By Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA—-The former General Manager, Security, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Barrister Sam Otoboeze, on Saturday, cautioned the electorate in Enugu State and Nigeria at large to eschew violence as they to prepare to return to the polls for Governorship and House of Assembly elections on March 11.
Barrister Otoboeze, who is a Patron of Africa Youths Community, described politics as a game of wit, not warfare, adding that anyone who dies in the process of engaging in illegal acts to ensure his candidate wins has denied himself the opportunity of becoming a leader someday, and of enjoying the crumbs from his master’s table.
He expressed concern over the growing suspicion between Nsukka, and Nkanu cultural zones in Enugu State ahead of the forthcoming election, adding that the people are already intertwined by culture, blood and marriages to be divided by politics.
Part of the statement reads “I wish to appeal to the Youths of Enugu State, and indeed all over the country, to eschew bitterness in the forth coming Governorship and State Assembly elections. No election to whatsoever position is worth the blood of any of our youths or that of any other person, whomsoever. Politics is, and should remain a game of wits but never and should never be a warfare.
“We must not forget that power, just like life is transient; very ephemeral and most times, more utopian than a gambler’s hopes and expectations. Who tells you that those who work hardest for a candidate in an election, including sacrificing of life, gains most from such candidates when they are in power? As a security professional, I can unequivocally tell you that those who ended up in jail due to engagement in one form of political violence or the other, ALL without exception, regretted ever getting into politics. You can imagine how those who lost their lives feel in their shallow graves!
“Any one who dies in the process of engaging in any illegal act to ensure that his candidate wins has simply denied him/herself the opportunity of, not only enjoying the crumbs from his/her master’s table but has permanently lost the opportunity of becoming a master some day, except may be in the spirit world. Every youth is a potential Governor, Senator, HoR, HoA, Local Govt Chairman or a Councillor; a political appointee or a business person etc. The most important qualification is LIFE, a dead youth can never qualify for any of the above opportunities, except may be in spirit world. This is why your blood or the blood of any other person is too much to be sacrificed for anybody to get to power.
“The growing suspicion and misconception among some elite of Nsukka and Nkanu with regards to the upcoming Governorship election is of a great concern. We are too intertwined to be divided by politics. We are fused together in blood; we are wrapped together by marriage. We are intertwined in culture. Because of all these facts, we should always bear in mind that the death of any of our youths, whether from Nkanu or Nsukka is the death of all.
“It remains a partial truism that in politics, there is no permanent enemy and no permanent friend but interest remains. The major snag here is that permanent enemity becomes enshrined when a life of a loved one is lost in the course of playing politics or participating in an election. As a people bound together in so many ways, we have come a long way in mutual relationships that violence should never be part of our political instrument.
“As we all know, propaganda is a major instrument in politics. What is said is either often far from the reality on ground or the interpretation of what is said is too far from what is meant, by who said it. What gives me confidence in our youths is that they are smart enough to always distil the facts from a propaganda and a threat from mere propaganda. It’s only a foolish youth or a drug addicted youth who would chose to elect the candidate of his choice with his blood or the blood of an innocent person instead of using his index finger on the ballot papers.
“Politics is like barracks: soldiers go; soldiers come but barracks remain. In the next four years another political era will come; the person who loses his or her life this political era may be qualified to be running for an election in the next four years, assuming s/he was not killed! So, why don’t we use our brains instead of weapons!
“The 11th March election is certainly not a do or die affair. The word do or die should not be used in our politicking as it may be construed strictly as a threat rather than a propaganda. Granted that whoever uses it could be figuratively asking for mass turn out of voters but others may construe it to mean a call to raise arms in war which, of course is not and should never be. Of course, there is no war here beyond the “war” of index fingers on ballot papers but not on the triggers of guns or fists grip on clubs and matchets during the election.
“In any case, whoever, that invites, incites, bribes and/or cajoles you to participate in any form of electoral violence, except to protect your vote, do not get involved until the person’s son or daughter is leading the charge upfront.
“Finally, I want to use this opportunity to thank the good people of Enugu State for the massive support and love shown to His Excellency our Peter Obi, during the Presidential campaigns and election.
“All I can assure you is that your efforts will never be in vain. God’s promises may only be delayed but will NEVER be denied. Just watch and pray as the glory of God will surely shine, very soon!”