We have always speculated that the perennial violence which pollutes Nigerian polls is masterminded by VIPs. A tech savvy citizen has now gifted us a keyhole glimpse into the dark room where they develop. Thanks to his patriotic instinct, a credible cameo of a session of Katsina Governor Ibrahim Shema’s conclave currently dominates the blogosphere. The clip shows Shema priming his acolytes to crush the opposition like ‘’cockroaches’’.
Basically, Governor Shema’s characterization of his political rivals as cockroaches smacks of denigration. But Shema is not the copyright owner. He borrowed the innuendo from the foul register of one of the world’s incomparably haunting slaughters- the Rwandan genocide.
Evidently, there is no excuse for importing the signature tune of a notorious genocide. There is no context that would have fitted such invocation. Shema’s manifest intent was to inspire transcendent mayhem. His adoption of catechism mode, as widely reported in the papers, proved that he had meant to maximize indoctrination.
Shema is a lawyer: he bears the title of a barrister. This presupposes that he had trained in diction and the psychology of persuasion. But it is this positive skill set that he has deployed towards vampire advocacy.
It is instructive to note that Governor Shema necessarily sold himself the diabolical lie that opposition politicians are bankrupt of humanity in order to evade accountability to his enlightened conscience. He persuaded himself to believe that the only worth that should be conceded to them approximates to that of cockroaches. The convenient conviction that he was merely dealing with cockroaches, not human beings, absolutely obliterated the gravity of the scheme and provided a tenable ground for rationalization.
At the moment, there are no laws in our book criminalizing the crushing of cockroaches. Surely, the lawyer in Shema would have steeled him against potential guilt: he detested cockroaches and rid himself of their existence. So while you wept, Shema would have been inwardly scandalized, completely at a loss why you were wasting emotion on dead insects.
Normally, every war can be ultimately traced to the point where misnaming of the other caught on. Hell dawns when one person brands his perceived enemies and mobilizes a critical mass to subscribe to his loathing.
However, it is the recognition of shared humanity that lifts society above jungle belligerence and cannibalism. It is the acknowledgement of the other person’s inherent value as a member of the human family that constrains us to act with respect and circumspection. Governor Shema may wish to know that political affiliation does not confer or deny any human the right to life. Humans are humans because they are humans.
Sadly, Nigerian elections are wars by another name. An incumbent President once canonized it officially as a life-and-death business. The desperation to win is driven by the lust for the lucre that accrues to the victor. This explains why body counts often run alongside our ballot counts.
The danger of a politician’s hate speech is obvious: the fans besotted with him lap it up as a license to kill. They will feel challenged to impress their benefactor by inflicting maximum harm on their benefactor’s rivals; especially if they are eager to earn political appointments in a merit system that places premium on ‘’loyalty’’.
The clip blew the lid off Governor Shema’s morbid politics. If he had not been captured, this puppeteer would have fooled the country after the carnage has climaxed. After his mercenaries have reported their brief accomplished, he would have posed as the mourner-in-chief. He would hasten to tour the scene; he would set his mien to reflect an admixture of grief and indignation; he would swear to bring the culprits to justice; he would appoint a stillborn commission of enquiry. The casualties will be forgotten. And the biography of the otherwise mystery tragedy would have ended.
Shema is not the sole hypocrite. He just happened to emerge as the face of other practitioners of blood-fueled politicking, cloaked in immunity. They are essentially specimens of split-personality disorder. In the shadows, they unleash the vile monsters. In the open, they are doves; doting on the bereaved. And their contrary personas function with equal efficiency. This explains why the telegenic governor, cultured and urbane, mentors a private militia behind the scenes.
That shameful Shema clip has some redeeming value, though. It cracks the riddle of why Nigeria has a long list of unresolved politically motivated killings. It literally indicates that some governors may have covenanted their security votes to sponsoring terror. This should get our security agencies cracking – before the order of genocide arrives.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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