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THE WATERFRONTS PARLIAMENTARY: A RAY OF HOPE

It was not for nothing that Okolobo, he of the Creeks, answered his name. At every fishing expedition he goes into every creek before casting his nets. As he enters any creek, he automatically knows the quantity of fish in that creek and also knows the quantity of fish that would be ensnared by his nets. After going round all the creeks, he decides in what creek to cast his net so as not to waste his efforts.
Okolobo is unique because of this special quality he possessed. He never wastes his energy, trying his luck here and there to see if he would catch enough quantity of fishes for his consumption and for sale. The People of the Waterfronts have often wondered how he was ever full of energy everyday, after a night fishing expedition. The reason was simple. He never wasted his energy, trying his luck here and there to catch enough fishes. His ability to know the quantity of fishes in a creek and the quantity likely to stray into his nets saved him the stress of the “try your luck” business that most of the fishermen are engaged in, casting their nets here and there in the hope of catching fishes.
Today, Okolobo, he of the Creeks, pondered on a disturbing issue. Why is it that confusion in the house of one political party would affect the entire nation or an entire state? It happened in Rivers State. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, messed up themselves and put two brothers at loggerheads. The Judiciary of that time delivered a judgment it would not want anyone to make reference to. Someone who never contested in the election, who never voted or was voted for, whose photograph was never displaced during the election, was declared by the Supreme Court as the winner of the election. Would that have been possible if the candidate was not of the ruling party? When candidates of other political parties in other states whose photographs were not displaced went to the same judiciary, they cancelled the elections in the state, in accordance with the electoral act. But, just as they say, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others, all political parties are equal, but some political parties are more equal than others.
Okolobo wondered at the strange phenomenon as he waited for the appointed time to begin the deliberations in the Parliamentary Hall of the People of the Waterfronts. The Peoples Democratic Party in Bayelsa state cannot keep its house in order. The members have decided to wash their dirty linens in the public and all Bayelsans must suffer for it. Strange, in the state of the President of the nation, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Troop of soldiers have taken over Yenagoa, just because of one party’s primaries. Yet Yobe and Borno states are now no-go areas for National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members because of the bombings of Boko Haram. Why deploy troops to Bayelsa state when the troops are needed in troubled states? Infact, does it mean the police are completely useless in maintaining peace which is their primary duty? If so, why give a national honour to the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, when he could not perform his primary duties?
Okolobo, he of the creeks, wondered if the Rivers State scenario would not be replicated in Bayelsa state. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja High Court issued an order three days to the primaries restraining the PDP from conducting the primaries. Yet the national secretariat insisted on going ahead with the primaries and actually did so. President Goodluck Jonathan was absent, Governor Timipire Sylva was absent, National and State Assembly members who are all statutory delegates, together with local government chairman were all absent. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, a compulsory observer was also absent. Apart from that, three of the aspirants, Christopher Enai, Boloubo Justine Orufa and Austin Febo, walked out before the commencement of voting, describing the process as a sham. They have earlier complained to the National secretariat over the ward congress that produced the delegates for the election. At the end of the day, with two military helicopters hovering around the venue, something only the ruling party can afford, Henry Seriake Dickson, was announced winner, having polled 365 votes, while two votes each were given to Febo and Fred Ekiyegha, and one vote each, given to Francis Amaebi Doukpola and Orufa. Thirteen votes were voided.
With all these, what is the guarantee that it was not just a waste of public funds?
Okolobo’s thoughts were interrupted by the Oldman of the Waterfronts. Not that he ordered him to stop thinking. No. The rising up of the Oldman of the Waterfronts when the People of the Waterfronts are all gathered in their Parliamentary Hall indicates the cessation of all soliloquies, thoughts and conversations. It was the appointed time to begin the deliberations and the ancestors must be given their due respect before the commencement.
The Oldman of the Waterfronts stretched his left hand and lifted up the bottle of the local white brew. He stretched his right hand and picked up the little glass cup, permanent companion of the bottle of the local white brew, filled it and commenced 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, take and drink. We are mortals and are confused. Only you that are in the great beyond can restructure our brains and assist us to understand the devious ways of the People of the City. They are marvelous, insidious, and of a truth, deceitful. Help us to see through the wily ways of the People of the City.
“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens, he who goes in and out of the Maidens, we also need your assistance. Join your co-ancestor Odumodu to assist us in our endeavour to understand the silly ways of the People of the City. Take and drink.
“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, take and drink. It is time for you to join your ancestors to bring normalcy to the nation.”
The Oldman of the waterfronts refilled the little glass cup, passed the liquid through his mouth down to his intestines, felt the warmth and sat down.
It was Arukulo, the man who says he is always at the front of the canoe, that got up to speak.
“People of the Waterfronts, I greet you all. I have heard it happen in far away lands that cases could be disposed of expeditiously. I was actually stunned when the case involving the doctor that gave an overdose to Michael Jackson leading to his death, was speedily disposed off. Judging from our own experience here, I thought such cases would go on and on until eternity. At least, we know that the case of Mustapher, the powerful major that allegedly know something about the death of Kudirat Abiola, has been on trial for years, making some People to call for his release. However, I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard that the chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher has given judges handling corruption cases six months ultimatum to dispose of them. He said it was due to public outcry. He said they should either hear or determine the corruption cases within six months or throw then out into the dustbin if them is no diligent prosecution. He lamented the delay in the dispensation of justice, identifying it as a major challenge in justice delivery.
“Said the CJN, ‘I must make specific mention of the need for judges to priorities criminal matters bordering on official corruption that are placed before them. It has since been recognized that corruption is the bane of development in Nigeria. Therefore it is imperative for all judges to realize that these cases are extremely important to Nigerians and must be dispensed with swiftly. I hereby strongly advise all judges to accelerate the hearing of such cases and ensure that they are dispensed with within six months of filing. If for any reason the prosecution is not ready to proceed with the case, then the matter should be struck out, rather than leaving the public with the impression that the judiciary is not performing its necessary role in curbing corruption practices in Nigeria. Those delays cannot be tolerated any longer.’
“Continuing, the CJN stated, ‘A poor judge in terms of integrity, is perhaps the most wasteful indulgence of the community. You can refuse to patronize a merchant who does not carry good stock, but you have no recourse if you are hurled before a judge whose mental or moral goods are inferior. An honest, able and fearless judge is the most valuable servant of democracy, for he illuminates justice as he interprets and applies the law.’
“He quoted Justice Samson Uwaifo who said, ‘A corrupt judge is more harmful to the society than a man who runs amock with a dagger in a crowded street. The latter can be restrained physically. But a corrupt judge deliberately destroys the moral foundation of society and causes incalculable distress to individuals through abusing his office while still being referred to as honourable.’
“Grandpa, I want a glassful to congratulate him,” Arukulo stated and sat down. The bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup moved to him. ####

KENNETH AMABIPI

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