As Sergeant Rogers Sings…

by Peter Claver Oparah

It is good that at long last, Sergeant Rogers, the dreaded hitman for the late demented despot, Sani Abacha, is confirming our worst fears that nothing was spared by the locusts that ravaged this land in extending their suzerain hold on all of us. It is heartening that Rogers is singing and proving all the positions we have maintained as that fear-struck era lasted, that as at that time, as of now, wild beasts with gluttonous appetite for blood and money have raided this country, which is why it is lying prostrate like a deflowered virgin. Yes, Sergeant Rogers is singing of how premeditated state murders, centrally commanded from the seat of power place both then and now and we thank God that we had the death of Abacha to thank for the present sordid revelations. Were Abacha still alive, perhaps he would have been still lording himself over us. Perhaps, Olusegun Obasanjo would have been long dead and he would have died a martyr; a terrible misreading of the intentional nuisance the man really is. Perhaps, also more heads would have rolled or perhaps, he would have been stopped, one way or the other. But the great lesson in the Abacha metamorphosis is that governance in Nigeria has really degenerated to a bestial business where brutal beasts and their ramparts take turns to steal, rob, kill and plunder for their selfish motives.

But we should not loose sight of the greater import of the Rogers’ confession. That the evil that men did while they were covered by the shrouds of power will one day come to light. The fact is that try as they do, the monumental evil that the wayfarers in power committed while lording themselves over all of us will one day be laid bare for all to see.

However, as we savour the morbid details of Rogers’ testimony, it is still a matter of conjecture whether the nation will be availed of the official confirmation of the monumental evil of the Obasanjo years with all the deliberate distortions brought to hide, discolor and crush them. Whether it in public stealing, premeditated state murder, official fraud, deliberate cover up, lying, cavorting, impunity, duplicity, lawlessness and vice, Obasanjo’s was the topping of all that is bad, abhorrent and despicable with Nigerian leadership. Trying to decipher how our unfortunate country happened on that devious stretch would definitely tax the ingenuity of historians for years to come. One wonders however if we would one day get to the perpetrators of the monumental evil that happened under Obasanjo to tell us how they operated with the hefty resources and energies that regime put to distort issues, confuse Nigerians and divert attention from their evil ways. That desperate effort accounts for why we have hand-picked leaders in all political positions today, trusted to guard and keep the evils of the Obasanjo regime in the dark closets while official brigandage flowers. As Rogers testimony was on the mysterious killings that took place under his evil master, I would focus on the possibility of someday having one of the disciples of the vice-ridden Obasanjo years stepping forward to tell us how the many cases of high profile political killings that took place under Obasanjo but which have all been shoveled under the rugs happened.

Is there any chance that one day we would have somebody come forward and tell us how Bola Ige, a sitting Attorney General, was killed on the eve of retreating to his original political nest and the case of his killing turned into another laughable parody by the principality he staked everything to help? Would this nation get to know how Harry Marshal was killed when he was revving the antes of opposition politics in the South South? Shall this nation be availed of how A. K. Dokkibo was murdered for being too close to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar? Is there any possibility that someday this nation will hear from the horse’s mouth how Sunday Ugwu was killed in Enugu or how Victor Nwankwo, brother to notable activist Arthur Nwankow was murdered in Enugu or how Chimere Ikoku, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria was murdered in the same Enugu? Shall this nation get to know how some youths were coldly murdered in Ebonyi State under the guise that they were close to Pius Anyim?

Shall this country get to know how Ogbonnaya Uche, a notable opposition politician in Imo was killed? Shall we know how Funsho Williams was killed and amidst crocodile presidential tears and oaths, and the invitation of foreign investigators, his killers remain as elusive as they were the morning after his killings while his wife has been publicly ridiculed by those that pretended they were more pained by his death? Shall we get to know who Ayodele Daramola and who eventually benefited from his removal from the Ekiti governorship contest? Shall we get the confessionals of those that planned and killed Ahmed Pategi, Barnabas and Abigail Igwe? Perhaps, one day, the iron cast walls of secrecy will rent asunder and we shall who planned and carried out the killing of Jerry Agbeyegbe, brother to fiery Lagos lawyer, Fred Agbeyegbe. Shall we know who killed Theodore Agwatu, a permanent secretary in Imo State, who killed the many men and women felled in cold blood and their assailants vanished into thin air as the dubious regime of Obasanjo deepened its fangs and desperately pursued its project for self perpetuation.

In the cases mentioned above, I tried limiting myself to political killings and never tried delving into the highly liberalized crime culture that wrote the Obasanjo years in blood-felt pens and made that unfortunate period the bloodiest, the most lawless and the most precarious regime in the nation’s history. Make no mistake about it. That Rogers and his fellow partners in crime during the Abacha years are talking is by no means removing the fact that the Obasanjo years remains the period most Nigerians were felled in cold blood for political reasons and their killers were either shielded from the law, sometimes from the highest quarters, as in the Ige case or they morphed into the burgeoning cult of hideous killers, aided by the law and stalking the next victim. As in every vice, the Obasanjo era was a topping of all that is wrong with the Nigerian state and the guarding of this negative record was the reason why everything was put on the line to either force an extension of that regime or select for the rest of Nigerians a successor that would not open the vaults of misdemeanors that thrived under Obasanjo.

So when Obasanjo was swearing of making a democratic election a do-or-die affair for himself and his PDP, many were led to erroneously believe he was much more concerned about perpetuating the interest of his PDP than keeping his sins perpetually under the carpet, which is the reason why the mountains of corruption that defaced governance under his reign are still left untouched by a feckless successor that is still deigning himself grateful to the corrupt source that threw him up. This is the principal reason why Iwu, Ribadu, Bayo Ojo, Sunday Ehindero were recruited and placed at the head of the strategic institutions that were handy in the concocting of the fraudulent process that tailspinned into the charade of April 2007. This remains the reason for the yeomen job such people like El-Rufai, Akin Osuntokun, Femi Fani Kayode, Andy Uba, Uba Sani, and such other mealy-mouthed apostles of fraud were recruited and unleashed as hatchet men to ensure that either prosecute the perpetuation of the principality the serve or ensure that the process was treated to wholesome fraud to produce the kind of results that emerged in the April sham. This was the reason why monumental cover-up was carries out and still being carried out by agents of that regime to ensure that forever, this nation would not be availed of how and why the siege of the last eight years happened.

As we relish the scary details of the Rogers testimony and its confirmation of our long-held position that this nation is doomed to the scourge of heartless mercenaries masquerading as leaders, we should tap into it to do everything possible to ensure that the evils of the Obasanjo years are brought to light by the people that perpetrated them. The principal characters are still in power courtesy of the electoral fraud of 2007 and they are still hiding the details from us but let us all keep the hope alive that someday, somehow, we would get to know of how the rape by Obasanjo and his men happened. Nothing helps the process of reinvention more than this, as in the sordid details spewing from the mouths of Sergeant Rogers presently.

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