Vive la bagatelle – long live folly! If you are doubtful you heard that French phrase properly then you may care for another from classics: Horace once penned virtus post nummos i.e. virtue after money or properly interpreted ‘money first’. And if your confusion multiplies then you may well now be in a position to marginally comprehend the confusion Deltans have been into since 1999. The two sarcasms, which those phrases actually are, sadly represent the true face of governance in Delta. Folly and mammon: These are the two things that have been governing PDP’s politics and government in Delta since Ibori and the Uduaghans smuggled themselves into Delta politics. If you don’t know this hitherto the London story of Ibori which is only a tip of the iceberg can help you to some extent in capturing the vexatious point one is talking about here.
Folly; whether recklessness, thoughtlessness, unreason or misguided undertakings is the rule in governance in Delta; so is avarice, acquisitiveness and cupidity. These are the vices that our common treasury has been hosting since 1999, and they have just refused to go. Folly and all that is anti-civilization has been so promoted and entrenched in Delta’s PDP and in governance just as mammon spirit or demon has almost emptied many so-called government functionaries of virtue and all that is enthralling to civilization.
All the rigging of elections since 1999 and the rubbishing of our judiciary since 2003 have explanation in these. Folly, Mammon that is! The recent April 26, 2011 gubernatorial election in the state represents latest brazen and noxious outing of PDP and specifically of Emmanuel Uduaghan and his cohorts in this regard. It is folly and mammon that explains the affront to democracy and on our senses immediately before and during the April 26, 2011 election. Folly and mammon powered it all, and unashamedly and blatantly so. And you wonder when things like these shall end. Not even the present shameful story of Ibori in London could weaken their daringness in evil matters.
Driven by folly and mammon, Uduaghan employed all anti-democratic means to steal and conjure votes once more. Money went in droves to all persons that mattered to him in the election. It was most times offensively conspicuous; and there were moments not even the monitoring eyes of the opposition could stop them. One of the messages from DPP in the day of the election reads in part: “BEWARE!!! Uduaghan is moving stolen cash about to alter results. We are frustrating him in Asaba…” There were apparently innumerable times when DPP tried to frustrate such attempts, but how much can you really do when the officers have dangling before them in a single day what they cannot possibly get in a decade of service to the nation. And so, many consciences collapsed with this election for mammon. Because some of the exchanges must be done as secretly as possible and because there was no room to cover all grounds because of DPP monitors and search machine the imposed curfew the evening and night preceding the election was enough to wrap up everything. Having thus cut off the lenses of DPP, incumbency was fully exploited as Uduaghan’s machine rode out to designated places. That was the night everything was finally settled.
Then came Election Day: Can you believe that on this day government and or PDP chieftains were freely driving everywhere doling out money? Yours sincerely saw one of such convoys at Okere Road by Mowoe Junction and of course hungry youths, made so in the main by Ibori and Uduaghan, were ready to fight to get their share just as others who weren’t there when the convoy passed went everywhere with horrible faces seeking the recipients of the money to also get their share. This replicated itself everywhere this April 26, 2011.
Before the elections proper money also went to the boys too: the area boys and militants. And even guns! I wrote about it but no known action was taken. And so when the make-belief ‘crises’ in some polling units and wards where the DPP hitherto had strong showing came up, we knew they were sponsored crises. When elections in such places were cancelled for whatever reason INEC gave we knew the cards played well to design.
What did they not do? What can you say about ballot paper snatching? Or, ballot papers thumb-printed away from polling centers and some allegedly led by ordinarily very high, respected and never to be suspected persons like a leading clergyman in the state and a leading transporter in the country. If men like these can lead in this show of shame then you can imagine the extent to which Uduaghan went. Uduaghan’s people with government backing also intimidated, fought, maimed! They diminished figures here and bloated figures there! They paid heavily to see these figures move from one electoral point to the other. And in some other places were elections did not take place according to their design, results flooded INEC from such places, and as usual these figures were highly and ‘safely’ bloated before taking them late to Asaba, which also partly explained why Delta ‘result’ came to us late. Never mind that INEC said in one of such instances that they went to verify and discover that elections held, only that they held late.
Even serious lies were told by Uduaghan’s men too. A federal minister came lying with the name of Goodluck Jonathan that he (Jonathan) said people should vote for Uduaghan. But a text I received from E. K. Clark countered it this way: “I spoke with President Jonathan and he assured me Orubebe is on his own. He is upset that Orubebe is using his name for the wrong reasons. He never directed him to support a criminal…” You can go on and on for the rubbishy list runs ad infinitum.
So, another mandate has been stolen. And it is already obvious that the Tribunal will restore it; and indeed there is no mandate given to Great Ogboru that will be in vain. I always like contrasting Uduaghan with Babatunde Fashola. Let’s do the contrasting from a different angle today. If Uduaghan were to be a bona fide governor as Babatunde Fashola is; if he has been performing as Fashola; and if he won this present election as Fashola did, I will be one of the first persons to tell Ogboru to congratulate Uduaghan as Ade Dosunmu did to Fashola. But Uduaghan is not a bona fide governor of Delta as I write, rather he is a usurper of a mandate the people gave Ogboru. Given the resources of the state he is a woeful failure and anything but a performer. And now again, he rigged this April 26, 2011election; and this he did, as always, with the people’s money. Folly is the word; mammon the reason!
But really; can folly live forever in Delta; and can mammon reign forever in our midst! No matter what picture Delta represents today the state shall know civilization, sound values and good governance not many days hence. Spero meliora: I hope for better things. Ogboru would soon mount the saddle of governance. Contrary to all that we have known since 1999 that has not only brought shame to us but to all Nigerians home and abroad, Delta will soon become the sunshine state that other states would have as benchmark and reference point. This is the thing in the heart of Ogboru that explains his resilience despite these endless brutal affronts to democracy, civilization and societal values. Spero meliora!
Igho writes from Warri