Polscope, With Eddy Odivwri, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The world is a funny place. Some say it is weird. Philosophers and kings have sought to understand how the world runs, all to no avail. It is full of contradictions and gaffes. There is an unseen force, beyond the management or manipulation of mankind, which apportions to every man or woman, a share of fortune or misfortune in a life time. That force is called fate. Theologians and present day preachers interpret it as God. But I don’t quite think it is God. Fate can be cruel, unfair and even punitive. Are those the attributes of God?
I will cite some instances that show the helplessness of man in the hands of fate. How many choices is man able to really make concerning himself or herself? The more defining issues of life are governed by the almighty sleight of fate. Beside the claims of science and the so-called breakthroughs of research findings, there are many issues that are beyond us. Take the few cases like our sex. How many of us chose to be men or women at birth? How many of us chose who should be our parents? How many of us chose where we should be born? And did we choose our complexion?
Did we choose what our size, frame (not outlook) should be? What about the innate skills we use today? How many talents did we choose to have?
What is more? How many times do we crave for things in life that will never come, try as we may? How many couples, for instance, have been legally and properly married, and for years unend have remained childless. They have visited all the gynaecologists in town and even abroad, yet nothing has come forth, even when all the tests show that there is nothing wrong with their systems.
There is a particular hospital in Lagos that specializes in helping couples to make babies. Every car that goes there gets a badge—a small square red sticker stuck on the car without permission. As I drive round town and see the little badge, I imagine the little agonies those couples go through in search of what ought not to be so elusive. How many secondary school or teenage girls, who out of waywardness or circumstantial occurrences get pregnant without ever preparing for motherhood? How come those who crave it won’t get it and those who don’t want it harvest them so effortlessly? And this is not a function of economic power or lack of it. Already, there are ‘specialist’ churches with pastors who have “special anointing” for “fruit of the womb” ministration. And large is the congregation.
Yet, there are couples who crave to have male children (or even just one), but all they get each time they try is bouncing baby girls. I know of a family with eight girls and then a boy, who reluctantly came last.
Or what shall we say of even the issue of marriage? There are decent and comely ladies out there searching furtively for husbands, but won’t get. Yet, there are young ladies who are notorious for their Corinthian waywardness, who fetch their husbands with the ease hot knives run through butter paste. It is all the handicraft of fate. So why is fate not fair and just?
Even our lots in career are largely a function of fate. There are those with high trainings and all the attributes that should take them to their career height. But they just don’t get there.
A clearer illustration is the fate of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who struggled almost all his adult life to become Nigeria’s President “even for one day”, but it remained an eternal dream. Yet, his kinsman, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, not only got it without asking for it, his benevolent fate twice threw it on his laps, just like that. Or how shall we explain an MKO Abiola who was just a breath away from the coveted presidential seat; yet not only lost it, but also lost his life in the process. But fate tossed it rather cheaply at late Shehu Musa YarÁdua, and even more benevolently to President Goodluck Jonathan, who was literally plucked from the creeks to the presidential palace. There are those who have made a career of presidential ambition, all to no avail.
Let’s pause and consider the issue of life itself? While some have such a long life that they even wish to die, others barely make it to the age of 30. Just check the obituary adverts in the papers. And even when the death itself comes, it hits most differently. While some have it as peacefully as in their sleep, others journey through excruciating regime of pain and agonising ailment, just as some others get it in one violent blast of tragedy, wherever. Life is such a wild world of opposites. And the quest to understand why fate could be that unfair to mankind will forever remain a mystery. The only peep to its configuration is what God, in the Holy Scriptures said, when He declared that I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. So it is His mercy that defines our fate? Lord have mercy!
Boko Haram: How much Punishment Can Ever Be Enough?
Last Saturday, the Boko Haram squad hit again. This time in Plateau State killing a serving senator, Gyang Dantung and a State lawmaker, Hon Gyang Fulani. A member of House of Reps who was hit by the lethal bullets narrowly escaped death---now recuperating in an hospital. The duo were murdered at a funeral ceremony of some fifty-something persons who were also killed,
unprovoked, by the same Boko Haram, just the day before. No doubt, the entire waters in Nigerian rivers would have been turned crimson if the blood of the Boko Haram victims were channeled into the rivers. The pounding terrorist attacks have taken a huge toll on the entire country. Perhaps, the sadder bit of the story is that it is a problem that seems enigmatic. It is not like the conventional warfare, so it defies orthodox strategies. And we are all wrenching our fists in utter helplessness.
But while we await a solution to the menace, I keep wondering how much punishment can ever be enough for this routine pogrom by a people so gorged full of sectarian arrogance as to declare that “for Christians in Nigeria to know peace, they must accept Islam as the only true religion”.
How can they ever atone for the evil and sorrow they visit on innocent and harmless families? What values drive their actions? Where is the compassion that Islam preaches? Perhaps they should be told that no man tries the depth of a river with both legs at once.
State Police, A Necessary Evil?
Perhaps the end to the insecurity in this country is in sight. I cannot wait.
Oh really? The Boko Haram people have repented and surrendered?
No, it is not about their surrendering. It is about the groundswell of pressure from all corners for the country to now have State Police.
State po-li-ce? Forget it! It will never happen. Not in our life time.
Why are you so declarative about it? Can’t you see all the governors have thrown their weight behind it and have been incessantly demanding it? Can’t you see it has become a thematic discourse in the polity?
I say forget it. The National Assembly will not accept any constitutional amendment to that effect. The Presidency will not even think twice about it. Look, it is a B-I-D idea !
What is B-I-D?
Brought-in-Dead! It will not fly. And all you need to check is the force behind the call. Can’t you read between the lines?
I don’t understand. Which lines?
You mean you do not know that the whole concept of State Police is a Bola Tinubu idea? Can’t you see that the ACN governors have become the megaphone for the campaign for state police? Can’t you see that the other governors were merely being rail-roaded into the grand scheme, with all the specious arguments laced around it? You can’t discern this?
Hmmm, how crudely you reason! You mean the entire 31 state governors were “rail-roaded” into accepting the state police agenda without their own convictions? How wrong! Look, the governors deserve to be heard and their request considered. How can it be explained that after all the huge money they expend in maintaining the so-called federal police, they do not have control over the operations of the command under their own states? Is it no longer true that he who pays the piper dictates the tune?
Don’t be carried away by casuistic arguments of the governors. Which pipers are they paying? Is it because they buy petrol for patrol vehicles? Is it not these same governors who are groaning about paying N18,000 minimum wage? You now want them to start having a police force they will be paying salaries and allowances ?
Look, they shall cross that bridge when they get there. We are talking about securing human lives and properties? Can’t you see that the nation is drifting to the precipice because of insecurity? Has the federal Police not failed us woefully and trenchantly? Dont you see people now trusting the OPC, VIgilante Corps and even Bakassi people more than the uniformed Federal Police?
Is that not a loud vote of no confidence on the status quo? How many more people will have to die before we come to our senses on this matter? Don’t you know state police will be more effective in taming the crime wave in the various states because they understand the terrain and the social idiosyncracies of their own people better?
You are just looking at one side of the coin. Do you know what a state police means in the hands of politicians? Do you know how fiendish a state police will become in the hands of a sitting governor against his political opponent? Do you know the abuse that the agenda can be exposed to? Do you know that some state governors will literally chase away all their real and perceived opponents using the state police? What’s more, with a seemingly central police, there is proliferation of arms. When the various states start procuring their own arms and ammunition, you know what danger that will expose us to?
You are a wild alarmist. There is no greater danger coming than we have not seen and known now. Have you not been hearing of the resurgence of armed robbery, car snatching, kidnapping, assassinations, Boko Haram pogrom, and all kinds of killings? How else bad can it be? The Federal Police are overwhelmed. I believe the state police will help to track and crush the small arms cartel in the various communities. Trust me.
Hmmm. I can assure you that with all the political underpinnings of this clamour, the Jonathan administration will not, I repeat, will not, accede to the demand for state police. The police is being re-jigged for improved performance. Its Head, MD Abubakar, has just been confirmed as a substantive IGP. And that is a tonic for service deliver.
You are day dreaming. MD Abubakar does not have a magic wand, whether you confirm him IGP or not. His only legacy thus far, is scrapping road blocks which has caused us more lives and attacks on the highways. Was it not better we paid the N50 or N100 check point tolls and be fairly protected than the danger we are now daily exposed to? See why we need state police?
Hmmm, It is a double-edged sword.