BY OTUNBA T.J ABASS
The ebullient, highly revered leader of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oshodi, M C Oluomo, was one of the victims of the recent flag-off rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC); a rally that had the opportunity of bringing about the much-needed rebirth in the party, given the turbulence the party went through during the primaries. It was expected to be a very successful outing, given the chains of successful rallies the party had held from its inception in Lagos State.
The crowd was excited, the party faithful and representatives from different part of the state, turned up in blue print Ankara, proudly displaying their banners of different shapes and sizes.
The feeling was nostalgic, with the obvious patriotic gestures that party members were displaying. Evidently, the mobilisation efforts of the party gladiators deserved commendation as testified to by the the mammoth crowd that had gathered in some form of solidarity for their flagbearer, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu
Beside the crowd and all the efforts that went into mobiliing it, this one was an opportunity for Lagosians to listen to Babajide Sanwoolu articulate his vision for a better and prosperous Lagos in a campaign like format.
Of course, Kwam 1 was on the bandstand showering praises on the party stalwarts in an apparent attempt to make some cool cash. Among those who had already responded to his lyrical summon to the stage was MC Oluomo, who was already dishing out some cool cash to Kwam 1, oblivious of the danger that lurked close by.
Somehow, the introduction of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode appeared to have provided the trigger.
It had been followed by a deafening applause, apparently in appreciation of the litany of life-changing initiatives he had introduced in the last 3 years of holding the state’s leadership mantle.
Suddenly, and right in the middle of Ambode’s speech, mayhem started.First was sporadic gunshots comparable to the ones from assault rifles. Next rose in the air, sophisticated machetes and cutlasses, brandished with reckless abandon, and as dreadful as ever. Lagosians,- and indeed any life-loving humans -would always take to their heels in the face of imminent danger -and this was exactly what happened.
The most disturbing aspect of the mayhem was that it happened in the full glare of the security agencies mobilised to maintain order, but half of whom were there as private guards for individual party gladiators, local government chairmen and their wives, the powerful and the highly connected. What a waste of the taxpayers’ money – engaging police men that are supposed to devote their energies protecting the citizens – on a frivolous brief.
How do we expect optimal performance from our men and women in uniform?”This is another sour side to the story of our beloved country. What a smear to the noble course of governance, which encompasses safeguarding the strong as much as the weak!
At the end of the mayhem, there was one causality, but so many injuries, this time unsparing of the supposedly untouchable and invincible Musiliu Oluomo. In his case, he was hacked with a knife after several futile bullet attempts. What the nozzle of sophisticated AK 47 rifle could not do, a knife was able to accomplish. Oluomo, according to the latest report has been flown to the United States of America for further treatment. What an irony, for Oluomo, just fell victim to the same system that brought him into limelight. I sincerely pray and wish him a speedy recovery so he can fully appreciate that power and much as thuggery is transient.
Sadly, the phenomenon of thuggery and hooliganism are in a symbiotic relationship in Nigerian politics. They are like Siamese twins: inseparable and moving in the same direction. There is always this false sense of security, aura of invincibility also embedded in Nigerian politics and those that are given the unfortunate assignment, to unleash mayhem on suspecting voters so as to preclude them from exercising their civic responsibility.
They have the traditional defence mechanism as evidently demonstrated in a video that went viral on social media recently. In it, M C Oluomo was heard boasting, in his usual braggadocio manner that 20 different guns can and would never take him down, inviolability even at the onslaught of 20 different type of guns, forgetting that Invincibility only belongs to God. Truly, power belongs only to God. As a matter of fact, the downfall of the supposedly powerful man or the end of his reign begins the day he believes that he is a powerful man. History of the invincible and their end result can attest to the above assertion.
But the focus here and for this day, is M C Oluomo, the man who as it were, owns Oshodi. Obviously vacuous, but he is the defacto leader of APC, and by all means deadly. And if he owns Oshodi, it is given he is the ACE of all politicians in Oshodi-Isolo. The political fortunes of all aspirants in Oshodi is very much in his closet. He determined the outcomes of past elections in Osun, Kwara and Ekiti.
Oluomo is rich, yet magnanimous; powerful and equally handsome.Teniola, a Nigeria recording artist, in her latest hit, “Case” metaphorically presented a somber and unfortunate analysis of the socioeconomic imbalance, the dilemma of average Nigerian, the never ending gap between the rich and the poor using MC Oluomo as a classic example or poster child of power, wealth, oppression and injustice.
In that album,she sang: “I go go oshodi for you case”,”i go slap agbero for your case”,i go call MC Oluomo; i go report all of them, for your case o, for your case ooooo, for my papa no be Dangote or Adeleke but we go dey okay e”
Beyond the attestation to MC Oluomo’s power in that hit composition, Tenniola said she would slap Agbero for your case and will still go ahead and report the abused, the beaten up man to Oluomo –depicting those in power.
This is the story of our country, a place where the oppressed continues to be oppressed while his oppressor is hailed and awarded; a country where rights and privileges are constantly being trampled upon; one country that operates two rules, one for the rich and the other one for the underprivileged; a country with two educational systems, one for the rich and the other for the peasant class.
Indeed, it is a country with two healthcare systems, one for the rich and the other for the poor or underprivileged; a country with two parallel labour markets: for the rich and the well connected, and for the underprivileged; a country with 2 sets of people, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak or the flaccid .
This is Nigeria where a few control the vast amount of resources. This is Nigeria in which the voice of the oppressed has remained inconsequential particularly, during election, as depicted by a recent occurrence in the nation’s polity.
An example is the absence of the two Presidential candidates at the last Presidential debate. For some, that clearly exemplifies the level of disdain and disrespect our political class has for the electorates .The absence of the candidates at the debate, in a civilized clime would have attracted dire consequences, including an imminent loss at the polls but not so in Nigeria, the reason being that the voice of the people usually does not matter.
As a matter of fact, there are 3 things needed in Nigeria to win an election and once you have them, the electorates are inconsequential as presented by my friend. Whereas, elsewhere, elections are won usually based on manifesto, ideology and the pedigree of the party vis avis its landmark achievements or the series of life-changing initiatives but in our dear country, you only need the following:
Police, Area boys and INEC officials.
Once these 3 apparatus cohort, you are certain to thwarting the mandate of the people.Electoral illegalities like ballot box snatching, ballot box snuffing would not have thriven if the security agencies had not cooperated.The police and the area boys would have to be on the same page and let INEC deliver the last hammer.
As a matter of fact, the synergy must be seamless, the collusion impenetrable. This was the scenario that played out at the APC rally except for the fact that there were no INEC officials’ involvement.
The Police Commissioner, after the ugly incident confirmed the meeting the agency had with the 2 gang factions and the pledges made for a violence-free rally ! (This is the unfortunate story of Nigeria).
It is unfathomable that New York Police Department and or the Houston Police Department would have to meet with 2 rival gangs and get their commitment to a violence-free event before things could proceed.The most disturbing aspect is that you,I mean you, the average Nigerian is not even factored or considered in all of these. We are non-essential, insignificant, and inconsequential according to my friend’s analysis. Our voice, our vote would never manifest into a national outlook
Is it not ominous enough that a few days to a national election, there is lull in political sensitisation activities like voter awareness campaigns!. Is it not indicative enough that there is a scarcity of information in terms of lead agendas for the political gladiators.
Instead, the political parties seem really to be banking on their secret weapons: police, INEC and area boys and money, while perfecting their last minutes surprise strategeies via vote buying, ballot stuffing and indeed ballot snatching.
I sincerely hope that the event that heralded the APC Rally is not a tip of the iceberg and strong indication of what to expect in the forthcoming elections. If it is, then there is real course for worry.
It means that there is need for a beef up in security all around our country for as long as the election, vote counting and results announcing lasts. This is because, this time round, our country should get it right. The wishes of the masses of Nigerians, about to be expressed at the policing boots must count.
We must resolve in our minds, right now, to do what are necessary to having an election that counts, an election which meets the expectations of the majority of the Nigerian electorate. This is the only way to go if our country will take the much needed step forward.
I rest my case.