The current political situation in Nigeria, particularly Rivers State, does not call for apathy or an attitude of resignation; neither should the key players allow themselves to go too far, beyond the current state of affairs. Please, let this article be seen as an admonition from one permitted to see the shape of things to come. What is happening in the political sphere began a long time ago, neither is it a surprise that the Niger-Delta zone is a hostage community.
What should be of a serious concern to far-seeing individuals in Rivers State is the fact that key players in the political game are either unable to read the “handwriting on the wall”, or allow themselves to be used as agents of destabilisation. The fact that Rivers State is important in the Nigerian oil-dominated politics is a fact which should not be ignored. To say that there are powerful interest groups bent on having Rivers and other oil and gas producing states under their grip and control is also a truth that should not be ignored.
Clever intrigues to engulf the old Eastern Region of Nigeria in darkness took shape between 1964 and 1966. Those who were seeing enough had some premonition of the shape of things to come. The 1966 military intervention in Nigerian politics was hardly an accident; rather, what provided a ready opportunity to distort the trend of affairs was the fact that key players in that coup were of southern Nigerian origin. Coupled with that was also the fact that Dr Michael Opara was not touched. Certain people felt assaulted and also humiliated. Those who rose to the occasion did not handle matters tactfully or firmly then.
Whatever that is happening currently in Nigeria, particularly the South-South zone, can and should not be isolated from the past. The practice of Politics of Adoption was a strategy designed to use indigenes of hostage communities, especially youthful upstarts or aggrieved persons, as fifth columnists. The game plan has always been to use paid agents within hostage communities to get to or destabilise “people who think that they are clever”.
An adopted political child would always be an adopted child who can hardly inherit the estate of a foster-father. In an oil and gas dominated politics the adoption strategy is meant to serve as a clever bait to catch bigger fish. It is a clever system of poaching, whereby you do not get into the fish pond personally, but use an adopted and pampered child. Where the adoption and poaching strategy does not work effectively, then comes the alternative plan of abduction. Adoption goes with enticement but not so in abduction.
Politics of abduction is an act of brigandage whereby force of arms and treachery become the means of grabbing power. In the case of Nigeria, the abduction strategy demands the support and cooperation of the coercive agents of state. Either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) uses available dozzier to intimidate a stubborn politician, or some other alm-twisting strategies can be applied. The goal is to get a politician seen as a stumbling block to cooperate and play along, or there anyone who cannot be caught in clever plots?
Politics of brigandage is what a former Nigerian President call a do-or-die affair, whose strategy is to push opponents to the wall, whereby the option is to join them, if you cannot beat them. Who can beat a gang of brigands when the coercive agents of state are their allies and cultists are their errand boys? The growing phenomenon of cultism has much to do with the politics of abduction and brigandage because such politics is a cult system. Individuals or ballot boxes can be taken hostage!
How this system of politics is playing out in Rivers State is an interesting case study, but the danger is that external manipulators of the gladiators are using ethnicity to destabilise Rivers State. Coupled with this is the issue of ego! It is quite important to add that we have a Reaper around!
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, PH.