Sunday, August 10, 2014

Garden city, Eleka and other stories

I eagerly anticipated my trip to Port Harcourt. I was prepared to be surprised by the Garden City but  was disappointed. For a city that is deemed a "major city" like Lagos and Abuja, I was reminded of Ibadan and Abeokuta as we drove into the city.
Despite the disappointment, Port Harcourt provided hilarity. It typified the religiosity and over-familiarity with God Nigerians possess. The day ended with an encounter with Port Harcourt police. One can conclude that from West to South South, Nigeria's police force have similar thinking patterns.

War of Billboards.
I took no notice of the large bill boards that dotted the city. One read: "God ordained leadership is better than  imposed leadership, let's pray for it". I did not think much of it till I saw:"A greedy shepherd sacrifices her sheeps; a good shepherd protects her sheeps. Rivers State is not a sacrificial lamb". I realized it was a battle of billboards when I spotted: "Oh Lord deliver! set free! and liberate Rivers State". I visited different areas of the city and these billboards were everywhere.
Rather than promote propaganda through expensive billboards, interest groups in the state should use  the money on the citizens they intend to persuade. 

Eleka Police Station
As I toured Port Harcourt, we -I was with a friend- were stopped by policemen and the following conversation (paraphrased) ensued:
Police Officer:  You did not stop when we asked you to stop
Friend:   I did not see your hand signal. This truck was in front of me and I stopped when I saw you
PO (entering car): Please move forward and park here. 
Another police officer entered the car and we began an exchange that lasted about 30 minutes on how friend did not stop for a manual hand signal.Police officer demanded for driver's license and he was given. Friend refused to play ball and  Police officer II said we should go to the station. 
Me: Are we going to a proper station?
PO II: Yes, is there a fake station? 
Me: well. 

We drove for 20 minutes in the traffic (whilst in traffic, another uniformed police officer enters the car) back to the point we were arrested. The uniformed police officer (UPO) asked friend to park. Friend demanded to know why as we were to go to the station. UPO said he wanted to tell his colleague he was off to the station. We said no, he should call the colleague. Friend mentioned and insisted that no other officer is allowed to come into the vehicle. UPO flared up and said we had no right to command him. PO II continued on how we are obdurate. He  got off the  car and left UPO. About 2 minutes later, we were told to go. Friend made a U-turn and before UPO disembarked his female superior called

Madam PO: "anything"?
UPO: Nothing ooo, dey be Oyika, just dey speak grammar
Madam PO: Ok. 

My thoughts: I have had a number of experiences with uniformed men and have learned:
1)  Always carry valid and complete car documents and driver's license 
2) Never be in a hurry to resolve an issue, they prey on your impatience and you continue the cycle of corruption by giving a bribe just to leave the scene. If you have contravened the law, be ready to bear the consequences. 
3) Police officers, LASTMA etc are not allowed to enter your vehicle, if they are making an arrest, they should follow you in their own vehicle. If they have to enter your vehicle, let them know they are breaking a law
4) Be civil, polite and clear(clear that you are willing to follow the issue to it's conclusion) in your communication. It's easy for the issue to go from "not taking a right turn" to "insulting a police officer"
5) If you want to record the incident, do it discreetly- in the books of Nigeria's security and transport authorities, transparency whilst they carryout their duties is a crime. 

On Ekiti and Osun State  Elections
In June, All Progressives Congress (APC) lost to People Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti's governorship election. APC leveled with PDP in Osun State yesterday. I am of the opinion that the elections did not represent an acceptance of either party but an acceptance of the candidates. Populist politicians are accepted by the people even if they act against the interests of the people as seen in Ekiti State where the governor-elect's promise is to empower citizens by giving out contracts. Thus, for politicians who mean well, they have to learn to connect and understand the people they want to lead. 
Also, popular governors like the governors of Osun and Ondo States should begin to introduce and groom those they wish to succeed them. Otherwise, their opponents in the 2013 and 2014 elections- should they recontest- will have a smooth sail into government house. 


0 Thoughts:

Post a Comment