[OPINION] Before Governor Tanko Al-Makura Descends Into Tyranny… By Ogundana Michael Rotimi


Ogundana Michael Rotimi

On Saturday, 12 September 2015, the news of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura assaults on a road user went viral. After the security operatives attached to his convoy allegedly beat up a road user, damaged her vehicle and destroyed her phones and iPad.

The road user; Ms Lois Lorvihi was traveling through Lafia, the capital of Governor Makura’s Nassarawa, with her younger sister, Joi and her brother Jerry, on their way from Makurdi to Abuja.

From the statements issued by both the accuser and the defendant, it was clear that there was a confrontation between Ms Lois Lorvihi and the governor. It was clear that both of them were at the junction where the said incident happened. It was evident that Governor Al-Makura`s convoy was behind Ms Lois Lorvihi.

What`s not clear in all of these is whether the lady intentionally stood in the middle of the road or perhaps slowed down because of the sharp bend after the bypass at Nasarawa-Eggon.

However, the issue of if the lady had intentionally obstructed the convoy of the governor could have been addressed if the governor had taken the right approach to it. Beating up a road user or a traffic offender is not the right way to go. It`s barbaric, not democratic and shameful! There are legal frameworks clearly stipulated against any road abusers and traffic obstructors.

Gov. Al-Makura should have known better and should have taken legitimate steps in dealing with the incident had she intentionally obstructed his convoy or internationally caused a traffic jam. The lady could have been politely arrested and charges pressed against her according to the law of the land.

Rather, Al-Makura chose the other way round, he went the way of tyranny. He instructed his men to assault, Ms Lois Lorvihi, her younger sister, Joi and her brother Jerry. Their human rights were trampled on and her properties were damaged. Asides from this, she was unlawfully held in the police station.

This is grossly illegal and a show of shame displayed by an elected governor.  Al-Makura descends into tyranny and it is in the best interest of the society that he is called to order before he finally becomes a tyrant.

Come to think about it, did the lady actually commit an offence? No! According to the statement issued by the Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Ahmed Tukur, to Governor Umaru Tanko Al –Makura, he said and I quote: “For the avoidance of doubt and to set the records straight, on Thursday 10, September 2015 about 3.pm when the convoy of His Excellency was approaching Nasarawa Eggon Local Government a vehicle was right on the middle of the road and in spite of several efforts by the police outrider and the pilot to slow the car down, the vehicle remained right in the centre of the road refusing to make way for the convoy which nearly caused an accident.

It can be deduced from the statement that the vehicle in question was on the move, moving at a reasonable speed, because the police outrider and pilot tried to slow the car down. You can`t try to slow down a vehicle that was already moving slowly. But the issue is, the police outrider attached to the governor actually wanted the vehicle completely off the road for the governor`s convoy to pass. As the governor has since become a demigod in Nassarawa State.

He went further and said: “A close look at the vehicle, the Escort commander noticed a women driving with a minor in the front seat and directed the convoy to track her with caution not to push her car by the shoulder. This took up to 3-5 minutes before the Escort commander managed to halt her. She stopped abruptly on the road forcing the convoy to also stop and other road user causing heavy traffic along the highway”.

The governor`s Escort Commander directed the convoy to track her; it took about 3-5 minutes before she was halted. Which means the vehicle was being pursued so as to deal with her. And when she noticed that she was being pursued she abruptly stopped on the road. Isn`t it logical that she had to stop when she was being pursued with heavy sirenz? Which was exactly what she did!

One thing is clear; Al-Makura was at the scene when the incident happened. According to his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, it was the governor that called the policemen to deal with the situation. “Noticing her unruly behavior, the Governor directed the Escort commander to invite the Police from the nearest police station to handle the matter to avoid further congestion and obstruction of traffic on the highway while the convoy continued on its journey to Abuja.” He said.

It`s obviously clear that the policemen acted according to the instructions given to them by the governor. If Al-Makura had told them that the lady should be treated fairly and respectfully while planning to press charges against her, am so sure, the policemen wouldn`t have done otherwise. If for any other reason, the policemen acted against the instruction of the governor and then brutalized the lady, the governor would have been the first person to condemn and criticize their actions.

It can logically be concluded that; the two offences the lady in question committed that arose the annoyance of the demigod of Nassarawa State were: 1. She didn’t run off the road when the convoy of the governor was coming and 2. She questioned the governor- “How am I rude?  Is this fair? Is this why we voted for you? We did not vote for you so that your convoy will run us out of the road. Look at what your security men are doing? They are destroying my car, beating my brother to a pulp and smashing all our mobile devices just because we had the misfortune of driving in front of your convoy?

The fact is; the governor descends into tyranny, he chooses to abuse his power on an unarmed citizen. He assaulted her, trampled on her rights, embarrassed her, placed her into an undue trauma, distorted her psychologically, damaged her car, crushed her phones and iPad and even bragged about it. That’s the peak of human right abuse.

The governor must pay for this. He must issue a public apology on this, pay for the properties he damaged, pay for the emotional trauma he caused the lady and her family and compensate them adequately.

Political office holders are elected or appointed to uphold the law, to protect it and defend it. And not to abuse the powers that come with the positions they occupy.

Meanwhile, am not surprised that the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the governor issued a statement defending his boss. I was not expecting him to do otherwise. It shows how dirty he is and how dirty the job he`s doing for his boss is. Am only bothered about Nigerians that choose to go the way of the governor by defending the governor`s shameful act. But you see, this is Nigeria, logic is scarce and common sense isn’t common. Expect anything from the altar of mediocrity and pit callousness.

Before Al-Makura descends completely into tyranny, we must stop him. The governor is on a path down a slippery slope to tyranny. If we don’t stop him now, he will become a tyrant right in front of our eyes. Becoming a tyrant is a gradual process and he is already at the edge.

If we fold our hands and watch this action pass by unchecked; someday, sometime, not too far from now, it will come haunting us all.

God Bless Nigeria.

Ogundana Michael Rotimi, is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic, & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.