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The Waterfronts Parliament: Dicey and Curious

Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, sat quietly on his seat, in the Parliamentary Hall of the People of the Waterfronts. Like others, he knew that the deliberations would not begin a minute earlier or a minute later. It must start at the dot of the appointed time. Yet unlike the People of the City, the People of the Waterfronts are used to attending functions early. So, they all waited patiently for the appointed time.
Injibabo suddenly remembered what he went through the previous night during his usual nightly fishing expeditions. He remembered vividly what transpired at the seventh promontory. As usual, he had with him, a bottle of the local white brew, the favourite of the ancestors of the People of the Waterfronts. At every promontory, Injibabo would get up, fill the little glass cup with the local white brew and serve the ancestors. It is the usual ritual of the People of the Waterfronts. They never forget their ancestors, whether they are at home or at the sea, fishing. Perhaps due to their faithfulness, Odumodu, the great ancestor of the People of the Waterfronts, occasionally makes his presence felt at the seventh promontory and sometimes at the other promontories. It is an established belief of the People of the Waterfronts that if the descendants never faithful to remember their ancestors, their ancestors would also never neglect them.
“Injibabo, the Fisherman of the Waterfronts, the man whose nightly fishing expeditions have made the fishes realize the danger of playing openly with careless abandon, he who neglects his wife at night and warms her only in the day, we the ancestors appreciate your faithfulness.” Odumodu’s voice filtered into the deep recesses of Injibabo as he poured the libation at the seventh promontory. “One of the causes of the confusion of the People of the City is that they have neglected their roots. They have forgotten that a tree that has no solid root falls easily. Tell them to take an oath and they will prefer a book written by people they never knew. Not even their ancestors knew the writers of the book they hold while taking the oath to serve their people with sincerity.
“They will never agree to acknowledge their ancestors while taking their oaths. They knew, deep within them that ancestors would never tolerate a cheat. However, you our descendants, the People of the Waterfronts, have upheld the traditions of your ancestors and so we will never fail to guide and direct your footsteps.
“Take a look at what is happening in the City. We know you are just a fisherman, not learned like the learned People of the City. You may think it is a curse, but rest assured, it is a blessing in disguise. The so-called learned men of the City are the very ones that have turned the nation into this mess it is today, a giant mired in corruption and confusion. Nigeria is a country well-endowed to be the toast of the world, but the learned men have turned it to a nation of disgust. The nation has refineries and oil wells but imports fuel to service their industries. The nation has enough money to make it an eldorado, but has no passable roads, no light, no water, and no security. It s a strange nation, jinxed, not by the gods, but by the so-called learned men and women.
“Injibabo, I will give you a specific example and I do not need to go into the archives. Just take the case of Otedola and Farouk of the fuel subsidy probe fame. But first let me inform you that the Femi Otedola and Lawan Farouk case is a consequence of the ill-treatment the People of the City have been giving to you the People of the Waterfronts, our descendants. One way or the other, they would be made to wash their dirty linens in the public and all would witness the atrocities they have committed. The precious oil they crudely called ‘crude oil’ is my precious blood that I preserved for you my descendants, at the time of my departure. Rather than acknowledging that fact and allowing all to partake in its proceeds, the People of the City have selfishly kept all in their pockets and have neglected you the rightful owners. It is a gross injustice that must be addressed. Already, you could see the dilapidated infrastructure everywhere just as they have perpetually been in darkness when they have all it takes to provide uninterrupted power supply.
“To add to the confusion of the People of the City, we have carefully groomed a set of people known as learned men and women. We have trained them to have the ability to confuse the People of the City and finally lead them to their doom. Have you ever seen where a woman would go into her farm, harvest yams, sell it cheaply to her neighbour who prepares and cooks it to taste and sells it at a very high cost to the owner of the yam? This is exactly what is happening when it comes to the issue of my precious blood. They steal the money and task the masses to pay for it in the name of removing a non-existing subsidy. We had to instigate them to probe further. In the process, they again tried to short-change the people by taking bribes to cover up some of them. We have now sent the self-acclaimed learned men to confuse them further and expose their hollowness to the masses.
“Injibabo, the learned men of the People of the City are the instrument easily used to confuse them. They could easily convince you that a black object in your hand is actually an immaculate white object and they would quote the law to substantiate their assertion. Talk of the devil quoting the scriptures to suit its purpose! They are ready to ensure that a petty thief goes to jail, but would quote all the laws in the world to free a man who steals in billions. The learned men watched the video recording and listened to the audio. They saw all and heard all but they must earn their money. What did they say? ‘We have listened to and watched the audio with our client, Mr. Farouk Lawan. On his instructions, we hereby state that the audio is infertile, vague, puerile and inadmissible in evidence by any court of law or Tribunal’. This is where the confusion will start. The argument over the genuineness of the recording would go on and on, obliterating the real issue, the giving and taking of the bribe and the inconsistency of Lawan Farouk’s statements on whether he took the bribe or not. The learned men said Otedola ‘will certainly require forensic evidence to prove this to be true in this highly technologised world of manipulative evidence that can easily turn a man into a woman.’ To show their eloquence, the learned men said their client, ‘believes that the entire footage is devilish, satanic, luciferous, mischievous and completely taken out of context’. Just imagine how long it would take before the truth is discovered in the midst of these ‘satanic’ and ‘luciferous’ words!”
The Oldman of the Waterfronts got up, signaling the arrival of the appointed time. Injibabo’s thoughts ceased. The Oldman of the Waterfronts stretched his left hand and picked up the bottle of the local white brew, while his right hand picked up the little glass cup, permanent companion of the bottle of the local white brew. He filled it, set to call on the ancestors to take charge of the day’s deliberations.
“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 never forget to give you your favourite, so do not forget us. The ways of the People of the City demand constant vigilance.
“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens, he who goes in and out of the Maidens, detecting the unfaithful ones as they perform their ablution, take and drink. Join your co-ancestor and show us the way to understand the People of the City.
“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, he who pursues the Maidens out of the Waterfronts, reminding them of their duties at home, take and drink. It is time for you to join your co-ancestors to unravel the mysterious ways of the People of the City”.
The Oldman of the Waterfronts refilled the little glass cup and swallowed all. He allowed the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup to move round the hall. They took a glassful each.
Just as the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup returned to the table, Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, signalled his intention to speak and was allowed.
“People of the Waterfronts, I greet you. You are aware that General Andrew Owoye Azazi is no more the National Security Adviser, NSA. He has been sacked. We all knew it will come, sooner or later. He has been replaced by Retired Colonel Muhammed Sambo Dasuki. This means that a General has handed over to a Colonel to perform the feat he, the General, could not. However, that is not why I stand up to speak. People of the Waterfronts, there is something dicey, something curious in this appointment.
“You will recall that the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has made several people to sleep with their eyes open. There is the pervading fear everywhere. In the north, it is now suicidal to go to church on Sundays. Many have been dispatched out of this world by the sect for worshipping on Sundays. Even Youth Corps members have rejected postings to some northern states like Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and others. The inability of General Azazi to contain the ravaging sect led to his dismissal.
“People of the Waterfronts, my fear is this, Col. Dasuki is from the North, Azazi from the South. If it so happens that the north cooperates with Dasuki to stop the activities of the dreaded sect, because it is obvious that only their cooperation could lead to success, what would be the interpretation of the success? Will it not be interpreted that it was because a president from the south appointed a southerner to handle the security situation that Boko Haram was left to escalate? Will it not be obvious that there is a gang up against the presidency? Will it not set a very dangerous precedent where a section of the country would be perceived to gang-up to thwart the efforts of the nation’s leader for whatever reason that may be?
“People of the Waterfronts, I sincerely want Col. Dasuki to succeed. However, in his success may arise certain curious observations and feelings. Grandpa, please let me wet my throat”.
The Oldman of the Waterfronts filled the little glass cup, swallowed all, before allowing the bottle of the local white brew to move to Angaladikibo. ####

By Kenneth Amabipi
0803 668 7846
Email: kennymaps@yahoo.co.uk

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