IBORI: NATION AGAINST ONE MAN?
Are you following the theatricals by the Federal Government, in the claims of arresting and prosecuting James Onanefe Ibori, former governor of Delta State of Nigeria? Did you catch the drift in mobilizing a Deputy Inspector General, DIG; Assistant Inspector General, AIG; at least one Commissioner of Police and divisions of police just to catch one man, whose offence the police acknowledged was a bailable one?
In case you have missed out in the details, these men, usually guarded or aided by troops of police, working with other quickly forged divisions, were unleashed on a beleaguered Oghara community in Delta State, where the powers that be believed Ibori had gone to hide from the law.
The mobilization was so frightful and intimidating that only the lion-hearted would dare stand in the way of the men apprised to dealing with 'public enemy number one.' In fact, it looked like a planned and sustained invasion of a fortress. The Army, Navy and Air Force were said to have added their men to actually attain a military juggernaut in a democracy. Armed forces rank and file were said to be salivating on the number of targets their weapons would make in the town.
Goodness! But, they were only going to Oghara, in Delta State of Nigeria. We are talking of a town, which, at that moment, had no more than one suspected felon, if indeed, Ibori had become one or had relocated to Oghara.
Of course, not minding that there was Odi and there was Zakibiam, the latter being close by, the youths of Oghara simply flooded the entry points to remind these agents of intimidation that the number was just too many for one man.
In a way, Ogbonna Onovo appears to be the innovative police officer we had craved. He appeared to know that it was just an over kill and that mass murder was beckoning with such contingent of armed forces and policemen to an erstwhile serene community, which had enjoyed the peace and company of factors other than invasion for the purpose of driving home some political points.
But one thing is baffling in this show in which the State, Nigeria, has so suddenly woken to some urgent need to rattle persons and to put on the whole blinkers just to arrest one man. Now, to tell you of the usual political coloration in these pretensions about anti-corruption, Goodluck Jonathan's sudden discovery of Ibori as a thief that should be dealt with cannot be removed from the fact that Ibori had, along with the so-called Cabal, stood in the way as the former Vice President prayed in silence that the surviving elements of the Yar'Adua government would be overwhelmed. Of course, what happened: the part Ibori played; the various interests; the tendencies and the eventual outcome, had all been internalised by a Jonathan, who is suddenly evolving as vengeful.
At the departure of Nuhu Ribadu, everybody had accepted that his style of hype and open show as ways of fighting corruption was actually childish. The new EFCC had opted for a more sedate approach, not given to public show, as Ribadu was known.
But to embarrass or catch James Ibori - whichever was easier - the Ribadu style was quickly unearthed and adopted. It is a style that is suitable for vendetta as OBJ did in his days.
And as you look side ways, you can even see Obasanjo lurking in every corner, causing those who are beginning to understand what they have got into in this new arrangement to think they have been duped. No, they have not been duped. It is just that Acting President Jonathan wants to be called and deferred to as President Jonathan. So, if James Ibori is one of those who would stand in his way, why not embarrass, shame, shock and imprison him?