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The Nightmare Of A Frightening Reality

The Nightmare Of A Frightening Reality

By Solomon Okocha

What a State! This is a place where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices are bombed and completely set ablaze nine days before a scheduled election. We live in a part of Nigeria where a serving Governor openly threatens INEC officials and everyone turns around to each other in fear and pretend as if all is well.

They have turned this State into a place where any Tom, Dick and Harry, can mount the podium and incite violence against any political opponent, without any reasonable response from the Police. This is Rivers State; welcome to Nigeria's political wild wild west.

The only thing that works here is violence. Violent speech, violent posture, violent thinking, violent politics, violent everything. These are very terrible times for Rivers people. Values and cultural ethos have been dumped on the pedestal of miserable and inordinate politicking.

The rot is thickening, and with each passing day of these express verbal approvals of violence by persons who are supposed to be the custodians of the State, then I dare say that Rivers is headed for an inevitable political, economic, and social iceberg.

Kidnapping has unfortunately become a very lucrative business for political thugs cum criminals in Rivers State. No day goes by without the forceful abduction of innocent citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nobody is left out in this new criminal enterprise of former political assassins; taxi drivers, teachers, school pupils, students, police men, doctors, nurses, vendors, etc. Nobody is left out.

The ransom for one kidnapped human being ranges between N20,000 and N20m depending on the perceived financial status of the victim. Night life is fading away like the flames of a dying fire; businesses are relocating. How did we get here?

Killings, beheadings, extreme violence, armed robberies, and all manner of barbaric atrocities have overtaken this once beautiful State. So, I ask again, how did we get here? Why did we allow politicians to take away our freedom to enjoy our lives in peace and security? Politicians? Yes, Politicians! I am talking about that Rivers Politician who sees politics as a lifetime time career. My focus is on that man or woman who swims in the river of superiority, to such a person, no other political ideology should strive in his or her neighborhood; is this slavery or politics?

The type of politics that is played in Rivers State is one which has balkanised families, marriages, communities, churches, civil society and even the corporate world. I am amazed at this type of politics. I am ashamed at this type of barbarism. It worries me day and night that I come from a State that practices the politics of "dog chop dog". It is nauseating to me. I hate this politics. This politics in the Rivers State Government House is a departure from civilised engagement.

Phrases like "rig and die", "right your will before coming to Rivers State", "rest in peace to INEC officials", "resist arrest", "If they slap you one time, slap them ten times" etc, are the only key components of speeches that are driven by boorish political sentiments rather than developmental outlook. This is certainly not the type of Rivers State that I want my children to grow up in. The amount of violence in the air is enough to melt the fabric of any sane society. Not here, violence reigns supreme here. It's all about the bloody quest of an unjust man for political power.

Politics is the only problem militating against the long overdue development and expansion of the Treasure Base of Nigeria. It is politics that has given guns and illegal privileges to the misguided youths of the State, all in a bid to win elections. It is politics that has stopped politicians in power from speaking up against violent vituperations coming from top government officials in the State. Politics is destroying Rivers State. Fellow Rivers Citizens, when shall we wake up from this nightmare of a frightening reality?

~ Solomon Okocha