Gomina's Ghost: A Case For Séance - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Friday, 9 June 2017

Gomina's Ghost: A Case For Séance

By Louis Odion, FNGE

Before we set forth, some clarity might be necessary on the two odd words above. "Gomina" is the corruption of "governor" in Yoruba. Rooted in French mythology, "séance", on the other hand, refers to a psychic channel of communicating with the dead.

The phenomenon is however not exclusive to the French; it permeates most superstitious civilizations including Africa. 
This astral route may well be the only option now left to unravel a metaphysical puzzle arising from the altercation that erupted last week between Kogi Governor and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 

Thinking it had the Kogi's No. 1 citizen by the scruff of the neck with textual and pictorial evidence, INEC came out to accuse Governor Yahaya Bello of double registration on May 23 in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise. 
Relying on its records, INEC claims the governor had registered on January 30, 2011 - precisely in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

What would then make the offence triply grave is not just its cold-blooded willfulness and the stature of the offender but also the impunity in parlaying the sacred grounds of Lokoja White House to the theatre of such illegality. 

By regulation, INEC staff are expressly forbidden from registering outside designated CVR centres. 

But there were reports of a photograph of the Governor while his data was being captured right in his office. It was partly on that basis that Solomon Soyebi, the National Commissioner overseeing the exercise, expressed indignation. 

While hinting at heavy sanctions awaiting the conniving officers who must have allowed the prospects of some "stomach infrastructure" at the exit door to becloud their sense of professional judgment, Soyebi however regretted that the constitutional immunity clause would prevent INEC from immediately filing charges against the Kogi helmsman. 

Said Soyebi: "The governor's double registration and doing so outside INEC's designated centers are both illegal. We wish to make it clear that no INEC staff was authorized by the commission to re-register him or any citizen or to do so outside our designated CVR centers." But rising from a prayer session in Abuja last Friday after days of high suspense, Bello responded with a vigorous alibi. 

He claimed to have jetted to Dubai on May 19 and, therefore, suggested it must have been his ghost who registered on the said date. (But note that May 19 is different from May 23.)
To his accuser, he gave a warning: "I think INEC has earned itself a very high reputation and I'm very confident that the leadership of INEC will not allow some elements to drag its name (in) the mud. Actually, that is a falsehood; I did not do double registration of permanent voter card."

Curiously, however, Bello's fierce denial is a complete negation of earlier admission by his spokesperson, Mr. Fanwo Kingsley, who strained hard to explain the abnormality away. 
Hear him: "The governor's effort to transfer his card from Abuja to Kogi State has not been successful, hence the need to get registered in Kogi State... As Governor of the state, Bello is the chief mover of government policies. He must always lead by example... to woo others to go and register. There is nothing wrong with registering in the Governor's Office because it belongs to all Kogites. Government House is People's House."
Official double-speak has never been so audacious. Clearly, the falcon no longer hears the falconer in the iconic confluence city. 
So, between Bello and his spin doctor, almost frothing in the corners of the mouth in overdrive, who are we to believe?
While it may be true that INEC has lately managed to have its once glorious "Independent" supplanted by seedy "Inconclusive" on account of serial operational tardiness since Professor Jega bowed out in 2015, I however doubt if things could have degenerated to the level that its National Commissioner would come out to level such a weighty allegation against Bello without basis.

Curiously still, the nation woke up Monday morning to read in most national dailies that Bello's name had mysteriously disappeared from the 2017 voters register. 
Suddenly, INEC could no longer trace any Yahaya Bello on its CVR list for May 23, thus fueling suspicion that another "ghost" might have tampered with the list. Happily, INEC was said to still have in its custody the photograph showing Bello being registered at the Government House in Lokoja. Even if the picture were to be stolen or physically destroyed by yet another ghost, its memory certainly cannot be easily wiped away from the cyber space or the public mind for that matter. 

This is precisely why one says it may not be out of place to engage the ghost so implicated through the agency of a séance, if only to put the nation out of the ensuing confusion and misery. 
Among others, the ghost needs to explain how it was able to come alive from the other world and seamlessly cut through the usually heavy security cordon to appear in Bello's office, affecting his luxurious mannerism, charming the obsequious INEC staffers to play along and even pose for photographs to boot!
Again, could the photograph - the last strand on which INEC now seems to hang gingerly - have been conjured by yet another ghost?

While we await answers, let no one attempt to shield Bello from reproach still. In the unlikely event that he is innocent of all the charges, he will nonetheless bear vicarious responsibility for the verbal indiscretion of his agent. On account of the double-speak, Bello and his coterie of kindergarten propagandists only succeeded in making a big fool of themselves before a national audience. 

Then, the other moral filth: let us even concede that mischief-makers orchestrated May 23, as Bello would have us believe. The picture that still emerges is no less appalling. We are then affronted by the imagery of rank opportunism and colossal moral yoke on the highest office in Kogi today. Without a valid voter's card, how did Bello vote in the November 2015 governorship polls?
With the circumstantial evidence now available, the most probable answer is that the man who would become Kogi governor was simply unable to discharge the most basic of his civic obligations that day. Meaning His Excellency is today exercising power and savoring the executive fruits for which he more or less did not labour. 

Maybe, we should not be too shocked. The bizarre controversy May 23 has generated seems to be consistent with Kogi's heritage of absurdity and willful perversion of the course of natural justice since November 2015. Being a child of manipulation, perhaps we should learn to live with Bello's sense of entitlement. 
Truth be told, Bello was really not deserving of the APC ticket originally. Not only is it now clear he did not vote in the 2015 polls, it is common knowledge too that he did not participate in the party's earlier strenuous campaigns across the length and breath of Kogi, perhaps out of the bitterness of coming last as the "CPC hope" in the primaries won overwhelmingly by now late Abubakar Audu.

By the evening of November 21, 2015, tallies from the field clearly showed that APC had won by a comfortable margin and that the declaration of Audu as victor was a question of time. But a curious twist soon entered the equation: Audu, the presumptive winner, had suddenly dropped dead and the information was already available in privileged quarters. 

Then, the high-wire power-play began. Even though the total number of registered voters in a few areas where voting had not occurred would not put even a dent on Audu's lead, it pleased INEC to declare the elections "inconclusive". 

Otherwise, Faleke, Audu's running mate, would have become governor by default. 

Suddenly, Bello, though performing poorly in the primaries but favoured by the powerful CPC cell within APC, was fork-lifted from the political alley, flown over his betters and anointed APC's new flag-bearer and inheritor of all Audu and Faleke had toiled hard for. Thus, climaxed the dark conspiracy to deny Faleke the fruits of his hard labour.

But, once violated, the ghost (Ha!, that creature again!) of justice is forever restless. It must be the one haunting Bello now. 

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