While teaching at Ekiti State University, Dr. Tope Aluko once returned a book to the library. The busy librarian had his head down. Aluko slammed the book on the counter and bellowed:
“I read this entire novel; there are too many names of people and no story at all in it!"
The Librarian looked up, took the book from him and responded:
“Idiot! So you were the one who took the Attendance register?"
This is the joke that most aptly describes the tragedy that is Dr. Temitope Aluko, the former Ekiti State PDP Secretary who is now unearthing all the political corpses he helped bury in shallow graves. Watching him on TV, you can’t but agree with the adage: “book sense is inferior to common sense”.
The sad thing about Aluko’s admission - that he was part of the ignoble team that rigged the 2014 Ekiti Guber election in favor of Ayodele Fayose - is not the rigging itself. Rigging is rampant in our elections. It is the fact that he walked away from the Channels television studio freely and went about his business as if nothing had happened. In fact, he went on to another TV station and granted more interviews where he continued to give lurid details about how he and fellow unpatriotic Nigerians suborned Nigeria’s electoral process with impunity. Then he spoke on the Radio and granted interviews to the print media too.
Yet, as I write this, he is walking freely amongst decent, law-abiding people. He might as well have called a World Press Conference in Abuja, right there in the Conference Room of the DSS or even the Police Headquarters , and described in the sort of details only the killer would know, how he killed Dele Giwa, Alfred Rewane and Bola Ige, and nothing would happen to him. What are the law enforcement agents waiting for? An arrest order from the President? A warrant of arrest from a judge? Probable cause maybe? Here is a man holding a knife with fresh blood dripping from it, telling you he just killed people and describing to you how he did it and where he put the bodies; yet, you are waiting for…I don’t know what.
Sadder even is the confirmation (for we all already knew from the famous Ekitigate audio tape) that Soldiers, Police Officers and members of the DSS participated in the last-minute stifling, harassment, robbing and illegal detention of opposition party leaders so that the PDP would have a free range on that election day in 2014. Those officers, who all swore to an oath of fairness and integrity before being issued their uniforms and weapons, aided the systematic disintegration of the moral and physical fibers of the country they swore to protect. And they had no compunction about it. It is one thing to defeat the incumbent Governor. But it is another thing to rout him in all 16 local governments – a humiliation that was the epitome of crudity and unbridled greed. One opposition party leader said his Ward was awarded one vote…one single vote, even though he and his wife, children and other family members voted for his party!
But the saddest part of the sordid saga…the one that takes the trophy for treason…is the confirmation that the Commander-in-Chief himself facilitated the entrenchment of moral decadence and adulteration of national ethos in a section of his own country, just so he could be re-elected. First tranche was a $2 million for Fayose to win just the PDP primary? Goodluck Jonathan gave $2 million to one PDP candidate contesting against other candidates of the same party? Then followed by a second tranche of $35 million for him to win the general election? Alleged drug baron and fugitive-from-American-justice, Buruji Nashamu, also reportedly chipped in? Musiliu Obanikoro was the alleged courier of $35 million raw cash? They took the money to Onitsha and changed it to naira? (Who owns the Bureau de Change that changed the money for them?) This is the kind of revelation that causes you to hope that God (or the Devil, in this case) has a special furnace in hell for some of our politicians. Even in those days when the naira had a respectable showing against the dollar, $37 million dollars was not chump change to anybody. If Otedola lost $37 million, he would miss it. If Dangote lost $37 million, he would miss it. Heck, if Bill Gates lost $37 million, he would miss it! The only way you could spend that kind of money in pursuit of a hollow, tainted, pyrrhic victory and not bat an eyelid is if you stole it in the first place. And only if you have a lot more than that left from your theft. Good luck to Jonathan on his quest for that Nobel Prize for Peace.
Which brings me to another sad thing; how much of this $37 million did the people of Ekiti actually get for themselves? Those Okada riders; those NURTW members who used their vehicles to block the opposition House of Assembly from impeaching Fayose; all those people who volunteered their vehicles to block opposition members from entering Ekiti to mobilize for Fayemi…how much did they receive from this $37 million? I bet they only got a pittance. They got a bag of rice and a hen. A few luckier ones received a goat. Some got only a half-gallon of vegetable oil. And Fayose chalked it all up to his signature phrase: Stomach Infrastructure.
The rest of the country watched in utter disbelief as a state, previously renowned for erudition, mortgaged the future of its generations yet unborn at the altar of Stomach Infrastructure. We watched in bewilderment as rabble-rousers bundled out of office a cerebral Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was systematically re-engineering the state, and smuggled in a “motor park tout” (apologies to Jonathan) who hoodwinked them with a pseudo-populist mien and a chicken drumstick.
Even now that we have heard from the horse’s mouth and the whole world is fulminating and condemning this admission of political rape, there has been no scintilla of rage coming from those who are the real victims of this abuse. There have been no demonstrations from any sector of Ekiti populace – be it teachers union, students union, traders union, transporters union or civil service union - none whatsoever. It’s like everybody down there is in a trance, frozen in place and unable to respond to nudging and jarring. Could it be that they are still eating their goats, chickens and vegetable oil?
And there have been no recriminations from any traditional ruler, chief or even prominent citizens of Ekiti State either. Those of us non-Ekiti who dare to speak are told to mind our businesses and stop crying more than the bereaved. It’s like everybody is afraid of Fayose. Speak ill of him and die in your sleep. Fayose’s Babalawo must be something else!
Ibadan, Oyo State