The atmosphere in Lagos Nigeria is tense. The political space in Nigeria is filled with cosmic and poisoned spiritual radiation. The earth and our ancestors in the spirit world are angry with Nigeria. Our founding Fathers, who fought and laid the foundation of Nigeria as a sovereign Nation, are crying for help to rescue our country. MelayeGate, TinubuGate, BuhariGate, combined with many other gates filled the atmosphere across the country. The move by Mohammadu Buhari government to remove the CJN; Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen Monday 14 January 2019 and replacing him with another Hausa/Fulani from the North shows; #NextLevel of their campaign slogan. Nigeria, should braze herself the next level of hardship, killings, nepotism, tribalism, kidnapping, insecurity, and #NextLevel level of sophisticated stealing and looting.
As a proud Conservative Yoruba Man of Akure extraction, the atmosphere is tense in Lagos and the South-West. Shops are beginning to shut down. Cutlass-wielding boys are moving around in unison. There are spewing incoherent “curse” words along the way. When news flew in days ago that NURTW Treasurer, MC Oluomo, was stabbed at an APC rally, Lagosians, felt this eerie sense of déjà vu. It was January 2008 all over again. Yet one would not understand this culture of violence/murder that is at the core of the operational ethics of the NURTW if one fails to dissect the power structure upon which the group itself rests. There were insinuations that there may be retaliatory attacks by the Oluomo’s faction.
However, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in South-West Nigeria, has thrived over decades largely because of the symbolic relationships between Chieftains of the group and powerful politicians across the region. This, frankly, is not peculiar to Lagos. Many residents of Ibadan in Oyo state would not forget the Eleweomo-Auxiliary-Tokyo commotion and the Iwo Road harvest of deaths in 2009/10, where thugs loyal to major political parties were locked down in a proxy war that claimed lives in the city. It’s not a new phenomenon in our reckless politics. <<Rewind, in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th republics, the Adebayo Success, Busari Eruobodo’s and Lamidi Adedibu’s of this world earned political capital gain largely because of their facility for brewing violence, using the instrumentality of the transport workers.
As an observer and a political analyst, what makes the Lagos case peculiar is that, as in politics, these agbero’s and hoodlums are believed to be controlled by the dominant political entity in the state, headquartered at Bourdillon in Ikoyi Lagos. In fact, there are reports that occasional squabbles among members have been settled time after time in Ikoyi in the past. Again, members of the group are much more than mere angels of death (eru iku, in Yoruba), used during elections and disbanded afterwards. Many of them are card-carrying members of the ruling APC and are part of a group called ‘Team Lagos’.
In the last Osun gubernatorial race, the man in the eye of the storm, MC Oluomo, was seen threatening to displace Senate President Bukola Saraki in Kwara state. In retaliation, a local thug loyal to the Senate President jumped out of obscurity to issue out counter-threats to the Lagos bandits. The issue at the core of electioneering and politicking in Nigeria is violence, mayhem and brigandage and the NURTW has always been a ready-made instrument. So, frankly, the culture may not end anytime soon. And one thing that will account for its long reign is the institutional support they get from the state. Many of them are extremely wealthy that they can afford to lodge their wives and Children abroad. They even have Police officers and escorts attached to them as aides! MC Olumo’s family, I gathered are in Canada. Britain refused, granting them visas.
And so until the hypocritical political elites decide to play politics that’s devoid of brigandage, these hoodlums will remain willing instruments of violence in their hands, with ripple effect on the society’s overall peace. That explains the occasional instability in many areas of Lagos in which they have strong presence. Think Lagos Island! Think Oshodi!! Think Mushin!!!
Since the violence at the APC rally Tuesday, many residents have expressed worry over the security situation in major areas of Lagos, especially as the fear of retaliatory attacks rents the air. The Police have done a great job. Frankly, that’s a palliative measure. When Hamburger, a stalwart was killed last year, a similar step was taken but the violence resurfaced. Palliatives don’t solve issues.
The political space in Nigeria is filled with cosmic and poisoned spiritual radiation because the political elites have created a huge “alternative economy” for them through the various levies they impose on hapless transport workers. Already the likes of MC Oluomo, Talo Skibo , Koko Zaria, Hamburger, Esi Oluwo, Kunle Poly are loyal party members which makes them qualified to aspire for positions of leadership. It is a shame; they have a battalion of Policemen guarding them day and night. The question then is, why have the killings continued?
To quench this incessant rivalry and killings, and since there is very little or no difference between these bad guys and those we eventually have to deal with as political representatives; why not bring them directly into government! You will need to Fast and Pray?
Last year you will remember, Sunday Adeyemo famously known as “Sunday Igboho” another famed strategist of politicians in Oyo state, who declared he would be contesting the Oyo gubernatorial race. Remember he boasted, he inherited powers to command guns from his father. In Igboho’s hearts of heart, he reasoned quite rightly that there isn’t any distinguishing difference between him and many bestriding the governance space in Oyo state. Igboho without doubt, gave us insight into the inner minds of these boys and how to arrest the underlying cause of these incessant killings: “Put them in power.” Again, pray?
In hindsight, clearly, development is a mirage under an atmosphere of chaos. If a violence-free society is what Lagosians desire, does that mean, we must allow those who understand the architecture of violence control governance take charge of our country, so that there will be peace. While that may be unrealistic in the coming elections since primaries have been conducted, plans must be put in place ahead of the 2023 elections. Again, please, fast and pray?
Before, I round up, let us examine from a virtual reality a propose MC Oluomo as Lagos governor in 2023. And for the sake of peace, his closest rival, Kunle Poly, as deputy governor. In their cabinet, the much older Itu Cardozo, widely known as ‘Baba Oba’ who could be positioned as the SSG. Alado Baba Bili, the fiery man from Mushin, then becomes special adviser on security. Koko Zaria, the funky, sociable dude in Oshodi who doubles as the darling of Nollywood actors, could tipped to head the ministry of tourism, entertainment and culture. Like Bayelsa’s Alameseiagha, the guy in Police net over phone theft from computer village, Seun Egbegbe, could be granted amnesty and be positioned at the ministry of Science and Technology given his familiarity with phones and gadgets. For his incredible athletic skills, Tafa Sego, who allegedly fled the scene when the mayhem occurred on Tuesday, could help man the sports ministry.
Those in support of this motion: Tuaale! For folks who choose to oppose it, there is a default response: Gbe body e!
Frank Bello is a seasoned writer, critic, political commentator/analyst and publisher in the UK.
© Frank Bello