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THE FEAR OF THE BOKOS…

The People of the Waterfronts sat down in their Parliamentary Hall, chatting among themselves as they wait for the appointed time to begin their deliberations. They were bemused. Why is it that, the People of the City always confuse the Waterfronts with the Watersides?

Take for example, the programme held by Amnesty International and the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, SERAP, where the focus was on the fact that housing is the right of all humans and that everywhere you live is your place. The main idea was to discourage the Rivers State government from demolishing houses and communities without adequate compensations and resettlement. Good as the idea was, the People of the Waterfronts were peeved that all the speakers could not differentiate the Waterfronts from the Watersides.

 

The People of the Waterfronts have repeatedly stated that theRiversStategovernment threatened to demolish the Watersides and not the Waterfronts. They have repeatedly stated that whereas the Watersides could be demolished, the Waterfronts could not be demolished. They have seized every opportunity to educate the People of the City that the Water has front and sides, just as it has the back. So you have the Waterfronts, the Watersides and the Waterbacks. Yet the People of the City could not understand this simple fact and would always confuse the Waterfronts with the Watersides. They would not also understand the indestructibility of the Waterfronts.

 

At last, the appointed time came and the Oldman of the Waterfronts got up to call on the ancestors to take charge of the deliberations. He stretched his left hand and picked up the bottle of the local white brew. His right hand picked up the little glass cup, permanent companion of the bottle of the local white brew. He filled it and began his call on the ancestors.

“Odumodu, great ancestor of the People of the Waterfronts, he who dwells at the domain between the land and the sea, we call on you to come and take charge of the deliberations. Obviously, the fear of the Bokos has become the beginning of wisdom. No one now sits in the crowd and forgets himself or herself. Your eyes must be roving to detect the presence of the Bokos. Strange as it may sound, the Bokos have instilled fear in the hearts of many and so we need your presence to ensure our safety. Take and drink”.

 

The Oldman of the Waterfronts spilled a little of the local white brew on the floor, starred at it for few seconds, raised up his head and continued his call.

“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens, he who goes in and out of the Maidens as they perform ablution at the Waterfronts, detecting the unfaithful ones, take and drink. We urge you to join your co-ancestors to instill discipline in the People of the City.

“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, we also ask for your assistance. Take and drink”

When the Oldman of the Waterfronts ended his libation he filled the little glass cup again and took it as his share. The bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup went round the hall and the faces of the People of the Waterfronts lit up, ready for the deliberations.

Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, got up to speak. “People of the Waterfronts, I greet you. Of a truth, Grandpa was right when he said that the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom now in the City. The People of the City have so sensationalized their activities that fear has gripped everyone. The other day, out of the fear of the Bokos, lawyers have to run away from the Nigeria Law School and went to Abuja Conference Centre to perform the call to the bar of their newly qualified lawyers.

“The fear of the Bokos now occupy the minds of lawmakers and they could hardly sit for long in their hallowed chambers. The passing out parade of the National Youth Service Corps scheme was cancelled because of the fear of the Bokos. The fear of the Bokos disrupted activities at theUniversityofBeninwhile at theUniversityofIbadan, examinations in progress were stopped because of rumours of possible invasion by the Bokos.

“People of the Waterfronts, the high point of it was the shifting of the venue of the celebration of the nation’s 51st Independence celebration. Instead of the Eagle Square, the Independence Day celebration at the national level was done at the President Villa. Truly, the fear of the Boko is the beginning of wisdom. After all, there is no bullet-proof vests for people to wear against bombings which are the usual methods applied by them. People of the Waterfronts, I stand here to tell you why the Bokos will never give up.

“People of the Waterfronts, Boko Haram as you all know, means “Western Education is sacrilege”. You may wonder why that should be a reason for the members to be bombing everywhere, putting fear into everyone. I got the real reason for the acts of the Bokos last night when I got to the third promontory in my fishing expedition. Just as I brought out the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup, filled it and called on Odumodu to assist me in my fishing expedition, a mighty wave came up and a voice clearly informed me the reason for the upsurge of the menace of the Bokos. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the great grandson of Odumodu has so much mastered the western education that he has since been given the highest honour in learning, Doctor of Philosophy, PHD. This means that he is the first holder of a doctorate to be the president of the nation. The Bokos cannot fathom it that none of the presidents that have come from their area had a degree, not to talk of a doctorate, and now someone from a minority tribe had to be the first. If that is so, they reasoned, the best thing is to declare that no one should have anything to do with western education. should they succeed, then the president will renounce his doctorate and so become like the rest.”

When Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, sat down, the Parliamentary Hall remained quiet. It was Angaladibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, that first recovered from the shock of the preposterous demand of the Bokos. He got up and stood still, gazing at the table. The Oldman understood the unspoken request of Angaladikibo and allowed the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass up to move to him. Hr gulped down a glassful and began his contribution.

“People of the Waterfronts, the Bokos can go ahead with their silly demands. If the president does not want to take a firm action, he is the one that would lose his doctorate. We of the Waterfronts have nothing to do with degrees. Our lot is in the killing of fishes and that is why we are known as fishermen. What concerns me presently is the recourse of government to give excuses when things go wrong, instead of proper planning.

“Take for example, the issue of road construction. Rainfall in the south is not a new phenomenon. It rains almost throughout the year. You will think that every Tom, Dick and Harry would be aware of this and utilize maximally the few months that are relatively rain free, especially November, December, January, February and March, to carry out projects that would be hindered by rainfall. Roads for example are projects that could be hindered by rainfall. Yet dilapidated roads litter the city and the blame is on rains. You see roads that contract for construction had been given two- three years ago still at the slowest pace and grinding to a halt during the rainy season and the entire blame would be heaped on rainy season. It never occurs to any government that the People are tired of hearing excuses as they go through stress, passing through the roads.”

Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves sat down. He knew the same excuses would continue to be given. But, that is their problem. He has given his opinion and the People of the City can decide what opinion to take or discard. He was still thinking when Okolobo, he of the Creeks, got up to contribute his opinion.

“People of the Waterfronts, permit me to return to the issue of the Bokos. The issue is too serious that even the nation’s darling football team, the Super Eagles, now camp under such heavy security that even close relations would be arrested if they attempt to visit them. This is in spite of the over flowing love of citizens for football. Lodged in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the team’s security officer, Gideon Akinsola, said, “All the players will be on one floor and nobody will be allowed to go to that wing. We will post officers at the lifts downstairs on that floor and at the entrance to their wing with strict instructions to ensure that no unauthorized persons including relations, slip through. Any person who tries to do so will be arrested on sight for trespassing.” Call it the caging of the Eagles. You cannot blame them on the tight security. On Sunday one person was killed while on the following day, Monday, two men were also killed inMaiduguri, by the same Bokos. My bothers and sisters, the matter is serious.”

The Oldman of the Waterfronts grabbed the bottle of the local white brew, filled the little glass cup and swallowed all. ####

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