Say NO to violent politicking

Posted by John Okiyi Kalu | 9 years ago | 3,224 times

Contrary to popular perception, those who rush into violent conduct are usually the weakest among us. The reality is that it takes more energy (power) to restrain yourself from engaging in violent conduct or retaliation than required to actually "return fire for fire". If you doubt me, when next someone provokes you try to restrain yourself from responding and observe how much energy you actually expended in trying to exercise restraint as against throwing a simple punch.

Amazingly, the violent are usually not even the strongest among us but rather use violence to scare the really strong and create false sense of strength. While we were growing up at Aba, there was this "strong man" who operated around the park area with his gang of touts. He must have been spending a lot of time at the gym as well as consuming food meant for a whole village and ended up with this muscular stout look that is enough to scare the fearful. With his body structure and the gang of touts loyal to him you dare not challenge him. But one day he met his superior in one "slim" undergraduate student of UNICAL who was traveling from Aba to Calabar and came to the popular rotary park area to board a bus. Something happened at the park and GOC (I believe that to be his popular name) confronted the "small boy" by pulling his shirt. Not knowing the legend of GOC, the young fearless boy turned round and pushed him. Everywhere went silent as people waited with held breathes for the expected pummeling of the small boy by the strong man. As GOC moved forward with all his intimidating gait and muscles the small boy reacted with a blow to his face and proceeded to throw GOC down on the floor.

Oso ataa!!!

Of course once Aba people saw GOC on the floor the boy became an instant hero and even GOC's boys must have been as dazed as their boss who was eating sand on the ground. The boy ultimately boarded the bus to Calabar and legend has it that the bus driver forfeited his fare in appreciation of his bravery. That was also the last we heard of GOC at Aba park. Please don't ask me to give you "a link to the story" because I have non to give. I heard the tale like others and was not at the park to witness the fight. Lol. But I knew the man called GOC, like most Aba boys, but cannot vouch for the veracity of the tale. Just like I know the story of Killwe Nwachukwu of Aba, saw him a couple of times as a young man but cannot confirm he was using his teeth to pull cars. In his own case, he was said to have beaten a man's wife and the husband came to join the fight and was shouting "kill we, Nwachukwu, kill we" (meaning Nwachukwu kill us). Aba people renamed Mr Nwachukwu to "Killwe Nwachukwu" and the name stuck to this day.

Aba di egwu with stories, dikwa para para!!!

Yet I know for a fact that whenever bravery confronts fear it defeats it and the really brave don't go about picking fights. They know that avoidance (vuum) is also a part of bravery.

Some time in early December 2013 a friend informed me that the core North has been cleansed of all President Jonathan's billboards and posters by opposition politicians and their hired hands. I didn't believe her until later when a friend who lives in the north confirmed the story. It really got me asking if those engaged in such misconduct and their sponsors truly know what they are doing to Nigeria, our democracy and fragile ethnic relationships. I also remembered the attack on the President's convoy in the North in 2011 as well as the reported attack on Buhari's convoy in Bayelsa then and realized that all that have been happening in Nigeria were carefully planned by the forces of anarchy to achieve a political objective: claiming territorial political safe havens.

It will surely back fire.

Those behind this political dastardly acts are the same people that have been unleashing terror on Ndigbo and other non indigene in the North believed to be sympathetic to Jonathan. The end game appears to be to scare them away from the core North before February elections so as to deny the President and PDP 25% of votes in those states. Of course no sane political analyst expects the President to win the election in those states but with the population of non-indigene voters he can easily cut down on the victory margin of his major opponent and get the constitutionally mandatory 25% of votes in two-third of the 36 states. Most of the bombs dropped at Sabon Gari areas and Churches in the affected states were simply meant to achieve that vote cleansing objective and it is safe to expect that as election approaches other scare tactics aimed at voters expulsion and tactical disenfranchisement will be added to the janjaweed plots.

Even in Lagos, I have been reliably informed that the majority of Igbo voters are yet to receive their PVCs through a simple "computer game" and deliberate collusion with opposition planted electoral officials. The plot include some missing pages of the register with names beginning with certain alphabets. Permit me at this stage to call on the INEC authorities to immediately intervene and ensure that every registered Lagos resident receives his/her PVC before February 1st.

I also wish to call on security agencies to intervene and end the vote cleansing plot in the North and other states. It is also wrong for state officials to be in custody of PVCs and if INEC is saying that out of 68.8m eligible voters only 30.5m have collected PVCs we want to see the remaining PVCs and we want those that are not collected by the owners warehoused after counting in the presence of all political parties involved in the elections. We don't want those uncollected PVCs ressurecting on election day in the hands of politicians and their boys. Whoever is yet to collect his PVC should be given his own without further delay and if after all efforts have been made we end up with 40m PVC carrying voters it simply means that is our true voting strenght and all other PVCs should be destroyed publicly.

To my Igbo brothers/sisters living in the Northern part of Nigeria by choice, do not be intimidated out of your place of residence. You have full constitutional right to remain and vote there. At best, send your children back to the east till the polls are over, if they are not up to voting age. We operate a federal constitution and you have every right due to a Nigerian anywhere in Nigeria. Onye kwa gi kwakwara ya, uwa bu otu mbia. You made the choice to live and register there because you believe that place to be home and you must defend that belief with your vote.

I wish to also call on President Goodluck Jonathan to deploy the powers of the Commander in Chief of Nigeria's Armed Forces and ensure the protection of all Nigerians resident anywhere in Nigeria. Take specific measures and give direct instructions to the security forces to protect non-indigene voters in the North and do not deploy youth corpers in the North to electoral duties. Mr President Sir, It is one thing for you to have failed to reward Ndigbo for our massive 2011 support but we surely will not want to lose anyone as happened after 2011 with Buhari's supporters murdering hundreds of our people in cold blood. We have it on good authority that your government did not even compensate most of the Igbo families that lost loved ones instead you allocated and handed compensation funds to state governors of the affected states who merely shared it with the murderers. Not even one person went to jail for those killings and that must have emboldened your opponent who was quick to tell us that "blood of dogs and baboons will flow" if he fails to win 2015 polls.

We are neither dogs nor baboons and you swore an oath to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians. I suppose your oath of office may not have included rehabilitating Aba-Ikot Ekpene Highway, Enugu-Onitsha highway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, Arochukwu-Ohafia Federal Road, Port Harcourt Road Aba, Oyigbo-PH stretch of Enugu-PH highway and Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene highway.  Nsogbu adiro.

Most of us will still vote for you to protect our right to worship our God as well as stop the man who vowed to "continue to show support to the sharia movement" and who also saw anti-terror campaigns of the Nigerian military as "an attack on the North" and yet want to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We don't have much choice knowing that even if we support fringe candidates like Chekwas Okorie we will only be helping the sharianist to take power. Otherwise we would have loved to punish you electorally for refusing to reward us for the massive support of 2011 but chose to spend more money on the areas that did not vote for you.

Na your luck sir.

I join others to insist that INEC staff handle the elections in the North alone while Youth Corpers can be deployed in the South for electoral duties. I also support the call on all non-indigene corpers in the potentially volatile areas of the North not to accept INEC's adhoc employment because your lives are worth more than the pittance INEC pays. Board a vehicle and go home on or before February 10th and return after March 30th. I am fairly certain that most of you don't have voters cards at your place of service and hence we won't lose much. Go to where you registered and vote. The government and our political leaders should also encourage this line of reasoning or refrain from shedding crocodile tears if Buhari's almajirin army repeats the post-election massacres of 2011. I will personally not weep for any youth corper in the North who ends up as a number on the pages of newspapers this coming February.

For all those engaged in violent politicking at Federal and State levels, permit me to warn you that violence consumes everyone and everything associated with it. If you are a politician, stop inducing young people to go and pull down your opponent's posters and billboards in the name of "securing your territory". That was how Boko Haram, MEND and Aba kidnappers started. They were initially recruited, armed and used to prosecute political wars. Later they transmuted to criminal gangs and even those who assembled them are still running helter skelter. As a country, we are also spending scarce resources on security because of the choice made by violent politicians of yesterday, even as our oil earnings dip. When those okada boys, almajirin and university cultists you are recruiting for "small assignments" like removing and destroying your opponents campaign materials graduate to criminal gangs you will not be safe anywhere in the world. Remember that Boko and MEND even visited Abuja. Don't think you will escape when the s...t hits the ceiling fan.

For those young people jumping up to do physical and oral violence to opposing politicians of their temporary pay masters, you will soon be lonely and sad. They will surely abandon you after the polls and the "chicken change" they are paying you will not last for more than one month after the polls. In most cases, they will send security men to go and kill you, if they win, because they know your capacity for violence. Please ask them to send their children to go and do their dirty jobs. Ask them why you don't see their children each time you come to their houses to collect "mobilization money". Abi you think their wives are barren women? Make I tell you: all their children are abroad getting good education and protection from countries where political violence is not tolerated.

More importantly, those engineering violent conducts will soon fall into the constitutional trap of state of emergency that will either suspend February elections completely or at least in the restive parts of the country. We all know who will lose if elections are not held in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Kano states. The law permits declaring the result of the polls even with those states not voting. It is therefore in everyone's interest to allow all parties to campaign and freely canvass for votes everywhere in Nigeria. Those with links to Boko Haram should even go and tell them to stop killing "2000 Nigerians" because even the international community are already looking at the possible suspension of Nigeria's 2015 election because of the "widespread violence in the North". If you don't want another "doctrine of necessity" call in your dogs of violence and let's have free and fair polls.

May be you don't know that where it is demonstrated that a party to an election was not allowed to campaign freely in all parts of the constituency the election is deemed not to be free and fair. INEC is also empowered to stop or cancel elections in areas where it is evident that some contestants were not allowed to campaign freely. Check our laws, if in doubt.

People win election through careful planning, networking and optimal deployment of resources in a timely manner. Not through a campaign of violence and manipulation of voters. Any candidate that cannot use his mouth, pedigree, party structures and persuasion to get your vote is not worth your vote. That politician sending you on violent errands is EVIL and nothing good can come out of him/her. Flee from him and anyone associated with him.

Have a wondeful new year and help ensure a violence free election this year.

Ya gazie.

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