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By John Mgbe

The Police in Kano State  have arrested former Governor of Jigawa State, Mr.Sule Lamido, for  making statements capable  of  inciting  violence.
The  Police  Spokesman, Sambo Sokoto, gave the  official  reason  for the arrest of  Mr. Sule Lamido.
Sule  Lamido  was sarcastic  and baying  for  blood  in  his  speech to  his  supporters in regard  to  how  they would  behave  during  a  scheduled  Local  Government election  in  his  State of Jigawa.

Hear  Mr.Sule Lamido: “Before  the  election, I will make  every  one  of  you swear with  his  life to  protect our  cause. No  matter what, I will  not  listen to  you for  complaining. All I want is to come for your  bail in the police station for breaking  another  person’s  head or you  fought  someone because the  administration belongs to mad  people.”

On the other hand, a  similar   incident  happened  in  Imo  State even  before  the  one  of  Sule Lamido.
A panoramic  view  of  what  took  place  in  Imo  State   can be captured by  reading a  press  release  from  the  Office  of  the  Governor  of  Imo  State. Now  hear from  the Chief Press  Secretary(CPS)  to the  Governor in the  press  release which  reads  thus: ”The attention of the Governor and Chief  Security  Officer of the State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha,  has been drawn to the recent  threat by a  group  of politicians  from a  particular  political  zone in the  State to kill  and  burn the properties of people from their  zone who would  support   candidates  from the other  zones of the  State for the  governorship of the  State in 2019.”

“This uncivilized and  undemocratic threat bothers(sic) on the  lives and properties of Imo  citizens, and  no  responsible  government would  fold  its  hands and watch few overzealous politicians threatening the  lives and properties of the citizens for political reasons.”

(Culled from Whitepaper newspaper of Monday, May 1-Tuesday,May 2nd )

Most  of  us are  shocked  that in spite  the  government’s  statement that: ”No reasonable  government would  fold its  hands and watch few overzealous  politicians threatening the lives and  properties of the citizens for political  reasons, the  same government  has  virtually  maintained  a  deafening  conspiracy  of  silence over this  demonic  threat of some  misguided  politicians from its own political  party, even though this  threat is  capable of resonating into  another OTOKOTO imbroglio in the  2019  electioneering  season.

The  offence  which  culminated  in  the  police  arrest and the planned  prosecution  of the  former  governor  of KEBBI State, Mr.Sule Lamido, is  the  same  in every  material  particular  with  the   offence   committed  by  the  political group in Imo State  who  threatened  Armageddon on their  kinsmen  in the  2019  governorship  poll.
It  is  also  a  matter  for  grave  concern  that   the Commissioner  of Police(CP) in Imo  State   has   not  issued  any  official  statement in regard to  this  dangerous  threat. If the  Police  in  Kano  could  swiftly  arrest Mr. Sule Lamido for  prosecution on the  grounds  of  making  inciting  outburst  which  could  pose  a  threat to   peace  and  tranquillity  in   his  state, why is the Imo  State  Commissioner  of Police   indifferent  to a  similar offence/ dangerous  aberration in Imo  State?

The  worry  stems  from the  fact  that  some  people   feel that  these politicians  are  being  protected     because  they  are  members  of  the   Governor’s  political  Party, All Progressives Congress(APC). Could this  government   say in conscience  that  they  would  have taken this   dangerous  outburst  lightly  if  it  had  been  made  by  members  of   the opposition  parties or a   private  citizen  in  the State?
The  new  Commissioner  of Police   should  please   tell us  where  he  stands  on this  issue. While  one  must  commend  Governor  Okorocha    on the  courage  to   condemn   his  party  men  who  made  this  dangerous  threat  , we  expect  the   Commissioner  of Police to  go  beyond   where  the  governor  stopped.Perhaps,. he does  not even need  to  prosecute  those  who  made  this  offensive  threat, but he  can issue  a  stern  warning  against  a  re-occurrence  of  similar   outburst  in the  future.

At our  level  of  politics in the Third World(a.k.a Developing  Countries),while  the  State  Governor may  be  applauded  on his  courage  to   lambast  members  of his party  who  are   beating  the  drums  of  war, there  is  a  limit  to  how  far  he  can  go  on sanctioning  them.
There  is  a  need  to emphasize  the  inescapable  fact that   those swashbuckling politicians  who   are  intimidating   the  other  zones in Imo State  ahead  of the 2019   elections  should  come  to  terms  that   no zone  has  a  monopoly  of  brute  and  coercive forces. Imo  State  and  indeed  Nigeria  is  a  nation  that  is  practising the  democratic  philosophy  of  government which  is  anchored  on  rule  of law  and  due  process and  any  efforts  by  any groups  to   turn  the   State  to an Ochlocracy or  mobocracy  will be vehemently resisted.
.
While NDIGBO  are  being   harassed   and intimidated   by    the BOKO Harams  and  Fulani  herdsmen,it is  inconceivable  for   any  section  of  Imo State   to have  a  mindset  that  some  people  from  zones  outside  theirs  are  lesser  mortals on whose  heads  they  can  stand  and  get a  balance. It  is  also   erroneous  for   any  section  of Imo State to   transmogrify  to  a  local   Boko Haram  /Fulani  herdsmen  in  which  other  zones  will  be  in  panic whenever  they  are   sighted.
It is  in our  overall  interest   that  the  predisposition  and  penchant of using  sabre-rattling, incendiary  and   inflammatory  jeremiads   by  our   politicians   should  be   banished  now.                                                              Perhaps, present  realities  make  it   pertinent  to  repeat the epic   statement  of  the  former  Governor  of  Imo  State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, while  delivering his  inaugural  address to  Ndi  Imo  in 2007.
 Hear former Governor, Chief Ikedi Okadim,: “My emergence  as  governor should  not  be  seen from  the  perspective  of the zone I am  coming  from but  the  wealth  of  knowledge I share  about  Imo State and what is required to  move  it  forward to a  level  beyond where  it  is  now.” (Sunday Independent  newspaper  of 6TH ,May, 2007).
Furthermore, in his  maiden  inaugural  broadcast  to  the   people  of Imo  State, the same  Governor Ikedi Ohakim said:”Zones  and  zonism will disappear except as a  means of electing  senators to  office and  achieving a  geographical  spread in  both  the  things we  do and  things  we  share. Preoccupation  with  where people  come  from is  a  disease  that  afflicts little  minds. Henceforth, we will  see  Imo  State as  one  people  with  a  common  destiny.”
(Culled  from The  Statesman newspaper  of Thursday, June 7th,2007:13).
So, no one  gets  an uplift  in  the  political  sector  by  haranguing  or  intimidating  his  opponents. Political   power  is  anchored  on  meeting  of  minds, lobbying, moral exhortation/persuasion, concessions  and  trade-offs. Those  who  think  they  can  corner  power  through   the   harassment   of their   opponents  are  chasing  after  the  wind. You  can  also  say  that those  who  revel in the  delusion  and  illusion that  they  can   corner political  power   through  self help  and  intimidation  in  Imo  State are  living  in  a  state  of  phantasmagoria- a  classic  case  of  Alice in Wonderland. Let  every   zone  strive  to  put  their  political  house  in  order  instead  of dissipating  energy  in  threatening  hell  fire, brimstone  and Armageddon  on  others. Unity  is  the  corner stone  of  political  victory, more  so, in a  pluralist and  highly educated  ambience as  Imo  State.
                                 
 All in all, I  wish to  conclude  with  the   ageless Latin  maxim  which  posits:”UBI CONCORDIA, IBI VICTORIA” which translates  to:”Where is the unity, there  is the  victory.” Of  course,  the  above  Latin  maxim  has  its  equivalent  in French:”L’union fait la force” which  translates  to:”United we stand, divided we fall.”A political  zone  that  is  mired in  an interminable  cesspool  of  fratricidal   conflict   and  backstabbing  cannot   grab  political  power  through the  backdoor  or  through  intimidation  and  harassment  of  law  abiding  members  of  the  electorate.
There is  a  dire  need  to  alert the   security  agencies  and  the  State  Governor  that  if the  penchant  for    making  belligerent   tirades   and  rhetoric  by  some  members  of the  political   class in Imo State  is  not  nipped  in the  bud , it  could  culminate  in   a  recrudescence  of  the  infamous  OTOKOTO saga   of  1996  in Imo  State. In a  State  where  the  State  governor  has  been  magnanimous  to   provide a FREEDOM PARK-the  local  equivalent  of  HYDE PARK LONDON, it is  expected  that  those  who  feel  aggrieved  over  any  actions  of  the   government  should  take  their turns to   unleash their  venom  or  bottled  -up   grief  in  a  manner  that   will  not   catalyze  societal   dislocation  and   conflict. To  be  forewarned  is to  be  forearmed.

JOHN MGBE
johnmgbe@yahoo.com
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