Metaphor of FUTA and Nigeria’s presidency

It was with keen expectations that I followed the happenings in Kogi and Bayelsa states this past week. Afterall, it was the off-cycle election season and everyone was on the lookout to see if we would have a free and fair election in the two states. It was particularly interesting in Kogi as the presidency and indeed the party have thrown their weight behind the incumbent governor in the weeks leading to the election proper.

Only God knows the amount that has been shelled out by the presidency in a bid to facilitate the re-election of Yahaya Bello in Kogi. We saw a governor kneeling down to appeal to the good people of Kogi. Of course, in Nigeria that does not happen every day. We definitely knew something was in the offing but then, this is Nigeria and we condone such things.

Kneeling down to beg the polity isn’t enough to win an election though, it has never been and it will never be. You have to spend money, lots of it! This goes to say why our democracy is as expensive as it is and why our public office holders are in it for all the money they can grab.

We saw all the atrocities in Kogi, the helicopter that was teargassing civilians, election observers reported ballot boxes being snatched. An unconfirmed cryptic tweet even claimed that the governor’s convoy was being used to snatch ballot boxes. We all knew the election was far from free and fair.

It wasn’t until late on Saturday evening when the harsh comparison between the incident in Kogi and a local accident in Akure hit me. The Kogi State governor had a school father in the presidency, a mirror of the ugly story of gangsterism and godfatherism that rocked the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) campus late on Saturday.

The story which quickly spread like wildfire had it that a 100-level student of the school had abused her roommates and friends, she claimed they were sleeping around for iPhone. They couldn’t stomach the charge and one of them called on her school father to duly punish the erring lady. The school father, who was a student of the Department of the Industrial Design, was fast in taking action. He quickly rushed to the scene and dished out beatings just to please his school daughter.

In a video that quickly went viral online, the godfather was seen unleashing beating on the lady. He used a mop stick, he used a belt as he continued to unleash beating on the lady. In the end, the lady was left unconscious and the ‘WWE’ team left. It was just the same way Yahaya bello called on the presidency to help him beat up the Kogi electorate. People were left dead, like Bolu, the conscience of the Kogi people was left for dead, unconscious.

It is indeed the start of a slippery slope, I spoke to a friend who schools in Kogi, and she said: “If this is how things will play out in 2023, there is no point queuing in the hot baking sun; Buhari should just pick his governors himself.” The likelihood of having faith in the electoral system in Kogi, Bayelsa and elsewhere is very low. It is the way progressives do their thing, winning is in their gene and they must get it at any cost.

It is indeed like FUTA, like the presidency, but then who will call out the presidency? The last person who did that is still in jail, he has been granted bail several times by the courts, all to no avail. It brings to mind the famous saying by Eric Blair, “Men sleep peacefully in their bed at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Can we begin to ask how many of the APC chieftains’ children were involved in the ballot snatching and thuggery that characterised the Kogi election?

It didn’t take so long for the school to find out the students in the videos and to suspend them indefinitely while the investigations continue. Perhaps it is safe to say that the university campus is a saner clime than Nigeria. After that show of shame on Saturday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the return of Yahaya Bello and the congratulations rang from Abuja to Edo and even far beyond. The Deputy Senate president also added his voice to the fray. No one has said a word about the godfather who has bullied the people of Kogi into dumb submission. No one! Rather, the godfather has been showered with accolades while the conscience of the people had been left for dead.

Babatunde Adeleke writes in from Akure, Ondo state.

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