Many of us have or have had friends in this or that government everywhere in our country. These friends have served or are serving in different capacities from the central government to the governments in the states. Their experiences are experiences indeed. We cannot truthfully and factually relate them with or without their due permissions. In any case, it is not my intention to dwell on these experiences of our friends or of some of our friends in governments: past and present as legislators, cabinet ministers or commissioners, chiefs of staff, special advisers, heads and members of boards, commissions, permanent secretaries or director-generals, vice chancellors, rectors, tax collectors and so on and so forth.
The recent brutal killing of Mrs. Salome Achejuh Abuh, the PDP woman leader in Kogi State, made me to give thought to the fantasies of our people and friends in governments in different parts of our country. Because of how we grew up and because of the kind of education members of my generation had, I can affirm – and I hereby affirm – that my generation has produced real and genuine heroes of conscience and of labour, highly devoted high functionaries so upright and so pure, committed to the well-being and progressive progress of our country. But because of the counter-progressives and spies and blatant agents of disorder and pseudo-capitalism they were ill-opportuned to work with, nothing worthwhile or tangible could faithfully protect them against temptations. Their good and well nurtured working habits of mind, of integrity, of honesty and of faithfulness to their country and respective states, were compromised by forces which ordinarily they could have scorned – by virtue of their training at least.
What is all this leading to?
When the horrific burning to death of the aforesaid Mrs. Salome Ashejuh Abuh was made a public event, I spoke to some friends in governments, past and present, across the country. The consensus was that some bloody and blood-thirsty brutes called thugs carried out that act of terror and horror. And they did it with what they perceived to be the conniving minds of their political leaders who did not give or might not have given the thugs the nod to do what they did or what they have done. But the thugs knew that the real power of their leaders and of their group is in circulating terror in their areas of jurisdiction. This is clearly their power of solidarity and unification.
Thus the leaders will stand by their thugs. They will stick by them. Their very survival as a political group and as a government in power and authority lies in this. The killers of the PDP woman leader will never be found and punished in accordance with the constitutional provision(s) of our law. Even if the real killers are found those who govern and rule by force will not allow their created monsters to be purged. Even if chance allows this to happen all eminent men in the same group will compel chance to be nothing of value with respect to the matter. All my friends in governments I spoke to affirmed this to be the norm. Even all eminent men not in power and government now will without qualms do what those in government and power do to remain in the realm of governmental control.
Now one valuable lesson an old chum who was in government in a North Central State gave me is something I must share with you. I have his permission to do so without naming his person – although he does not give a damn if I do so, that is, if I name his person.
He used to be a chief of staff to a democratically elected governor who treated him well and well and decently and decently in the prestigious functions the fine governor of ‘some kind of “charismatic” power’ allotted to him. He maintained well the dignity of his office. But he was caught in the coercive action that his group, his political constituents, exercised on their own members in juicy offices. His usual closing time daily was 10.00pm. At times it was well beyond 12 midnight. Every time he got home daily not less than fifty persons, men and women, would wait to ambush him. It never occurred to them that he came home tiredly tired. He would manage to listen to each one and acquiesced to what he could acquiesce to. Nothing less than one hundred thousand naira left his pocket every night. And many of them used to abuse him that he didn’t give enough, and some even called him a stingy man. They never cared whether the money he was giving them was his or not his. How much was even his salary? He asked me jocularly. And when was he going to bed after dispatching the last person?
They didn’t care if he went to bed even at 5.00am to wake up to get ready for work at 8.00am every day. They also didn’t care if the money they were getting from him was his or not as already said. If he was a thief, he was their thief. And they applauded him as such. To shorten the story, my friend resigned. The people including his governor were shocked. He went back to the university where he now sleeps, as a baby after his day’s work, and without anyone waylaying him at home for this or that request including money and more money, that he must give as the people’s thief. And you know what? Before the last elections, the same people wanted him back in government as a Senator or as a Rep representing their constituency. They were ready to kill for him. He pursued them – from his front, from his back, from his right side and from his left side.
In him we see the rebirth of a person of character. Much more importantly, his experience is typical of several of our friends in governments, many of whom believe that they can conquer the vices and crimes of power and of governance which are Nigerian people-inspired. Many of those who kill for lucre or filthy power do so because their followers are bad and evil followers, in other words. Many of our friends in governments know this. But they hang on there in the hope that they can change things or just because it pays them to hang on to power or because it is good to be close to power no matter how the power was gotten. They never give thought to karma that never fails.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.