Jos Poster War
It was with a rude shock to note that barely a week Nigeria regretted or rejoiced to announce the deaths of her 12 citizens who lost their lives in the Abuja bomb blasts which occurred at the ground of her Independence Day celebration that Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State and other governorship aspirants in that state locked their horns over poster gumming on the streets of Jos as President Goodluck Jonathan embarked on a 2-day official visit in the state on Friday, 8th Oct. 2010.
The reason the supporters of the aspirants went to gum posters of their principals on the streets of Jos in the early hours of that Friday knowing full well that Jonathan was coming and that gumming posters anywhere on the streets, let alone, at the strategic places of the town, is an eyesore and a condemnable act, owing to the fact that posters constitute dirty and litters the environment.
While that act of the aspirants were ignoble, what did Jang wanted to achieve by his supporters been mobilized to remove those posters and replace them with his? And this resulted in fracas between those aspirants' supporters and the mobilized Jang thugs. This showdown resulted in the damages of property and unconfirmed reports of casualties. Jos sef!
It is unfortunate that in Nigeria today sycophants abound in all the facets of the Nigerian endeavours, but most especially, anytime the president is on a tour to any state. Why should Jang on the Eve of that Friday make a state broadcast that there would be a public holiday in Jos? “To enable the citizens give a rousing welcome to the president,” he had told Nigerians.
Do you force a guest to welcome his or her visitor or do you allow him or her play his or her part? Did Jonathan support the continued impoverishment of the citizens with the holiday, as the citizens and the country could have lost millions of naira on that 2-days shutdown of Jos because the president was coming? This was how a governor of a state in the South-South region, to please Mr. President, escorted the president's wife to an occasion that resulted in the woman insulting the governor. Just eye service!
One wouldn't understand if Jang must force the citizens in his state to embrace the coming of the president before he would be applauded, which could even be against their wish, being nursing the trauma of the Abuja bomb blasts. For how long shall this menace of suffering the citizens anytime the president is visiting any state stop, whereas such visit was supposed to bring cheers and not churlish to the people?
The holiday day that Jang forced down the throat of the citizens in Jos because the president was coming, was nothing more than asking the people to go inside their various abodes and sleep. How could he say that he wanted to give the president a rousing ovation, yet the people were not allowed free movement during the period of the president's visit? Where did he expect the people to buy what they could eat as shops were shutdown as well?
The behaviour of the Nigerian governors and their loyalists enjoying untold pleasure anytime the president is visiting their states, while the people are subjected to untold displeasure must stop. The roads should stop being cordoned off for the whole day because of the president's visit to any state, whereas in Europe roads are just cordoned off barely one hour there is signal to the security officials that the person they are to guard is coming. Nigerian security officials should and must brace up in the things of security.
What Nigerians expected from the warring factions of poster gummers was that there is now mammoth development of the state. But it was unfortunate that while the unwitting poster war and the president's visit raged on, it's the 'common man' that bore the brunt, the same 'common man' who has lost loved ones in the Abuja bomb blasts. It is a pity!
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]