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The Waterfronts Parliament: FORWARD AND BACKWARD MOVEMENT

Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, sat down and gazed at the Mangroves through the window of the Parliamentary Hall, as he waited patiently for the appointed time to begin the deliberations. In response, the Mangroves opened themselves to him and he immersed himself in them, completely lost to his surrounding. Angaladikibo and the Mangroves are like needle and thread. They go together, inseparable.
Angaladikibo never wastes his time in frivolities. If he is not fishing or discussing the silly ways of the People of the City, his mind switches to the mangroves. He has thereby formed such a bond with the Mangroves that they reveal to him the hidden follies of the People of the City. Like today, the Mangroves revealed to Angaladikibo the front and back movement of the People of the City that pins them to a spot and since nothing in nature is static, they invariably deteriorate. Thus, you have dilapidated roads, dilapidated schools, dilapidated water pipes, dilapidated oil pipes, dilapidated farm lands and dilapidated transformers that breakdown every week forcing consumers to contribute regularly despite paying light bills, used or not used.
“Take for example” the Mangroves began to impart into Angaladikibo as he gazed at them, “the issue of toll gates. The People of the City, ruled by the same Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, destroyed all the toll gates built at the cost of N1m each. It is even possible they destroyed each of them with the same amount. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered there destruction in 2004. Seven years after, the People of the City, ruled by the same party, has castigated their former boss and now making plans to erect the toll gates again. If each cost N1m several years ago, you can then imagine what it will cost now. The bell tolls for future wastage and it will take its toll on our lives.
“Mike Omolememen, the Minister of Works, said they are working to get a draft policy on reinventing toll gate collection. He said they are going to raise a bill to introduce a policy that will gradually lead to the rehabilitation of our roads by re-introducing toll gates across the country. He said it is one of the ways that would guarantee sustainable development of the road network. Can you imagine that they are realizing this after several years? He went on to say that the abrogation of the toll gates across the country was a disservice to road maintenance as it completely robbed the road sector of the critical income that should have been used to maintain and rehabilitate the roads. Yet, the very person who caused the colossal waste moves about freely and still dictates police! The ways of the People of the City are mysterious.”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts got up. The appointed time has come and the ancestors must be called upon to direct the affairs of the Waterfronts Parliament. He stretched his left hand and grabbed the bottle of the local white brew. His right hand went for the little glass cup. He filled it and began his call to the ancestors.
“Odumodu, great ancestor of the People of the Waterfronts, here is your drink. We, your descendants have gathered again to try to dissect the innards of the People of the City. Really, they are strange people. Like the crab, they can move forward and backward. However, they prefer moving backwards most of the time. We plead that you make us understand them. Dweller at the domain between the land and the sea, take, drink and guide us.
“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens, he who goes in and out of the Maidens, detecting the unfaithful ones, we also call on you to make us understand the wily ways of the People of the City. Take, drink and join your co-ancestor to assist us.
“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, we also call on you to give assistance to your descendants. We cannot make head or tail of what goes on in the inner recesses of the People of the City. Take, drink and help us.”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts refilled the little glass cup and warmed his stomach. The bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup moved round the hall.
The People of the Waterfronts took a glassful each and began their deliberations.
Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, got up to speak. “People of the Waterfronts, I greet you all. The People of the City are wonderful people. They will not warm their soup in the morning until midnight. The soup gets sour and then they are ready to warm it, hoping to get the same taste from the soup.
“What is this talk about Sovereign Wealth Fund? How can someone who has not eaten and is hungry, talk of saving the money in his pocket? Just look at so many things to be done with money now, and we are thinking of keeping it in a fund. Have they forgotten inflation and depreciation? Why refusing to repair the tortured highways that has in turn tortured the lives of citizens? Is it because most of the time they fly to wherever they are going? What of our universities and the plea of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to make them functional? Why not use the billions you want to save now to make them functional? Is it because they live in government houses that have power generating sets constantly on standby that it never occurred to them that whatever money raised must be utilized to get constant power supply? What of the agricultural sector? Just because they have free meals they do not know that people are hungry. Who are you saving the money for when accommodation is a big pain to the people? Will a sane man save his money when he has nowhere to lay his head and he has enough for it? There is something wrong somewhere, People of the Waterfronts.
“Grandpa, I need to wash off the silly ways of the People of the City from my system.”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts obliged him and the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup moved to him.
Arukulo, the man who says he is always of the front of the canoe, got up to speak. “People of the Waterfronts, I greet you all. Sometimes I wonder what stuff the People of the City are made of. We have situations where some governors cannot pay the minimum wage of N18,000. yet the federal government is thinking of cutting their money and saving it. Can you imagine? They want to have a Sovereign Wealth Fund, but the question is, do we have development enough to keep some cash away, even if you say you will use it for a specific purpose? Why not compel the governors to use it for special projects in their states, instead of holding it somewhere? Funny enough, they even gave example of Libya. Can we compare the infrastructural development of Libya with that of this nation?
“Now, that aside, the governors are going to court to stop it, but what is their motive? Are they just looking for more funds to share or are they really asking for it to improve the lives of the people? What have they done with the huge allocations they have been receiving? The People of the City are not straight forward and so every move they make must be examined under the microscope”.
Okolobo, He of the Creeks, got up to speak. “People of the Waterfronts, I only want to ask a question. It was said that the governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva has so many questions to answer that he has been told by his party to step aside and forget the 2012 election in that state. My question is, what is the concern of other governors, particularly the south-south governors? Why are they jumping from their states to Abuja, trying to blackmail the president into imposing Sylva on his people? Are they not interfering in the affairs of another state? Will they like it if other states interfere with their internal problems?”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts took a deep breath, filled the little glass cup and gulped all. ###

Kenneth Amabipi

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