Douglas.

Wilde was renowned for his flamboyant attires which showed him as a witty eccentric and typecast him as a man who lived an unpredictable lifestyle. This lifestyle also put him at odds with what obtained in Victoria England at the time and especially, because homosexuality was a major crime in the England of the time. He was on trial in 1895 for “gross indecency” after the father of Sir Douglas, his gay partner, a British aristocrat, unscrewed the lid of the scandal which thus became public knowledge.

Wilde, writing from his H. M. Prison, Reading in January, 1897, had said of his alliance with Douglas, “our ill-fated and most lamentable friendship has ended in ruin and public infamy for me.”

Electoral monitoring organizations, European election monitors and even their Nigerian partners, have submitted that no sensible nation should use the Kogi election as a yardstick for measuring electoral politics. What is more, Nigerians’ encounters electorally in the last four years or so of the current government may yet be an eerie projection of what will happen subsequently and in the 2023 elections.

With all these prognoses, it may not be a dip into doomsday prophesy to conclude that, with bloodcurdling electoral politics that is fast becoming a testament of party politics in Nigeria under this government, Nigerians may, with the Kogi election, have stared at the proverbial head of the Medusa and their once soft hearts may have turned into stones.

Participation in voting or even coming out on the day of an election where stray bullets may fell them while recipients of the juices of the elections flee to Aso Rock to go have wild celebrations with the President, may have to be considered seriously.

Greek mythology explains the head of Medusa thus: Medusa was reputed to be a monster or a Gorgon whose feature was that of a winged human being but who was a female. Rather than the female longish hairs, Medusa had venomous snakes making each of the strands of her hairs. Anyone who looked at these scary snakes that made up Medusa’s hairs instantly turned into stone. After being in existence for centuries, Medusa was said to have died on an island that was called Sapedon, near Cisthene. She was decapitated but even after she was beheaded, her head still retained the ability to turn anyone who looked at her into stone.

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Some writers have located this Cisthene where Medusa died to be somewhere in present day Libya. Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, linked the Medusa myth to the religion of Libya’s Berbers. Thus, in comparing Nigeria’s electoral process with the head of Medusa, I am saying that, right now, the muffled anger, disdain and angst that Nigerians have towards elections in the country, aftermath the Kogi violent election, are enough indices to announce the path that the country would tread in 2023.

Delivered in a local dialect, the highly melodious song of the Kogi ladies had said, inter alia: Who is saying that Yahaya will not be Governor?// Dem go hear am ta-ta-ta-ta-ta//What are you saying?//What are you talking?//What a tyranny4+4. Enraptured by the very rhythmic song, you would almost lose track of the fact that the young ladies were ratifying and justifying the violence and murders which eventually engulfed Kogi in the melee of the elections.

While I listened to it, I didn’t know the time I got sucked into the beautiful song and began to wriggle my body to the melody. The beautiful ladies delivering the song and their apparent mastery of the art of dancing also blithely delivered the parcel of electoral intolerance. Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta was undoubtedly the unfriendly rhythm of a rifle.

Do the ladies know or realize that ta-ta-ta-ta-ta means that votes will not count? Did they bother at all? Did they know that ta-ta-ta-ta-ta is sorrow for some persons’ children? Do they care?

It was as if the choristers of death were presaging what would be parceled to the world shortly after, a broth of political hatred, blood and outright disdain for the sanctity of electoral politics. The ta-ta-ta-ta-ta caught me gasping for breath. Like the euphemism that it was, it cushioned the blow of bloody electoral reality that it portended. But, why would a people give political, cultural and societal stamp to gangsterism and violence like this in Bello’s Kogi and Buhari’s Nigeria?

At several fora where I was asked what hope Nigeria had to navigate from her current stasis, groping for an answer without one, I turned to electoral sanctity. All other escape routes appeared very sterile and non-feasible. While coup is outdated and should not be encouraged by any one, the other most practicable path, I told my listeners, was to have a benevolent dictator emerge through the electoral box. The most visible impracticability of this is that the man with honest intention to deliver the country from her morass would never be allowed to wriggle themselves out of the very tumultuous electoral process that is corrupt, corrupted and laced with thorns and briers. You also needed to have amassed amounts that only corruption will midwife, so as to have enough financial brawn to fight for a position of consequence that can in turn salvage the people. This dilemma of a Nigeria looking for a messiah through the ballot box is akin to the egg and chicken equation that does not give itself up to an easy answer.

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Yes, there have always been electoral violence, corruption and political gangsterism in virtually all Nigerian elections; yes, violence has become almost a paterfamilias of our electoral contests but last week’s “election” in Kogi was in a class of its own. Diplomatic Watch, a body with an umbrella of observers from Austria, European Union delegation, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States, which has consistently monitored Nigerian elections for ages, expressed huge concerns about the conduct and conditions of the elections.

In a joint statement issued by it and others, the body raised alarm over widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, which it said its team witnessed in Kogi. Viral videos of violence, shooting and snatching of ballot boxes were all traded with brazen immunity. I listened to witnesses of the electoral infamy that was orchestrated in the so-called Confluence State and one could not but weep for the electoral future of Nigeria. How did Nigeria get to this electoral sorry pass?

Till date, no one can say with precision the number of persons who were martyred for the so-called “victory” that Governor Bello celebrates with juvenile excitement, neither can anyone count on the finger tips how many homes lapsed into sorrow on account of the election which President Buhari gleefully thumped his party’s chest with a drunk-like abandon. The most horrifying of the violence was the one that consumed Acheju Abuh. Abuh, the Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Wada/Aro Campaign Council, was set ablaze in her residence at Ochadamu in Ofu local government area of Kogi on Monday, November 18. From accounts of Abuh’s gruesome murder, the killers are identifiable.

It was a permanent scar that the election that reportedly produced Bello for a second term bears. Rather than exhibit some measure of sobriety, given the murder of Abuh and some others in his state, the trio of Bello, his “father” and Adams Oshiomhole, have been throwing disgraceful saturnalia over this shameful “win.”
With all the accounts of electoral violence that occurred in Kogi, ordinarily, President Buhari should be acutely worried. His worry should stem from widespread negative comments – both within and without – that have trailed the Kogi election. There were rumours of one of the political parties securing the services of a top police officer who sat in a helicopter which threw tear gas canisters at polling booths where the opposing party held sway; there were also reports of votes from the opposing party’s strongholds blocked from getting to the collation centres. These reports, no doubt, are on the President’s table.

Why would Buhari now celebrate this “victory” with such nauseating glee and make a muffled noise of himself examining Bello’s election certificate like a compromised father whose son had just brought home an examination result slip in an examination that he abetted in getting teachers to favour the son? So when Buhari told anyone who was aggrieved with the Kogi result to go to court, Nigerians took it that he was pouring salt on their injury. Is it not the same court where his lackey drives an airplane?

If we do not know, compromised electoral results are one of the issues dragging this country down and preventing her from getting to its place of glory. First is the spirituality of compromised elections. Because the bulk of people we purportedly elect into political offices get there by bolekaja methods, they cannot connect with the spiritual essences of those offices. Physically, they cannot get the offices’ blessings nor the unseen glory that comes from it. They thus do not respect the electorate or their constituents because it was not their votes that brought them into such offices.

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As a country, we cannot connect with the spiritual essences of the offices because there is a disconnect between the offices, the occupiers and the people. We thus grope in the dark, moving in circuitous shuttles between the bad, the worst and the ugly. It probably is why we do not reap the visible harvests of democratic rule.

Even in its most physical manifestation, we cannot get a Messiah who would lead the country out of the dark if we continue to have compromised electoral results of the caliber of Kogi. The highest bidder, the ones who have access to violence, will continue to carry the day. The ones with genuine intentions, who have the gravitas and bravura to lead the country would stay away for fear of the blood of politics splattering on their white apparels. They would not have access to governmental compromise of the kind of N10 billion Buhari released to his so-called godson at the twilight of the election and they would not have governmental paraphernalia of coercion that was at the beck and call of Bello.

Thus, we would continue to have the Bellos at the helms of affairs, with their shallow reading of leadership and jejune understanding of governance and government. More fundamentally, our complaints of electors being far between at polling booths will grow worse as genuine voters will keep away for their lives and will not want to waste their time and lives for an election where votes do not count.
For 2023 and the elections that remain in some states, it is frightening.

The Bello model would be the most fascinating to governors. I project that any subsequent election that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is going to be involved in that has no Bello as an adviser would be unadvisable. Once the kingpin is brought in, the ta-ta-ta-ta-ta political methodology would be on loan to the states that desire it. And Nigeria will continue her walk in the dark.

 

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Inside Nigerian Senate:Smart Adeyemi Finally Replaces Dino Melaye {See Photos}

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The Senate President,  Ahmed Lawan on Wednesday swore-in Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Adeyemi is replacing Senator Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who lost the rerun in the Kogi West Senatorial District election.

The APC candidate, Adeyemi who emerged victorious at the bye-election concluded last week in the district by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was announced by the Returning Officer of the election, Professor Olajide Lawal that he successfully polled a total of 88,373 votes to defeat his political rival,  Melaye of the PDP who scored 62,133 votes.

The swearing-in was done by the Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, at the start of plenary.

Adeyemi is returning to the Senate about five years after he lost the seat to  Melaye at the 2015 election.

 

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Makinde appoints Special Adviser on Health, Kano indigene as Special Assistant Community relations

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has announced the appointment of Dr. Olufunmilayo Salami and a Kano indigene, Alhaji Ahmed Murtala as Special Adviser Health and Special Assistant Community Relations I, Arewa community respectively.

The Governor also approved the appointment of Chief Jacob Adetoro as chairman, Federal Constituencies Liaison Officers, while naming 14 Constituency Liaison Officers, representing each of the State’s 14 Federal Constituencies.

A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde, Moses Alao, indicated that the Governor also approved the appointments of Hon. Femi Josiah as Special Assistant on Community Relations II for other communities.

The Governor charged the new appointees, whose appointments took effect from November 27, to see their appointments as a call to service, charging them to discharge their duties with absolute loyalty, dedication and diligence.

Dr. Salami, who until her appointment as Special Adviser on Health to Governor Makinde, was a Consultant to the Government on Health, is a United States of America-based Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician.

The new Special Assistant on Community Relations for the Arewa Community, Mr. Murtala, hailed from Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State and had his primary and secondary school education at St. Brigid Boys School, Mokola, Ibadan and Community Grammar School, Mokola, Ibadan respectively.

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He will serve as the bridge between the Oyo State Government and the Hausa/Fulani community as well as other Northern groups scattered across the State.

Governor Makinde had, at a recent forum, while receiving a contingent of the Niger State Youths, which were in Ibadan to present him with a white horse and an award in recognition of his excellent service delivery in the first six months in office, promised to appoint a Special Assistant from the Hausa/Fulani community to serve as the link between the Government and the community, especially in the face of farmer-herdsmen crisis.

The appointments were communicated through letters signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun.

The 14 Liaison Officers appointed by the Governor were: Alhaji Ajibike Osuolale Lateef (Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola and Iwajowa); Alhaji Salami Lukman Adisa (Saki East, Saki West and Atisbo); Alhaji Afees Tijani (Orelope, Irepo and Olorunsogo); Hon. Ganiyu Laaro (Oriire, Ogbomoso North and Ogbomoso South);    Mr. Sanjo Akintola    (Ogo-Oluwa and Surulere); Mr. Wale Ogunmola (Afijio, Oyo West, Oyo East and Atiba); Hon. Monsuru Oduola (Ibarapa North and Ibarapa Central).

Others were: Mrs. Julian Nwachukwu (Ibadan North); Mr. Olumide Akinlade (Oluyole); Alhaja Kafilat Olayiwola (Ido and Ibarapa East); Alhaji Labule Ishola (Ibadan South-West &North-West); Alhaja Yahaya Akinbile (Ibadan South-East and North-East); Mrs. Wulemot Ibitoye (Akinyele/Lagelu) and Mr. Adegboyega Akinlolu James (Ona-Ara and Egbeda).

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Stop being bad losers, group flays Oyo APC, ALGON over attacks on Makinde

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An Oyo State-based Socio-political Organisation, the Oyo Kajola Group (OKG) has advised the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some purported members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state to stop its relentless and meaningless attacks on Governor Seyi Makinde.

OKG, in a statement by its Media Coordinator, Mr. Adebayo Ayandele, which was made public in Ibadan on Tuesday, said that recent outbursts by the APC and ALGON on the management of local government matters by Governor Makinde can only be termed as the compulsive attitude of bad losers whose negative tendencies are completely unproductive.

According to OKG, the criticisms against Makinde by the APC and ALGON are not only baseless but a clear demonstration of undemocratic tendencies by political actors who have unfortunately benefitted from the nation’s democracy.

“We can only urge them to stop being bad losers and stop the incessant display of undemocratic conducts, including their call for unconstitutional intervention in Oyo State,” the OKG said.

The group stated that APC’s statement calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to adopt undemocratic measures by illegally intervening in the issue of local government in Oyo State was not only a shameful faux pas, but a portrayal of the members of the APC and ALGON in Oyo State as namby-pamby democrats.

The group further described Oyo APC’s call to President Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly to prevail on Makinde on local government administration in Oyo State as a disgrace, noting that APC members in the State would have to avail themselves the opportunity of the free education policy of the Makinde administration and free distribution of textbooks to return to secondary school classrooms to learn Government and Civics Education, especially topics on federalism, democracy and government system.

According to the group, the claim made by the APC that Makinde’s plans to appoint caretaker committees was an affront to the judiciary and a decision to position his lackeys in office was not only strange but totally baseless, especially coming from a party that administered local governments in Oyo State with caretaker committees for seven of its eight years in office.

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The group added that the claim that Makinde tried to ‘bribe’ known APC members appointed into the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) by the immediate past government was a wicked lie from the rotten pit that APC is, noting that Makinde’s offer to pay the OYSIEC members off the appointment was lawful and well-intended.

The Oyo Kajola Group (OKG) advised Makinde to go ahead if he so wishes to appoint caretaker chairmen for the local councils, as according to it, the move will enable the grassroots in Oyo State to feel the impact of government more than before.

It noted that if the Governor decides to do so, he would not be committing any infraction on the laws of the land, pending the election into the councils.

The Oyo Kajola Group also warned the Oyo State APC and its appendage, to perish the thought of its evil intention of planning to snatch the people’s mandate freely given to Governor Makinde through the Court, noting that the APC’s false hope would end up being deflated.

The group said: “On Monday, the Oyo State chapter of the APC, for the umpteenth time and in its characteristic frustrated manner, treated Nigerians to another round of its garrulous but baseless attacks on the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde. Silence would have been the best answer for the ninnies that Oyo APC leaders and members have become ever since they lost the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

“However, the namby-pamby democrats and bogus progressives known as Oyo APC had gone too far this time, as they called on President Buhari and the National Assembly to “prevail” on Makinde on how to administer a federating unit, Oyo State. This call, to say the least, is disgraceful, uncanny and not well-thought-out and we can only ask whether the writer and sponsors of the APC statement actually went through school or learnt anything about the federal system of Government.

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“They cited some cases to buttress their disgraceful claim but they were only clever by half, as they hid a substantial part of the matters from the public with an intent to deceive and mislead the public. The truth is that Governor Makinde would not be disobeying any order by appointing an interim management for the local governments. By doing so, he would only be contributing to making the impact of governance felt more at the grassroots.

“The Oyo State APC, which has become devitalized and enfeebled by its loss in the State, instead of calling on President Buhari and the national leadership of the party to help rebuild its broken house, has been going about attacking Governor Makinde and seeking ungodly shortcuts on how to reclaim the governorship seat it lost in a free, fair and credible election. We can only wish them the best in their voyage of shame as they go ahead groping in self-inflicted darkness until they fall into their own traps.

“We, however, will not sit and watch as the Oyo State APC, which is renowned for its mendacity and barefaced dishonesty, attempt to deceive the public over what is going on in Oyo State regarding the leadership of the local government system.

“The APC, in its statement, tried to extrapolate on the Supreme Court judgment over local councils to justify its attacks on Makinde. The truth is that the cases in point are different. As the Latin maxim goes, Nemo dat quod non habet; you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The election that brought in the sacked local government chairmen of the APC was illegal ab initio in that it flouted the Constitution. The election was conducted in defiance of court injunctions that restricted the government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, a clear violation of the Constitution, which President Buhari and the National Assembly are now being asked to protect.

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“It will also be recalled that the same illegal council election had marked the beginning of the end for the APC in Oyo State, as it was a festival of imposition of the cronies and flunkeys of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi. This development, indeed, led to a faction of the APC approaching the court to stop the election, using the plan of the immediate past government to conduct polls into local government councils and LCDAs as a ground for litigation.

“It is also interesting that the judgment the APC claims to have against Makinde was hurriedly procured before he took office, having been done in cahoots with the immediate past administration, which had lost grounds through Makinde’s election and was looking for a landmine to plant for the new governor.”

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