By Owei Lakemfa
It is not clear why the police does not want the country to know what happened under its rogue SARS outfit or what it wants covered up in protests in which so many policemen were allegedly killed and police stations burnt
I FIND it difficult to believe that Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State is a professor; the don does not adorn this toga. There is no aura of professorship around him, and to worsen matters, he speaks so simple English that even commoners can understand him.
This is why Governor Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade of Cross River State scores quite high in my estimation. He is a professor of no mean repute, and when he speaks, he leaves you in no doubt that his words are those of a man of great learning who has amassed so much academic medals that a professorial toga fits him like a high worth model on the catwalk.
I am most fascinated by the title of his budgets which deserve a Chair in a first rate university. He started modestly in 2016 with his budget of ‘Deep Vision’. It was like burrowing deep. But the title of his 2017 Budget, called ‘Infinite Transposition’ left no one in doubt that a professor had birthed in the port city of Calabar.
People must have clapped for Ayade, but did the State House of Assembly which passed the budget interrogate at least the title? To transpose is to reverse, inverse, re-arrange or reorder which presupposes a definite action. To make such a restructuring “Infinite” as Ayade implied is to say whatever changes he might have in mind, would be eternal.
When 2019 birthed, Ayade felt the hapless people of Cross River have been tutored enough in English grammar to move to the next class. So he titled that, the Budget of “Qabalistic Densification.” The dictionary explains that being “cabalistic, kabbalistic, qabalistic or cryptic, is having a secret or hidden meaning that is confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle.” Having understood that, I flipped over to densification which is “an increase in the density of something (such as) the increasing density of people living in urban areas.”
Having now understood the title of Ayade’s budget, I drank some water to wash it down only to be confronted by a more gargantuan budget title for the 2020 budget. A Budget of “Olimpotic Meritemasis.” Ah, Ayade! You read book! This time, even the dictionaries could not help me understand what is “Olimpotic.”
The Oxford dictionary only says in Botany, what is meristematic, relates to or denotes “a region of plant tissue consisting of actively dividing cells forming new tissue, (that is something) consisting of or having the properties of meristem or embryonic tissue in plants; undifferentiated, growing, actively dividing cells.” Understandeth what thou readest?
Well, Nigerians say a man who goes to his in-laws’ house speaking bombastic English, is the same person that will explain to them what he is talking about. So the professor-governor himself had to explain what the title of this budget is about. He said: “When you have an ambition that is not driven by economic and financial analysis, but a spiritual force beyond the normal, that is ‘Olimpotic’ and is ‘Meristemasis’ because it’s a rapid growth.”
Mercifully, for the 2021 budget, Ayade went soft and romantic. It is a “Budget of Blush and Bliss.” To blush, especially for a White person, is to become red in the face. It is generally a reflection of the state of the mind. It can also be to have a fresh colour. On the other hand, bliss is a state of joy or happiness.
Ayade might have skilfully composed this title to provide some succour for Cross Riverians who have over the years been in a state of hopelessness; battered by economic storms, hunger hurricanes, cult violence and unprecedented kidnappings.
If you don’t understand all I have written about the pedantic Ayade, sorry, I can’t help you as I do not understand myself. However, his word ‘Olimpotic’ describes the state of the Nigeria Police Force which, as usual, is engaged in a farce. There is the seemingly unending circus of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and the Police Service Commission squaring it out in court over matters of jurisdiction despite both being appointees of the same President Muhammadu Buhari.
The country was in October, 2020 racked by street protests against the criminal and murderous aspects of the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS. Tentative figures given by government is that 57 civilians, 37 policemen and six soldiers were killed.
The National Economic Council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo with all state governors as members, directed the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to establish judicial panels to investigate the alleged police brutality, inquire into the protests and raise funds to compensate victims. The panels are sitting in most states and a lot of national and international attention are on them especially the one in Lagos which is trying to unravel the shootings at the Lekki Tollgate.
Then last week the Police went to court suing the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF; all 36 states and the National Human Rights Commission claiming that the panels are illegal and should be disbanded.
It is not clear why the police does not want the country to know what happened under its rogue SARS outfit or what it wants covered up in protests in which so many policemen were allegedly killed and police stations burnt. What does it hope to gain by trying to shoot down the panels?
It was quite intriguing that the police headed by an IGP appointed by the President, would sue the chief law officer of the country.
Nigerians may never know what happened, but what we know is that the Presidency reportedly washed its hands off the case, and the IGP followed, giving the impression that rogue elements heading its legal department took the unilateral decision to institute the now withdrawn case. We may assume that this is one more case of a government whose right arm does not know what its left arm is doing. However, I think it is more of ‘Olimpotic’ politics.