In a certain forest, tigers that dwelt there went on rampage devouring lesser animals in sight. They continued their pouncing and engulfing until they went out of stock of hapless animals. Then, the tigers turned to one another with the stronger tiger feasting on the weaker one. And so went the story…
It is suffix to tell this tale in lieu of the right of way duel that occurred in Imo during the last holiday; turning a season of goodwill into one of hostility! What happened in that forest is akin to what transpired between the Governor of Imo State- Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the Senator representing Imo East and Chairman Senate Committee on Navy- Senator Chris Anyanwu along the Owerri-Umuahia road.
The links between both accounts derive from the fact that the mighty in the society have so consumed the ‘lesser mortals’ to the pitch that when they are coming with their convoy, the hoi polloi has one option- drive into the bush and let them pass. This, the insignificant ought to do if they valued their life or cars. Thus, we seldom hear of right of way contest between a lord and a self.
Because this prevails, the lords only have to contend among themselves when it comes to such issues as to who should not break into another’s motorcade or who should not overtake another’s convoy. We have got to the stage where a potentate bullies a lord whenever the former encounters the later on the highway. Serves them right, you may say.
From her own prism, Senator Anyanwu recounts: “when we got to Azara Egbelu along Owerri/Umuahia Road, we heard a siren coming behind us and when it grew louder, we parked to allow the convoy to pass, but surprisingly, the approaching convoy which comprised of truck loads of armed stern-looking men double-crossed us and pulled out two of my drivers and dragged them into the bush where they were mercilessly beaten and left one of the drivers, Odilichukwu, with broken skull and bruises.
“When I could not bear it anymore, I rushed out of my car with bare feet and started shouting: I am Senator Chris Anyanwu, please don’t kill my driver, but one of the armed men charged at me and threatened to shoot me for running into the governor’s convoy. All this while, the governor was sitting in his car with the glass rolled down and I heard him shout at his security men to disarm my orderlies.”
By now you must be conveying all the blame to the governor’s threshold, I guess. But tarry a bit and hear the flip side. The Special Assistant on print media to the governor- Ebere Uzoukwa, hinted that the governor narrowly escaped death when the convoy of Senator Chris Anyanwu rammed into his convoy. In his words:
“The senator’s vehicle suddenly rammed into the governor’s convoy close to the staff car cutting off the lead security vehicle after overtaking dangerously and in a very suspicious manner. That incident posed a serious security threat forcing security men in the governor’s convoy into gallant struggle to shield the governor from any possible attack before the vehicles were finally displaced from the convoy.”
The governor’s aide further disclosed that Anyanwu, who knew the convoy was that of the governor, alighted from her car and ordered her naval security personnel to open fire. He continued that the senator descended on the security men slapping both the governor’s Aide-de-Camp(ADC) and Chief Detail while raining abuses on the governor calling him unprintable names. Plausible, is it? I thought as much.
You now see why a typical Nigerian politician can make you perceive white as black. That has become the basic entry requirement into joining Nigerian politics- you should be able to make the people believe white to be black! Little wonder both sides to this matter could spin such statements that have much semblance to truth when we know there must be a side clothing the truth. Who then are we to believe? The supposed breach on the one’s security, whodunnit?
One of the parties is disavowing that which is guilty because it knows what happened was ignoble. That’s why it is sweet-talking us into awarding the guilt to the other party. Yet the positions these two occupies in the society requires they do nothing base. The effect is that the wrongful act alongside its denial cause us to think little of the two principal actors when we should rather think little of one of them.
Nonetheless, thank gracious both sides left us dots to connect. From the accounts of both parties there are holes we can pass thread to knit out an apparel devoid of cut. Whether the knitting got at the end is clean or dirty becomes inconsequential. It may be clean to the one party and dirty to the other. What this is about is simply patching a torn garment. Meanwhile, it needs re-stating in clear terms that this is only an exercise in the speculative realm.
It is possible that the motorcade of Senator Anyanwu may have dangerously overtaken that of the governor and sped off prompting an irked governor and his escort to call for back-up and engage in a hot pursuit to catch up with whoever had so overtaken them. Their double-crossing the senator’s convoy could have given rise to what Senator Anyanwu narrated. Since this transpired around 8p.m., it is possible the senator ordered her naval officers to open fire on the rampaging convoy not sensing it was that of the governor causing him to shout at his security men to disarm her shooting orderlies.
Governor Okorocha must have remained in his car to ensure his safety and the senator stepping out to announce herself couldn’t have achieved much, since the atmosphere was charged already. As far from perfection as this conjecture might be, there are certain issues this matter has thrown up.
First is the recklessness exhibited by most of the security handlers of our politicians on the highways, especially their drivers. Reckless is an understatement for their manner of driving. That’s why we keep hearing of cases of car crashes involving our politicians and their convoy. It’s high time they are called to order.
While one is bereft of all the detail to point accusing fingers at the governor, a past incident ably positions the odds against him. The Special Adviser on political matters to Senator Anyanwu- Obinna Ibe had alleged that barely three days after Okorocha’s governorship victory, the governor had instructed his men to attack one of Anyanwu’s drivers- Amanze Nkemakolam for parking the senator’s car inside the governor’s compound.
According to Mr. Ibe, “his police detail broke a bottle and used it to cut the lips of the driver exactly in half. Till today, the boy’s upper lips is deformed.” It appears there had been a strain in the relationship between Okorocha and Anyanwu that not even their being in the same political nest could heal.
Putting the above disclosure in context, it’s as if Okorocha is fast taking the same route plied by his immediate predecessor- Ikedi Ohakim. I wonder if anyone gets to clear from the road whenever he is driving past. Even cyclists may, in a bid to meander their way through, scratch his car and heaven won’t fall. That’s the transient nature of political power!
It would be recalled that on Sunday, August 8, 2010, security officials attached to Ohakim arrested a priest- Rev. Fr. Eustace Okorie- for allegedly blocking the then governor’s convoy with his car. It was reported that Ohakim personally beat him and impounded his car. This massively contributed to the dip in the political fortune of Ohakim. Okorocha should be wise!
For being in the same political party, we should not be hearing of any case of animosity between the two leaders. They should be pulling together instead of pulling apart. Okorocha should be galvanising every notable element in his party to build APGA into a formidable political party.
This he ought to do especially with the PDP scheming to reclaim his state in the next election. APGA won’t be able to withstand the opposition in a situation where there is in-fighting. That is why it is pitiable seeing the Imo State APGA chairman- Marshal Okafor handle the Okorocha/Anyanwu impasse the way he is. He appears to be taking sides in the matter and this shouldn’t be seen of him.
Back to the story, while the tigers took to themselves in their brutal show of might and quest for survival, the subdued animals created a peephole in their places of hiding through which they enjoyed the show. End of story!
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