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THE MARK OF THE POLITICIAN

As usual, the People of the Waterfronts gathered in their Parliamentary Hall, waiting for the appointed time to begin their deliberations. Despite their fishing expeditions during the nights, they still have to gather to discuss the silly ways of the People of the City. Ordinarily the People of the Waterfronts would have relaxed in their homes after a full night’s fishing expedition, but the excesses of the People of the City impinge on their happiness.
Foe example, the excesses of the police befuddle their minds. Why has it been their hobby to stop members of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, from going to Abuja whenever they like?
In fact, why is it that members of ACN are always going to Abuja, in the first place? Why are they crawling everywhere as if ACN means, Association of Crawling Nigerians? No wonder, the Commissioner of Police, Kogi state, Amamama Ababakasanga (what a name!) has to stop them from passing through kogi state to Abuja.
According to him, “Somebody that is going to Abuja should be able to tell his mission. So once they don’t know their mission to Abuja, we stopped them from going further”
What a brilliant police officer! In fact, he should be promoted. Just imagine! Why should anyone go to Abuja, the nation’s capital without a mission, without a reason? Why are these people, twenty eight of them, crawling about everywhere, and most especially to Abuja? Is it because they are members of the Association of Crawling Nigerians?
Welldone Ababakasanga, the only man who has a monopoly of the alphabet A, to the extent of having ten of it in his names. No wonder he is the first to enact the law that no one who has no mission should try entering Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Once again, kudos to your ingenuity, Amamama Ababakasanga!
The Oldman of the Waterfronts got up at the dot of the appointed hour. He stretched his left hand and grabbed the bottle of the local white brew, the elixir that summons the ancestors to the aid of the People of the Waterfronts. His right hand went for 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, dweller at the domain between the land and the sea, take and drink.” The Oldman of the Waterfronts poured a little of the local white brew on the floor, like a stingy man giving a minute portion of the food to his kids. Till today, it is still a wonder to both the People of Waterfronts and the People of the City, why is it that a tiny portion of the local white brew would be given to the ancestors, while the very people begging for their help would take the lion’s share. Perhaps it is because the ancestors had taken enough when they were on earth and so needs just a little now. Perhaps their descendants are so greedy that they must take the lion’s share. Or perhaps they were not sure the ancestors actually partake of the drink given to them and is trying to avoid waste.
“The Oldman of the Waterfronts stood gazing at the ceiling of the Parliamentary Hall, his right hand holding the little glass cup. He remembered an old song learnt when he was a kid which goes like this;
“Oh gracious father what are white men doing?
Ahan….n..n, hnnnn, ahan…nn, hnnnnnnnnnnn
They gave us many, plenty fanciful things
They gave to our fathers, plenty fanciful things.
And gave to our mothers, plenty fanciful things
And said to the boys, come and see plenty things.
And when they got there, they said;
Come on get on board, you big fat, negroes,
Get on board, do you think I’m joking,
Get on board. And they started to shout
Get on board, and so, and so, they rode along,
In to slavery rode along.
When they reached, they threw them over board,
When the reached they threw them overseas
And they rode along into slavery rode along,
And they rode along, over Mississippi”.
The Oldman of the Waterfronts remembered the song and called on his ancestors; “Oh gracious Odumodu, what are the People of the City doing? They promised us many, plenty, fanciful things during the elections. They gave to our fathers some cash and drinks. They gave to our mothers some handbags, wrappers and headties. And said to the boys, come, vote for me. And when they vote for them, they tell them, come on shut up, do you think I was joking when I gave you all the present? And they started to shout and ride upon them like slaves. Odumodu, you cannot sit idle when all these atrocities are going on. Take and drink and help us.
“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens he who goes in and out of the Maidens, take and drink. Co-operate with Odumodu your co-ancestor and let sanity reign. Take and drink.
“Osokolo, Another favourite of the Maidens he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, take and drink. You must not allow the People of the City confuse us further”.
When the Oldman of the Waterfronts ended his libation, he filled the little glass cup again and emptied all into his mouth. The bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup went round the hall and the People of the Waterfronts did the same.
Arukulo, the man who says he is always at the front of the canoe, got up to speak, immediately the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup returned to the table.
“People of the Waterfronts, I greet you all. Grandpa has just stated the mark of the politician, at least in this part of the world. As someone once sang about the politician, “He is a man of many words. He paints a picture, but he is not an artist. Tries to make you see his point of view, but all along, what he says, he will never do”.
“Tell me, did governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers state, tell the People of the Watersides that he would destroy their homes, during the campaign? Remember, he went to all nooks and crannies promises the beleaguered masses goodies. Did he at any time promise them that he would demolish their houses, compensation or not? Did he say no development would ever come to Borikiri axis of Port Harcourt where he grew up? In fact, is all of Borikiri, Watersides? Of course, the People of the City may think he said he would demolish the Waterfronts. It is their ignorance. He meant the Watersides, because the Waterfronts are indestructible. There is a great difference between the sides of the water and the front.
“Now, that the governor is comfortably back to his coveted seat, he shouts about the demolition of the Watersides, the very people that supposedly voted for him. According to him, “As a human being and as governor, we are supposed to have a lot of human face to a lot of these problems. We have said we would pay for all the properties we meet in the course of this demolition at a commercial rate.” Tell me, what commercial or industrial rate did he pay the owners of the houses he destroyed at Njemanze? How many of them were able to buy another land and build houses with the supposed compensation? What about the thousands of tenants displaced? Are they inconsequential because they are not landlords and landladies? If he has a human face as claimed, what is so difficult in providing an alternative place for the thousands that would be displaced by the demolition? Why not gather the supposed compensation money and build houses elsewhere, relocate them and then destroying the places, if it is easy to have alternative places for them to resettle? If it is true that the Watersides are breeding places for criminals, what is the work of the police? And since he has known the criminals that live there, why not identify them to the police for prosecution?
“People of the Waterfronts, we must find a way to help the People of the Watersides before the People of the City descend on them. What affects the eyes, affects the nose”.
The hall sat in silence when Arukulo ended his speech. The silent was so oppressive that the Oldman of the Waterfronts had to allow the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup to move round the hall. It woke them up.
Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, got up to speak. “People of the waterfronts, whoever is not interested in building, but is interested in demolishing, can go ahead. The suffering masses are used to demolition of their houses, stalls and markets. However, I wish to state that the mark of the politician comes in many colours. They are greedy, self-oriented, deceitful and contemptuous of the very people they want to rule.
“Just imagine Timi Alaibe! Didn’t he hear of what happened to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of the country who went back to his vomit? Didn’t he know that if Abubakar had stuck to his ACN party he would made a great in-road to his desire instead of thinking that the only way to rule Nigeria is to join the ruling party? Who deceived Alaibe to dump his labour Party he helped to build after opting out of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP? Does it then mean he only has the sole ambition of being the governor of Bayela State, and not because the PDP was as black as he painted it when he dumped it? What makes him think the people will follow him wherever he goes, except hungry, unprincipled and greedy people? Surely, the mark of the politicians comes in different ways”.
The Oldman of the Waterfronts shook his head, filled the little glass cup and swallowed all. ###

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