Within the past few days in Ekiti State, there has been influx of security agencies into Ekiti State, the Land of Honour. On Saturday, June 21, 2014, there will be Governorship Election in the State, but what one is witnessing is alarming. With the presence of the ‘massive deployment’ (using the words of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar) of security personnel and equipment, the atmosphere is that of war, not election. The Civil Defence is not left out too in the show of power. By their words and utterances, most of these security agents are poised for war as if there is insurgency in Ekiti.
Indeed, to have such a huge number of security agents in a peaceful State is an invasion. The security agents are prowling round the state, and oftentimes, blaring their siren unnecessarily. Really, seeing the menacingly looking gun carrying Soldiers, Policemen and State Security Service Agents alone is intimidating and it is a show of raw power. The question is, why this ‘massive deployment’ to one State when Nigeria is faced with Boko Haram insurgency? Honestly, I am sad and worried that this is happening at the same time that our over
200 cherished children (girls) from Chibok in Borno State are still with the Boko Haram insurgents since their abduction in their school on Monday, 14 April, 2014.
I would have loved a genuine action of ‘massive deployment’ to bring back our children in our war against insurgency, rather than spending lots of Nigeria’s resources to prosecute election in a State. Daily, Nigerians are being killed and houses destroyed by the terrorists. A nation that continues to chase the shadow can never develop concretely and meaningfully. It has been reported that 12,000 policemen alone have been deployed to Ekiti, thereby, adding to the regular ones in the State. I hope the security personnel are provided quality food.
Whatever the case, they need to be adequately catered for by their ‘ogas at the top’ who enjoy giving orders from above.
The ‘massive deployment’ reminds one of the statement of the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo that the Ekiti State Gubernatorial Election was war. The words are now being translated into action. To wage a war against the good and urbane Ekiti people is to wage war against the whole country. I tend to believe that no responsible parent would like his or home to collapse.
The IGP has ordered that Ekiti State borders should be closed as from 6 pm on Thursday, 19 June, 2014. Will the same be done in Osun State in August 2014 and in 2015 Elections? The closure of Ekiti State borders will definitely affect not just Ekiti State economy and disrupt the people’s daily lives, it will also affect the nation’s economy and commuters who travel to various places in Nigeria through Ekiti State may face lots of hardships due to the IGP’s order. A society where every person gives order at his or her whims and caprices portends a great danger.
The order from ‘above’ not to allow Edo and Rivers States’ Governors Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi to travel to Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State on Thursday, 19 June, 2014, for their party’s final campaign towards the Governorship Election is a glaring example of misuse of power. It is undemocratic, dictatorial and a step towards anarchy. Are
some Nigerians now personae non gratae in their own country? I urge the National Assembly and sincere and purposeful patriotic Nigerians to rise up and act and save our beloved country, Nigeria, from moving towards the precipice. We must wake from our slumber. A siddon look attitude will destroy our common heritage, Nigeria. Nigeria belongs to us. It is our country and we must not mortgage it.
Nigerians with the siddon look attitude are to learn from one Pastor Nimbohlor during the military dictatorship in Ghana, who, before his death, recorded in a confession as follows:
First they came for the Jews, but because I was not a Jew, I did not speak out. Then they came for the gypsies, but because I was not a gypsy I did not speak out. Then they came for the trade unionist, but because I was not a trade unionist, I did not speak out. And then they came for me. But by then, there was no one left to speak for me [the original version is attributed to Martin Niemoeller regarding the holocaust during the Nazi dictatorship]. (Quoted in G.B.N. Ayittey’s book, Africa Betrayed, 1993, p. 363)
This is a warning for all and sundry. A siddon look attitude can boomerang. Not to speak out is to lose out. In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, (on the other hand) an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty’.
Therefore, I enjoin the Ekiti State Electorate not to be deterred by any man-made landmines in their path to exercise their franchise. As optimists, they are to overcome the difficulty in this unique opportunity and walk to the polling booths to vote. I urge them to remain prayerful, focused, calm and law-abiding. They must not be intimidated with the presence of the security agents. Not only that, they must ensure that their votes are counted. In this regard, I encourage those with camera phones to record the proceedings in their various polling booths and the happenings in their communities.
On Saturday, 21 June, 2014, come rain, come sunshine, the Electorate must endure and sacrifice. They are to be determined to vote for a credible and worthy ambassador of Ekiti State who will promote Good Governance at all levels as Ekiti State Governor. Let us reflect deeply on yesterday and plan well today for a successful tomorrow. A mistake made today tends to have negative effect on tomorrow. Today is the anniversary of yesterday, while tomorrow is the celebration of today. A word is enough for the wise. God bless Ekiti State. God bless
Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye
Bishop of Ekiti.
Last modified: June 20, 2014