(By Odimegwu Onwumere)
“While that question is salient, it behooves Nigerians to know that determined power is an enemy of democracy. It is, indeed, shameful, and Nigerians should wonder where this tyrannical features orchestrated against Amaechi would take the country. Amaechi may be intimidated, but the truth can never be intimidated or suppressed.“
TOTALITARIANISM is progressively returning to the country in an excuse of fighting Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State. Nigerians are standing and watching with self-pity, oblivious that such pity itself is the worst enemy.
The Federal Government is subduing Amaechi and at the same time fighting him, while posing Sun Tzu’s idea of fighting a war which says that to fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
The other day, it was the Commissioner for Information of the state who was invited and quizzed in Abuja by the security adviser to the President in order to find out what the two planes said to have been bought by Amaechi were all about.
The Presidency wanted to find out if the planes were meant for the purported interest in 2015 elections by Amaechi. The commissioner told her interrogator all that she knew about the planes in the tone suggesting that they were bought for surveillance around the state.
While Amaechi was on a trip to Ado-Ekiti for the burial of the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, the late Funmilayo Olayinka, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency stranded the Bombardier – BD700 Global Express aircraft at Akure Airport, over what it described as the pilot’s failure to make available the manifest of the plane.
In a subsequent pronouncement, the Agency said that the plane was operating illegally; as a result, it was temporarily grounded. In a swift response, Amaechi described the action as shameful and a continuation of attack on him by the Presidency in an attempt to embarrass him. However, a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Amaechi, David Iyofor, was pointing in a different direction.
In his statement made available to newsmen, Amaechi said that NAMA and the aviation authorities were merely playing the ostrich, arguing that contrary to the assertion by the Agency, the pilot, indeed, filed a flight plan and manifest, and paid all the required airport fees and charges shortly after the plane arrived at Akure airport in the afternoon. The question that Amaechi has been asking is that if the pilot filed a flight plan and manifest at Abuja and Owerri airports from where the plane had flown the same day, why would he not do the same in Akure.
While that question is salient, it behooves Nigerians to know that determined power is an enemy of democracy. It is, indeed, shameful, and Nigerians should wonder where this tyrannical features orchestrated against Amaechi would take the country. Amaechi may be intimidated, but the truth can never be intimidated or suppressed.
John F. Kennedy in one of his speeches said that the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic….There have been different interpretations to whatever that Amaechi does in the media, making the Presidency to swim in propaganda against the dude. This is one of the weapons that the Presidency is using against Amaechi, and he is lackadaisical to correct many of the ill-impressions the Presidency has sold to the populace against him.
If an incumbent governor can be disgraced in such a brazen manner, the question of the immunity clause in the Constitution is germane. Is this act meted out against a sitting governor not despotic? Can the President, in like manner, be shown such disdain under the pretext that he did not comply with the due process of the aviation business? The Presidency makes Nigerians to believe that it is far from autocracy whereas it is near.
The words of Dietrich Bonheoffer says it all that the essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.
The embarrassment shown to Amaechi is an embarrassment to all, owing to the caliber and number of people that were to fly with Amaechi for the two hours he was held hostage in Akure. Is the Presidency not setting a bad precedent? Is the Presidency not becoming overbearing and trivial? Is the country not slowly-but-surely drifting into a fiefdom?
While it is imperative to say that nobody is above the law, what about the immunity that Amaechi was expected to enjoy? When would the leaders comply with what Isaac Newton said, “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.’’
• Onwumere is a poet/author in Port Harcourt.
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