Opinion: The REP I Want By Ayk Fowosire

These days where the mundane is hyped, and the mediocre is celebrated,

it is just so easy to lose focus, to show off stupidity, and to profit
from ignorance. Since these days, service has been mutated to
counter-servitude, and privilege has jumped borders: it used to be a
privilege to serve, now it is a privilege to be served, even by one’s
own representative. Service was a job, contested for, sworn for, and
slaved for; now service is tyranny, an avenue to detain and harass
familial enemies, a means to circumvolve diffidents, subdue
dissidents, and propagate familiar, unconstitutional, policies, and a
means to an end no less.

So that these days, every elected human (human, not official; perhaps
calling them ‘official’ is why they act like slave masters) want
reelection, deservedly or not. So that these days when I go to the
market square, its modern equivalent, rather, it is hard to not notice
those two large billboards urging the reelection of a certain Rep and
citing somnolent soliloquised accomplishments, accomplishments that,
in my entitled opinion, belie a four-year tenure. So that as soon as I
acknowledge the ventriloquial message, “**** lafé léèkan si”, meaning,
‘we want **** one more time’, I smile. And that is all one can do.
Àbí? I smile because I’d rather not laugh, mock, or scorn. I smile
because I’m privy to letdowns at the hand of our man, and at a pivotal
time too. I smile so I may not cry…

Since I know that not everything is money, monetary or infrastructure-
that is how those of us not savouring the fabulous National Cake, and
not even enjoying the crumbs off the fabled table, yet live from day
to day in our diabetic land, a land of hunger in the midst of plenty.
No bursary, no scholarship; yet we paid extra school fees for which
receipts are yet inaccessible after four months, and even the
political, sorry, publicised, reduction in school fees is not to take
effect until another six.

Nay; not everything is in terms of how much funds an elected has in
hand to conceive and execute worthwhile projects, lest sycophants say
he would have done much more had he had the funds. Not everything is
in Naira and kobo; some things are just integrity, plain and simple,
and the lack thereof. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh, the head thinketh, and the hand doeth. At least that is the
sequence the political species operate: promise first, think later…
acknowledge, assuage, assure, abnegate, then abrogate and abscond;
àbí?

So, shall I recount how Mr Rep eventually failed Medical Students
during our February to April struggle? how he reportedly kept mum in
the Assembly, and (inadvertently) played mum to the opposition? how he
betrayed us upon many a promise? How we looked up to him, exalted him,
and awarded him? How we believed him, praised him, and prayed for him?
Shall I ventilate these truths, damn Eleweeran like my friend did, and
hope to live beyond the morrow? And hope to not be traced, targeted
and apprehended, nay, kidnapped by mask-wearing security operatives
quick to oppress harmless citizens such as myself, yet fleeing in the
place of duty, fleeing in the face of those armed enough to cow them,
fleeing across borders to Yaoundé, and shamelessly too?

Will Barrister initiate proceedings against me then come out to deny
it, like they have done who live in a glass house and throw stones,
who being themselves constitutionally existent and afforded, ignore
constitutionally entrenched rights of freedom of speech, of
expression, of opinion, and yet jubilantly proclaim themselves
constitutionally minded and abiding? Will Honourable set me up and
have me detained in the Station, like he did who arrogated the powers
of State, impersonated the machinery of State, and annexes our
commonwealth? Will Asiwaju disregard my voice as rantings, attribute
this clarion call for justiable accountability to a familiar quest for
attention, and believe me to work for the opposition, as elected’s
always do when they are cornered with the truth?

Or will he man up, bell the cat, and tell us what went wrong?: why he
lost his voice in the esteemed Assembly, how he could no longer feel
his feet once his able Deputy nudged him to table our issue, how his
spine wobbled and his sight doubled when we were to be represented by
Honourable Mr Chairman of Committee! How he could not bring himself to
speak the truth and damn the evil forces that enslave the people’s
will.

Or, have we stopped blaming preventable calamities and sheer
irresponsibility on devils and demons, cabals and the opposition, the
evil forces? stopped clamouring for prayer and fasting in place of
commonsense and integrity, truth and justice, good governance? stopped
proclaiming centenary celebrations in place of national cleansing,
resurrection, and reorientation; and promulgating brazen corruption as
mere thievery and politicking and profiteering?

Have we stopped going to church to pray to Jehovah to alleviate
suffering that we willingly and willfully endure, perhaps even enjoy?
Are we done asking Allah to curb insurgency when billions of naira
meant for equipping our military leave no trails, marks, or effects?
Are we no longer imploring, employing jàre, Sàngó, the god of thunder
to energise our power sector? Is Ógún, god of iron no longer in charge
of our railways? Is Yemoja, the coastal goddess no longer entreated to
ward off evil from our shores, to prevent the return of clandestine
submarine operations in our waters, and debar pirates from our
offshore oil rigs, even as we (seem to) lack the technology to protect
ourselves from invasion and hostile takeovers?! Are we done travelling
to Germany, India and where-else? while our hospitals rot and corrode?
Is the Hypocrite still canvassing support from world powers?

Ehn, ehn…
And now Mr Rep has come back to be voted for- again. So he may
continue to sabotage our struggle? and for four more years, àbí? So he
knew his constituency all along and chose to ally with Oke-Mosan, àbí?
So he knew my vote mattered when he was frolicking away from home,
àbí? Ok o. If you talk to him, abegi tell him to go and campaign in
Oke-Mosan o. Tell him we don’t vote failures o, not anymore. Tell him
four years of him more than fills the stomach; unless he wants us to
vomit.

And speaking of vomit, abegi, tell him to vomit all the money we heard
of but did not see, all the money that did not make it home to us, all
the money that must have been swallowed. Tell him this is that period
of the tenure when money is coughed up. And if he dares say there was
never any money, ask him why he wants to go back: So he may keep
coming to our dinner parties and fish? So he may repeat a tenure of
misrepresentation? Or so he may let us down again, and again?

Do tell him that he is not the Rep I want. I do not know his opponent,
but I know he is not the Rep I want, not for the next four years
anyway. Back here, when you are anointed as kite, you must be able to
cart away chicks (the bird, and not the human); and to not be
enthroned is much better than not being able to control your fiefdom.
That’s why he is the Chairman of that Committee: so he can reason with
us, not with the government. We voted him in, the people made him
Honourable representative, not the government, and not so he can
represent the government.

My Rep must represent me, my person and my interests. He must speak my
mind. He must set aside his personal allegiances to the Governor and
do the bidding of his constituency. He must listen, listen good, and
listen to me! That is why I voted him, and not the other guy; that is
why I voted him, and not to taunt, daunt, haunt, or flaunt; that is
why I voted him and not my gaunt self. I am gaunt sef so he can be
robust, so he can be formidable in defending my interests, not so he
can oppress me with his new found status and stature, and not so he
can annihilate me. That is why he represents me!

I do not have a rep so he can romance the lecturer and carry the
projector with misplaced pride. I do not have a rep so he can
introduce himself to every stranger that comes to class as such. I do
not have a rep so he can hobnob or whatever it is they do who bear the
title. I have a rep so you can represent me in meetings, and report
back to me; the first assignment being just as important as the
second. I have a rep so you can advise me, not instruct me. I have a
rep so I do not have to be everywhere and do everything. You are my
eyes and ears and mouth, not my brain; so don’t tell me you ‘don’t
like answering my requests for meeting updates’! Capisce? That’s why
you are the rep, janitor, whatever, in the first place!

And that is the Rep I want, just so we are clear! And peradventure you
are not cut out for such sincere, self-effacing, service, resign and
not be like Chukwu: do not eternalise your name in immortal obloquy
and opprobrium, ignominy and odium, reproach and shame; do not go down
in history as the arrant (guy) who stood, rather than quit, and
watched while his colleagues were sacked in their thousands, and more
importantly, do not be the thoughtless, spineless, head that
sanctioned it- and fled to Berlin.

Ayk Fowosire (c/o #Ayk_EDIT)
Sagamu.

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