According to available records, there are over 350 tribes in Nigeria. But have you ever thought of one salient fact; that when the political class decide to loot the common patrimony, they forget about tribe and religion but whenever they are caught they claim they are being persecuted because of their tribe and religion? Sadly, the youths, with their fanatic tendencies and inclination to hasty generalisation, will ignorantly take to the street to protest the ‘persecution’ of their kinsmen.
The hard truth is that there are only two tribes in Nigeria – the rich and poor. The sooner we realise this bitter truth the better for us. The biggest problems we have in Nigeria today are religion and ethnicity. These were exacerbated during the 2015 elections when the fault lines were further widened.
In Nigeria, performance or the lack of it does not determine the outcome of elections. People vote for their own irrespective of his performance in office. For instance, if President Muhammadu Buhari likes let him finish the East-West road and complete the 2nd Niger Bridge, he still will not win the South-South and South East regions in 2019. That is the truth.
Majority of the people in the region have a mind-set that is tainted against the president and nothing can change that. On the other hand, even if Buhari fails to initiate or complete any federal project in the North East and North West, he would still win by a landslide in the two regions. The North Cental and South West are the swing states.
The poor and the have-nots need to start borrowing brains, according to the coinage in our local parlance. Where have they seen the children of the rich campaigning on the streets for their parents or burning tyres and vandalising vehicles when their parents lose out in elections? Besides, there seem to be two different laws in the country: one for the rich and the poor. Take Senator Dino Melaye’s case for an example. After initial denials from Melaye’s camp that he didn’t jump out of Police vehicle, it is now confirmed that the Senator actually attempted a fake stunt of James Bond by jumping out of a moving vehicle.
His colleague, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce confirmed it in a tweet when he said Melaye had to jump out of the Police vehicle to save his life. The Bayelsa lawmaker who visited Melaye at the hospital claimed that the Police teargassed Melaye two times in the vehicle and when the Senator could no longer breathe because he is asthmatic he had to jump out of the vehicle to save his life.
Imagine a situation where it was not Melaye, a Senator of the federal republic, that jumped out of a moving Police vehicle. We would have been reading about the obituary of the person by now. I have read and heard about policemen shooting people for refusing to give them bribe. If it was an ordinary citizen that tried to jump out of a Police vehicle, the trigger happy policemen would have shot the person for evading arrest.
Like I said in an earlier article, it doesn’t matter if Dino is being witch-hunted or witches are following him from his village; evading arrest is a serious crime. When Senator Shehu Sani was invited by the Police in Kaduna, he went and defended himself and was granted bail on self-recognition. There was no drama or theatrics; that is how a distinguished Senator should behave.
The National Hospital Abuja where Dino is admitted became a Mecca of some sort where the leadership of the National Assembly and lawmakers troop in to see their colleague. To them, the thought of even the Police arresting any of their colleagues irrespective of the offence he or she is alleged to have committed is an affront on the legislature. Even if it is granted that the conduct of the Police in the whole Melaye arrest saga has been unprofessional and embarrassing, it wouldn’t take away the fact that the Senator has not conducted himself well either- a classic case of ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’.
That Senators are lawmakers does not mean they are above the law. Sadly, lawmakers in our own clime act as if they are above the law and can do anything and get away with it. What stopped Melaye from honouring Police invitation and answer to allegations levelled against him? Why jump out of a moving car? I don’t think the Police are that reckless to shoot a serving Senator.
Have we ever wondered why some of our politicians develop one ailment or the other whenever they are called to account for their sins? All of a sudden, they develop cancer, heart disease and some other unnamed ailments. The truth is that they are fretting about the judicial moves that might be in store for them, especially after they leave office.
The world over, a growing school of thought is challenging the idea that political folks should be deemed “more equal than others” before the law. The argument that some crimes merit no immunity is almost a century old. But in Nigeria, the poor or less privileged always rush to the social media to defend the rich who don’t care about them. The politicians have a way of reconciling with themselves when the right time comes after most of their supporters must have killed and died on their behalf.
Let it be stated categorically here that a poor man has no right in Nigeria. The Police will not protect him. He is left to defend himself from criminals and thugs created by the elite. Oliver Goldsmith had Nigeria in mind when he contended that “Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law”. It is on this note that I challenge the poor, less privileged and masses in Nigeria to look into the mirror and say “our mumu don do”.
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