Home Politics The missing REC

The missing REC

The missing REC

Nigeria is definitely a ‘Fuji House of Commotion’.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 21, said it does not know the whereabouts of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Adamawa State Hudu Ari.
Ari was suspended by INEC after he illegally declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aishatu Dahiru Binani as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election on April 16. The REC made the announcement while the collation of results was still going on. Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye said the Commission does not know the whereabouts of the REC. He said Ari had stopped communicating with INEC, ignoring official directives.
“We don’t know where he is because, after this particular incident, the Commission wrote him and also called him on the phone. He never returned any of the calls, he never answered any of the calls.
“We asked him to report to the Commission on Sunday, we didn’t see him, we asked him to report on Monday we didn’t see him. So up till this moment, he has not reported and we don’t know his whereabouts.”
It is funny how a grown man who was not abducted disappears by himself after
doing something so daring on national TV and even the police, DSS cannot say of
his whereabouts.
I find the article of Dr. Lasisi Olagunju, Editor of Saturday Tribune, on his Monday
Lines column of 24 April is very interesting. Dr. Olagunju is one of the great
Columnist and writer I know of. He finds the right illustrations to convey his
message. I mustered the liberty to share part of that publication.

Monday Lines
The wreck in Adamawa
By Lasisi Olagunju
There are books and films on the life and times of Efunsetan Aniwura, the second Iyalode of Ibadan. She was rich, powerful, and cold-hearted. Her success as a woman; her manly carriage and her ruthlessness made her a perfect mark for envy and destruction. And she lost everything. But Iyalode did not say goodnight gently; she did what real men do. On one occasion, one of her favourite slaves, a female, laced her food with poison. That slave was stupid.
She should have known that no one became Iyalode raw and untoughened in those pristine days. Efunsetan was not a fragile rodent to be killed with ordinary poison. Iyalode looked into the meal, saw death, and fed it to the bearer. She challenged the culprit; the culprit confessed that she was merely a messenger. You were sent? And you didn’t tell ‘them’ that you were too small to deliver the message? That slave of Efunsetan ate the food, poison, and all, and lost her life. She had to die, because, according to Efunsetan: “Àimo isé kò
níí p’esin l’ógun (Not knowing how to say no to errant errands kills horses in battle).” She was right; in ancient times, men took equines to war to go and die. And millions perished, especially during the two World Wars. Throughout history, unfortunate horses died in wars they were drafted to fight. Indeed, Britain had a Horse Mobilisation Scheme under which thousands of horses were moved into the First World War (1914-1918), initially for cavalry, and later for transport. History says on a single day during the Battle of Verdun in 1916,
over 7,000 horses lost their lives. They had to die because their ladle did not know how to say no to the hot, searing sauce.

There are many stupid horses in our government agencies; INEC has a large number of such. They are a herd always ready to deliver any message, no matter how bad, for anyone and to anyone, if the fodder is right and the legumes rich enough. If you were sent on a slave errand and you delivered it as a slave, then, you are a slave. If you were sent to deliver a message of evil and you did as asked, you are definitely evil. And there are consequences for delivering messages. When I read the statement by the Secretary to the
Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, conveying President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, I shook my head for the fallen man.
The man won’t stop being in the news until another stupid stallion does worse than he did. The REC fed a big dose of poison to Nigeria’s democracy with his illegal declaration of the president’s candidate as the winner of the governorship election in that state. And he was audacious and bold about it.

suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner of Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari

He didn’t do it at midnight or before dawn as soldiers of fortune do. He did it as a breakfast treat for Nigeria. The APC candidate was set to lose the election but Yunusa-Ari came out to raise the dead. He didn’t wait for the collation of results that would affirm the lady’s loss; he simply used his powers to decree her as the winner. What he did was novel in the history of electoral heists in Nigeria. Since then, he has not had peace; his employers say he is on the run; a news website insists he was flown to Abuja as a hero in a private jet. Whatever it is with him, the fact at this moment is that he is a fugitive; the REC has become a wreck. But did he act alone? To his right were three very powerful security
chiefs in the state. I would be stupid to assume that those ones too acted alone, unilaterally. No, but they have melted away, anonymous. Yunusa-Ari is the sole soil man carrying the shit can. He is the only enemy Nigerians know by name because he delivered the message with the rash of a slave.
If you serve power and the powerful, serve them with all your sense intact and alert. Your interest, and your name, must never suffer. There were at least four big men, including the REC, on that ingloriously high table in Yola. Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has vowed that he will punish all of them for endangering democracy. What can the governor do? He may be a raptor in power, but his falcon has neither the head nor the beak of the eagle behind
those owls. If I were that governor, I would look beyond the messengers. Who had the power to direct those four chargers to be at that point that hour? We don’t know them; we can only guess and we are not guessing wildly. They must be people who are not just in government but are in power. We know also that the flies of those who deployed Yunusa-Ari and others to do what they did are not following their corpses into the grave. If the unthinking tools have to go down, they have to go down alone as mere sacrifice ingredients. Messengers are expendable bullets; they are kept only for battle. When servants like those in INEC become burnt out, they are cast into Hades by the same persons who used them badly. An incredibly effective horse was nicknamed ‘Warrior’
during the First World War; his other name was “the horse the Germans couldn’t kill.” Warrior served and saved his lord and won many battles for him; he dared and overcame machine gun attacks and burning stables. He survived the war and returned to England by Christmas of 1918 only to be killed by his owner 23 years later – because of the cost of feeding him with“extra corn rations.”
Where I come from, our ancestors know it is impossible for people to escape being sent on errands. It happens. But they warned (and still warn) that if you are sent on a slave errand, deliver the message as a freeborn. That wisdom is alien to persons who have had the (mis)fortune to manage our elections since the beginning of Nigeria. We saw that in that man in Adamawa; he thought he could drop any ‘dirty bomb’ and get away with it. Now, they say he is on the run; his employers want the police to declare him wanted. There are possibly many like him – others may have been subtle (and therefore successful) in doing their own damage. Nigeria’s election chiefs work in a cut-throat, complex world of greed and temptation. The opportunity for mischief and misbehaviour is ever present where they work. Appropriating the thoughts of V, the mystery author of ‘The Mafia Manager’, because the INEC chiefs are allowed to stand with wolves, they think they should howl – but they are no wolves with the survival sense of the canid. Read their stories – they always come in as angels; they always exit injured and wrecked.
But they enjoy the work they do while it lasts. Wherever Yunusa-Ari is hiding (or not hiding) now, I can swear he is eating Tuwo with lamb limbs and thighs of rams. The reason Nigerian power-seekers will give anything to get right there in INEC – or at least tuck their agents in there. The job gives them the power to veto popular votes and be the elector of governments. The office kits them to compete with judges and the courts; the real superpowers in our Game of Thrones. Occurrences like Adamawa’s are potent reminders that Nigeria and optimism must not cohere in the same sentence. But, there are people who would insist that Nigerian leprosy is mere rashes; they say the blight will soon disappear with the right doctor in the ward. Some hold, in their trusting innocence, that no evil will be evil enough to shock Nigerians to positive action.
I have no more to write, the great writers have written all.

Author: Kangmwa Gofwen

Lagos Bureau Chief, Nigeria